WASHINGTON—With more than a month left until the presidential election, a group of congressional leaders decided Wednesday to get a head start on building the platform for the winner to deliver the inaugural address — or at least they tried to.

The First Nail Ceremony officially kicked off the construction of the inauguration platform outside the Capitol.

Members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies – a long name for the House and Senate leaders — hammered nails into a wooden plank at the West Front Terrace of the Capitol, the construction site of the platform for the 58th Inauguration on Jan. 20. A few were less successful in their carpentry efforts than others – wobbly nails were evident.

“To those who will do this work, to the people who actually will drive the nails that matter, thank you for your work on the platform,” Committee Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt said to laughter from the crowd. Blunt is vice chairman of the Republican Conference in the Senate.

Others hammering the ceremonial plank included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Conference Committee, House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Ryan laughed at Schumer’s technique, and McCarthy and Ryan ended up taking Schumer’s nail out of the plank and hammering in a new one.

As the lawmakers left, they shook hands with the construction workers standing behind them, some of the people whose nails will actually build the inauguration platform.