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Pergola End cuts on large beams

SoCalCabinet's picture

Hey everyone,


 I have a question on pergolas. I am new to this perticular area, my area is cabinetry and finish carpentry. I just recieved the design of a pergola I am to build that is using 6x8 beams coming out from the ledger on the house and they as well as the beam supporting the posts are to have a decorative end cut similar to a corbel shape. How do I do this on such large beams, if it were 2x I could use a jig saw? I'm stumped, do I get them done at a shop? If so, what kind of shop do I go to, or what companies do this? Oh and also, they speced out concealed hardware everywhere, anyone have some products that you've used before that would support such a beam? I need hardware for connecting the joists to the ledger and hardware for anchoring the posts the ground (6x6 posts)? I am in the Los Angeles, CA area. Thanks,


 Chris

(post #102342, reply #1 of 35)

Chainsaw and some chisels ; ^ )


Seriously, I think a bandsaw is called for.


Hardware? Do a search for pergolas, there have been some real pros here.


                            Mike


    Trust in God, but row away from the rocks.

                            Mike

    Small wheel turn by the fire and rod, big wheel turn by the grace of god.

(post #102342, reply #5 of 35)

Chainsaw and some chisels ; ^ )


OK, now we understand " ruffmike"

(post #102342, reply #6 of 35)

I yam what I yam. Actually I'd probably use a sawsall too, just didn't want to be called a hack... ; ^ )


                            Mike


    Trust in God, but row away from the rocks.


Edited 10/6/2006 9:29 am by ruffmike

                            Mike

    Small wheel turn by the fire and rod, big wheel turn by the grace of god.

(post #102342, reply #21 of 35)

I saw on This Old House where they put the bandsaw on casters, and rotated it around the shap of the beam that was stationary.


 


Good luck.

(post #102342, reply #2 of 35)

There are smaller, portable band saws that may even be cordless available on the market.  But depending on the depth of the cut, you might use a circular saw to rough out the general shape and a good chisel or gouge to finish the profile.

(post #102342, reply #3 of 35)

check around to see if you can find where to rent one of these that is big enough:


http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-6230-Deep-Portable-Band/dp/B00004T9QK/sr=1-10/qid=1160135649/ref=sr_1_10/104-7410992-4063908?ie=UTF8&s=hi


 

Matt

(post #102342, reply #4 of 35)

We make a 1/4" template, rough cut the beam just outside the template line with a long sawsall blade, and use a belt sander to fine tune the cuts. This works well without any special tools.


When we do decorative cuts on rafters or joist, we sometimes clamp the boards together after making cuts with a jig saw so we can do several at one time....clamping and machining together also assures uniform ends.     

(post #102342, reply #7 of 35)

Chris,


I saw this done on TV...  It was on TOH and they had some 20+ foot long 3"x8" beams.  They supported the beam with two ladders and then cut the end with a 14" bandsaw.  The bandsaw was mounted on 4 casters and rolled around on a plywood platform.  The bandsaw was moved around like a jig saw and it worked nicely with what seemed like good control.


Have fun.


 

(post #102342, reply #8 of 35)

Rent or buy a portable band saw.  Make a jig to follow and every cut uniform.

Anything I put my mind to, I can do..... given time, money, etc....

Anything I put my mind to, I can do..... given time, money, etc....

(post #102342, reply #9 of 35)

I used a router with two long 1/2" bits, one with a bearing on the bottom and a template
mark your shape on one side, rough cut to remove the bulk of the wood
fasten pattern to beam and use router with collar to cut your profile (shallow cuts working your way to the full depth of your router.
flip beam over, change bits and finish, sand as required.
not as easy as this sounds but doable
I used a PC 690 but a larger router would be better.

(post #102342, reply #10 of 35)

where do you buy a router bit 6" long?
I have some 2-1/2 or 3" with top bearings to use this way, but lining up both sides with the jig can be frustrating

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #102342, reply #11 of 35)

Depending on the wood being used it may not be terribly bad if you get "pretty close" lining up the two templates and then belt sand it smooth.


 


Team Logo

(post #102342, reply #12 of 35)

That's how we've done it. The thought of a six inch router bit scares me anyway

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #102342, reply #18 of 35)

I've seen machine bits (CNC and the like) that have been 5-6 inches long, though I do not believe they are intended to cut that deep, simply that long for the machine.


The only time I've cut with a double sided template was making the tenon's for the bed I'm making my wife, I made them like a saddle to fit perfectly over the piece, I think it was a lot easier then trying to line them up.  If I was going to try to line up to templates on a beam such as mentioned, I think I'd try the same approach


 


But

no, I wouldn't want to try to take that much out in one pass with a router.

Team Logo

(post #102342, reply #20 of 35)

Good one

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #102342, reply #14 of 35)

the bottom bearing bit follows the wood cut by the first bit that was guided by the template, after you flip the beam over

(post #102342, reply #19 of 35)

gotcha!

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #102342, reply #13 of 35)

Back in the old days, they would have cut these by hand with a bow saw. The handles can be turned to follow the angles you need.

Here's a site that will show you what they are; you can still buy them -- probably from places like Hartville, Woodcraft, or Garrett Wade.

http://www.geocities.com/plybench/bowsaw.html

Doing them by hand might be viable if you don't have too many, and the shapes aren't too complicated. The cut edges would be cleaned up with a belt sander.

********************************************************
"It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts."

John Wooden 1910-

******************************************************** "It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts." John Wooden 1910-2010

(post #102342, reply #15 of 35)

I've done smaller beams with the pattern and a router bit as well. rough cut it with a sawzall but the prtable band saw sounds better. cleaned up with a belt sander. if it's cedar, it goes pretty fast. you could I suppose drill through with a drill press to rough it out. I also have one of those lancelot chainsaw type grinding wheels that work very well for roughing out stuff.

"it aint the work I mind,
It's the feeling of falling further behind."

Bozini Latini

"it aint the work I mind, It's the feeling of falling further behind." Bozini Latini www.ingrainedwoodworking.com

(post #102342, reply #16 of 35)

Well,


 I think that gives me enough options to get me through it, thanks guys. Wow, this was my first post and the feedback is awesome. This is definitely the first of many. I thank you all for your help.


 Chris

(post #102342, reply #27 of 35)

I think this idea may have come from here- I've never used it, but it just popped into my head-


You can cut a much neater line through thick wood with a sawzall if you have two people, one on either side of the cut.  The guy with the saw guides his side of the blade along the line, the guy on the dumb end of the blade guides with a crescent wrench, loose enough to let the blade slide through, tight enough to turn the blade to follow the line. 


Seemed like a good idea when I read it, whenever that was.


zak


"When we build, let us think that we build forever.  Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone." --John Ruskin


"so it goes"


 

zak

"When we build, let us think that we build forever.  Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone." --John Ruskin

"so it goes"

 

(post #102342, reply #17 of 35)

This technique was demonstrate on This Old House in which they used a portable bandsaw and marked the shape on both sides; load relief of the long boards/beams were provided by roller stands and helpers.

(post #102342, reply #22 of 35)

This exact topic was covered in an article in Fine Homebuilding a few years back.


The builder used a router and templates, going in from both sides.


Do you have a way of searching the archives?  The article was a great how-to, with many photographs.

 

"A stripe is just as real as a dadgummed flower."

Gene Davis        1920-1985

(post #102342, reply #23 of 35)

Here are some 4"x8" Doug Fir beams for my pergola done with router  and template-from both sides then belt sanded.

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(post #102342, reply #24 of 35)

Looks like you got that template out of my shop!

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #102342, reply #25 of 35)

SoCalCabinet


Where is the best tool I have seen for beam cut. Some rental companys might carry it.


O-model12Oliver model #12/   8" portable band www.timberwolftools.com/tools/kind/bandsaws


 

(post #102342, reply #26 of 35)

Here is a pic of a pergola I did last year. It is made with salvaged old growth pine. I will post a pic latter of the tool I used to cut the ends.

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(post #102342, reply #32 of 35)

reinvent - very nice work. I have a similar project in the pipeline - The crosspieces are like yours with a arch mid section and straight ends. The overall span is about 10' so the beam called for is bigger and the arch section is higher overall. I have to make up I think 6 beams. I'm just curious as to the joinery sequence you used, namely, how many sections you used for the arch. I hope I'm right in assuming you pieced it - it was hard to tell from the picture.

(post #102342, reply #35 of 35)

The arches were formed from two pieces joined at the top of the arch. It is a vertical joint w/ a 3/4" X 3" slip tenon in the middle. Glued together with one part polyurethane glue (like gorilla glue). That sucker is never coming apart.
The main beams are half lapped at the post intersection and the smaller beams are notched to saddle on top of the curved beam.

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(post #102342, reply #28 of 35)

Here are a couple of pics of the 'pivoting bandsaw' I used to scroll cut pergola ends. This machine was specifically built for this purpose.

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