Notching beams for Pergola

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  #1  
Old 02-16-05, 10:51 AM
lrac23
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Notching beams for Pergola

I am planning on building a 10' X 20' wood pergola. Beams are 2X10, joists are 2X8, and the "slats" on top will be 2X3, set on the 2" side for maximum shade every 4 inches. For cosmetic reasons, I will be notching the 2X8 joists ~1" to accept the 2x3's. I have to cut a LOT of notches in tops of the 2X8,(more than 500!). I was wondering what the best approach for this would be. I was thinking of making a template, laying the 2x8 on the 8" flat side and using a router to cut out the ~1x1" notch. However, I think the router bit would leave a noticible rounded inside corner of the notch.

Does anyone have a better idea?
 

Last edited by lrac23; 02-16-05 at 10:51 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-16-05, 06:15 PM
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Although it's a little vague to me, I think I know what your asking.

How many 2 x 8 joists are you notching, and how many notches per joist?
 
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Old 02-17-05, 06:32 AM
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How about a dado blade on your table saw.. or on your neighbors table saw?
If you are running the 2x3s perpendicular to the 2x8's you could line up the 2x8's and make cuts with a circular saw,
then move your guide piece 1/4" down and take out the rest with a wood chisel. (tedious)


also consider that this "rounded corner" will be 10' in the air.
You will be the only one who thinks to criticize a few gaps on an outside
piece of furniture.


Another option would be to put some pre-made wooden lattice up on top.
(no notches)
 
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Old 02-17-05, 07:01 AM
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You could line up the 2x8's like stated and clamp them together. Then with a straight edge and circular saw (with the blade depth set to the depth you wan your notches), cut both sides of the notch across all of the 2x8's, and then several cuts between to clean out the rest of the notch. You'll be cutting notches in all the boards. Still tedious, but not nearly as tedious as cutting one at a time.
 
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Old 02-17-05, 07:57 AM
lrac23
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Herm and all,

I will be notching 20 2X8s with 30 notches per board (600 notches). I was thinking of clamping them together and making multiple passes with my circular saw set at 1", but that may take forever as well. I was thinking a router might remove more material per pass, but I would have to make double the number of passes since the routher bit depth is usualy 1/2" at a time. If I start in March, I should be done by next winter. .....

Do you think a lumber yard might have machines to do this type of work?
 
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Old 02-17-05, 09:55 AM
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knotching

Clamp and skill saw sounds like it's the fastest way. That's what I would do.

What kind of wood are you using? I'm planning one for this summer out of clear cedar. I don't want to stain or treat the cedar as I like how it weathers on it's own plus I hate the maitenance ever couple years.
 
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Old 02-17-05, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by lrac23
If I start in March, I should be done by next winter. .....
If you start in February, hopefully you'll be done by??????

I've found that preparing to do tedious work like this takes more time than actually doing it. Once I get over the intimidation of the project at hand, and get started, it doesn't seem so bad. Of coarse, you'll be learning the whole time and by the time you're finished, you'll be really good at it.

Originally Posted by lrac23
Do you think a lumber yard might have machines to do this type of work?
They may or may not, but are you willing to pay the astronomical charges that will accompany this if they do? I'm assuming that you are trying to keep costs down by doing it yourself anyway?
 
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Old 02-18-05, 10:36 AM
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lrac23,

I've watched this thread for a couple of days, and have been trying to decide which way I would do it. I think the appropriate tool for this job would be a radial arm saw with a dado blade. While I have quite a few heavy tools, including a good table saw, I haven't managed to convince myself to get a radial arm saw, because what you are attempting to do is one of the few things they are really good at.

That said, I believe you said you had 20 2X8's to notch. The first thing I would do for any approach is clamp them together as has already been suggested. I have waivered back and forth between the circle saw and the router, and I think I would settle on the router with a guide bushing. Your total overall width of the clamped-up stock will be about 30" if I understand what you are doing. Take a piece of thin plywood or other material about 1' wide (maybe less) and 36" long. Carefully cut out a strip (hole) as wide as you want your notches to be plus enough to allow for the bushing and longer than 30". Clamp it to your stock and route away...moving the template down the stock the correct spacing for each notch.

What do you think?
 
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Old 02-19-05, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Randy Mallory
lrac23,

I've watched this thread for a couple of days, and have been trying to decide which way I would do it. I think the appropriate tool for this job would be a radial arm saw with a dado blade.
What do you think?
That wouldn't be a cut I would want to attempt, personally.

With a RAS your making a climb cut. Combine that with the width of a dado blade, and the 1" depth of the cut. Doesn't sound safe to me.
 
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Old 02-21-05, 05:24 AM
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Good point, Herm. I have no experience with a radial arm saw. This makes me feel even better about not having one.

I've seen "Norm" make "similar" cuts with a radial arm saw. It seems that the only thing I see him use it for is something similar to this. For example, for half-lap joints and such for his outdoor furniture. It sounds like you do have experience with the saw. Is there something I'm missing, or is Norm doing something hazardous, too?

I have often considered buying a radial arm saw for just such cuts. I have no problem making cross cuts on large lumber with a circular saw and a straight edge when needed. Using a circular saw and making repeated cuts for dados works, but is kinda crude and you know how we older "boys" are, we're always looking for excuses to buy new tools. Your input may make this decision easier to make.

Thank,
 

Last edited by Randy Mallory; 02-21-05 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 02-21-05, 08:49 AM
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I still think you should consider that these will be in the air and not having notches will not make it look like carp.

But if you do end up notching it up, please post some pics!

wifey has been throwing that word, pergola, around more often.
 
 

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