Cut Rafter Profiles
I’ll use a jigsaw to cut all these profiles. The blade can wander so I have found that the cut will start better if I make a shallow groove with a hand saw first.
I ran into a knot on this cut so that’s the source of the bit of smoke there. And maybe that blade was getting dull too. But the cut ended up looking pretty well.
At least then the blade will start perpendicular to the face. After the cut I often check to see how well the blade followed my line by laying the pattern on the other side. With this soft cedar I can cut that side and correct a wonky curve to get it a bit better.
There I’m sliding the blade in the groove I cut with the hand saw. All the cuts on the rafter ends followed the line well. So I was happy with that. You could opt for a simpler profile on these ends as well. On the pergola video I simply cut a 45 on the lower half of the ends of the beams, rafters, and louvers.
Cutting “follow” Grooves for Jigsaw Blade
Next I’ll cut the profile in the ends of the 4×4 beams.
I did also make a shallow saw cut on the end of the profile where the blade exits the wood. If there’s a chip that breaks off at the end of the cut then hopefully it will still look square.
Long Blade on Jigsaw for Beam Cutting
I went a bit slower with the jigsaw due to this deeper cut. And I had to make some cuts from the other side to correct any blade wander. It’s decorative and not functional so as long as it looks pretty close.
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Cut Lap on Legs for Post Saddle
I’ll be mounting the bench legs to concrete with adjustable galvanized saddles. With the roof and the relatively narrow width of the bench, and the persistent wind where we live, I wanted to permanently secure the bench to the ground on small concrete footings.
The post saddles available in my area are for nominal 4×4’s. That is a 4×4 that actually measures three and a half inches square. I’m using legs that are true four inches by four inches. So I also need to trim down the bottoms of the legs to fit. And I’ll do that in the same way I cut the dados for the rails. It’s an extra step but doesn’t take too long.
Post Saddle Lap Cutting
I’ll break (or chamfer) all sharp corners with a power plane. I do this on the legs, rails, beams, and shelves. I like the look and it prevents slivers.
Dressing with Plane and Angle Grinder
This is only needed if you are building with rough sawn materials direct from a mill.
You could get the same results with a belt or orbital sander. And maybe that would give a smoother finish to the chamfers. I just prefer the speed of the planer and angle grinder.
I have an angle grinder with a sanding disc to chamfer the ends and the profile curves. The rails extend past the legs so I’ll dress the ends of them too.
I decided to let the rails run long to create a pocket area at each end of the bench. This could be a place to add hooks to hang tools. And I like how these extended rails would keep shovels or hoes or rakes from falling over when they’re leaned against the bench.
Staining prior to Assembly
With most of the parts now cut and dressed I’ll roll on a coat of stain. I like to do this now before assembly. I find it faster and easier to do this with everything laid on sawhorses. I have a one-coat Sico Stain I have been using for a few years now. I do add a second coat to the ends or to any face that is more exposed to the elements.
I built a simple 2×4 frame to make pouring the footings easier. And marked the centers of each square opening to help position the anchor bolts in the wet concrete later.
Potting Bench Form Frame
I can lay this form on the grass in the garden to mark the spots where I’ll remove the sod then dig the holes for the concrete footings.
Some good old fashion manual labour here. We’ve been throwing all the sod in with our compost piles and turning them to make new soil to top up the garden beds each spring. I didn’t go very deep with the footings as we do’t usually have harsh winters with deep frost layers.
Digging the Footing Holes
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