Final Stage of Pergola

The pergola is now done-after installing the kneebraces, the joists were considerably easier. I installed 8 12′ 2×6 joists with a 45 degree cut on the West facing end on 16″ centers. I used what I  would call a modified bridle joint to set the joists on the beams and then secured them with two screws on either end.

For the cross pieces I ripped the remaining 2×6’s into 12′ 2x2s and installed 11 of them on 9 1/2″ centers and added a 45 degree cut to both ends. They were a little wonky to begin with so they don’t look perfectly straight from above but they are secure.

My favorite view-from the chaise lounge:

And of course we hung the obligatory paper lanterns to finish it off. What I’m really looking forward to is our first “drive-in” movie night with the screen and projector. I’m thinking Star Wars: Episode IV.


4 thoughts on “Final Stage of Pergola

    • Thanks! I did end up using concrete. At the bottom of the post hole, I set about 3″ of pea gravel, then inserted and leveled the post and then filled with concrete, leaving 6 inches at the top for dirt. Here’s to hoping it holds:-)

  1. Final outcome looks really good. It was enjoyable, as a teacher of the craft, watching you through the discovery process. I hope you do more projects and continue your education of the craft.

    Note that packed gravel would have served you better than the concrete around the base of the posts. If a post would rot, in say 30 years, when you add concrete you can half that to about 10 to 15 years. Concrete is hydrophilic in property. When the log cabins of central Appalachia, (and around the world,) started to loose their mud and/or lime chinking, around the turn of the century to the 1960’s, the chinking was often replaced with concrete. The concrete in turn being hydrophilic, (as apposed to the mud and/or lime being hydrophobic,) attracted water that quickly started the timbers of the architecture they where meant to save rotting and decaying in place.

    • Hi Jay,

      Thanks again for taking the time to view the project and provide suggestions and advice. I’ve learned quite a bit just researching the different topics you’ve addressed.

      I’m wishing now I would haves used packed gravel rather than concrete in light of your comment regarding the different properties of concrete vs gravel. But I guess I’ll have to get back to you in 15 yrs or so and let you know how the posts are faring. I’m hoping it will be a very long term experiment:-)

      My main focus is still on designing and building furniture but with any luck I’d love to build a timber frame home in one iteration or another and constructing this pergola has been both a informative and eye opening experience not to mention a good laboratory for learning some of the basics of large scale joinery.


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