Pergola #1: The hard stuff is done

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Blog entry by Doug Wilson posted 07-19-2009 05:02 AM 3095 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I should have made a few more updates to the project. I have been working on it constantly (which means over the weekend when I can fit it in) over the last 2 months. Since this is my first major project, let me give you a brief recap of the project and the lessons learned so far… there are many.

I purchased all the lumber and then let it dry for a couple weeks in the garage. Lesson learned: I really have to put some wieght on PT wood as it dried. I got some crazy bowing and twisting.
I planed and sanded it with 80 grit to get the surface imperfections out. This took a couple weeks. Lesson learned: buy a planer.
I cut the design on the end of each 2×8 with a jig saw and then cleaned it up with a router and straight bit. I made a nice template and it helped move it along. Had to do the process 24 times!
I started to stain some of the wood while in the garage when I had the time.
Next, I reserved a Saturday and got my father-in-law to help me put up the frame. We drilled into the concrete with 1/2 anchor bolts, then put up the 4×4’s with supports. We then started hanging lower level cross beams, clamping them in place while we drilled through and placed 3/8 carriage bolts. I already mentioned that we had crazy bowing, so it took us forever to clamp them down and straighten them before we bolted. Also, working on a ladder for 8 hours hurts your feet! Lesson learned: buy more pipe clamps and a better ladder.
The next weekend we started on the upper level crossbeams. We had to cut out notches for the overlap of the top and bottom beams. I thought I could line them all up and router it out, but that didn’t work at all thanks to the bowing issues. We ended up having to jig saw out 8 notches from all 8 boards. Thanks again to an extra set of hands. After that we hung those beams and got them into place. I finished the top section during the week and then continued staining.
This week, I finished screwing in all the beam that were not bolted and continued staining. It is really starting to come together now.

What I have left.
finish staining
mount 2×2 lumber to support the lattice on top.
cut the lattice and put it in place
create custom lattice in between the 4×4 on each corner
add the corner decorative pieces

What a project… more to come soon…Bottom pergola beams!!

3 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3605 days

#1 posted 07-19-2009 05:05 AM

Looking good

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3369 days

#2 posted 07-19-2009 05:16 AM

i guess you learned to fasten construction lumber as quikly as posible ,
before it moves around ?
nothing is more frustrating than allot of warped and bowed wood ,
especialy overhead !
but your project is looking good !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Doug Wilson's profile

Doug Wilson

23 posts in 3351 days

#3 posted 07-19-2009 07:34 PM

Yea, I learned that the hard way. I did however straighten it all out with some massive clamps, just took longer to get it done.

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