Pergola for the Yard #2: Thank you Paul Sellers and Old No. 8

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Blog entry by builtinbkyn posted 06-05-2016 08:28 PM 1697 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Pergola/Trellis/Privacy Screen for the Yard Part 2 of Pergola for the Yard series Part 3: Hoggin' Out Holes »

I’ve watched quite a few Paul Sellers Master Classes over the months and many on truing up lumber. Yes I picked up a planer and jointer from Craig’s List, but there are times when they won’t do the job and today was one such time. I was able to employ a few of Paul’s techniques. One series Paul did was on various ways of holding stock when the stock and your bench don’t necessarily work together. Having pieces that exceed the length of my bench, forced me to think outside the box when it came time to clamp for planing.

I’m using Douglas Fir for this project and the posts are 4×6. Needless to say they’re less than ideal in terms of appearance when raw from the lumber yard, but these were also less than ideal in terms of being true and straight. I picked up 10 footers to be cut to size – exactly 100”. Using my Starrett 4’ straight edge – haven’t made winding sticks yet – I was able to find the straightest section along each post and then work from there. All 4 posts have issues, from some twist to a bow, but nothing I couldn’t handle with the old Stanley Bedrock no.8.

I squared and trued one wide face to a side on each post. I’ll then run them through the planer for the other two sides. All in all, it was a fun day in the shop – especially after installing the AC :)

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

7 comments so far

View bearkatwood's profile


1809 posts in 1623 days

#1 posted 06-06-2016 11:06 AM

Let the shaving fly!

-- Brian Noel

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16350 posts in 3230 days

#2 posted 06-06-2016 11:39 AM

There aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris. Your methods, progress and shop look great!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 3946 days

#3 posted 06-06-2016 12:50 PM

Great work on this. One guys fun is maybe another’s man’s work, but not too bad with a nicely tuned plane like yours. I always learn a lot every time I watch a Paul Sellers video and I am in awe of his handwork skills.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View builtinbkyn's profile


3001 posts in 1552 days

#4 posted 06-06-2016 01:46 PM

Thanks guys. I’m getting a little more confident in my hand tool work, with each project. I no longer get that dreaded feeling I’m going to wonk out a board with my planing. Sharpening the irons to 8000 has helped too. Thought I had sharp irons until I realized they weren’t as sharp as they could or should be. Reading that others sharpen to 8000 made me look at this aspect of hand too work again. It’s kind of silly that was my “Ah ha!” moment, when it should be obvious that really sharp is better LOL

Mike I’m learning from Paul Sellers like I learned to ski. I imitate the motions while trying to understand the how’s and why’s of the methods in the videos. It’s how I taught others to ski as an instructor, too. Paul is very good at getting his point across and he belabors the points he feels are the essence of what he’s trying to show. Using tips and aids gleaned from blogs and projects here and from videos on the net, helps get the job to progress with less chance of error. And, well if I screw up, it’s wood and can be reworked, in most cases :)

My next step in this project may be to use a scarf joint to form the two main beams. They’re 16’ long. I won’t have much room in the shop to manipulate 16 footers, so I was thinking of using some 10’ boards and joining them with a scarf joint. So if anyone has a design to consider for joining 2×10s with a scarf, I’d like to see it. It only needs to support it’s own weight and the weight of the rafters. The span is 8’ across the column supports. Otherwise I’ll get some 16’ boards and bring them directly to the backyard and work them there, though I was trying to avoid doing anything but assembly in the yard.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View UpstateNYdude's profile


935 posts in 2595 days

#5 posted 06-06-2016 02:55 PM

You could try this scarf, although probably a little more complicated then needed, but still good none the less.

-- Nick, “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

View builtinbkyn's profile


3001 posts in 1552 days

#6 posted 06-06-2016 03:22 PM

That’s one of the joints I found in my search as well. ( Good video by the way ) The boards he joined are as wide as they are deep. Not sure that one will work well with 2x stock.

These are what I’m considering, though I have an idea I have of my own. I will probably make a mockup of the joint to see if I can get it to work.

You could try this scarf, although probably a little more complicated then needed, but still good none the less.

- UpstateNYdude

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View builtinbkyn's profile


3001 posts in 1552 days

#7 posted 06-07-2016 09:38 PM

Back at it again today after needing to take a day to do some important things. Always thought doing what makes you happy was important, like woodworking, but hey what do I know?

So after hand planing two sides to square and true, I ran the posts thru the 15” Jet planer. Yup. the 8’ 4” was just the number for me to get these thru the planer in a room that’s 20’ across, and still have some room to maneuver. :)

I think they came out pretty well. They’re ready for me to make the thru mortises and then sand and stain.

I needed to switch gears a bit. If I stay on one aspect of a job too long, I start to get bored and less efficient. So I started to sand the rafters with 120… hand :( I read a few blogs and articles about staining and sealing DF timbers and came across some good info. One that showed the results of their advise. The author said to sand with 100 along the grain to remove any polished milling spots. This would allow the pores to open and to receive the stain evenly where the polished milling spots would hamper the stain from being taken up evenly. So no ROS for this work as the swirls I know I’d miss, wouldn’t look nice, but just as well. I hate using the ROS anyway. Well at least I hate my Ridgid ROS. May look at one of those nice Mirka ROS. Hand sanding allowed me to ease all of the edges too, without burning thru them too much as I’m prone to do. I used a sponge sanding block wrapped with the 120. Didn’t have 100, but I think it’s fine.

So I got 7 of the 21 sanded and finished with one coat of my own BLO/Waterlox/MS mix which I tinted with Minwax Red Mahogany. I’ll give these two or three coats with the BLO mix. I think I’ll then see what they look like and consider a clear satin spar varnish finish or some wax. Not sure about that yet. I’ll know when I see what they look like after a few coats with some light steel wool action in-between each coat. I think they colored up nicely with little to no splotching that I can see, but they’re still drying.

Ah tomorrow’s another day and I should have been done yesterday LOL

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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