Just had my first run-in with a 6x6

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Forum topic by dbockel2 posted 10-26-2015 01:08 AM 2460 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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108 posts in 1873 days

10-26-2015 01:08 AM

And I can’t even…lol

Seriously though. I’m pretty much a novice on the woodworking front—building and creating things in the garage is certainly a therapy for me but the more I do it the more I love it:) Some friends down the street got wind that I like to build things and asked if I’d help them replace a mailbox as theirs has been run over a few times…

What I thought was going to be lending them my chop saw turned into me hauling home a 12’ 6×6 with a template of a damn-near indestructible mailbox that I”m going to make them. However, there are a few obstacles: 1) I can’t even pick a piece lumber like this off the ground without pulling something, 2) I don’t have a saw or blade that is big enough to cut through it in a single pass, 3) I don’t have a dado stack to make the critical half-lap joing, 4) and to clarify point #2, I straight up don’t have the tools to manage a piece of lumber like this easily. I’m a novice with a garage full of portable, lower-end tools!

But not to be defeated, I have nearly completed it after many laborious hours this weekend. Trying to single-handedly tame a 6×6 is a bear! Project photos to come soon.

p.s. Hello everyone—newly established an account here. I’m a 38 year-old novice woodworker looking to absorb and share whatever I can. Cheers.

19 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


21282 posts in 2779 days

#1 posted 10-26-2015 01:22 AM

Very few people have a saw that will handle a 6×6 in one pass. Mark your length. Use a square and make square lines all the way around. With a 7 1/4 circ saw cut each line. This will leave about 1” of wood in the middle to finish with a handsaw or recip saw. To make your notches, layout where it goes, set the depth of the circ saw to just the right depth then cut the line and then make a cut about every half inch to the end. Then knock out the pieces with a hammer and clean up with a chisel. Yes they are heavy.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4153 days

#2 posted 10-26-2015 01:29 AM

A chainsaw should do the trick nicely.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View dbockel2's profile


108 posts in 1873 days

#3 posted 10-26-2015 06:46 PM

Thanks, Bill. That sounds about how I was able to deal with it, though I made use of the TS more than the circular saw—my circular saw is old and the blade couldn’t go the 2.75”-3” deep into the 6×6 to make the joint. But I did the same technique on the TS and ended up with about 20 shims that I was able to use as necessary to correct any inaccuracies in my cut. I needed a friend to help me do this on the 8’ post b/c it was just too much to deal with with just 2 hands!

Despite all of the challenges here and some rather nontraditional methods I may have used in order to get the wood properly cut for the project the final project actually looks pretty good! I just won’t be making another any time soon.

And now another question: I did not (and generally do not) ask for payment for this project—I get enjoyment from the process and from making someone else happy and seeing my work displayed prominently outside of my house—or more correctly in front of theirs. But that said I have put a lot of elbow grease and gumption into this project and I originally thought I was just going to cut a piece of wood in half for someone as opposed to building a full-fledged mailbox. So I’ve done a lot more than I originally thought I would. Not upset about that at all but should I ask for any sort of compensation for this (basically this person gets a mailbox for the $50 cost of the 6×6 while the cost to purchase these things is quite steep from what I’ve been told—and at least in part because of how hard it is to work with a 6×6)!. Or do I just do my work, let them be happy and hope that karma comes my way down the road?

Thanks again for the advice!

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21282 posts in 2779 days

#4 posted 10-26-2015 07:21 PM

I would say if you didn’t talk about payment ahead of time and they didn’t offer to pay after the fact, then you did a favor for a neighbor and got some good experience. In the future if you expect to be paid, you need to make it known ahead of time.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 3292 days

#5 posted 10-26-2015 08:09 PM

With friends, I don’t let payment come in with the exception of purchasing the material, be it plywood, 6×6, screws, etc. I run the numbers and add 10%, just to give them a ballpark. Then, I keep all the receipts and give them a total at the end. Never been asked to see the receipts, though.

It is extremely important to note that my projects for friends are typically limited to simple projects that are straightforward to estimate. A basic plywood bookcase w/ face frame and trim, a mailbox post, etc. I don’t do any “fine woodworking” for friends. I have enough projects on my list, and I don’t want to get into the whole labor thing with them.

I did the whole mailbox post thing last summer, except I used 4×4’s. Our ancient metal tubing post had rusted out, and the neighbor across the street mentioned that his (on our side of the road) needed replacing, so I made a double. I think with the lumber, two basic metal mailboxes, the stain/sealer, screws, and concrete, we were into it for about $40 apiece, split down the middle. The neighbor is a real nice guy, so it was fun hanging out with him doing the installation.

For the half laps, I made the shoulder cuts with a circular saw and used a router and long straight bit to hog out the waste.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Ocelot's profile


2653 posts in 3560 days

#6 posted 10-26-2015 08:16 PM

If there is no picture, it didn’t happen!

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 2259 days

#7 posted 10-27-2015 12:19 AM

6×6 for a mailbox sounds a bit overkill. Are you expecting a zombie apocalypse? :)

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4153 days

#8 posted 10-27-2015 01:41 AM

Do they cook? A good home cooked meal sounds about right to me. W/desert, of course. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Stewbot's profile


199 posts in 2006 days

#9 posted 10-27-2015 02:05 AM

Sounds like you got swindled into building a mailbox for free… Just kidding. If you’re not bothered by not being paid this once I’d let this one go, however mention a modest hourly wage for any future projects if you desire to be paid next time. Depending on the relationship or situation I’ll generally do a lot of different jobs for friends and neighbors for free unless it takes more than a 2-3 hours especially if they sick me on it without helping. At that point I just specify a modest hourly wage which is usually gonna be the best deal they’d come across anyway. If you do work for people at a heavily discounted price, in my estimation that is a very fair favor in itself. This way they save some money, and you cover your costs (gas, electricity, tool wear etc) plus a little walking around money. If you become known as the neighbor with tools and skill, it’s good to be prepared for these types of situations.

-- Hoopty scoop?

View XquietflyX's profile


339 posts in 1883 days

#10 posted 10-28-2015 05:33 PM

Karma is something you’ll never expect and always be grateful for when it happens and you needed it.

-- You can tell a lot about your wife by her hands, for example if they are around your throat she's prolly pissed off at you...

View dbockel2's profile


108 posts in 1873 days

#11 posted 10-30-2015 01:56 PM

Here is the “finished” product. Please note that it still needs to be painted and the actual mailbox mounted on the “mount” area—hence it might look ugly but it is solid as a rock!. Glad that I am done with it.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5312 posts in 4883 days

#12 posted 10-30-2015 02:01 PM

NOW!!!!! Stand back and watch ‘em try to knock that sucker down.
Welcome to our party at LJs.
You’re NOT gonna install that are ya? :)

-- [email protected]

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3789 days

#13 posted 10-30-2015 02:02 PM

You had a good learning experience and did a good job. I’m sure the neighbors are pleased with it and I hope that they appreciate it.
BTW, welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View dbockel2's profile


108 posts in 1873 days

#14 posted 10-30-2015 02:11 PM

Ha, Bill! I don’t plan to be involved any further! It gets planted 2’ in the ground with concrete and gravel. It ain’t going anywhere!

View BurlyBob's profile


8041 posts in 3188 days

#15 posted 10-30-2015 03:05 PM

Welcome aboard. Looks like you did a fine job on that mailbox post.

Make sure the owners don’t encase it completely in concrete as it will hold moisture and deteriorate the post faster. The moisture/water has got to drain away or they/you will be back doing another post in a few years.

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