After installing the first post, we realized we didn't have enough large logs for posts; we want to use logs that are about 6" in diameter. So we went to look at the trees felled by a friend who cleared some land around his cabin, and after strategically cutting big tree trunks in the right places, we had the additional 9 post logs we need.
Last week, I mentioned the skip peel method of getting the bark off a tree...this is what it looks like when you use a draw knife to accomplish the finish...you pull the knife toward you to scrape off the bark...
Once the post has the finish you want, and if the deck flooring overlaps the girder (if there is no overlap, skip this step), place it on the deck floor and mark where the log will be attached. We have chosen to line ours up directly with the posts that support the deck floor and are installed in a concrete footer. Yes, you are correct, the post in this picture has not been completely skip peeled, which causes the log to be a little larger than the finished version will be...this was a lesson learned, as our cut-in was larger than it needed to be.
This is the tenon, which was hand made (we don't have a tenon cutter that large); we wanted the connection to be 1 1/2" thick. Johny measured 1 1/2" from the end of the pole, used a Japanese saw to cut a 1/4" deep slice into the circumference of the pole, and then used a wood chisel to break that 1/4 inch deep layer of wood away, leaving a tenon.
Once completed, the foot rail can be attached by inserting the tenon into the mortise, making the joint. We chose to make the bottom of the joint 3" from the deck floor, leaving room for feet under the railing. Of course, the rail has 2 ends, and this joint has to be prepared on each post.
Once the joints are completed, slide the rail into the first post (the one already attached to the deck), then put the other end into the second post, slowly maneuvering it into it's slot on the floor. Once stabilized, drill the screw holes and screw the post into position. This is the end result.
The top/hand rail is going to sit on top of the posts, more to come about that stage.
We learned another lesson I'd like to share...I'm sure there will be many, you can learn from our learning! While it seems intuitive that different types of wood will have different looking skip peel finish looks, there can be some significantly different aesthetic results. You can see that the branch on the right has a very different look than the one on the left, and I didn't like the one on the right; so far, we've used maple, sweet birch and yellow birch, which seem to have a similar skip peel finish look. I'm sure once everything is assembled, the differences in the finishes will be less apparent. For now, I will be quite choosy about whether or not the finish appeals to me.
The next step is the top/hand railing. We didn't work on it today because we woke to a light dusting of snow on the ground, a cold wind blowing, and the temperature never rising above freezing. A perfect day for indoor projects! But I must say, this is the kind of wintery day I love (yes, I know, it's spring), because the sky has been a beautiful blue, I've kept the wood stove burning, and when I step outside it feels so good to breath in the fresh crisp air! Love it!
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