After a solid two days of repeatedly lifting fourteen-foot boards over my head I can definitively state two things: 1.) Ouch. 2.) Holy shit, this is actually starting to look like a pergola.
I know, I know, I’m supposed to save the “after” picture until the end, but fuck it. I’m excited about this thing, because for half of the years I’ve lived in my house, it has looked like this:
And for the last year, it has looked like this:
Which in some ways is worse. I mean, it just looked like someone was half-assing something at that point… which is basically true. So while there has been some progress, it wasn’t good progress. Not until this weekend at least, when I hit that magical point in this project where things started to look better instead of worse.
Here’s how it all went down: After trimming all the posts last weekend, I had to buy a fair amount of lumber (24 2×8’s, 14-foot long) and then put the crossbeams and angle braces up.
I doubled-up on the crossbeams–there is one on either side of the 2×6 posts– which was mostly an aesthetic decision, but makes the whole thing feel much more substantial.
It took a full day and a fair amount of help from the tractor to get all the beams in place…
LOVE that tractor.
And then Sunday I started on the rafters.
When it comes to pergolas, if we’re speaking aesthetically, I like the rafters to be notched to fit over the crossbeams. If we’re talking about being the person who spends the time to notch 18 boards to fit them over the crossbeams? Fuck that. I bought some 8″ screws instead…
There are two theories about whether or not you should drill holes in the top of pergola rafters like this. One of them is: “Absolutely not, are you fucking nuts?” And the other is: “Meh. Fill the holes with caulk… it’ll probably be okay.”
You can guess which of these camps I fall into.
The camp where you drink beer while hanging out on top of your unfinished pergola because why the hell wouldn’t I do that? Obviously.
They are also time consuming to build, but I expect the rest of the rafters will go up quickly, and then I’m going to build an epically long table to go under it, and invite a bunch of family and friends to sit there and bask in the awesomeness of my creation. Or, you know, just drink some beers and eat some burgers…. either one.