Once the postholes were excavated, I had to make the posts. Actually, I first started on the crossbeams and the posts came later, but let’s not quibble. These crossbeams are some treated 4×6 stubs that I’d been saving for…something. I wasn’t sure what that would be at the time, but it’s totally not hoarding since I use stuff from my stash now and again. The important part was that I didn’t have to buy timbers. They’re expensive!
Once I’d cut the two crossbeams to length (36″ in this case), I cut out this half of the bridle joint that’s going to join the beam to the post. The shoulders are important because they help provide stability under racking loads (of which there will be plenty, with the wind blowing wet blankets around). The chisel in the picture is my beater chisel. I use it when I’m working outside or if I’m working on wood that is damp and dirty. I’m not usually dovetailing anything outside, so my bevel edge chisels get left in the tool roll and the old W. Butcher firmer chisel works just fine. I put a handle on it that was a piece of old broken shovel handle and used a piece of copper water pipe for a ferrule and it’s been working well for me ever since. Stingy, remember?
Even though the tools might seem crude, they get the job done. And something like this is a good opportunity to work on your chisel-wielding skills. Since I didn’t plane the surface of the timbers, they are dirty and rough. Therefore, I can’t use a router plane to true the inside face of the joint. That all has to be trued by paring it flush with the chisel. Take your time, and work systematically and it will work out. To look for high spots, you can use a combination square to gauge across the joint.