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Old 07-30-2013, 08:50 AM   #1
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Countersinking Hex Bolts into Pergola Beam a Good Idea?


I am getting ready to build a 12x12 pergola with a 14x14 overhang in rough cut western red cedar and I want the finished product to be as clean as possible. Here's what I'm using:

Posts: 6x6s
Beams: 2x10s

The tops of the posts will be notched 1" to allow for half of the beam to sit on the post.

Here's the Question: If I've got 2" of beam, then 4" of post and then 2" of beam, that's 8" to go through with a hex bolt. how deep into the 2x10 beam can I countersink without compromising the integrity of the board? Ideally, I want to be able to countersink then place a plug in each hole to hide all the hardware. I think I'd have to go in at least 1", and I'm worried about that being too much.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:03 AM   #2
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Countersinking Hex Bolts into Pergola Beam a Good Idea?


Are you 100% sure of this 2" measurement, most I've seen are 1-1/2.
The post needs to be dadoed enough so the whole rim joist is sitting on the cut out area.
Consider using carriage bolts instead of hex bolts. counter bore with a Forister bit just deep enough to have the bolt head be flush with the face of the rim joist. Once assembled go over the rim joist with 1X's to cover up the heads.
In order to use plugs the hole would have to be to deep and as you suggested would weaken it to much.
(It's called counter boring, not counter sinking when the bottom of the hole is flat not tapered.)
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:23 AM   #3
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Countersinking Hex Bolts into Pergola Beam a Good Idea?


You can counter-bore and recess the heads of the bolts and the nuts and washers on the other side but cutting deep enough to add an in-hole plug to cover them that will stay put in an exterior environment would not be a good idea in my opinion.

One expects to see some fasteners in outdoor construction. However, you can buy plastic and metal thin walled plugs unfinished or in color just like used on outdoor furniture if the look really bothers you. The sleeves go around the hex heads and grip the sides of the bored out hole. They are more of a covering than an actual plug though.

Would carriage bolts rather than hex bolts work? They would give you a more finished look on one side to start.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:53 AM   #4
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Countersinking Hex Bolts into Pergola Beam a Good Idea?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Are you 100% sure of this 2" measurement, most I've seen are 1-1/2.
The post needs to be dadoed enough so the whole rim joist is sitting on the cut out area.
Consider using carriage bolts instead of hex bolts. counter bore with a Forister bit just deep enough to have the bolt head be flush with the face of the rim joist. Once assembled go over the rim joist with 1X's to cover up the heads.
In order to use plugs the hole would have to be to deep and as you suggested would weaken it to much.
(It's called counter boring, not counter sinking when the bottom of the hole is flat not tapered.)

What about using Timber bolts instead of carriage bolts? Is there any advantage?
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:31 PM   #5
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Countersinking Hex Bolts into Pergola Beam a Good Idea?


If you can get plow bolts, (like a carriage bolt but the head id flat and tapered like a wood screw). You would then only have to drill in 1/4 to 1/2 inch and the hole would be in the unsupported 1 inch. Since it is outdoors I would use waterproof marine glue for the plugs. A brown powder you mix with water, it gets hot, and after about a minute or so sets almost instantly, so don't mix any more than you can use quickly.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:47 PM   #6
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Countersinking Hex Bolts into Pergola Beam a Good Idea?


I think this is what Duck is speaking of and I had forgotten about plow bolts. The are like carriage bolts but the heads do sit flush and you would, as Joe pointed out the difference, countersink, not counter bore for plow bolts.

http://www.trinitylogisticsgroup.com...Tooth_Plow.gif

That still leaves you the washer and nut side to plug, cap or otherwise disguise. But we solved half your problem!

Last edited by user1007; 07-30-2013 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:07 AM   #7
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Countersinking Hex Bolts into Pergola Beam a Good Idea?


Thanks sdsester, I got to find out how to post drawings and photos. Wasn't it Confucius that said a picture is worth a thousand words? Then how come everyone remembers what he said, and not what he looks like?
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