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Wedding Gazebo

author-gravatar wooden_medic Jun 11, 2017

After asking my wife to marry me we started planing our wedding. Soon we discovered the outrageous prices to rent wedding venues and decided to get married in out yard. My wife looked at a lot of wedding ideas and really wanted a gazebo, and being the typical guy that I am I told her I could build it no problem. I had a time frame of 17 moths, no sweat.  Well like most of my projects it came in over sized, over budget and over time limit. we ended up touching up paint and planting flowers around it the morning of our wedding, and one piece of fascia was missing (on the back side so as not to be seen.)

The sidewalk that lead to the concrete pad under the gazebo from the middle of the yard had to go, it would have lead to the side not the front.

The frame for the deck. Every intersection of decking had duel beams so that i would have plenty of meat to attach the deck to from below. As the decking was attached more supports were placed between the frame and concrete pad, one under every joint and one midway through the long runs.

We started decking in a circle around it and slowly moving out, this proved extremely difficult to get the gaps of the rays to line up. many boards were cut and tossed away until my friend came up with a better idea. His idea was to just run the boards long and do every other section at a time, and once the section was attached we snapped a line down the sides and cut every board at once that way there was no possible way to get the angles wrong.

When it came time to do the other sides we had to constantly measure the first side done board by board to make sure that when we filled in the gaps between sections that everything matched up. if i just continued to use spacers everywhere it would not take into account the different widths of boards and they would not line up cleanly at intersections

The deck in progress. The center board took 4 tires to get it cut correctly and to line up with the stretched out octogon shape.

The deck almost finished, the only part left is the very last ring, they will go down after all the posts are finished and will but cut to wrap around the posts. I was able to keep every fastner hidden by attaching the deck boards from the bottom up. to do this i had to drill though the beams, countersinking the top and then boring a larger hole from the bottom up 1 inch deep, then screw 3 inch screws ( the longest torx head outdoor coated screws i could find) up from the bottom making sure not to go all the way through the 5/4 cedar deck. The deck sits 14 inches off the concrete and all the holes had to be drilled in place due to the width of the boards not all being even. i spent many days laying on my back screwing. In total i used 8 5lb boxes of screws at $25 a box, all to keep the deck looking clean.

The post design i decided on is probably the most unique part of this project. Most octagon gazebos use square posts that have the hand rails meet at an angle, some use 2 post's in every corner to have a square side for the rails I decided to make post's out of a few 2x4's and wrap them in plywood and paint so that i would be able to have the custom shape capable of meeting both handrails at a 90 degree angle. Throughout the build i would question this decision due to them not being stiff (until the very end that is). Later these get filled in on the outside with a 2x4 cut at a 45 and a 2x6 cut to fit the inside.

Posts are up, wobbly as all heck but they support their own weight atleast.

post's and beams up, and the center ridge is up, about ready to start setting hips and rafters. The beams were held together with a 14 inch lag and later strapped to the posts with simpson brand tiedowns used for garage walls.

Starting to get the rafters up to hold the ridge so i can start on the hips.

The center section is joined to the rest of the hip's by pocket screws so that i can easily remove it when its time. well thats the plan but im not sure if everything will hold up well enough to remove it.

in a attempt to make the roof as strong as possible i used the same construction adhesive used on hose floors on the roof.

I left the temporary roof in the hole up for quite some time. Was never completely sure that it would survive the removal. I mean I was 99% sure but that damn 1% was a constant nagging fear.

Detail of the upper roof walls, same concept as the lower just with a compound angle.

Getting ready to cut and stack the top roof.

First two rafters up. I used 1/2 osb and construction adhesive/nails to attach the rafters at the peak.

Hips are up and attached. I remember this being a pain in the butt to get everything to fit nice and tight, and then to secure everything I had to get creative with screw placement.

Roofing day. driving 1/2 inch nails by hand it no fun. Embracing the over builder in me I used 6 nails per 30 inch shingle.

Working on running power, water, speaker cable and a network cable out. Power will be for lighting, the water is because i have a trench and never want to dig it again, speaker cable is for in ceiling speakers in the roof, and the network cable is because my wifi sucks in the yard so i plan to place a access point out here.

I didn't want to kill the tree when digging my trench so I dug under the roots.

Sanding the deck, man i should have sealed it in the beginning, The raid had really discolored the deck and after all the work i had done to conceal the screws i was bummed, so i wrapped the side of the gazebo in tarps and made a dust cave.

The deck after sanding and staining, lighting is bad due to the makeshift tent to keep the rain out.

The deck with finish, its not nearly as glossy in normal light however the flash from the camera made it shiny.

my prototype for the step, and my friend shoe to test the size. i was working with a set opening size in the rails and didn't want my steps bigger than the opening, but at the same time i didn't want them so small feet couldn't fit on them.

Testing out the step mock up. Making sure they are large enough for feet and not to tall/short.

119 balusters. every one cut with a 15 degree angle on both ends, 4 stop chamfers and sanded smooth. (I made extra incase I split or broke a few)

all 119 balusters painted and drying, 1 coat of primer, 2 coats of paint.

the bottom rails all painted.

Handrail detail, the bottom rail was cut at a 15 degree bevel to shed water, all fasteners are hidden and the bottom rail has a 1/2 cove routed in it to hold a rope light.

The step is complete (except for a finish, and no i did not learn my lesson from not finishing the deck, 6 years later and it still does not have a finish applied. (on a side note, my laptop died a few months after this project unexpectedly, i wonder if it was due to the dust lol.)

Rails are attached, posts are painted (except the inside fill) and the steps are attached( from behind so no visible fasteners.) The two posts that border the stairs are set into 16 inches of concrete and lagged into the frame to keep it all sturdy. 

Wiring up all the handrail lights to the switch. what switch you ask? there is a normal light switch hidden in the post in front of this picture that has a bolt attached, when you slide a magnet up the post it turns the lights on, and to turn off you take the magnet down the post. It is behind the wood and sealed from moisture. Yes i know it violates code because its not serviceable but the post can be removed if absolutely needed.

Handrail lights are working.

Just a detail shot of the inner post filling, with some construction adhesive and plenty of nails along with a shear covering it stiffened up the posts quite a bit.

The ceiling was originally going to be tongue and groove cedar but the budget was running low so its 3/16 plywood door skins that will be painted. Still not ready to pull the center supports out, but its gota happen soon

Celing up and holes, seams filled and the speakers in, and best of all the center support is out and it didn't fall down. The gap in the very top will be covered with trim at a later stage. This eventually received a coat of primer and 2 coats of paint. Lighting for the wedding day was accomplished by 650 feet of christmas lights attached to the ceiling.

Ended up wrapping the sides with more decking and making the flower bed out of cedar fence boards ripped down to 2 3/4 wide and cut to be level around the whole flower bed.

I figured the best way/time to test the strength of the roof was to have my self and the groomsmen pose for a portrait atop the roof 30 minutes prior to the wedding... Whats the worst that could happen?

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