A few years ago, I looked at my accumulation of stuff, and decided to see if I couldn't repurpose 7 46" x 76" tempered glass panes and a salvaged 12' aluminum truss framed Paraclipse satellite dish into a gazebo. I did a lot of measuring, thinking, drawing and, testing and decided to do it.
( I call it a "glassebo" because, technically, a gazebo has open or screened sides, while these sides, minus the door, will be glass. A more appropriate term would be a "belvedere (a structure (such as a cupola or a summerhouse) designed to command a view) since it will sit on our back hill with a view of south San Luis Obispo out to the Edna Valley wine region.)
A couple of years ago, I started on it. I fished out all of the dish parts and assembled it, and started on the base and posts, all made from 6x6es. The base side joints are mitered half laps, through mortised, and then pinned with a 2" square tenon on the bottom of each post. Back then, I was really struggling with the whole mortise thing.
Shortly thereafter, my wife and I got axle-wrapped in elder care of our parents and the project got shelved.
The recess hasn't been all bad. in the interim, I refined my woodworking skills on the antique phone, the Tribute table, a tray, and the workbench built around the old vise. And, I had a lot of time to read woodworking books and realize what I was doing wrong with the mortises.
Wrong thing 1: Wrong chisels. I ordered a couple of Robert Sorby 2" timber framing chisels and do they make a difference.
Wrong thing 2: Trying to work on them at ground level. I'm glad I built the new bench. It's sturdy enough to hold 2 of the 6x6 base timbers joined together.
Wrong thing 3: trying to mark and cut the mortises for 2 mating timbers one at a time. Now I put the 2 of them up on the bench, mate the half lap joints and check the miter, clamp them and then screw the joint together with 2- 3 1/2" screws for the mortising.
Wrong thing 4: Impatience... Not much else to say about that. Now I'm enjoying taking my time and doing it right.
A couple of weeks ago I started working on it again.
I dollied my floor drill press out to the bench. With the table lowered, the drill head fits over the bench. So, I check and shim the timbers for level, move the press into position, check it for plumb and shim it. Then I drill the marked mortise location as deep as I can with a 2" Forstner bit and an extension, and then finish it off with the bit in a 1/2" hand drill. That way, the hole goes through both halves of the lap joint in just the right spot.
Then, it's chisel and chip with the framing chisels and my late grandfather's elm stone cutting maul.
I also cut a precise 12" long 2" square tenon template on the table saw to proof the mortises as I cut them.
A few days ago I finished the initial mortise chopping, and today I finished the last of the post tenons. This is the first time it's been all this far together, with all eight posts up.
One problem I just noticed this afternoon, checking the assembly. The 4 minor diameters (across the centers of the base beams) differ by one whole inch, and some of the lap joints aren't fully closed. I guess I need to take the posts out, square up the base (can you square an octagon?) screw the joints together, and then adjust the mortises accordingly. For scale, those posts are 8' 6x6es, and the minor diameter is about 10' 8".
If anyone is interested, I can add more pictures of what's already done: the assembled dish for the roof, the wooden cupola, my hand made copper weather vane for the cupola, etc.