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I got some 6x6's and deck post brackets that are similar to the picture below, except they're 8" high:

enter image description here

Come to find out, the 6x6 is slightly too large to fit inside this bracket. Now I see how this makes sense. It is better that the bottom of the post is notched off, so that water runs over down the side and over the metal, instead of in between the wood and the bracket.

I'm afraid this will take forever. What is the best way to shave off the bottom of the posts? I have 6 of them and will need to shave off 8" on all 4 sides. I have basic tools, like a chopsaw, skill saw, table saw, but I can't figure out how to do it, except use a chisel. And I'm afraid using a chisel will be imperfect and effect the stability.

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8" high brackets seem excessive. –  DA01 May 24 '12 at 3:10
    
In this case, although they may be deck brackets (the ones I bought did not say 'deck'), we are putting a gazebo in our backyard on top of cement with anchor bolts. Some people say these brackets are great for this, others don't, so I guess we'll see how it goes. –  Dave May 24 '12 at 12:33
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You're going to shave the sides, not the bottom. The stability will come from the down force on the bottom of the post - a milimeter shift laterally inside a mounted bracket is nothing.

That said - easiest approach IMO will be to set your circular saw to an extremely shallow depth and notch 8" height to that depth on TWO sides, not all four - and repeat that notch from the top line all the way down to the bottom - cutting over and over and over. Then use a chisel to knock out the rest of the wood and clean it up some.

Something like this but with a REALLY shallow depth on your circ saw.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0GJw7y9vzc

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I like this answer because it involves a tool I already have, and the posts are a little big to put on our small table saw. Thanks. –  Dave May 24 '12 at 12:38
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I'd use the table saw for as much as you can since this is what it's designed for. Set the fence as close as you can to the blade and cut each side up to your 8" mark. It may be easier to clamp a wood "stop" onto the table saw so you don't cut beyond the 8". After you get half of all the sides done, reset the saw with the fence on the other side of the blade and repeat the process. If your circular saw can get shallow enough, then use it to make a notch all around at the 8" mark. A couple strokes with a hand saw would also do well. You'll be left with 1-2" in the center that the table saw couldn't reach and some semi-circle's at the top up to your 8" line. I'd just chisel the rest out using the existing cuts as my guide.

There's no need to be perfect. Like Greebo says, the load will be transfered down, not to the sides. And the part you're chiseling will be covered by your bracket.

If you're up for investing in another tool, I think a power planer may be the best for this job, but I have no direct experience to say for sure.

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I had not heard of a power planer, but it sounds like a handy tool, I'll check them out. –  Dave May 24 '12 at 12:39
    
Also a perfectly good technique. –  The Evil Greebo May 24 '12 at 13:29
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You could install a Dado Blade in your table saw, set the depth to remove a very small amount of material. Lay the post flat on the table, make a series of passes until all the desired material is removed, rotate and repeat.

This can also be accomplished with a sliding miter, or circular saw. Set the stop on the miter saw so the blade will only cut to the desired depth, and make a series of passes across the piece until most of the material is removed. Finish by cleaning up the face with a chisel. To avoid an arced ridge at the back side of the cut, clamp a scrap piece of wood against the fence to hold the work piece slightly away from the fence. This same method can be used with a circular saw, by setting the cut depth, and again making a series of passes across the piece.

If you have a router and a straight cutting bit, you could use that. Again, by setting the appropriate depth of the cut and making a series of passes.

Depending on how much material you want to remove, and how much of a workout you want to get. You could use a hand saw to remove the material. Simply make a cut all the way around the piece to the desired depth, then make the long cuts from the end of the piece up to the first cuts you made.

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I bought a dado blade set awhile back, but our table saw ended up being too small to fit more than two blades and the posts are huge. Thanks for the suggestions. –  Dave May 24 '12 at 12:40
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