I am hoping you can help me find the right tool for this job. We are working with 7″ round cedar timber for fence posts. I want to make plunge cuts into the base of the rounds to slip a Simpson post base into it and then bolt through the post through the holes in the post base. The goal is not to see the brackets along the sides of the round. Can you recommend a tool that will do a plunge cut 1/4″ thick x 4″ wide x 10″ deep? – Karen
Tim Inman: Sorry, I do furniture, so I’m no help on this one…. Even though I do live on a farm and grow cedar fence posts here.
Chris Marshall: Karen, you’re suggesting a perplexing cut here, and I don’t have a tool solution either. Those are very deep, narrow cuts you want to make into end grain. I really doubt you could keep a long 1/4-in. bit tracking straight if you did it with a drilling jig and a corded drill. Plunging a chainsaw in is the stuff of nightmares. Mortising chisels would make for a demanding job to do by hand, and after chopping a few of those posts, I think I’d want to throw in the towel altogether. Probably the best advice I can offer is to pick the brains of a few timber framers, or maybe there are readers out there who have tackled a similar cut in a quick, safe and reliably repetitive way.
Simpson Strong-Tie offers several “concealed” post ties on their website that might work better for your application than what you have in mind. For one example, see their CPTZ Concealed Post Tie by clicking here. This might get you close enough to the concealed look you want with less effort.