How to Cut Decorative Posts for a Deck

An Easy Way to Cut Posts for a Deck

Matt and I are in the process of building the railing for the deck at the Rebel house. I’ll tell you what – the materials for a deck are expensive! We didn’t want just plain old posts either but some of those decorative posts and post caps are way out of the budget. I can across this article from The Family Handyman on how to cut posts for a deck. It seemed pretty straightforward except that they use a circular saw… Using a circular saw is not entirely a bad thing but I am still deathly afraid of mine – go figure! I decided to cut the deck posts using my miter saw and my table saw.

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Let me state up front that all safety precautions need to be in place. It is a lot easier to create these posts with a helper nearby. Keep your hair back (if necessary), no loose clothing, any hoodie strings tucked out of the way (I tie mine under my chin), and wear gloves and safety glasses.

I started by cutting the posts to length using the miter saw. They each measure 48″ which will allow 6″ to be notched and attached to the side of the deck using lag screws. Then I started cutting the kerfs for the notches. I removed the splitter, anti-kick back pawls, and blade guard from my table saw then set the blade depth to 1-1/2″ with the rip fence set 6″ from the blade.

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I made a pass with each post through the saw and even had help from a sweet stray dog we’ve named “Mama”!

NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that feeding the posts through the saw as I’ve shown is “wrong”. The post is should be clamped to the saw’s miter fence then pushed through so that there is even pressure on the post. Please note that however you choose to run the posts through the saw is at your own risk.

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I moved the rip fence in by 1/2″ and made a pass with each post. I continued to do this (what seemed like a bazillion times) until there were kerfs cut along the 6″ where the notches would be.

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I decided that I wanted a decorative line cut in the upper area of the post. I reset the blade depth at 1/2″ and the rip fence at 4-3/4″ which would make a “square” below the bevels that will be cut in the top. I made a pass with each post through the saw on all four sides.

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To cut the beveled top, I marked a line 1-1/4″ in from each side. This will give a 1″ square at the top of the post.

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I cut the bevels at 45° on the miter saw.

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To finish cutting out the notches, I used a chisel to remove the material where the kerfs were cut.

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The posts were then bolted to the deck using 3/8″ x 3-1/2″ lag screws. Rails and balusters were then added to create the railing.

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I was really glad to come across The Family Handyman article on how to cut posts for a deck! It gave me an inexpensive option to create stellar posts for the Rebel house without breaking the bank. The posts identical to these that I saw at one of the big-box home improvement stores were $10 each. I created these for $3.50 each. Not too bad, huh? Have any questions? Contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Originally posted 2014-02-11 08:00:19.