and shovel are sublime digging tools—and then I use a long-handled shovel to shave down the sides of each hole.
POSTS Generally speaking, code likes 6x6 posts at 6-foot centers along the beam. Depending on the beam’s width, you may be able to stretch this. How far you can span them is related to the beam sizing. Posts can be placed further apart on a 2x12 beam versus a 2x8, for example. Block. I “shoulder cut” (notch) the posts, which means there are marks and measurements on 3 sides. Using a block (I screwed two 9-inch long 2x6 scraps together) and tracing the notch is faster, more accurate.
Sleeve. I cannot describe how much I love using Post-Protector post sleeves and the time and money they save. But I’ll try. The big thing is that they enable me to set the post in the ground. The pay- back here is that no concrete tubes are required. This means you need only one bag of concrete per hole—not several—which means you don’t need to
Having the beam in place means I can accurately dig post holes.