Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Finding Level
on Sloping Ground

If you’ve ever built an outdoor structure that is set on posts with frost footings, it’s a pretty safe bet that the slope of the ground will vary from one footing to another.

To compensate for this, the foundation of the structure must be leveled by varying the length of the wood posts. The idea is to cut the post on the highest footing to final length, then use a level to transfer the proper elevation to the downhill posts, as shown in the drawing above.
Start by finding the highest footing. Use a level (and straight edge if needed) and work your way around the footings (Fig. 1). Now, set a post in the metal connector and mark the desired height for the joists, and cut the post to length (Fig. 2).

Then, to mark the next post, set the level on the top of the first post and mark a level line, working from post to post (Fig. 3). Finally, remove the posts, cut them to length and secure them to the connectors. Note: This tip works equally well for posts that are sunk directly into the concrete footings. Simply mark all the posts and cut them to height while they’re in place.

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