Pergola Rafter Tails
Using Easy Modern Technology

Draw your own customized classical pergola rafter tails using Microsoft Word. No ruler - no compasses - no measuring. Print it out and use straight away. Any place any time. It's easy! It's fun!

One way to share this idea with you is to select a rafter width and draw an attractive pergola rafter tails shape.

Let's start with a rafter width of 7". Why 7"? Well it happens to be the largest size you can make – using this method - but also the most frequent size requested by you since sending out free customized pergola design templates.

The grid I use can easily be adjusted for 6” and 5.5” and 5" widths, which were also very popular – or for any other width smaller than 7”.

  And a grid makes it easy to draw.

So let’s set get started.

Select a new Microsoft Word page. Click on Draw - which is usually bottom left on your screen and select GRID.

Against Grid Setting insert the horizontal spacing as 4.44 cm and the vertical spacing as 4.44 cm.

Tick Display Gridline On Screen box and click OK.

The number 4.44 cm is a quarter of 7” expressed in cms – in case you were wondering.

[If your pergola  width is 6" use 3.8 cm in your Grid Setting. If 5.5" then use 3.5 cm in your Grid Setting. Based on 1 inch = 2.54 cm]

Under FILE - which is usually top left on your screen - click on Page Set-up. Under Margins insert:

Top 0.9
Bottom 2.11
Left 1.6
Right 1.6

These settings should produce a complete grid without lines cut out. You may have to adjust the settings - especially for top and bottom numbers.

Tick Mirror Margins box and click OK.

[These File settings can be used for all other rafter sizes below 7"]

Pergola Rafter Tails - Now draw the front half.

...and then – using the same grid settings – we'll draw the rear half in a new window.

E is positioned on the left hand vertical line and one square down.

Click on LINE and draw the short horizontal line from E to D. You will need to click LINE for each new line you draw.

Now draw the sloping line from D to O - four squares down and one square to the right. Draw the horizontal line from O to F. Finally draw the left hand vertical line from F to E.

There's No Better Time To Introduce A Beautiful Curve...

...associated with the classical pergola rafter tails, which you will fit between D and O.

Go to DRAW. Select GRID and reduce "Horizontal Spacing" down to 0.1 and "Vertical Spacing" downto 0.1.This is the smallest they can go.

Untick "Display Grid Lines." [My mistake I have left the grid lines on].

Click on OVAL - which is normally bottom left on your screen - and draw any small oval or circle in the position I’ve shown.

You are now going to make a large circle but still a size you can manage.

Right click inside the oval and select Format Auto shape.

Select SIZE from the top and insert 35.5 cm for the height and 35.5 cm for the width.

The number 35.5 cm is the diameter of your new circle and is twice the rafter width. Click OK. Click "ZOOM" on the top menu and reduce your diagram to a manageable size of 50%.

Left click inside your new circle and move it carefully into the position shown – passing through D and O.

"ZOOM" back to 100% and save it. Print out the front section of your pergola rafter tails and by following the arrows cut out the template.

Clear the first drawing and set the same Grid settings:
Click on Draw and select GRID.

Against Grid Setting insert the horizontal spacing as 4.44 cm and the vertical spacing as 4.44 cm.

Tick Display Gridline On Screen box and click OK.

Select a new Microsoft Word page.

As before under FILE click on Page Set-up.

Under Margins insert:
Top 0.9
Bottom 2.11
Left 1.6
Right 1.6

Tick Mirror Margins and click OK.

You're Now Ready to Start on the Rear Tail Section.

F is positioned in the top left hand corner of the grid.

From F draw a horizontal line two squares along to O.

Now draw a sloping line from O to C - four squares down and one square to the right.

Draw a one square line horizontally from C to B and from B draw a line vertically down the page to the bottom.


Finish off by drawing a horizontal line across the bottom and a vertical line up to F.

[Important: Later you will have to mark the overhang of 7” [rafter width] from B to A on each rafter. A will be the position of the upright post.]

Draw the new curve in the same way...

As before go to DRAW and select GRID and reduce horizontal and vertical spacing to 0.1. Then untick "Display Grid".

Start with a small oval/circle on the left hand side of the page this time.

Use the same settings as above for the previous circle.

Click on OVAL and draw any small ellipse or circle in the position I’ve shown.

Right click inside the oval and select Format Auto shape.

Select SIZE from the top and insert 35.5 cm for the height and 35.5 cm for the width. Click OK.

Reduce the drawing size to 50% and move the circle so that it passes through the points O and C. Save It and restore the size back to 100%.

So now you have the completed rear section.

To replace some important lines that you’ve lost in creating the curve.

Right click inside the circle, click on Format Auto shape and tick the semitransparent box and click OK.

To recover hidden grid lines go to Draw and select Grid. Change Horizontal and Vertical Spacing back to 4.44.


Redraw the line from F to O and from F vertically to the bottom of the page.

Also redraw the horizontal line at the bottom. Go back and untick the semitransparent box - optional.


Print out the pergola rafter tails rear section and cut out the rear template by following the arrows carefully. I have indicated the one curve where NOT to cut.



Once you have the two parts join them together along F and O and mount them on 7” wide plywood or hardboard using glue.

Allow extra length to include mark A, which is the post position 7” from B as I mentioned before.

Cut around the template with a jigsaw and transfer it onto all your rafter ends to make beautiful pergola rafter tails. When you cut out your rafters use a sharp blade. Good luck.

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