Natural Wood Gazebo questions

Hi All,
New to the group and hobby. I recently moved to a country acre in Georgia, and have cut down some maple, elm, and oak, which provided me with some nice straight lengths of 4" - 8" diameter logs.
It's my intention to build a gazebo-like structure, using 7'-8' tall "posts" of about 6" diameter. Each post will be 3'-4' feet apart, with a 4"-5" "beam" laying across the top, bolted to the top of each post. Additionally, between each pair of posts (except doorways), two rails (3"-4") will run across at 1' and 3' held in place with mortise and tenion joints. The "roof" will be left open. I don't see any significant weight issues.
The wood is cut (not necessarily to length) and stored outside under a tarp. It's been about a week since cutting.
Ideally, I would like to leave the bark on. So far, my research indicates that this might not be a good idea. Is there a good sealing material that can be used over the bark?
If I have to remove the bark, what are the best methods? What should I use to seal the wood afterward? I'd like to use something environmentally more friendly, as the structure will be surrounded by plantings, and may be vine covered. Winters are mild, but we get a lot of rain.
Each post will have a concrete footing with the post attached to it using steel brackets and bolts. Are there better types of screws/bolts to use to attach the bracket to the log post? I don't accidentally want to encourage bottom rot.
I don't have access to a kiln, at best I could dry the wood by storing it in my garage for a while. When can I begin assembling a structure like this? does the wood need to dry for a time before it is sealed?
Any tips, suggestions, pitfalls to avoid, etc. are appreciated.
Thanks, JIM
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Jim wrote:>

free stuff for indoorsy projects. Tom Someday, it'll all be over....
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Jim Luttgens wrote:

First thing, for outdoors air dry would be preferable--if you kiln dry then mill it it's likely to take up moisture and change dimension when you put it back outside.
Next, there's a reason that redwood, heart cedar, ipe, pressure-treated pine, etc are used for decks--they have very high decay resistance. White oak isn't terrible but it's not in that league. Red oak fuhgedaboudid. Ditto maple and elm. They don't hold up outdoors in New England, let along Georgia. If you want it to last use one of the decay-resistant species or pressure treated lumber or one of the synthetic or semi-synthetic decking materials. Or, alternatively, build it like a house with proper concrete footings, a waterproof roof, siding, etc, but then it's not going to be what I think you're going for.

--
--John
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In Alabama, we'd call that a termite feeder - - don't build any outdoor structure within a foot of the ground withoug treated lumber.

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