Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Arched Arbor Trellis

A long long time ago, in a house far far away, a wife asked her husband to build her an arched arbor trellis. The husband replied that it would be in the way of the painters when they painted the house. When will we get the house painted she asked? We'll see he replied. Well 'we'll see' eventually happened this fall and with excuses run out, I designed an arched trellis on my CAD software, went to the store for materials and set to work.

The cutting out of parts went okay but as I have experienced in the past when cutting dimensional lumber with my band saw, not great. I had thought that my fine tooth blade meant for fine tightly radiuses cuts was the culprit and had bought a much wider rougher toothed blade. That is how I found out my band saw is just a weenie and woefully underpowered. So as happened the last time in a similar situation, I ended up cutting all the curved pieces with a jig saw. It took half a day just to do them.

With all the pieces cut, the actual construction went quickly and I soon had two side panel assemblies and a top arch assembled and ready to go. Not wanting to paint the thing in my garage over the course of a couple weeks, I decided to just paint the ends that went into the ground and paint the rest when it was standing. I borrowed my father's pair of jobbers of which I am intimately familiar with having spent many a hot summer afternoon digging fencepost holes with them. They were worn out and about 30 seconds into the first hole, we laying on the grass in several pieces. A trip to the local hardware store and $30 later, I had a new but inferior set of jobbers in which to finish the digging of four holes. I say they were inferior because they were the two handles kind instead of the split handles type. Those who have handled jobbers before will know what I'm talking about.

With holes some three plus feet deep dug, I lugged the side panel assemblies, some 200 pounds of wood each, and tipped them into the holes. I checked them with the level and yanked them out again. Three attempts later, I finally got them in the holes and level. Now for the tamping part. My dad always said that a good tamping job would mean that you could get all the dirt that you dug out of the hole back into the hole even with a four-by-four post occupying the better part of the space. I ended up with about 80% of a well-tamped hole. The rest went to fill in some holes in the lawn behind my house where trees used to fill.

Well I ended up being wrong. Instead of a couple weeks in my garage, it took me the better part of a month to get the arbor painted between all the rains. Little Abbey helped by keeping me company and trying to get into the paint every time I wasn't looking. Fortunately we ended up without any disasters in that area. As you can see, underneath it are some concrete pavers half buried under the grass and dirt left behind by a previous owner. Perhaps next spring if I am feeling ambitious, I will landscape the path from the arbor back around the house. Mrs. Abbey will also plant three more climbing roses around it to supplement the last one we were able to buy at the local nursery.


R. Sherman said...

Looks good.


The Real Mother Hen said...

Hhmm... is Mrs Abbey planning to rent your lawn out for some weddings which you are unaware of? If so, you need a Minister, and I can be the fake one, as long as I get to earn some extra $ :)

Murf said...

Impressive. That looks nice and sturdy compared to those premade ones you can buy. Now if only you would move that old car out of the driveway..... :-)

Beau said...

I would like to build one of those- yours is beautiful! The only one I've done in years past was a clunky 2x4 kind of thing...

Ed Abbey said...

R. Sherman - Thanks.

Mother Hen - I'll keep it in mind but I hope we don't need a minister for a long time.

Murf - I could hook my car up to it and pull my bumper off before it goes anywhere and for the same price as one that you buy in the store.

Beau - The main vertical posts are 4 x 4 treated. The curved main beams are 2 x 6 yellow pine with the ends cut off at 22.5 degrees and butted together to form half an octagon. I then traced a half circle and trimmed with my jigsaw. There are two thicknesses with the joints staggered laminated together with screws and glue to give the beam appearance. The rest, other than the corner braces is just pine ripped down to slats. The corner braces were also made from a 2 x 6. If you want to make one and have more specific questions, email me via the link in my sidebar and I'll be happy to answer them.

geri said...

Really nice. Arched arbor trellis are romantic. How much more with the climbing roses soon.