Monday, March 07, 2011

Making Rustic Arbors

Monday, March 7, 2010

Already 6:15 here on the mountain and despite several attempts, I have been unable to find the courage to pull on the boots, plop on the wool hat and figure out how to get out the back door--or any door. 22.1° now and shortly after I told a friend there was no wind here, the wind started, slowly, but enough to begin competing with the snow that continues to fall from the sky. When I turned out the lights at 11 last night there wasn't much going on--maybe 2-3 inches of snow but this morning is a different world. Karl the Wonder Dog with his built-in barometer at 29.35 is snoring by the fire and shows no interest in joining me when I do get out the door. Courage please!

Most any flower show including the one that just ended in Essex yesterday includes an assortment of garden sheds and arbors. Gardeners seem to like arbors and some buy them and some build them. The one I have pictured was a typical New England orientation from cedar which is a good choice. It grays in color over time and always looks good with very limited care. Gail said the price was $600 or something close but I have seen them priced much more than this in other New England States.

If you have a little creativity and aren't afraid of tools, you can make arbors like this yourself. They are traditional mortise and tenon construction and Lee River and similar tool suppliers have tenon cutters for sale that will get you started.

The tenon cutters slide in an electric drill and away you go. I purchased a set of the smaller sizes from 1/4" to 5/8" or 3/4's--can't remember--- with plans to make lattices and gates and chairs. We don't have cedar on our property so I cut maple saplings and designed from there. The bigger cutter pictured just below here handles 5/8" and the stubby maple pieces below the cutter are about 1 1/4" in diameter. I found that shaping freshly cut wood worked best as long as you layed it flat to dry so it doesn't warp.

I suggest using forstner bits instead of regular drill bits to cut the holes and then I use Gorilla Glue although regular wood glue would be just as good. Pretty straightforward and easy to add detail such as curved branches, pieces of glass, or metal work. What do you think?

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where even the town plow hasn't showed yet. Kids and teachers have another snow day and I have another snow plow day. Quite a winter! Steer careful!

George Africa
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