Saturday, 18 January 2014

Why Winter is a great time to get those garden projects on the workbench, a simple garden climber arch.

So it's been a few days since I last put anything in writing, I've been pretty busy with a couple of jobs. If you follow my Facebook page, you'll probably have seen the Victorian fireplace I did after the last post - more on this soon.

You may have even seen a couple of pictures showing the garden Arch I just completed.

A friend of mine asked me to renew one of these in her garden, She has a huge garden, with acres of grass and even more fields beyond, and as we walked through garden past all the stalks and stems still hiding from the weather and waiting for that, soon-to-arrive, spring morning before once again coming to life and spreading fast across the still dormant flower beds. It suddenly occurred to me that now is actually a pretty good time to get out into the garden and look at all the projects we'll want to think about once the spring comes...


Once the flowers start to come back, they'll be in the way, besides, once the weather improves we'll want to be planting up, not building planters. look at the timber projects now before they are covered in flowers before deciding on changing them.

So this was the project, to replace the old arch, that had rotten out at the bottom since it was put up early 20 years ago. i was asked to make it the same size and of similar construction, so setting to with a tape measure and pen. I made a few notes and off I went.


Working on the top section first, I worked out how wide i wanted the arc to be, i.e. the span + the overhang. and also how long it needed to be i.e. the width of the support legs.
this gave me the size of the top, plus all the over hangs i wanted, and could be marked out for joining together.


I decided to go with simple cross halving joints for the top, this was easy to do just trenching out the bits that needed to go with the mitre saw, and chiseling out the waste. the Waste was only butchered out with the chisel, using a hammer rather than any real finesse, even so the joints were tight, and neat once assembled.

The legs and the tops were marked and cut in the same way, just changing the depth of the trench, By marking out just one side, then clamping all together, the time taken to cut the trenches was reduced by about 4 times. Just remember though, when using the sliding saw to cut these trenches, the piece nearest the cut ends up with a curved cut so everything needs to be brought away from the saw fence to give a flat bottom to the cut line. You can either use a scrap piece for this, or as i did, another leg slightly offset. JUST MAKE SURE YOU CLAMP IT SO IT CUTS IN THE WASTE AREA THOUGH!! :-)


So this was the finished project. I cut the frames for the legs in the same way as the top, and then haunched the top of them to fit in around the top. A sill was then screwed onto the bottom of the legs to slow down the rotting process. This can then easily be changed at a later date if required.
The whole structure is then simply anchored to the ground with 2 angle irons hammered well into the soil, drilled, and screwed into the legs. once the rose bush come back to life in the spring, it will also be attached to that as well.

I decided to leave out the vertical noggins that were part of the original design, as the rose bush is now well established and not in need of  so many places to wind round.

All the timber used was pressure treated, and the cut and notched areas treated with the same  (Protim), chemical as used in the factory applied. Even the screws were treated so as not to react with the chemicals. I used "Fasten Master GaurdDog screws, as I had them to hand, but these are expensive!, so 'normal' Decking screws would have been OK too.

An enjoyable project, made easier in the winter months.
Overall (footprint) the dimensions are 7'High, 4'4" Wide, 2' deep. Plus a few inches of overhang for the top.