Garden Arbor Construction, Part 8

Today, I worked inside on the arches while Liz was out in the brutal heat working in the yard. I definitely got the better end of the deal, because I went out a few times… and just 5 minutes in the sun, I felt totally drained. I don’t know how she kept out here, hour after hour.

Inside, I was tackling cutting up the four arches we need, for the top of the arbor. We had two 8′ 2×12 boards, which were really hefty. And a brand new jigsaw (a tool I’ve never used before).

It was a little tricky to discern how, exactly, to cut the curve for each arch piece. I ended up looking at the plans for a long while, and figured out the inner arc needed to be at the 2′ mark, an the outer arc needed to be at the 2′ 3.5″ mark.

My initial thought was to mark this all out on a piece of masonate, and to cut it with the jigsaw. Using the masonite as a template, I’d just trace this over the wood to get all four pieces.

What I ended up with was a super wavy curve. I made it slightly better, but it was really just way off. And the idea of tracing it would just perpetuate all the bad curves in my template.

So instead, I decided to just trace the arcs on the wood directly. And used the template as a way to determine the start/stops.

I ended up cutting the 2×12 in half. Then throwing a screw in one of the boards. Uusing a few filler pieces, I was able to draw the arches pretty cleanly.

The jigsaw I learned wants to go in a straight line. So what this means on curves that go to the left… the jigsaw tends to pull to the right. For the exterior arcs, I’d end up going proud pretty easily/quickly; for the interior arcs, I’d sometimes find myself slipping inside the lines.

Despite a light shining down on the blade, it was difficult to see just exactly where the blade was cutting. I’d pause a lot, blowing the debris out of the way, before proceeding. On more than one occasion, I’d blink and suddenly realize I’d slipped a full 1/8″ off, just like that.

All the arches cut! I definitely went proud on all the cuts, so this will likely require another pass with the jigsaw before we sand. My rule of thumb was to err on the side of being proud: we can always remove more material, but can’t add it.

To help with the curves she needed to create with the brick in the backyard, Liz put down a stake in the middle of the yard, and attached a length of string that would ensure a uniform arc.

This stake has been sitting in the yard for a while now. I’ve had to mow around it. I’ve had to water aroudn it. And finally, today… she pulled it out of the ground. A silly milestone, but one I was happy to document.

Garden Arbor Construction, Part 7
Garden Arbor Construction, Part 6, and Espalier Posts
Garden Arbor Construction, Part 5
Garden Arbor Construction, Part 4
Garden Arbor Construction, Part 3
Garden Arbor Construction, Part 2
Garden Arbor Construction, Part 1

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