Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Pergola...

Is a fancy word for a grape arbour... and something I have wanted to build for a while - I just wasn't certain where, how, with what, and how big.

I have a whole mess of grapes growing on my back shed - the stump (which has been pruned back hard at least three times that I can tell) is roughly 7 inches across... and they are definitely well established.  When I bought my house I cut them back hard - as a matter of fact, I actually thought I had killed them. Nope.  The plant grew the first year... produced last year and is going to produce even more for me this year.  But it has taken over that area and I am going to have to replace the shed at some point (sooner rather than later) and it would have to come out.

A falling-down shed with a falling-down gutter
COVERED in grapes!

Up close and personal with the grape

Initially I thought I could sink a post, build an arbour for it in the back yard and still have it attached to the shed.  Since the shed has to be replaced, I decided that I can try to move it after harvest this year.

On to the plans for a pergola.  Last May Mum & Dad came up for a day and helped me build my wonderful deck.  It is completely free-standing so no permits were needed, and I was able to use some of the 2" x 6" lumber that was reclaimed from the house when the living room underwent its transformation (reduce, reuse, recycle, right?) as joists and frame material.  The decking is cedar.

A glorious deck!

I decided that a great use for the last eight of those 2" x 6" s would be to use them to make posts for a pergola.  this would require first cutting them to 8-foor lengthe and staining them.  So off I went...

Four of eight cut to eight foot lengths

The other four - first side stain coat

I wish I had taken pictures of the next stage!  Once I had them all stained and the stain had cured for a couple of days, i laminated them together.  This involved heavy duty adhesive and clamps.  They didn't have long to dry and cure in the glue stage because today my Mum & Dad came back up to help me and Dad and we mounted the posts into saddles, sank the saddle posts into holes that Dad drilled into the concrete pads (which we then also added more adhesive to) and then we cut and mounted the cedar cross pieces.

Saddle post & lag bolts - this puppy's not

Clamped for good measure while the glue dries

Lag screws holding the cedar cross-pieces in place

Look!  A Pergola Frame!

Side view of the Pergola Frame

The view from the fence in my back yard
It is officially too hot now to do anything further outside for today, but tomorrow I will go and buy caps for the post-tops to ensure that rain doesn't get into the post-tops... Once I have those installed, I will also need to stain the cedar.  The next stage will involve cutting the rest of the fir (there are 12 pieces left that measure anywhere between 5' 8" and 5'1" and I will cut them all to 5' exactly. 

The cross-pieces waiting for their turn

Once cut, they will all be stained and I will mount them on the top of the pergola using joist saddles.  They may not look terribly gorgeous with post saddles, but they will be secure and to be honest, once the grapes have grown up and around, the joist saddles will be hardly noticable!

So that was this weekend's major efforts.  I am now showered up, wearing the new maxi-dress my Mum made me and about to sit in my arm chair, put my feet up, have a cider and watch some Battlestar Galactica.

With love across the waters...

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