Introduction: GRAPE GAP
About four years ago I made this Arbor / Trellis for my wife.
Who was not keen on the idea but let me do it because it could be removed. All she wanted was to buy a junk store trellis.
I added a step about the Red Wood Fence..
There are some neat details including a whirligig wind vane that was just wasting away standing around on top of a wood post.
Now we_are_living_off_the_land and my wife likes the Arbor, our grand kids understand the meaning of "low hanging fruit" and when you browse through the pictures you can see the grape vine enjoys living on the trellis.
Step 1: Tools You Will Need
- You do Not need a fancy contractor's ReBAR bending / cutting tool which makes the effort a bit easier..
- A metal hacksaw and a vice will do just fine.
- You need a welder of any kind that can handle 5/8" Rebar
- A Heavy gauge power cord for your welder and drill..
- A 3/4" wood bit, and a 5/8" wood bit with a 1/2" hand drill..
- And an adjustable boat whisker or any pole to keep the cross members from sagging while you weld gussets and the 45' cross pieces.
- Some clamps or locking pliers to hold things in position for welding..
- And definitely a step ladder like the pictures with a shelf to hold hand tools.
- Construction Bubble Level or an iPhone app and a tape measure.
- Finally a rope twine and a nail to outline the half round Top 1/2" rebar arc..
Step 2: MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED
- A well constructed wood fence 10 foot segment with good summer sun exposure..
- ONE_ 10 foot length of 5/8" rebar.
- ONE_ 20 foot length of 1/2" rebar.
- NINE_ 10 foot lengths of 3/8" rebar.
- THREE_Rust-Oleum brown, black or green outdoor colors to protect your weld joints [see picture].
- Four_ A+B Epoxy slow setting, dark colored mixers. Remember your bonding metal and wood outside so waterproof is mandatory [see picture]..
- One_ 8'x8' tarp or some old sheet rock to protect plants from welding UV damage..
Step 3: GET READY
First pick a nice sunny fence location. My wife picked this great location by previously planting the grape vine.
Gather your materials.. Surprisingly I had everything on hand !
I did have to improvise a 220 VAC extension cord to run the welder, using a partial box of #12 gauge 3wire Romex.
Mark the position of your soon to be holes nine feet apart placing a can or nail at each point. Then step back and
visualize a green grape leaf wall ten feet rounded high and ten feet wide blocking view in spring, summer and fall with a die down visibility in winter.. How does it look ? Good spot ? YES !
If you have a predominant wind direction, drill the 3/4" through hole on the windy side. Use a broom handle level to mark the position of the bottom hole. Drill a hole just one inch deep as the plans show.
Now set up your step ladder go ahead and go ahead and temporarily insert the ten foot 5/8" rod. While we have the ladder set up mark a seven foot high with masking tape and spray with some paint. We will cut it later.
Again step back and visualize a green grape leaf wall ten feet high. Still happy with your arbor position drill the smaller hole and temporarily putting a 3/8" rod in the second hole.
Step 4: BEND THE 1/2" ARC and 5/8" ROD TIP
BENDING Soft Iron ; Is Easy ! 1/2" rebar can be bent by hand is but gloves and an adult helper is important.
- PREPARATION ; You should find a flat area that lets you lay out the rods on the ground like Ellipse drawing above. If you have a whirligig now is the time to adjust the arc to fit your moving art.
- Lift The 5/8" Rod; Out of the fence for this procedure and Lay it down as the drawing directs.
- Do not bend ; the 3" end of the rod or
- Do not cut; the rod until later.
- Mark the Arc; on the ground with chalk, spray paint or a rope and measure the actual arc length.
- BEND ARC ; Lay the 1/2" rebar with the length at the bend point.. I used two pipe wrenches to begin the first bend. Then use one pipe-wrench and the rod end as leverage. When you reach the end use the pipe wrench and a 3/4" iron pipe as leverage.
- BEND 5/8" ROD TIP ; About 3 inches, use a vice and hammer or pipe-wrenches to bend it to line up with the arc for easy welding into a single smooth arc.
- LAY THE 4 CROSS PIECES ; Across Just to preview the whole arbor while still on the ground.
Step 5: CUT THE VERTICAL RODS, PLACE THEM and WELD
By now you have determined how high to cut the two vertical rods.
MEASURE TWICE and CUT ONCE ; Easy to do with a hacksaw.
INSERT EACH ROD ; In the appropriate fence holed position.
- BRING these items to your fence ;
- The stepladder.
- The welder.
- The clamps.
- The extension power cord.
- The UV protection tarp for your plants
Weld the rods together by clamping them with several locking pliers and while this is not a welding tutorial. It is a good idea to tack them together in two or more places and clean the area with a wire brush..
Also a good idea to wait for a calm no-wind time of day. This will allow you to do a full weld without clamps and prevent scattering the benefits of a covering gas.
Step 6: WELD THE REST OF THE ARBOR
- Start welding the cross bars equidistant from each other.
- Do the hardest first, the top 3/8" crossbar. Clamp the rod in place. I used a carabiner and line to straight it.
- Weld both of the gussets. Straight gussets are just cut. Quarter round gussets weld easier & look better.
- Repeat the process with the two middle cross bars.
- Do the lowest bar, but do not place any gussets on this bottom bar.
Four 45' bars ;
- Now cut and bend the longer 45 degree outside 3/8" bars.
- Weld the 45 degree bars as _ per the second diagram & picture.
- Do the both top welds first then weld the side of the vertical rebar _ see the first picture.
- Weld the middle bars.
- Next bend a ten foot 3/8" bar at 90 degrees and loop it over the stiff center middle crossbar _ like in the picture.
- Mark the end points and cut them off.
- Clamp and weld the the inside bar in four places saving the peak for last.
Vertical bars ;
- Now take a 3/8" bar and make a 1/2" U bend to hook over the arc _ per third diagram
- Mark, bend and cut for the top crossbar.
- Clamp the arc below the U hook and weld the bend to the top crossbar then the U to arc
- Repeat the process with the other vertical bar.
Whirligig Slide ;
- Now measure the largest diameter of the whirligig shaft.
- Take a short length of the 3/8" rebar and bend a U that easily straddles that whirligig shaft _ see pictures.
- Then bend the ends 90 degrees so it can hang over the top crossbar and loosely hold the whirligig shaft.
- Find a short metal tube that slides over the whirligig shaft and and file or grind a 3/8" slot _ per second diagram.
- Clamp the Tube on 3d crossbar, Whirligig and the top U hold _ per third diagram.
- Tack weld the tube and U hold. Remove the whirligig and finish the welding.
- Slide the whirligig back in place
Clean up the welds and spray paint them. Only the epoxy left to do.
Step 7: EPOXY THE RODS TO PREVENT WATER ROTTING THE FENCE
Apply Tape ;
- To seal and keep the epoxy from leaking through the space between the rebar rod and wood hole.
- Mix the epoxy and squeeze it into the top space avoiding bubbles and rising to slightly higher then the wood.
- Put epoxy in the bottom wood holes also.
After the epoxy sets the Arbor is finished.
Step 8: REDWOOD FENCE
This project uses a strong Red-Wood fence with 4" by 4" posts set in concrete every ten feet..
It looks better today then four years ago...
Step 9: FOUR YEARS PASS
Time, Sun and water are necessary igrediants for the Grape Vine..
Step 10: PICKING COOL MORNING GRAPES
After Four years vine growth..
There is a great pleasure in Picking grapes in the morning while they are still cool..
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Thank you for reading this far :-)
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