View Full Version : Completed Cedar Arbor(s)

Frank Snyder
05-20-2008, 9:03 AM
I had posted this thread a few weeks back during the design phase asking the best method to create an arch. I've since made two of these arbors and installed them both yesterday. They are monstrously large and heavy (6ft x 12ft and 200lbs. each).




Frank Snyder
05-20-2008, 9:06 AM
Given the limited availability of clear Cedar, I had to make a sectional arch and I reinforced each joint using SIPO 10mm x 50mm Mahogany Dominoes. Clamping the sections together with their 7.5 degree angles also proved a bit challenging, but the clamping elements on my MFT worked quite well.



Frank Snyder
05-20-2008, 9:08 AM
Once the arch was constructed, I cut the inside and outside radius on my bandsaw. I broke down and bought PC's hand held oscillating spindle sander to clean up the cuts (it was the perfect tool for this job given the size and weight of these arches).
I then wrapped the inside and outside radius with some clear Cedar (I was only able to track down 2 boards) to protect the glue joint and add additional strength. I resawed the clear Cedar to 1/8" flitches and then laminated them to the inside and outside of each arch using Joe Woodworker's vacuum bag and pump. The breather mesh worked great for this type of shape and the laminations were void-free. I used Titebond III for this process.


The rest of the structure used a combination of mortise & tenon joinery, lag screws and PL Polyurethane construction adhesive. The finish is one coat of Sikkens Cetol SRD.

I found that 12ft long 4x6 and 6x6 posts exceed the capacity of most of my equipment, which made it a little more challenging to work with, but I still had fun figuring out workarounds.

Dennis Lopeman
05-20-2008, 9:39 AM
WOW - That is really nice!! good job.

with cedar, are you concerned with pests or rotting?

Henk Marais
05-20-2008, 9:44 AM

Those look magic. You have put in a lot of effort. Was that for yourself or a customer?

Frank Snyder
05-20-2008, 9:46 AM
Dennis - Not concerned at all...Cedar actually grows in swamps so it is rot resistant, plus its oil repels most insects. The legs are also set 42" below grade in concrete. It should last 12-15 years I would estimate. If the homeowner recoats it with Sikkens one a year, it'll probably last a lot longer.

Henk - These were for a friend of mine. It was her design, not mine.

Thanks for the compliments.

Dennis Lopeman
05-20-2008, 10:05 AM
Thanks Frank - reason why I asked is that I just got a big 12" x 4" x 5foot block of cedar from a friend and I was thinking of making a bench for outside with it. I will have to find this Sikkens stuff!

pretty new to wood working, even though I've been collecting tools for years! It was easy to just buy tools, but hard to find time... Now I'm just forcing myself to find time in the evening after work.

Again good job. You are a good friend indeed to put that much time and effort into it.

Frank Snyder
05-20-2008, 10:18 AM
Cedar is ideal for exterior projects. Just make sure you let it dry out a bit before working with it. The rough sawn Cedar I used was saturated and I had to let it sit in my heated garage with a dehumidifier for a week before I could work with it.

Chris Padilla actually brought my attention to Sikkens Cetol SRD, as it is what Pacific Gate Works uses in their Cedar gates. It goes on like water (no viscosity) and soaks right in. The local Cedar dealer here by me also recommended this product as well. As it is an oil based product, the VOC's are pretty nasty, so wear a respirator if you use this product.

Good luck with your bench project and post pictures here when you're finished.

Jason Roehl
05-20-2008, 10:20 AM


I've used a LOT of their products in the past. They are oil-based, I don't miss using them (we would spray and back-brush 3 coats on new log homes). Considered good stuff, though.

John Thompson
05-20-2008, 12:54 PM
Very nice work, Frank. When I was young I wanted to be a simple timber-framer but by the time I was in position to take a serious job after the military.. they were not in much demand.

Excellent job...


Roy Wall
05-20-2008, 2:27 PM
Frank -

Great work......these are excellent! I remember when you started building your shop from scratch -- and how well it turned out......

Thanks for sharing - your talent shines through!

Frank Snyder
05-20-2008, 4:23 PM
John - There were times when I wished I had some timber framer tools during this project...oversized mortise chisels, 16" circular saw, etc... I'll stick with flat work for right now, but it was still amusing trying to figure out how to work with this size stock.

Roy - Thanks for the kind words. As you foretold, the heated floor in the workshop has made the coldest parts of Chicago's winter almost unnoticeable.

Jim Becker
05-20-2008, 4:39 PM
They are monsterously wonderfully made, too, Frank!! Wow. Nice job!

Richard M. Wolfe
05-20-2008, 11:54 PM
Very well done, Frank. That's the kind of thing I stand there looking at checking out the joinery while the owner thinks, "Is he gonna come in or not?"

Dewey Torres
05-21-2008, 9:00 AM
Very nice!