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Workbench Creations Blog

Workbench Creations

Workbench Creations is the place for conversation and discussion about do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. This DIY blog will feature projects completed by its owner as well as projects completed by other do-it-yourselfers. Workbench Creations is the place where DIYers can discuss ideas, learn about what others have done, and share their expertise.

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DIY Grape Arbor (Part 1)

Posted September 14, 2009 2:50 PM by U V

Well, it has been a busy summer. I built this grape arbor for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Then I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee last week. Now that I have some forced down-time, I put this series of blog entries together. Per my modus operandi, I over-engineered them, but they're built to last.

Pouring the Slab

The first thing to be done was to pour the slab. I had some 3-1/2 inch and 4 inch square tubing (1/4 inch walled) to use for most of my vertical posts. I also had some 5 inch, 1/4 inched walled round tubing for the rest of my main beams and the other two posts.

The arbor was to be 30' x 10'. The slab was figured for 30' by 12' and the arbor made 29' x 10'. The front posts are 8' tall from the slab. The back follows the roof line minus 2''. So, approximately 9', 11', 10', 8' tall from the slab. The verticals were placed on 10' centers with the two centers of the long sides vertical posts minus the 1'. Or 10' wide and 10' + 9' + 10' long on centers front and back.

Post Pockets

The post pockets were made by cutting wedges off the four sides of 4" x 4" scraps and fitting the pieces in the top of square pyramid blocks used for post bases. The blocks were set 2" below slab grade. The slab has a 2" drop in grade from front to back.

I was not very happy with my finisher around the pockets. He was lazy in working the voids around the knock-outs for the pockets and form edges. He was well paid for the work and will not be used again.

The pockets were placed 6" from the sides and back and 18" from the front. They were positioned with a laser transit (yes, it was overkill; but also all I had to use for free).

The slab was 3 1/2" thick with fiber and 1/2" re-bar 3" in on the front and sides, doubled on the corners. We screeded the depth for the forms and water compacted the sandy soil the day before the pour. Then we wet down the ground to keep some moisture in the slab to slow the cure.

The finisher put the expansion joints at the 10' mark.

Putting Things Right

The concrete company shorted us on the pour, but when the manager saw the accuracy of the slab, he conceded it was short. He sent another truck a few weeks later to finish a short sidewalk made just for the purpose of a buffer for the quantity of mud. It was not cost-effective for the company to send a truck out to us and we told them so. We just asked them to make it right when they sent out another load to the area.

Part 2 of this series will run next week and describe erecting the structure.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank U V for contributing this blog series. Here's to a speedy recovery from your recent surgery, U V!

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Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

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Re: DIY Grape Arbor (Part 1)

09/17/2009 5:51 AM

Maybe it's just my warped imagination, but in that last pic, the house seems to be peering down to check out the new slab!
Mind it has a sort of approving look, so I guess it's ok.
(Hmmm, must lay off those hallucinogenics)

health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
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Hobbies - Model Rocketry - New Member

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Re: DIY Grape Arbor (Part 1)

09/17/2009 4:33 PM

Yeah but it was a little pissed when I scorched it welding the side beams 2 inch below the eves.

(Larrabee's Law) Half of everything you hear in a classroom is crap. Education is figuring out which half is which.
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