Make any climbing plant happy with this 6-ft. tall, free-standing trellis.
We used dadoes, glue and screws to fasten the slats because trellises
take a beating each year when you tear off the old vines. We built our
trellis from cypress, one of the longest-lasting outdoor woods. Ours was
recycled from old water tanks and cost about $175 (see Sources,
page 98). White oak, at $60, would also be a good choice.
Marking the legs for the dadoes can be confusing, but if you follow our
marking procedures (Photos 1 through 4,
page 75), you can’t mess up. Even with our easy-to-make jigs, routing
68 dadoes is noisy, dusty and tedious (Fig.
B and Photo 5). But once they’re
done, the dadoes make assembly foolproof. There’s only one angle to remember:
Everything slopes 6 degrees.
You’ll need an angled template, made with the miter gauge on your tablesaw,
to make the dadoing jigs. You’ll also need a router with a straight bit
to cut the dadoes, and a drill with a slotted tip for all the screws.
We used a jointer and planer to mill our parts to thickness, but they
could also be ripped to size on a tablesaw. The slats are thin, so be
sure to use a push stick.
- Mill the legs (A) to thickness and cut them to length.
- Mark the leg dadoes (Photos 1 through 4).
The sides of the trellis are tapered, so the dadoes are angled.
- Cut an 84-degree angled template, about 10-in. long and at least 4-in.
wide. Use it to set the fence angle on the dadoing jigs (Fig.
- Dado the legs (Photo 5). One jig
will slope the right direction for the 3/16-in. deep dadoes on one side
of each leg. The mirror-image jig will be correct for the other side.
- Mill slat material to thickness and rip it into lengths, slightly
oversize in width. Then plane (or rip) the slats to fit the leg dadoes.
- Cut the bottom and top slats (B through E) for all four sides to length,
with a 6-degree bevel on both ends. You can cut the slats to length
in pairs because opposite sides of the trellis are the same.
- Frame the front and back faces of the trellis (Photo
6). Align the beveled ends of the slats with the edges of the
legs and drill pilot holes. Then drill out the holes in the slats so
the screws slip through. Apply glue and assemble.
- Cut the internal slats (F) to fit, and fasten them, following the
procedures in Steps 6 and 7.
- Stand the assembled front and back faces back-to-back in an "A," and
assemble the sides, following Steps 7 and 8.
- With a handsaw, square off the legs at the top of the trellis.
- Bandsaw the spire (Part G, Fig. C).
Lay out the pattern on two adjacent faces of a glued-up blank. Make
the blank a foot long to keep your fingers a safe distance from the
blade. After cutting the first two sides of the pyramid, tape the offcuts
back onto the blank. Rotate the blank 90 degrees and cut the other two
sides of the pyramid. Cut the second set of tapers the same way. After
sanding, cut the spire from the blank.
1: Optional Anchor Spikes
For windy conditions, you may want to anchor your trellis with aluminum
spikes on each leg. For longer life, soak the ends of the legs in
wood preservative or coat them with epoxy.
||Glue and screw retaining blocks (H) to the bottom of
the spire, then soak it in preservative.
|| Screw the optional anchor spikes (Fig. A, Detail
1) onto the legs.
this sequence guarantees a successful layout.
bottoms of the legs.
Bundle the legs together and mark the front and back faces as one
pair and the two side faces as the other.
first pair of faces.
The dadoes on the front and back faces match, so they can be marked
at the same time. Arrange the legs with the triangles at the top.
After aligning the ends, draw reference lines every 8 in. to mark
the dadoes. Then go back and mark the slope, which runs outward
from the center of each pair.