Garden Gate III #2: Here's a nod to David Marks

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Blog entry by newTim posted 11-30-2009 08:21 AM 5221 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: My First Commission Part 2 of Garden Gate III series Part 3: Plumbers »

In his great series of woodworking shows there was one thing David did over and over that got some gentle teasing around the web. Can you tell which photo depicts this?

Before I cut the mortises for the stiles and top/bottom rails I have to first make up the arch assembly. Through Sketchup I calculated that two boards cut on 12 degree angles would work. I’m still looking for a calculator, table, or formula that allows some what-if-ing of various dimensions to calculate various sized arched segments. Until then I’ll have to stick with Sketchup and experimenting with best fits (see Blog 1 in this series).

First I had to laminate some 2x stock which is really 1 1/2” with some 1x stock which is about 3/4” to make up some 2” thick boards. I cut the two pieces that make the arch segment a little oversize and clamped them together to mark the mortises. I used a 3/8” bit and set the distance from the guide fence using a 7/16” drill bit. I’ve learned the fastest and most accurate method is to cut the mortises then rip or resaw some stock then round the edges on the routher table to fit the mortise. I also use some chisels to clean out and smooth the walls of each mortise. Next will be the plumb cuts.

-- tim hill

3 comments so far

View lumberdog's profile


245 posts in 3291 days

#1 posted 11-30-2009 04:09 PM

I guess it would be making all the x marks. also your doing a great job on those joints.

-- Lumberdog.. Morley, Michigan

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3582 days

#2 posted 11-30-2009 04:14 PM

Ah, X-ing out the waste left-handed with his tattoo poking out from under his sleeve? Aren’t the angles for the facets just divisors of 90 degrees (i.e. 45, 22.5, 11.25, etc.)? If I’m ever a homeowner, gates are awesome projects. Same with front doors.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View newTim's profile


608 posts in 3630 days

#3 posted 11-30-2009 07:23 PM

You got it… yeah the little x’s in the mortises. I started putting an X in the mortise and just kept going, then thought about David Marks.

Cap Sully… the angles can be any degree between 0 and 90. The boards are glued together in the shape of a chevron. The question is how steep an angle is required so an arch of a given width can be cut using stock of a certain width. A tight radius, for example, requires wider boards on a steeper angle. A flatter curve would require thinner boards on a broader angle. There has to be a mathematical relationship that can be used to calculate these tradeoffs. I think once I’m able to articulate the problem the answer will appear.

-- tim hill

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