Fence arbor

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Project by Scoop posted 2413 days ago 2186 views 5 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This arbor for our back fence turned out to be quite the challenge. I only have a 6” jointer so truing the rough timbers involved quite a bit of time and some heavy lifting. Even with infeed and outfeed support, working with such large pieces by myself was tricky.

It was my first experience with open mortise and tenon joints, which I used both to join the wood that forms the arched pieces and to join the cedar with the treated lumber that is in the ground. I learned a great deal about working with chisels and block planes (and about sharpening them) with this project. I now understand just how important it is to keep your hand tools sharp.

I made a mistake that cost me quite a bit of time. I decided to use treated lumber for the underground portion of the posts after I had already glued the posts and the lintel together. So I ended up working on the open mortise and tenon joints with the mortise horizontal instead of vertical and with the entire arbor on supports. I think that added quite a bit of time. And since I didn’t have any really wide chisels, I had to take a lot of time to get a smooth, tight-fitting joint. Still, I’m pleased with how the joints and the pegs turned out.

I am now working on the gates that go in the opening. Again, I tackled more than I realized, because the top of the gates are curved to mirror the arch on the arbor, and the gates are of different widths. I’ve had lots of hand work to cut the mortises and tenons, though I am using a tenoning jig on the table saw for rough cuts.

8 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 2670 days

#1 posted 2413 days ago

You did a great job on this. I really like the size!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 2622 days

#2 posted 2413 days ago

Very nice!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 2508 days

#3 posted 2413 days ago

Quite the mortise and tenon. It sure looks tight.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12927 posts in 2616 days

#4 posted 2413 days ago

beautiful work. terrific design and style.

great posting. well written and easy to read.

welcome to lumberjocks !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Marge's profile


145 posts in 2587 days

#5 posted 2413 days ago

Looks like quite the task – very nice

-- Marge, Colorado

View gizmodyne's profile


1763 posts in 2723 days

#6 posted 2413 days ago

Very nice Arbor.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2794 days

#7 posted 2412 days ago

it’s beautiful
and the pictures—really highlight it beautifully.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Napaman's profile


5338 posts in 2710 days

#8 posted 2412 days ago

great job!!! that sounds very hard—-working with such huge pieces…turned out great…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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