Bent Wood Arbor

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Project by David posted 03-24-2008 11:18 PM 2537 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Nine layers of 3/4” x 6” wide boards; bent and glued with waterproof glue. Band sawed to form smaller radius on lower edge. Then do it all over again for a second one. I glued on a layer each day as it took quite a bit of force to do more than one and it was like wrestling a snake!

It’s held together with only the glue. No nails or screws. The glue was polyurethane so it got a bit expensive but it’s good! stuff. Of course the cross pieces on the top are screwed on and the framework all screwed together. I faced the 4 pressure treated 4×4 posts with cedar fence material. It’s been out in the winter 3 years now and no indication of any delaminating. I’ll take some more photos and somewhere I have pics of the bending operation if I can find them. I drew it on Autocad (I taught Autocad) but had to manually draw a pattern for the arch. Had to swing a long compass on the floor; put some butcher paper on a sheet of plywood and drew it all out. I bent the lams around a piece of 2 by cut to the curve I wanted. I didn’t compensate for spring back as the results only needed to look good. Just kept adding layers until I had enough then ran it thru the planer ( steering it as it feed thru due to the curve ). I have a 16” Grizzley Bandsaw so cutting the curve was easy but the end pattern was a bear as it took 2 of us: one to steer at the blade and the other on the outboard end walking around according to directions given. The cut was a little rough and needed some clean up work. Belt sander did wonders.

I finally found the photos of the glue up. I started with a 2X12 that had the curve cut in the edge. Not very wide to start bending around but it worked. It is a true arc made with a very long stick for a compass. The radius was something like 7 or 8 feet. I designed it in autocadd but still had to lay it out.

First day I bent only two and let them cure overnight. I used polyurethane glue. Each layer is a true 1 inch thick: not 3/4” or 1 1/2”. Every day I glued on a new layer and clamped it. When I finally got so thick that the hand screws wouldn’t reach, I layed it down and went to the bar clamps.

-- [email protected]

8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5274 days

#1 posted 03-25-2008 12:10 AM


Your description of the project does make it sound difficult. From the picture you did a good job on it.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6883 posts in 5432 days

#2 posted 03-25-2008 12:46 AM

Hi David;

Nice job on the arbor. My wife’s been asking me for one of those for a long time.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View jcees's profile


1079 posts in 5251 days

#3 posted 03-25-2008 02:54 AM

Some closeups or progress photos would be cool in the future. Nice job. Classic design. Did you use any other fastening device other than glue on the lamination? Did you get much springback? How long has it been in service?


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View rikkor's profile


11294 posts in 5327 days

#4 posted 03-25-2008 10:35 AM

I would like to see a more detailed shot of the lamination, too.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5440 days

#5 posted 03-26-2008 02:29 AM

Looks like a perfect setting for it.

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

View David's profile


220 posts in 5167 days

#6 posted 08-18-2009 11:14 PM

Here’s a couple of shots of the glue up. They are all that I took

-- [email protected]

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5029 days

#7 posted 08-19-2009 01:33 AM

Super arbor looks great


View David's profile


220 posts in 5167 days

#8 posted 11-13-2017 05:02 PM

Update: summer of 2017. The cross pieces were attached with galvanized box nails and moisture wicked down into the arch at each point causing considerable rot pockets at all spots. There has been no sign of de lamination or failure of the Gorilla glue. I removed 2 of the lamination, replaced and attached New cross pieces with some marine goop that I had left over. New jury

-- [email protected]

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