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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to all and thank you for letting me join the Router Forums community.

I am in the process of making the wife an arbor for the backyard garden and have some questions, mostly looking for expert advice. The arbor is basically made using Qty four 4 X 4 post in a square pattern and the top arch is the part in question. The arch top will be made with Cedar 2 x 6's, and will be 3" thick (doubling up the 2 x 6's), I used a segment calculator, determined the length of each segment at roughly 21.5" and cut the 2 x 6's at 22.5 degrees (basically a half octagon). Arch will be big, basically 51" or so outside, to 44" inside (give or take a little).

My Router is a Craftsman 27683 12 amp 2HP (Chervon Mfg, thinking maybe a Chinese copy of a Bosch 1617).

I do have a router jig, Jasper Model 300. I know I could have made a jig. I am trying to simplify and take potential pitfalls out of the equation.

The router bit is a Whiteside #RU5150 Spiral Up Cut Bit - 1/2" SH X 1/2" CD X 1-1/2" CL

I literally have zero router experience even though I have a fair amount of woodworking experience, four years High School wood-shop using Shapers, Planers, Jointers, Cabinet Saws, Lathes, etc.

I have cut the 2 x 6's to keep the grain all oriented the same direction the best I can.

I plan on taking shallow passes, even though I have not determined what constitutes a shallow pass, maybe 1/8"?

Plan on keeping the feed rate slow, RPM's at ???? (Router has 10,000 - 25,000 as I recall).

Plan on clamping the work down to a solid table, working at about normal workbench height.

I have mocked up a doug fir 2 x 6 top to get some practice, beyond that I have no idea what I am doing.

My comments above are based on my research of do's and don'ts.



THANK YOU FOR ANY COMMENTS!
 

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Hello to all and thank you for letting me join the Router Forums community.

I am in the process of making the wife an arbor for the backyard garden and have some questions, mostly looking for expert advice. The arbor is basically made using Qty four 4 X 4 post in a square pattern and the top arch is the part in question. The arch top will be made with Cedar 2 x 6's, and will be 3" thick (doubling up the 2 x 6's), I used a segment calculator, determined the length of each segment at roughly 21.5" and cut the 2 x 6's at 22.5 degrees (basically a half octagon). Arch will be big, basically 51" or so outside, to 44" inside (give or take a little).

I literally have zero router experience even though I have a fair amount of woodworking experience, four years High School wood-shop using Shapers, Planers, Jointers, Cabinet Saws, Lathes, etc.
I have cut the 2 x 6's to keep the grain all oriented the same direction the best I can.
I plan on taking shallow passes, even though I have not determined what constitutes a shallow pass, maybe 1/8"?
Plan on keeping the feed rate slow, RPM's at ???? (Router has 10,000 - 25,000 as I recall).
Plan on clamping the work down to a solid table, working at about normal workbench height.

I have mocked up a doug fir 2 x 6 top to get some practice, beyond that I have no idea what I am doing.
My comments above are based on my research of do's and don'ts.

THANK YOU FOR ANY COMMENTS!
welcome to the the forums Robert...

''I literally have zero router experience''...
we can help w/ that...
head over to this link for some light reading... (splines are covered there)
for other than the splines, I believe a router isn't the best tool for this project...

your cedar, is it Western Red Cedar??? It should be...
If I interpret what you doing you are actually making a vaulted arbor w/ a solid ceiling/roof... Correct???



your wood is going to have seasonal movement like it was trying to move it's self next door unless you select it carefully..



your staves..
I would use a splined (if the arch is self supporting) birdsmouth joint easily done on the table saw w/ a dado blade...



cut the spline groves w/ a slot cutter...
use white oak for the splines...



got more questions??? ask away!!!!
 

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@ABear...

do you have a link to that calculator???
 

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If you have mocked up the arch using fir and have cut it, you now have a template you can use. Or draw one segment on a piece of hardboard and cut it out.

Myself, I would first cut each 2 x 6 segment into its arc shape with a band saw. Cut one in half and assemble them with an overlap joint, gluing and/or screwing them. Then finish with a belt sander.
 

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Robert welcome to the forum! That is a cool project. I have a couple of questions. How are you joining your segments? End to end grain glue ups are not very strong. I would probably dowel or loose tenon the joints. Are you going to glue up one full octagon, rout and then cut in half, or do 1/2 at a time? (this is just curiosity) Either way I would make a template and draw out the outer and inner circles, use a jig saw to cut close to the lines, within in a 1/16" then rout with your circle jig. Then with cedar or doug fir I would be comfortable with my depth of cut being 3/4". But shallower passes wouldn't be a bad thing either.
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum Robert.
 

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Welcoms to the Forum and that's a really nice project. You have 8 segments for the full circle, four for an arch. Cut the angles first, lay out the half circle, and I'd use a pencil through a stick, with a sharp point on the other end to draw the arch. I'm with Stick on using oak splines to join them, otherwise you could use lap joints, but that will be trickier to measure and cut. Splines with weather resistant glue are very strong.

When cutting the splines on the ends, make sure you put the face toward the fence on every piece so your grooves are aligned. I'd cut fairly deep and use splines that were 3-4 inches long

Personally, I'd use 2x6 red cedar if I could find it so the arch would be a little wider. Where the ends joined the vertical sides of the opening, I'd go with a bit wider wood. But I live in the desert and the weather extremes will be hard on whatever I used, so I tend to overbuild a little.

I would make the curved cuts on a band saw, or a good jig saw. I'd roundover the edges of the curved pieces a little. Not sure this is much of a router project unless you used a pattern. But even then I'd make the curved cut with a band or jig saw, and use the router to clean it up. Cut just outside the line 1/16th with the band or jig saw and clean it up later.

One other option for setting up the curve would be to buy some half inch MDF. Cut it to the width of the arch, then using a trammel (stick with pencil on the end, a nail on the other. The inside and outside radius will be the nail insertion point. Draw the arc. You could do this on a small sheet of mdf, or even directly on your precut 2x. Place a same thickness piece for the nail to ride on.

Just thinking this out a little. The simpler the method, the more likely it is to turn out well.
 

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I just recently made one of these for the front yard. Mine is not quite like the one in the drawings but it worked for us. It can be seen and how I did it on my UTUBE ( (Entry Arch) David Peterson, Take a look if you would like. I also made one like the one you have in the picture many years ago. AS shown, I cut out the curved pieces and off set them to double them up. To my knowledge, it is still standing, and that was over 25 years ago.

David

Note
AS Stick said, watch the grains of the cuts or it will crawl all over the place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
welcome to the the forums Robert...

''I literally have zero router experience''...
we can help w/ that...

for other than the splines, I believe a router isn't the best tool for this project...

your cedar, is it Western Red Cedar??? It should be...
If I interpret what you doing you are actually making a vaulted arbor w/ a solid ceiling/roof... Correct???


your wood is going to have seasonal movement like it was trying to move it's self next door unless you select it carefully..


your staves..
I would use a splined (if the arch is self supporting) birdsmouth joint easily done on the table saw w/ a dado blade...


cut the spline groves w/ a slot cutter...
use white oak for the splines...


got more questions??? ask away!!!!

Thank you Stick, lots of good reading at the link you provided!

I was not familiar with splines, looks like biscuits without the biscuit/biscuit cutter. Thank You!

Yes, the arbor picture you uploaded is pretty much exactly what I am building.

Yes, Western Red Cedar. I live in the PNW so WRC is plentiful and affordable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you have mocked up the arch using fir and have cut it, you now have a template you can use. Or draw one segment on a piece of hardboard and cut it out.

Myself, I would first cut each 2 x 6 segment into its arc shape with a band saw. Cut one in half and assemble them with an overlap joint, gluing and/or screwing them. Then finish with a belt sander.
Thank you for the ideas. I don't have a band saw. I am cutting the pieces with a miter saw and a fine finish blade so I am getting smooth cuts/joints. I do plan on glue (Titebond) and screws and overlapping. The arch is based on modifications of one I saw in Popular Mechanics.
 

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Welcome to the Router Forums Robert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Robert welcome to the forum! That is a cool project. I have a couple of questions. How are you joining your segments? End to end grain glue ups are not very strong. I would probably dowel or loose tenon the joints. Are you going to glue up one full octagon, rout and then cut in half, or do 1/2 at a time? (this is just curiosity) Either way I would make a template and draw out the outer and inner circles, use a jig saw to cut close to the lines, within in a 1/16" then rout with your circle jig. Then with cedar or doug fir I would be comfortable with my depth of cut being 3/4". But shallower passes wouldn't be a bad thing either.
Thank you Bob, I am still undecided on the exact approach but was thinking Kreg pocket screws on the surface where the joints meet, and glue. The pocket holes would be on the inside of each 1.5" thickness side. I do have a good jigsaw and was planning on trimming close before routing. Hope my comments make sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Welcoms to the Forum and that's a really nice project. You have 8 segments for the full circle, four for an arch. Cut the angles first, lay out the half circle, and I'd use a pencil through a stick, with a sharp point on the other end to draw the arch. I'm with Stick on using oak splines to join them, otherwise you could use lap joints, but that will be trickier to measure and cut. Splines with weather resistant glue are very strong.

When cutting the splines on the ends, make sure you put the face toward the fence on every piece so your grooves are aligned. I'd cut fairly deep and use splines that were 3-4 inches long

Personally, I'd use 2x6 red cedar if I could find it so the arch would be a little wider. Where the ends joined the vertical sides of the opening, I'd go with a bit wider wood. But I live in the desert and the weather extremes will be hard on whatever I used, so I tend to overbuild a little.

I would make the curved cuts on a band saw, or a good jig saw. I'd roundover the edges of the curved pieces a little. Not sure this is much of a router project unless you used a pattern. But even then I'd make the curved cut with a band or jig saw, and use the router to clean it up. Cut just outside the line 1/16th with the band or jig saw and clean it up later.

One other option for setting up the curve would be to buy some half inch MDF. Cut it to the width of the arch, then using a trammel (stick with pencil on the end, a nail on the other. The inside and outside radius will be the nail insertion point. Draw the arc. You could do this on a small sheet of mdf, or even directly on your precut 2x. Place a same thickness piece for the nail to ride on.

Just thinking this out a little. The simpler the method, the more likely it is to turn out well.
Thank you for the input. My goal is to keep this as non-complex as possible! I appreciate the good ideas!
 

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Welcome to the forum Robert!
Awesome that you are taking on such an ambitious project!
I wouldn't even know where to start besides to begin researching.

Be sure to show us a pic when it's finished. :)
 

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With a 1/2" bit you should be able to make at least 1/2' passes. That bit has a 1 1/2" cutting length if I remember right so you'll either have to cut from both sides or use a pattern or flush trim bit to finish by running the bearing on them against the portion the up cut bit did.

One way to rout that is to attach the router to a long strip of thin ply. You can then pin that to the sheet you'll have the segments on at the 51" and 44" distances. Basically the router and ply strip become a long pendulum. I would still jig saw most of the waste off first. That's always easier on bits and the router. Leave a 1/16" outside the lines.

As for speed with a half inch bit you want to go full speed. Feed rate is governed by the sound your router is making. If it seems to be laboring then slow down. I would also slow down at the knots. WRC lumber has notoriously hard knots that can be very hard on carbide bits.
 

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Welcome to RF, Robert...you will love it here...

Quite the ambitious project you have there and it sounds like you have an excellent handle on it.

With the advice you've been given you should have no problem executing.

Work slow and careful and the details will appear for you.

Ask away as you proceed...you sound like "think first, cut later" type...
 
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