Make any climbing plant happy with this 6-ft. tall, freestanding 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. 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), 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.
How to build it
1. Mill the legs (A) to thickness and cut them to length.
2. Mark the leg dadoes (photos below).The sides of the trellis are tapered, so the dadoes are angled.
3. 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 (below).
4. Dado the legs. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Frame the front and back faces of the trellis. 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.
8. Cut the internal slats (F) to fit, and fasten them, following the procedures in Steps 6 and 7.
9. Stand the assembled front and back faces back-to-back in an “A,” and assemble the sides, following Steps 7 and 8.
10. With a handsaw, square off the legs at the top of the trellis.
11. Bandsaw the spire (Part G). 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.
12. Glue and screw retaining blocks (H) to the bottom of the spire, then soak it in preservative. 13. Screw the optional anchor spikes onto the legs.
– 35 lin. ft. (five 7-ft. lengths) of 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 stock
– 8 bd. ft. of 4/4 stock
– 68 #10 x 1-1/4-in. RH brass screws (for the slats)
– 4 #8 x 1-3/4-in. FH stainless steel screws (for the spire)
– 16 #10 x 1-in. FH stainless steel screws (for the optional aluminum spikes)
– 8 lin. ft. of 1-in. aluminum L-angle (optional).
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