07 April, 2012

Beginning to Look Like Something

Now, the various piles of metal that I've been collecting are beginning to look like I might be making something. It's a shade house for Dianna, so she can have a comfortable veggie garden to putter around in.

The photo below shows the start of the project. Placing flanges to ensure proper spacing. Of course, this entails drilling into the concrete and placing plastic anchors for the screws to hold the flanges securely in place.  Although, to be honest, they don't have to hold all that much. There's very little weight that each flange will have to deal with.
Placing the First Bits
About the same time as the flanges being placed, I wanted to find someone to curve some fence tubing so I could have a roof structure for the shade house. Lo and behold, I found a place, Vasco Doors and Windows. It turns out they actually have a manual tubing bender. You have to adjust it for the proper length and curve and all that math sort of stuff. But, they were able to give me the absolutely perfect formed tubing. Each piece is fourteen feet long and has a two-foot rise for the curve, making each piece twelve-foot six-inches long when finished. and They did a great job.
Curved Roof Sections Keep Appearing
The next part that I worked on was placing the vertical posts in place. These were cut from the length of tube that eventually formed the curved roof bit - before it was bent, of course. They're about four-foot six-inches long, to match the far side fence height.
Vertical Pieces Going Into Place
After that, I had to get some bar stock steel cut into six-inch lengths (I did that myself with my hacksaw) and then also find someone to bend them to as a loop covering the horizontal tubing piece over each vertical tube.
Horizontal Tubing Going Into Place
It turns out that Vasco, again, was the ideal choice to accomplish this mission. I gave them a drawing of the task and within a couple of hours had accomplished it. I had pre-drilled each piece in order that they could be bolted to the top of each vertical piece of tubing, four in all. I had to drill each vertical pipe piece to accept the bolt. It actually took a bit of grinding to get each piece to fit properly so that the horizontal tubing could pass through. If I'd been able to find proper sized top cap with loops, I wouldn't have had to do anything like that

 Now, I had to find some Gate Tees. In order to have something to helop describe what I needed, I dismantled one set of tees from my lumber rack that is on the back breezeway. I took that one with me to show (a picure's worth a thousand words, right?) as I was trying to find fourteen more just like it. The Tees on the left below, are the shapes that I really wanted, and that was my reference set. The ones to the right are what I finally found after three different stores.
Gate Tees, Left Correct, Right They'll Work
To be fair, Lano's Hardware did have the correct shaped tees, just the wrong size. I finally found these at National Hardware and bought fourteen of them.They'll work fine.

I had to come up with a way to incorporate the antenna pole into the framework since there was no way to avoid not doing so. I decided to just have the horizontal pieces meet at the vertical pole and bind them together with some of the same metal I used to hold the horizontal pieces. It'll work fine
Strapping Around Antenna Pole
I was now ready to put in the curved pieces. Up to this point, even though everything was bolted together, it still fit loose enough that there was a lot of wiggle room. As soon as we started putting in the curved pieces and tightened the bolts up on either side, you could just tell that rigidity was coming to the project - finally.
How The Curved Pieces Fit In
Dianna helped me insert and stabilize the first curved piece. She had to support it by standing on a ladder at the middle of the arch while I tightened up the bolts holding the tees at either end of the curved piece. The rigidity really comes from it being anchored to the fence on the left side. This is really a two-person job too. The curved piece is just too unstable until you can get it secured in the tees and get the bolts tightened up.
First Curved Piece Is In Place
Once we got a curved piece installed at both ends, the whole thing seemed to tighten up and it was clear just how much room there was going to be inside the shade house. It'll have about 8-foot of headroom at the center and about 5-foot at the sides. Should be adequate for just about everything Dianna will want to grow.
Curved Bit At Either End
Before we knocked off for the day I positioned the rest of the tees. We'll have seven curved pieces spanning the 25-foot length of the shade house. That should really stiffen things up.
All The Tees Are Ready
We had to quit for the day. It was just getting too hot and we were too sweaty to do much more. Besides, you just don't want to rush these things, do you? Besides, we needed something to do tomorrow.


  1. This is quite a project, Dave. And it is looking very professional, too. What is the short column of stones at the front end of the nascent shade garden?

  2. Hi Wilma,

    Thanks for the nice comment. The stone column is actually a column for the hand rail up the stairs. I have a few fotos I'll include shortly. They kinda got lost in the shuffle.

    Have a happy Easter.


  3. Neat... now I actually understand what you are building! I just turned 65 on the 4th so the brain cells are beginning to disappear in droves. But pictures still get through most of the time and it sure looks like you got 'er whipped.

    Want to see the mono line and how you plan to attach it -- with grommets?

    Good luck down there!


  4. Hi Julian,

    I'll shoot a pic of the mono line. I'm planning right now to just loop it using a sort of darning needle thing. That's the plan anyway. Denis, my neighbor across the street, did this for a small parking awning he put up and it seems to be holding up pretty well. Mono is designed to be UV resistant (so 'they' say) so, we'll see how it goes.



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