View Full Version : Welding wood

01-28-2005, 10:06 PM
Occasionally someone will talk me into doing some wood work. I know. You thought all I did was build gates and play with steel and stone.

Actually I think it must have been growing up on farms in Arizona. If it's got a grain to it I like playing with it.

What? you say? Steel doesn't have grain? You'd better go back to school. Steel has a grain, like a real fine wood.

This involved two pavilions, an arbor, and a little fencing.

This is one of the pavilions.

01-28-2005, 10:14 PM
I got to start off with rough cut cedar beams and find the shapes and finish we wanted. Not unlike picking up a stone and removing everything but it's personality.

01-28-2005, 10:18 PM
Here's the other pavilion. The fence is in the background. BTW these pictures were taken 2004 and the job was done in 2000-2001. It's survived.

01-28-2005, 10:21 PM
This picture is the front of the arbor. You can see the fence. And that panel on the right side of the post is a cabinet.

Yeah, I know. Sometimes a fence isn't satisfied being a fence wants to have a hidden side. :rolleyes:

01-28-2005, 10:31 PM
This is looking along the arbor. The joinery is a combination of hidden fasteners, (stainless) mortise-tenon, and Gorilla Glue. Everything was cut and fitted. Then it was stained with Penofin. After that it was assembled. I had one man working with me and we did all the wood and fence work.

Each picket was rabbeted on both sides and we used stainless ring shank nails. There is halogen lighting in the pavilions and the arbor with the wiring hidden and the lights recessed. We got lucky and the color of the fixtures blends them into the wood so they really aren't noticed until in use.

There are two cabinets. Each one is weather resistant with a one piece aluminum top and back. The shelving is aluminum too. The doors are stainless framework with pickets.

01-28-2005, 10:33 PM
If you look at the first beam carefully you'll see one of the recessed lights.

01-28-2005, 10:44 PM
This is another pavilion we built on the property. On this one I had a good friend who's an excellent carpenter lead me through it. We removed a pavilion that looked a lot like this one that was three feet per side smaller and a foot and a half shorter in height. It's redwood clearheart and hardi materials. I cried when the painters went after that clear heart redwood with paint.

mdb landscaping
01-29-2005, 06:33 PM
holy cow you do some awesome work :cool2:

01-30-2005, 09:12 PM
Thank you.

Every now and then you get a customer that appreciates what you do enough to have lots for you to do.

This job was very special. When we originally started I couldn't walk where all this is. It was a thicket buried behind a four hundred foot deep lot. It was literally impassable.

Here's a shot of it during construction with the masons working on the brickwork while we were working on the arbor.

01-30-2005, 09:16 PM
This is a shot of the detailing in the cuts of the pavilions

01-30-2005, 09:20 PM
Another shot of a pavilion in progress.

01-30-2005, 09:24 PM
Sometimes you have to buy special equipment just for the job. I needed something that would enable me to do compound mitre cuts through full four inch material.

This isn't your father's skillsaw from Sears.

02-01-2005, 06:20 PM
That is AWSOME work!!!

Only if I could do something like that!!!

How long did it take you to learn stuff like that?

If you were in this neighborhood you'd put all the other fencing co's out of business!

Great work. Looks amazing if you ask me!

matthew horner
02-01-2005, 06:40 PM
that pic with the saw is the funniest thing i've seen in years. I could write a horror flick about just that picture.

02-02-2005, 12:38 PM
that pic with the saw is the funniest thing i've seen in years. I could write a horror flick about just that picture.

As I've told my sons in law, "to know me is to love me."

Seriously if that makes you giggle. This will make you wet your pants.

02-02-2005, 12:42 PM
It's weathering well.

One of the things that's interesting about us as consumers is poor folks want things to look new and those other people appreciate it more if it appears aged. One man's rust is another's patina.

The fence is four years old with only the original Penofin stain.

This is when a fence is much more than just a fence.

02-02-2005, 12:44 PM
Kind of a Swiss Army Knife version, right?

02-02-2005, 12:49 PM
Keep in mind it's four years old and so some slack should be given for the condition.

It's relatively weather resistant. The top and back is one sheet of aluminum. The frame and the hinges of the doors are stainless as are the fasteners attaching the frame to the wood.

Yes, if you want to have hidden attachments you attach the frame to the wood and not the wood to the frame.

Think of it like hiding the wiring inside the handle bars on a chopper versus them being exposed on a factory bike.

Eric 1
02-02-2005, 01:06 PM
WOW! thats awsome. :cool2:

02-02-2005, 01:07 PM
This is the matching cabinet that's at the other end of the arbor. The other one has the stuff for the tennis court. This one has the stuff fort the driving range and putting green.

One of the things that made these cabinets so gratifying to design and fabricate was figuring out how to conceal all the electrical stuff like transformers etc and yet have them accessible.

There's a false bottom which gives the electricians access for maintenance.

Sometimes we take our own future into our own hands. These cabinets weren't part of the original design. The landscape architect had just fence panels. But I had to ask where the storage was going to be for the accessories. That led to the old "what would you do" followed by "how much?"

Our customers are us. They're not smarter nor are they less intelligent than us. And they will make the same kind of decisions we will under the same circumstances. It's up to us present the options available in a manner that we can appreciate from the buyer's perspective.

I get this kind of work because I believe in the customer. They are going to mature, want other things, and depend upon those who are competent and give good advice and charge accordingly.

Rant over.

02-02-2005, 01:21 PM
Excellent craftsmanship,you should be very proud of your skills..

02-22-2005, 07:45 PM
Every now and then we get invited to build a unique fence.

This one is from Massaranduba http://www.reale.com.br/massa.htm

It's a relative of Ipe if you've done some quality decking.

It's an ironwood. It don't float, sinks like a brick. Loves to eat saw blades, mess up your lungs with the dust, and is heck when a splinter gets into you.

But gawd, is it pretty.

Here's the backside, unlike some of our fairer species, the backside of the fence isn't as attractive as the front side.

02-22-2005, 08:19 PM
This is what it looks like from the front side.

02-22-2005, 08:21 PM
There are only four sections of fence in this area. Around the corner I'm doing a double drive gate with some wings out of the same stuff.

02-22-2005, 08:26 PM
What makes a job like this so much fun isn't just the cost of the materials. It's about all the labor.

Each pickets gets rabbeted top and bottom. This is done even though this stuff has zero shrinkage if there ever was any there won't be a gap for light to get through and spoil the look. Then it's cut to length. The holes for the fasteners are drilled and countersunk. The last thing is it's oiled.

So I get to handle each piece a bunch. And that's a lot of fun when it's of the quality of wood this is.

Here's some rabbeted boards with one that's been cut, drilled, countersunk, and freshly oiled.

02-25-2005, 09:14 PM
This is what it looks like after today.

I'll rabbet, cut to length, drill, countersink, and oil down seventy five or so pickets for the next two sections this weekend. Then I'll install on Monday.

It's not only good to have work. It's good to have good work.

03-01-2005, 07:19 AM
I've still got to mold some trim and install it. But here is the finished fence unfinished.

The wood part is ten feet high and approximately sixty feet. All I got paid for was the wood working parts, molding, sealing, and installation. But knowing the cost of the wood, what I was paid for my part, and estimating what the other entitys in the food chain get I'd guess this section for the wood alone was close to twenty thousand final price, for the wood alone, not the masonary and concrete work.

So when your customer has a cow over your fifty dollars a foot price for a wood fence imagine him having an elephant at three hundred per foot plus. :rolleyes:

Work like this is what makes installers happy.

03-01-2005, 09:34 AM
I really appreciate that you posted the pictures. Besides seeing quality work, it is nice to see an artist enjoying what he is doing. If you do not mind, I would like to post pics of a deck that I replaced from pressure treated to IPE. I will post when the snow clears from the deck. We just got a foot here last night.

Quick question. Since your environment is harsher than Connecticut's, what do you recommend applying to the wood after it has been vibratory plate sanded? It was suggested to me to use Cabot's Australian Timber Oil. I must admit that within several months the wood looks bare and starts to turn gray. This is something that my wife (the boss) does not care for. In advance, thank you.

03-01-2005, 09:46 AM
it's pictures like this that make me want to cry when i see home depot vinyl stockade fence.

fantastic work, harv. truly fantastic.

03-02-2005, 07:34 AM
I really appreciate that you posted the pictures. Besides seeing quality work, it is nice to see an artist enjoying what he is doing. If you do not mind, I would like to post pics of a deck that I replaced from pressure treated to IPE. I will post when the snow clears from the deck. We just got a foot here last night.

Quick question. Since your environment is harsher than Connecticut's, what do you recommend applying to the wood after it has been vibratory plate sanded? It was suggested to me to use Cabot's Australian Timber Oil. I must admit that within several months the wood looks bare and starts to turn gray. This is something that my wife (the boss) does not care for. In advance, thank you.

Mark I'd love to see your IPE deck pictures. As for the finishing, I'm not much help. With cedar I highly recommend Penofin. I've had great luck with it.

Since IPE and Massarandura are a teak like wood they don't absorb and seal like the softer woods do. So I suspect a good oil applied often is the secret to keeping it new looking.

I happen to like grey wood. It's a matter of understanding or empathy if you will on my part. I'm rather weathered and grey myself. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

03-26-2005, 07:47 AM
Here's a photo of the finished panel after all the trim was installed.

03-26-2005, 07:52 AM
We got really lucky on this one. Of course it's easy when the material is so much fun to work with.

03-29-2005, 02:09 PM
And of course, when the greenery is in everything looks a little more finished.

This is the finished fence. Short but tall, and very very very pricey. :rolleyes:

03-29-2005, 02:14 PM
Did I mention a set of gates?

03-29-2005, 02:22 PM
We got to make the gates and install the wood. Here's another shot of the finished product.

03-29-2005, 02:27 PM
When I said I got to make the gates, I wasn't kidding.

03-29-2005, 02:40 PM
I know some out there in cyberland are a little disappointed. They expected to see a beautiful shop with all this trick equipment along with umpteen laborers running around.

Not an outdoor simple gate table with plasma cut miters and a stick welder. Sometimes work is like being a good spouse. Tooling is only part of it. :rolleyes:

03-29-2005, 02:43 PM
There was some confusion at first for some people on why I had cane bolts (drop rods) on opposite sides of the gates.

03-29-2005, 02:44 PM
But then they'd really been confused if the cane bolts were on one side and they were on the other of a pair of solid gates!

Paradise Landscapes
04-19-2005, 07:49 AM
Really great work you do. I'm inspired! I was wondering on how long did that whole project take?

04-19-2005, 11:33 AM
That is awesome work, when I saw the picture of you and the saw my first thought was the Red Green show. I'm glad you didn't put all that together with grey tape. Beautiful work!!!

Aussie Topcat
04-19-2005, 04:53 PM
Real classy work you have done there stand tall!

So much pride, and dad's saw "wild"

04-19-2005, 07:36 PM
Really great work you do. I'm inspired! I was wondering on how long did that whole project take?

It was extremely labor intensive. More shop work than site work. Each board was rabbeted twice, drilled, countersunk, and then sealed-stained with teak oil.

I did have my son in law help me a couple of days but the bulk of it was done with me working by myself. I'd have to sit down and figure out the manhours. But I'm pretty confident I went in under budget.

And it was a ton of fun.

One of the interesting things about work is it isn't work when you're doing what you enjoy. That attitude is reflected in your work, your attitude towards the customer, and their opinion of you. Not appreciating what you do follows the same path. But without the same results.

BTW we're in the process discussing the adding of an attitional hundred and fifty feet of six and a half foot high, same stuff, done the same way.

Enthusiasm is contagious. :)

04-19-2005, 07:39 PM
I also like working with metal.

04-19-2005, 07:41 PM
And after some welding and a couple of trips to the powdercoater (I dropped it and scratched it while unloading, double doggone darn!)

10-06-2005, 10:00 PM
Working with stone is as much as working with wood or iron.

I'm on week thirteen of a project.

Here's what I started with.

10-06-2005, 10:02 PM
Same view today.

10-06-2005, 10:07 PM
If you click on my signature you can see a day by day description of the work.

Basically we've poured over two hundred cubic yards and installed thousands of Halite blocks with tons of glacier flats.

It isn't over, but it's getting close.

Each one of those boulders will appear to be floating when the pond reaches it's one point four million gallon capacity. They have fountains plumbed in them too.

07-02-2006, 08:51 PM
This is what the pond looked like when we had some rain earlier this year.

07-02-2006, 08:54 PM
This is what we call "the grotto". Client wanted to have an area that would be nice to have a cup of whatever in the mornings and enjoy the pond.

07-15-2006, 01:33 PM
I just spent the last hour going through all the pages of the pond builup. Very interesting and entertaining.
What happened to the rest of the buildup pics?

07-15-2006, 08:02 PM
WOW. I went to your webpage and took a look at some of the projects you've completed. That pond project was absolutely phenomenal. Holy Cow! You've got a real talent. Hopefully you will pass that on to the men you work with.

07-15-2006, 09:07 PM
The web page came about when a college instructor in San Diego asked what I'd call a web page if I had one. He suggested "Harvey's Gates" or something along that line. I told him I thought harveylacey.com would work best since i do so many more things than just gates.

That was three years ago.

My webmaster and myself became great friends. He passed away earlier this year after a long and determined battle with cancer. The last time he updated the website was in October I believe.

His widow has given me all the data and I've purchased all the programs he used to create and maintain the website. I just haven't ventured into doing it. Mostly because I'm imtimidated I guess. But also because it's his and I really don't want to change it.

I will get around to it. Hopefully sooner than later.

The pond project was a ton of fun. One of the more interesting aspects of the job was the client agreed to pay for all the equipment and labor that I didn't provide. I used day laborers from a local labor center.

A lot of people have complained about the quality of the workers available at labor centers. I've found them to be hard working and a lot more knowledgeable than most people give them credit for being. I laid out the parameters of what I wanted done and then went on to what I was doing with occasional checking that they were doing what I wanted done. I am more concerned about the final product and it's quality. But I left which stone went where up to them and by the time we were closing down that phase of the job they were in charge and had ownership.

As for passing along what I do, I try to do that. I do a lot of posting on welding sites because that's my first love. And I do it from the perspective of a passion for welding.

Here's a picture of the pond's big deck out over the water. I was asked how strong I thought it was. So I drove my wife's Bravada out on it for a test.

07-15-2006, 09:09 PM
Here's a better shot of the deck, the grotto, the floating fountain, and the scope of the pond.

07-15-2006, 09:15 PM
Here's a finished look with some water in the pond.

07-15-2006, 09:21 PM
Compare that to what I faced in the beginning.

07-15-2006, 09:28 PM
We did a ton or two of work. This was in the beginning.

07-15-2006, 10:46 PM
See Harv... Thats what I'm talking about. Thoses few last pics show so much after all that hard work. It would be nice to see the website finished, but I guess it's not in the cards right now. I personally wish I was more like you, with the most positive additude ever(Life is good). Good look in your future projects.

08-31-2006, 09:12 PM
Five and a half years ago I built and installed two thirty six foot double drive gates at a subdivision entryway. That's four leafs or gates eighteen feet wide with operators, I didn't do the operators.

What made the job special was the subdivision wanted cedar beam gates.

Well, they're adding an entrance a mile down down the road and they want two more pair of gates. And since we've had such good luck with the original ones we got the job for the new ones.

The way it worked was a subcontractor dug my post holes (eighteen inch by eight feet) for the gate posts. We set the posts,(six inch schedule forty galvanized pipe twelve feet long )his crew and myself. Then they built their rock columns and wall with the hinge brackets I'd welded up sticking out for my gates.

When they were done I made my measurements and then built the steel frames. Yesterday we hung the gate frames and started laying out the cedar, me and son in law. Today I started putting the cedar on the gate frames.

This is an end look from the hinge side.

08-31-2006, 09:15 PM
Here's the ripping station.

I know. And I have a table saw too. But for this kind of work I've found the old DeWalt worm drive and some wood clamps and do a fine job and in fact, it's easier for a one man operation.

08-31-2006, 09:21 PM
I'm using all stainless screws, wood to wood and wood to steel. They cost about ten times what conventional ones to but worth it the first time you go by and there aren't any tears because the cedar insulted the galvanized screws.

08-31-2006, 09:24 PM
Don't say anything about the men in the shade. This picture was taken about five in the afternoon. It was a hot day, no breeze. The last thing they got to do was expose some sprinkler lines for another subcontractor on the job.

I thought I was tired until I watched them while I was cleaning up.

These gates are about eleven feet each leaf. And I do like working with the wood over the steel. You get the best of both worlds.

09-05-2006, 07:43 AM
I feel almost like a finish carpenter after this one.

There was a lot of fitting to do and one problem I've learned with wood is it's a lot harder than working with steel when you're fitting up.

12-23-2007, 11:11 PM
Pull this back up for the inspirational value. I got some enjoymant out of at 2 years ago.

01-08-2008, 03:56 PM
Thats some great work - Its great to see some quality construction.