2018 - Volume #42, Issue #2, Page #40[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Sturdy Arches Made With Dovetail Joints
Winslow uses wood pieces 16 in. long plus the length of one dovetail to join them. If he wants an 8-ft. dia. arch, he finds the circumferance and divides by 16 to find out how many pieces are needed for a circle. He rounds that off to a full number, which is 18 for a half-circle, so he needs 9 pieces of wood. To find the angle he needs, Winslow divides 360 degrees by 18, which equals 20 degrees. Each piece is then cut at 10 degrees and joined.
A 10-ft. dia. arch needs 23 pieces, and he uses 11 pieces for that size cut at 8 degrees.
“A dovetail joint holds extremely well in all but one direction,” Winslow says. “With a hand-held router I can make them fast and very exact. I’ve also developed a system to make compound dovetails, which are loose to the final fit, but they’re even stronger than a single dovetail.”
Winslow can make arches from 2 by 4’s or 2 by 6’s cut to any length. Sometimes he’s even cut his own 2 by 6 blocks out of firewood. He uses mostly fir or pine on his arches, but says just about any wood will work. “I use an 8 degree dovetail bit because the small angle causes less chipping on the wood. The purlins are all made from 2 by 4’s and have 3-in. long dovetails.”
Over the years Winslow has built and sold close to a dozen arches for $500 to gardeners who used them for growing vines or to produce a walkway. He’s also made larger arches used for a greenhouse frame that’s covered with plastic.
“Now that I’m 83 years old I don’t have the energy to build them for others, but I will sell the plans to anyone who wants to build their own,” Winslow says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Charles Winslow, P.O. Box 15, Ashcroft, B.C. V0K 1A0 Canada (ph 250 453-2675; email@example.com).
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