Trellises & Obelisks

How to make these garden structures from branches and copper pipe

Below is a ladder trellis made from tree branches.

Ladder Trellis

To begin, I cut the smaller branches to about 24" long and drilled holes for the panel nails in the cross pieces and into the two longer pieces. The panel nails fit perfectly without splitting the wood, although since it was still very green, it probably would not have split it anyway. I used 1" and 1-5/8" panel nails. Then I wrapped a piece of wire around the "joint" and finished it off with twine. It stands over 7' tall.

Copper Ladder Trellis

This project is for a copper ladder trellis. This will probably be my last copper one for a while because copper prices have more than doubled since I started making these.

Trellis JigThis trellis only took about 2 hours to make. The first thing I did was to make two measuring jigs. This particular trellis only called for two different lengths of 1/2" copper pipe. The jigs were easy to make with 1" x 2" scrap lumber cut to 11-1/4" and 5-1/4" lengths.

Pipe with Jig
To measure the pipe, simply lay the pipe in the jig and use a scratch awl to make a mark on the pipe so that you know where to cut. When the pipe is cut (using a pipe cutter is best), I set it back in the jig just to make sure I cut it correctly. It was amazingly accurate.Pipe with awl

Cutting Pipe
Cutting Pipe
Cleaning Pipe
Clean Pipe

As with all copper, you should clean the pipe and the connectors with a pipe cleaner or steel wool. This project originally called for 21 pieces of 11-1/4" pipe and 12 pieces of 5-1/4" pipe, but I had a little copper left so I made another tier.

All Cut Pipe

I will be gluing this project, rather than soldering and I will leave the pieces in the middle unglued so that I can make the corner any angle that I want when I install it.

This next project is a copper obelisk. I found a drawing of this design online and just winged it. I just started from the bottom and worked my way up. I used connectors that already contained the solder, so all I had to do was heat them up with the torch until the solder started to bubble out of the joint connection. Using heat does discolor the copper, but I thought this would be fine for outdoors, and give it a very organic look.

Copper Obelisk

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