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Friday, May 4, 2012

The Bridge Across Forever

Everyone should have someone they can trust with all their secrets.
Someone they can run to when everyone else lets them down.
Someone with good advice.
Someone with bail money.
I'm fortunate enough to have a best friend with all of those things,
AND a knack for construction.
He also has the ultimate outdoor space in the form of his house in upstate New York,
and that space needed a decorative, functional bridge near the 
lake he installed recently.
We are NOT going to show you how to build a lake.
But if you're in need of a very nice structure that will add to your landscape,
just follow the bouncing instructions below as we once again 
welcome my bestie, Michael, to Rehab.
Ok so we have a pond, a big pond, with a dam and a spillway. The spillway is 12ft wide, edge to edge and is made of a thick rubber liner with rock piled on top... not the best situation for crossing the damn on foot. So...... we just HAD to build a bridge. Personally, I had thought a simple straight bridge, no rail, would have been quite sufficient, but my father-in-law, the life-long old-school cabinet maker had other plans..... During the planning stages I called it the Rialto North....... you'll see.....

First things first... Get some lumber..... delivered.

Then move it any way you can...... and trust me..... this stuff is HEAVY

Next step is to create a level base for the structure on either side of the spillway. I used driveway material and patio blocks because the stuff compacts really well and the blocks are easy to level.

Two 2x12x12ft planks are temporary and will be used to stand on 
as we construct the bridge so we don't break any ankles 

The template is the heart and soul of the project. It is 10 ft long, exactly half the 
length of one curved joist which is cut from three sections of 2x12

Two 8 ft worktables spaced 3-4 ft apart allow us to put one whole joist together at a time

While Dad and Steve prep the joist sections, Kristen and I cut all the 
cross braces and mount the joist hangers on them for an easier install later

Steven uses a doweling jig for the pegs that will keep the joist sections lined up

Dad uses the router to cut a groove for the wood spline that 
will prevent side to side shift of upper and lower sections

Three joists, each made of three sections to make an arch when assembled

Here you see how the pegs and spline will help to line things up and keep them from shifting

Add to that some premium construction adhesive

Gotta clamp it, of course

...and add steel straps just for good measure, making sure they are between the places where the posts go. That's where the markings on the template come in handy ;-)

Here is our height jig for the cross braces in use. Two strips of wood, the top wide enough
 to span two joists, the bottom slightly shorter than the cross brace. Two screws that go in
 temporarily hold the cross brace hanging where it needs to go, freeing up hands to mount
 it without worrying if they're all lined up the same

The entire bridge, except for the decking, got built up at the house for two reasons. One, we had electricity there, and two, we wanted the install over running water to be as smooth and easy as possible.

The scale model vs the real deal.......
(A little photography prop to Michael's lovely wife, Carolyn.)

Time for youth to shine........
(Everyone should have Minions.)

........and shine

...and shine some more.
Young muscle is a godsend :-)

Since we had already built it once, the install on the dam was a breeze

See how easy that jig makes the install? As Dad always says....
 "There's nothing like a solid wooden hand"

See how the arch is three sections? Cool, huh ;-)

Last one, kids..... you can do it!!!

Each pair of posts is held in place with two 3/8" threaded rods that run 
the full width of the bridge, really tying everything together.

The crew takes a well-deserved 15 second break.......

Just a detail shot I think is totally awesome :-)

Rails are up.... we're ready for decking :-)

We spaced the posts to accommodate decking that would make life easy and prevent cut-outs.
 2x4s at the 4x4 posts and 2x6s in between.

The ends will be 2x10 to make for a solid first step

and there we have it, a crowning achievement to the dam!

Dang.... I bet I could rent this thing out for weddings :-)

He could too, right?
Aren't you dying to add this to your yard?
Even if it's just as a focal point with a river of blossoms trailing under it?
If we left any questions unanswered, let me know, and I'll get the specifics for you
before you hit the lumber department.

I need to make this...


Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Oh my! I love it and need one across my creek! That was a fascinating read!

Musings from Kim K. said...

Yes. Everyone needs their own lake and their own bridge. Very very cool. Awesome job. Awesome pics.

Heather{Our Life In a Click} said...

i was thinking the same thing about weddings. Gorgeous, picturesque, stunning! Job well done!

Deb said...

Beautiful! What a gorgeous place!

Michelle @ Dream Home DIY said...

Gorgeous! Simply stunning, and amazing craftsmanship :)

Florence said...

i love a good read,,,,,,,,,,,,and grt pics,,,,tks for sharing,,,,,