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The front bridge.

I’ve written a review of it here which explains in the roundabout fashion some of the adventures we had putting it together. What I fail to mention is that the 4star rating is for joe public. As far as I’m concerned, the challenges of putting it together would make it a six star!

Well, gee….they took it down! Phooey on them. Here it is anyway:
We bought this charming (6ft) bridge to cross our dry stream bed in our front yard…and for practice before building a 12′ bridge (from scratch) across our koi pond. We’re extremely happy with the results. (Slideshow follows)

I love assembling things, so that wasn’t a problem, however, this is not a project for the beginning carpenter to try blind. OTOH, with a little patience, a builder’s square, a drill and a good old rubber mallet, you s/b good to go, with the following caveats. (You folks who know what you’re doing will laugh at my terminology. I’m self-taught, OK? :D)

1) as many have pointed out, the predrilled holes to attach the center upright into the arched supports probably won’t align. No real problem: just widen them a bit to match the holes in the metal brace.

2) also pointed out: the rail sections are “sided.” One insert is straight for the center rail, the other at an angle for the end rails. I didn’t need to whittle anything, but a bit of bar soap rubbed onto the inserts and a rubber mallet helped a lot.

3) if the center rail support doesn’t align with the predrilled holes in the arch…Just tap the arch connection with your rubber mallet to increase or decrease the amount of arch as needed. It’s got a fair amount of play until the planks are on.

4) I painted mine prior to assembly with a couple good coats. Don’t know how much this affected the spacing on the planks, but they JUST fit. I was lucky. I happened to put the connecting planks (the ones that go between the rail supports) in exactly the right spot. (Sheer luck, I assure you.) Another tap of the rubber mallet and the final plank slipped right in. If I was assembling it knowing what I know now, I’d initially put only three of the five screws into those cross supports, just in case I had to move them.

5) If you want a nice smooth edge to the bridge planks, make certain the base arches are square before putting on the planks and check every couple of planks to make certain it hasn’t warped on you. Otherwise, you’ll either wander off the support arches or you’ll have to fudge the alignment of the plank ends. If the arches move out of square, just grab the rail on the short side and give a nice little whack with the rubber mallet to the end of the support arch on the long side.

As you can see from the pix, ours is a work in progress. The bridge isn’t leveled or naturalized yet, but we’re very pleased with how it’s coming together with our water feature and our wonderful swing which we also got from haymarket!

And, of course, a slideshow

12 comments to The front bridge.

  • OrionSlaveGirl

    Wow!!! :heart: Beautiful!

  • smartcat

    :heart: your bridges! This one looks like the big one’s little sister. ( Do you name your bridges? I name my kilns and other equipment so thought I would ask.) You and CJ have a very nice eye for design and placement.

    We are still finishing our pond with expectations of a real pump, filter and leaf catcher in the next few weeks. But I want/need a bridge!

    • Thank you! We do enjoy it and for something we kinda make up as we go along, it’s coming out amazingly well. I think, like a book, you start with a few givens then punt as new elements come in. I mean, some people plan it all first, but we sort of have to do elements as we find/can afford the pieces. I SO wish I had a ready source of the basalt rock I used in the back so I could actually finalize the paths and islands.

      Wheee! You’ll love it! Can’t wait for pix. We got this little gem from HayNeedle (egardenbridges.com) (I’ll give them a plug even if they did zap my review!) I believe it was rated for 300, maybe 400 lbs, so it’s not something to do a group tap dance on. Very reasonably priced even at it’s regular price (we got it on a bargain day) They have lots of nice styles.

      Don’t know what the rating of our big guy will be. This one has a center arch as well as the two side arches, the big guy (Sobriety Test…yes, they will have names!) is of better/heavier wood and the arch is continuous as opposed to spliced in the center, so the arches themselves are stronger. We’re using pretty good wood for the planks, so hope all will be well.

      Had a bit of a scare with Ysabel this AM (we’re really having way too much fun these days) but with a relatively clean bill of health from the vet, we might actually get the planking done after all…after we take a little nappy. :sleeping:

  • smartcat

    PS :happy: to see that you are feeling well enough to get out and do stuff. PLEASE take care of yourself and remember to rest on that beautiful swing seat and enjoy the fruits of your labors. :wub:

  • kokipy

    Everything looks great, especially the carpenters.

  • WOL

    Cool! Those look like irises on one side of the bridge — bearded irises are my favorite. That swing looks like it’s just made for something to vine over it. Roses? Jasmine? Talk about ambitious landscaping! But, when you do get it done, it will be killer!

    • That’s the idea. We’ve got some “everblooming” wisteria planted on either side, but so far, we haven’t had the greatest luck with wisteria. There’s a top that came with the swing, but we haven’t put it on yet this year. Been so windy. Eventually, (theoretically) the wisteria will take over that top. There’s a gorgeous wisteria down the road that’s been trained up as a tree. Has the most luscious twisted trunk…

  • kokipy

    Now, you had done all that before the Methodists helped with the yard, right? because I remember a picture of the little bridge in that slide show. I hope you will oblige with a slide show of the whole , once completed. These previews are most tantalizing.
    I can see that you have a wonderful yard for irises. We are a little too shaded and perhaps a little too wet for best effects, but the ones you sent me last fall were nevertheless spectacular and much appreciated. That could be a terrific continuing sideline for CC! I’d be a repeat customer for sure.

    • We had just the skeleton of the bridge done when the crew came. What they did was establish that edge between us and our neighbors (which was something I was dreading) move lots of rock and weed and weedcloth and haul the micro-basalt to the paths. Oh…and they got the red lava rock down around the corner.

      Iris really seem to love it here. They do seem to like as much sun as you’ll give them. We’re going to pull most of them out of the back and to the edge of the “streambed” in the front. We’ll see about the side business! 😀

  • xheralt

    So, you’ve attacked this bridge project with mallets aforethought…? :angel: :silly: :ducks:

  • kokipy

    Boy, lining the streambed with the irises would be magnificent. Are any of them the reblooming kind? the only thing wrong with irises is they are only in flower for a little while……

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