Finding relatively cheap white cedar in 2″x8″ sizes is nearly impossible. Our fence panels and posts are all made of white cedar, which is much less expensive than western red cedar. And unfortunately, the only 2×8 cedar I could find was western red cedar. I debated other materials, but decided to stick with cedar so everything would weather at the same rate.

So before I go and cut my expensive cedar for the arbor, I decided to buy a 2×8 pine board to use as a visual test. Just for comparison, the western red cedar cost almost 20 times more than the pine. The picture below has the pine board up as a temporary arbor.

temporary arbor

Serena commented that it kind of looks like a Chinatown gate. Not exactly the homey look we were going for. But I assured her, that with the cross pieces, it will look better. So she approved, and off to work on the real cedar.

With a template printed out (from an AutoCAD sketch) and a jigsaw, I make easy work of the cedar. I do take my time as to not make a mistake. Also, clear tape on my cutout lines helps prevent ugly tear off. Then some sanding the edges, and then I work on making cutouts for where the cross pieces go.

working on arbor

After cutting the cross pieces on the table saw (all straight cuts), priming, and then painting. It’s all ready to be installed. After a few hours by myself, the arbor is installed. (The installation would have gone much faster if I had another set of hands and eyes to help, but alas).

finished arbor