A Unique Bamboo and Gold Trellis
A hub is machined out of a block of scrap aluminum. Seven spokes will radiate from the hub, 27-degrees apart from each other. The spokes are made from 5-foot lengths of 1/2-inch EMT (electrical tubing.) These spokes will provide structural support so that no load is put on the bamboo.
1 1/2-inch diameter bamboo poles were purchased at a local garden center. The nodes inside of the bamboo were punched through using a long 1/4-inch diameter steel rod and cleared out enough to pass the 1/2-inch EMT. The bamboo was then treated by a 24-hour total submersion in a wood preservative.
The bamboo poles were placed inside of a 2-inch diameter ABS pipe filled with wood preservative. After this treatment most of the poles developed lengthwise cracks which is common for bamboo. Narrow copper strips were formed around the poles and soldered closed to keep the bamboo from splitting apart.
Three curved sections of copper pipe connect the spokes. These were made by bending 1/2-inch diameter copper plumbing pipe into 1.5-foot, 3-foot, and 4.5-foot radius 160-degree segments. Seven stepped holes were drilled through each pipe section to attach them to the spokes. Sheet metal screws attach the copper arcs to the EMT spokes. One side of each pipe was double gold leafed.
The copper pipes, the hub, and seven copper caps placed on the ends of the bamboo spokes were all primed with Rolco Burnish Sealer and double gilded using Rolco slow-set oil-based gold size and Monarch 23-karat patent gold leaf. While 'gold' paint could have been used nothing looks quite as stunning as the look of real gold, and any paint or varnish would begin to flake off in a couple years. Exterior gilding (i.e.: capitol domes) can be expected to last for decades. Only time will tell how my attempt holds up.
The EMT spokes are placed in the holes drilled in the gilded aluminum hub.
The bamboo is slid over the spokes and the gilded copper pipes are fastened to the EMT spokes with sheet metal screws that pass through holes pre-drilled in the bamboo.
Rear view of the hub. It is mounted to a doubled-up pair of 3-foot steel stakes previously driven into the ground. Five stainless steel 1/4-20 screws fasten the trellis hub to the stakes. Seven 1/4-20 stainless steel setscrews lock the EMT spokes into the hub.
This is the installation site. The trellis is in the upper left. The trellis will be home to a Distictis laxiflora: Vanilla Trumpet Vine. Wish it luck.
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