With the railings all welded up it was time to focus on the planter boxes. Here’s the scoop, the wife has 3 planter boxes that need to be hung on 3 of the railing sections. At first I was going to weld some decorative brackets onto 3 of the railings but then plans changed. First of all the boxes that have been chosen are plastic and not of the highest quality, in other words, I do not think they have a very high life expectancy. As I am writing this I am unsure why I didn’t plan on just fabricating the planter boxes myself from scratch. Oh well…the boxes have been purchased and the plants have been planted. Anyways back to the point. I don’t want to commit to a specific size planter box just in case the boxes change in the future and are a different dimension or maybe one year the plants don’t get planted. The second thing is that it was requested that the holders be as inconspicuous as possible, I said I would try. So the new plan is this; make the box holders removable. My plan does not include some kind of hook system where the holders just hang of the railings. The holders are going to get bolted on so they sit solid and hang straight. With the holders removable I can always weld up different ones should different size boxes ever need to be accommodated.
To be able to bolt the holders on I wanted to come up with a system that was strong but also would not interrupt the lines of the railings. I chose to spin some steel spacers on the lathe. The spacers would get welded to the underside of the top railing horizontal member and allow bolts to pass through them in order to secure the holders. I hate the look of standard cap screw hardware. I was going to use socket head bolts for fasteners but instead switched to carriage bolts at the last minute. The 5/16” carriage bolt heads all got their head diameters cut down to .600” to match the diameters of the spacers. The “squares” that sit under the bolt heads also got trimmed off to allow the bolt heads to sit flush against the spacers.
The main support brackets were built form left over 1.250” x .250” flat bar. Their lengths were all cut a bit long and then they all received a 90 degree bent. Getting the flat bar glowing red using an oxygen acetylene torch helped bend the .250” thickness like butter. The final lengths could now be determined and they were trimmed to size using the plasma that way I could give the edge a nice radius. I tool that I had purchased awhile back was a 1” x 30” belt/disc sander. It always takes time for me to start to incorporate the new equipment into the building routine. This guy had been sitting on the shelf for awhile however I have recently stated to use him. I think it may become my new favourite tool. The sander is great for cleaning up edges let over from cuts and always does a nice job of cleaning of radius cuts. With the brackets trimmed and bent the holes got marked and drilled.
The rest of the hanger is going to get finished with some 3/8” cold rolled round bar. I have about 90% of the vision of what the finished job should look like. The other 10% will get done on the fly. Using the Hossfeld clone bender I was able to bend some visually pleasing angles into the bar to allow for a simple yet effective planter box holder.
I think overall the holders worked out well. They look good, they are strong, they are removable, and they are simple. Other then having to lay down a few more welds and drill a few holes the railings are just about ready for the powder coaters. This is where the greatest stumbling block will need to be dealt with. At this point in time the wife and I are in the middle of a disagreement regarding color. She wants grey, I want a textured flat black. I think the gazebo already has too much grey on it and I think the black will give it some subtle contrast, plus it will match the fence. She thinks that because the roof is cedar, the gazebo is grey, and the furniture is brown that by making the railings black it would be introducing too many colors. 99% of the time I let her make the color call on everything because I know she is better at choosing them then I am but…I am really unsure about this one. Thoughts?