Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn


Materials Needed

  • 2 solid wood doors
  • four 12" pieces of rebar
  • strip of pressure-treated 1' x 3' x 6' pine or cedar lumber
  • three 2' x 6' x 8' planks of pressure-treated pine or cedar
  • wood glue
  • finishing nails
  • 2 1/2" outdoor wood screws
  • cicular saw
  • hand saw
  • 1/2" drill bit
  • 1/8" drill bit
  • hammer or nail gun
  • pressure-treated crown molding
  • primer
  • exterior latex paint
  • paint brush
  • paint pan
  • paint roller handle
  • paint roller sleeve
  • damp cloth or sponge
  • measuring tape
  • notepad

Step 1: Select Proper Doors

In order to resist the elements, solid wooden doors need to be used for this project; however, the two doors can vary in heights and finishes as long as they have the same width. In order to ensure a level installation, both doors must stand at exactly the same height. Heights can be easily adjusted by using a measuring tape and a pencil to mark the doors to size, then cutting the doors to the exact same height with a circular saw.

Step 2: Cut Side Panels

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In order to make the arbor open and airy, cut openings into the tops of each of the doors. Doors with recessed panels simply require cutting around the inside edge of the paneling using a circular saw. When using solid wood doors without paneling, measure and mark the intended opening size with measuring tape and pencil, then cut with circular saw. Tip: Standard exterior entry doors are 36” wide. An excellent sized opening to consider, based on proper scale and proportion of two doors placed across from one another, is 24”, leaving approximately 6” of door on each side of the opening.



Step 3: Attach Decorative Ledge

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Measure and mark the opening of the newly cut door directly to the strip of 1’ x 3’ x 6’ lumber, allowing enough space for a 1” overhang on both sides to accommodate a decorative ledge.

Use a hand saw to cut the strip, then place it along the bottom of the door opening. Secure the ledge into place using wood glue, nails and a hammer.

For a more decorative look, add pressure-treated crown molding under ledge.



Step 4: Reinforce with Rebar

On the bottom of each door, add a 1/2” hole 6” deep and 4” from each side with a 1/2” drill bit. Next, hammer a 12” piece of rebar into each drilled hole.

Step 5: Determine Arbor Width

Determine exact distance for each of the two doors to be spaced properly apart using measuring tape, then jot down the dimensions. This will be the overall width of the arbor.

Step 6: Mark and Chisel

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On the 2' x 6' plank of pine or cedar, mark the width of the door span, adding one additional inch to each side to account for proper overhang. Cut a notch in the wood using a jigsaw, then use a wood chisel and hammer to remove the appropriate width necessary to accommodate the doors.

Step 7: Trace and Cut Template

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Create a quarter circle template by tracing a round edge onto two pieces of scrap pine or cedar boards, then cut the pattern onto the 2' x 6' plank.

Cut the pattern template into the 2' x 6' plank using the jigsaw.

Step 8: Attach the Arbor Tops

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Position the outside pieces of wood so that they are flush with the edge of each door. Tap the wood with the hammer to secure a snug fit, then attach with 2 1/2” outdoor wood screws using the drill.

Once the outside pieces are secured into place, measure for the center, and install the third board.

Step 9: Cut and Attach Corner Braces

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Create four corner braces from planks of 2' x 8' pine or cedar by cutting each plank at a 45 degree angle with the circular saw.

Pre-drill the braces with a 1/8” drill bit, then attach them using 2 1/2" wood screws.

Step 10: Paint, Dry and Enjoy

Wipe all surfaces of doors and arbor top with a damp cloth or sponge. Prime and paint the doors, decorative ledge and arbor top with exterior latex paint and paint brush or roller.

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