Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pond Bridge Replacement – Part 2

In this second installment of our bridge installation, I will pick up from where I left off in part 1. (While the bridge was out of the way I had reset some rocks that were supposed to line the edge of the pond that had been dislodged by critters over time. The prep work for the footings was complete and the support frame for the bridge was assembled and placed on its footings.)

Now it was time to assemble the rest of the bridge. While the frame was relatively easy to move on and off the footings, the completed bridge would have proved difficult due to its weight, so we put the rest of it together in place. First, we screwed down the planks. We had test fit them to the frame while it was inside so that we could place the first one with the proper overhang to allow for the same overhang on the other end once the last plank was screwed in place. The holes were predrilled at the factory through the planks and all but two screws, as we moved from one end of the bridge to the other, went in easily. One of the predrilled holes lined up with a knot in the frame. After predrilling that spot on the frame, the screw readily went in. However the second screw, that would not go in all of the way, seemed to strike a piece of metal buried in the frame. I was unable to drill this spot to accept a screw so I moved over and tried a new pilot hole. Luckily the problem that I had nearby was not persistent. With the planks in place, it was time to assemble the railings.

First we located the center posts in the center of the bridge. Then we attached the end posts such that the horizontal railings slipped into the inset of the posts and their predrilled holes lined up in the center of the posts. One “little” oops occurred as I got ready to place the last end post. While the bridge frame and planks just fit between large rocks on either side of the bridge, part of the posts sit on the outside of the frame and screw into it. It just happened that this last post was on top of a large piece of sandstone that kept it from sliding past the side of the frame. Luckily we have some large masonry bits and this sandstone boulder was somewhat soft so I was able to make a notch in the boulder, to accommodate the post, using my drill. Once this post was in place, we screwed in the rails.

The kit also included pieces of wood meant to go vertically between the frame and the bottom horizontal rail, evenly spaced along the bridge. As we were test fitting these decorative elements, we decided that they blocked more of the view and made the bridge feel more closed in than we wanted, so we left them off. The only thing remaining was to install the decorative elements at the top of each post.

Our completed bridge is very sturdy. I am glad that I spent the extra time on the prep work for the footings. It also was a great idea to assemble the remainder of the bridge in place once we had the frame placed properly on the footings. This is one heavy and solid bridge. I’m betting it lasts longer than the last one.

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