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Curved Pergola Front, best method for...

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created the topic: Curved Pergola Front, best method for...

Curved Pergold Front.

I'm trying to come up with the best method and material to use to create a curved pergola front.

I'm only concerned with the curved front piece. The rest, columns, lintels, rafters, I will adapt or alter depending on the decision on the curved piece.


I've thought of several ways I might accomplish this, each has good points and bad, in my opinion. I'm hoping someone has done this enough to have come up with a preferred method, or perhaps come up with an idea I haven't thought of.

The project will be painted. There will probably be two arcs, front and back, as in the picture, unless the final method of choice dictates otherwise. I'd like the curved piece to be at least 6 inches tall. My design will be in front of the house but not attached, and the back will be square of course.

My ideas so far.

1. Since the length of the circumference of the arc is just under 16 feet (this from my cad program), I thought I might get a good clear piece of 3/4 inch cedar and resaw it into 2 thinner, more flexible pieces, bend and laminate with something like Gorilla Glue. I should probably run both resawed pieces through a planer so the finished lamination probably won't be much over 1/2 inch. I'd provide support for the laminated arcs with two horizontal pieces, top and bottom, cut to match the radius of the arc, possibly a housing dadoed into the top and bottom of the curved piece, creating a long curved box of sorts. I'd worry here about insects/animal/birds gaining access and making it a home, but still if it was sealed 100%, especially at the ends, it might work. I also thought of using green treated pine instead of the cedar.

2. Use the same gluing methods on thin cdx plywood, 1/4 – 1/2 inch. I think it would be more difficult to control the gluing operation, and the ends of each 8 foot section might be a problem. I probably could cover the seam with a verticle trim piece.

3. I thought of using two layers of 1x10 boards (probably green treated) layed horizontally, joints staggered, glued, to splice together the arc. This would result in a finished arc composed of wood 1.5 inches tall (thick) and perhaps 3 or 4 inches deep front to back. Make one for the top and one for the bottom then put together with short chunks, about 3 inches long, of 2 x 4. I could then wrap the front and back with something. I've seen a roll of vinyl coated aluminum in a building center that might work, and I've also seen vinyl boards that flex quite well.

4. I've thought of trying to use vinyl boards by themselves but I haven't seen anything that I'd want to trust with taking the weight of even those light rafters as shown in the picture without sagging over time.

Any ideas will be much appreciated.
Thanks, Tim Gaddo
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replied the topic: Re: Curved Pergola Front, best method for...

I know this probably sounded confusing. I wasn't able to post a picture directly to this site and I wasn't prepared to post a link. But I've done that now along with more details at

and would really appreciate it if anyone wants to take a look and give me any ideas you might have or tell me anything you think is wrong with the plan or how it might be improved.

Thanks much, Tim
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