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Build a Raspberry Trellis for the Garden

By July 25, 2019 No Comments

Build your own Raspberry Trellises from red cedar posts and 2×4’s. Complete animated build video that shows step-by-step how to make a support for your berry bushes. Grow berries on wood and galvanized wire supports. 

See the How to Video.

It’s an easy trellis design based on the popular raspberry trellis T post system.

Build the Raspberry Trellis

The Sketchup Model

The cedar fenceposts I had were 8 footers and I cut slots in them for the cross members.

Cedar Posts

Build Raspberry Trellises – Cedar Posts

The slots are 12 and 36 inches from the top.

Slot locations for cross members

Slot locations for cross members – Build Raspberry Trellises

The cross members that support the wires are made from cedar 2×4’s. And are 36 and 24 inches long.

Two cross members to support wires

Two cross members to support wires – Build Raspberry Trellises

The post is buried 2 feet in the ground.

The post is buried and concreted in place

The post is buried and concreted in place

On the back, I cut a groove 5 feet from the top for a brace.

A low brace gives extra support

A low brace gives extra support

It’s also made from a cedar 2×4 and will be buried.

On some sawhorses in the garden, I layout the cuts for the cross members.

Marking cedar 2x4's

Marking cedar 2×4’s

And cut those to length.

Marking cross member centers

Marking cross member centers

I mark the center of each and drill a hole for the carriage bolt that will secure it to the post.

Drill holes for carriage bolts

Drill holes for carriage bolts

I mark the two slot locations for the cross members.

Mark to posts for notches

Mark to posts for notches

A square 4×4 or a 6×6 would work for a post as well. I roughly square the upper cross member and mark lines for my saw cuts. I make the first two cuts into the post.

Mark cross member notch locations

Mark cross member notch locations

As the posts are round and irregular, I use a level to help guide the cuts so they are somewhat parallel. I have some wedges under the post to keep it from rolling around.

Make saw cuts

Make saw cuts -Build Raspberry Trellises

I used a pencil line marked on my saw as a depth gauge so my cuts were somewhat consistent.

Pencil line on saw sets the cut depth needed

Pencil line on saw sets the cut depth needed

I knock out the wood with mallet and chisel. I only made two saw cuts as this wood is soft and easy to remove.

Knocking out wood with mallet and chisel

Knocking out wood with mallet and chisel

Cleaning up slot with chisel

Cleaning up slot with chisel

I set the cross member in the slot and drill through the post.

Drilling through post for carriage bolt

Drilling through post for carriage bolt

And secure the cross member with a galvanized carriage bolt, washer, lock washer, and nut.

Washer, lock washer, nut on carriage bolt secures the cross member to the post

Washer, lock washer, nut on carriage bolt secures the cross member to the post

I’ll repeat that same process for the lower slot.

Marking the post for the brace slot on the other side

Marking the post for the brace slot on the other side

I roll the post over and mark the slot location for the brace. And make the saw cuts and chisel away.

The first two posts I cut the brace slot on the wrong side. Ah well… I’ll have to correct that.

Dang! Messed up a few notches. :o)

Dang! Messed up a few notches. :o)

I marked the post hole locations and cut through the sod with a shovel.

Cutting thru the sod with a shovel

Build Raspberry Trellises – Cutting thru the sod with a shovel

We are fortunate that below the sod we have about 24″ of silt that’s nearly rock free. Below that is a hard clay layer. So the holes can be dug fairly easily with a manual post hole auger.

Hand auger for the post holes

Hand auger for the post holes

With a shovel, I open up the bottom of the hole a bit and remove the last of the dirt by hand. The shallower hole for the brace is then dug with a shovel.

Lifting T post into the hole

Build Raspberry Trellises – Lifting T post into the hole

I set the post in the hole and check the fit of the brace.

Checking the fit of the low brace

Checking the fit of the low brace

Low brace in slot

Build Raspberry Trellises – Low brace in slot

I fill the space around the post with concrete, checking for plumb with a spirit level.

Concrete added to post hole

Concrete added to post hole

I then attach the brace to the post with screws and add some concrete to that hole as well.

Securing brace to post with screws

Securing brace to post with screws – Build Raspberry Trellises

And I’ll do the same for the other post.

Here’s the hardware I used.

Trellis building hardware I used

Trellis building hardware I used

A carriage bolt to hold the cross member to the post. And two eye bolts for the ends of the cross members on one post. To tension the wires on the other post I use these little wire vices.

Small (very cool) wire vises

Small (very cool) wire vises

For the 4″ eye bolts I drill into the ends of the two cross members of one post with a 5/16th bit.

Securing eye bolt to cross member

Securing eye bolt to cross member

And snug the nut with a flat washer and a lock washer.

Securing long eye bolt to bottom of post

Securing long eye bolt to bottom of post

An 8″ eye bolt will go through the post so, I used a longer bit. This one was 3/8’s. This lower wire will support the newly planted bushes and a watering line.

On the opposing post, I open up the 3/8’s hole to 7/16’s so the barrel of the wire vice will fit.

Wire vise in post

Wire vise in post

And I’ll use this 7/16’s bit for the wire vices on the ends of the cross members as well.

Wire vise being inserted into hole in trellis cross member

Build Raspberry Trellises – Wire vise being inserted into hole in trellis cross member

They can be held in place with some small screws.

Small screws hold wire vise to trellis cross member

Small screws hold wire vise to trellis cross member

Now it’s time to plant the raspberry bushes. So it’s just digging a lot of holes here.

Digging holes for raspberry bushes

Digging holes for raspberry bushes

We screened some well composted horse manure and Marilyn added that to the holes to give the bushes a better start.

My awesome wife adds composted horse manure to holes

My awesome wife adds composted horse manure to holes

We get a lot of afternoon wind, so the trellises should really help to support these bushes.

Marilyn planting raspberry bushes

Build Raspberry Trellises – Marilyn planting raspberry bushes

And are thoughts were that these rows will also help block the wind for some of the beds on the lee side.

Hand-made Spinning Jenny for trellis wire

Hand-made Spinning Jenny for trellis wire

A few weeks later I was ready to string the wires. I use 12.5 gauge galvanized wire, and I made my own spinning ninny to help wind it out.

Hand-made Spinning Jenny for trellis wire - plywood for wheels to run on

Build Raspberry Trellises – Hand-made Spinning Jenny for trellis wire – plywood for wheels to run on

The base is a tire rim with a pipe bolted to it. On that, I set some plywood.

Castor wheels on hand-made spinning jenny

Castor wheels on hand-made spinning jenny

I made the part that holds the roll and spins, from more plywood, 2×4’s, and castor wheels.

Roll of 12.5 gauge galvanized wire on spinning jenny

Roll of 12.5 gauge galvanized wire on spinning jenny

The wire is held in place with small blocks of wood mounted on threaded rod. You can buy a spinning ninny at most farm or fencing suppliers.

This heavy wire can be very unruly and dangerous if you’re not careful. I wouldn’t work with it unless I had a way to spell out and control the wire like this.

Pulling out wire from roll

Pulling out wire from roll

Starting from the wire vice end of the trellises, I pull out enough wire to take me to the lower eye bolt.

Tie wire to lower eye bolt

Tie wire to lower eye bolt

I tie that off then pull out the slack to cut the wire about 8″ past the post.

Wire fed thru post into back of wire vise

Wire fed thru post into back of wire vise

When I cut the wire with fencing pliers, I’m careful to always control each end as it can spring away. The end from the roll, I push into the ground to hold it in place. The other end I thread into the hole of the post and through the wire vice.

At least that was what I was planning. Something was blocking the wire vice and I though it might be a splinter of wood. So I had to remove the screws and pull out the vice to clear the hole. Turns out it was an earwig.

Pulling wire tight with fence pliers

Pulling wire tight with fence pliers

These wire vices only allow the wire to go one way. They have small jaws that grip the wire like a ratchet. To tighten the line I give it a tug with pliers. Later I’ll bend over the sharp ends of the wire and tuck them down.

Wire vise in post

Build Raspberry Trellises – Wire vise in post

I loop the wire through the eye of the bolt then cross it over and up through this loop.

Tying wire to eye bolt on cross member

Build Raspberry Trellises – Tying wire to eye bolt on cross member

This is stiff wire so it takes some struggling to tie it. I don’t make the neatest knots but they work.

Wire thru vise

Wire thru vise

Once through the loop, I wind the end tightly in the opposite direction a few turns. Then trim off the excess. I’ll go back later and wind that end in more.

Wire fed through hole in cross member into vise

Wire fed through hole in cross member into vise

There’s also some specialized tools available to make tying this heavy wire easier.

Now I’ll cut that, push the roll end of the wire into the ground to secure it, then feed the other end through the back of the wire vice.

Build Raspberry Trellises - Wire pulled taught in wire vise

Wire pulled taught in wire vise

Then I’ll repeat this for the rest of the wires.

Here’s another look at tying the wire to the eye bolt.

Tied trellis wire onto eye bolt

Tied trellis wire onto eye bolt

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If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading

See also:  Shed Style Garden Pavilion

 

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