Spiffing up your Campsite...

On mayking of a symple Pavylion fore the ladyes

whereby they maye vew thereby the tourney.


Charles Oakley, Esq.

For my friends

in the Companies of the

Flame and the Peacock

and to their Ladys whom did show great patience in the trials of this design.

This month’s project is the manufacture of a "gallery" type pavilion that could be used as a shade pavilion for your lady (or lord) while you are out wowing them in the list (or field or archery range, or.... ) . The spiffy thing about this pavilion, other than the fact that it can be built without doing serious damage to the treasury of your estate, is that it is specifically designed to have a modular capability to it... that is, if you and several of your friends all decide to make these, they can be linked together to form a gallery of infinite length... or, if you’re really clever, go around the list...

With judicious fabric shopping, you should be able to build one of these for less than $100.00... and if you’re really good at scrounging stuff up you could probably find all the stuff for free. The prototype I build was made with all purchased materials and I didn’t try to keep costs down... I wanted to see how much it would cost to build one if you bought everything for it and paid retail... The exception to this is that I don’t include the cost of incidentals such as paint and sandpaper... Soooo.... if you are ready Norm... pass me the saw and a couple of them there 2x2's you got stacked up....


For the frame:

  • 8 - 2"x2" pine boards 8 feet long each ($14.95)
  • 1 - 3'x 1/4" steel rod ($ 3.00)
  • Sandpaper & Paint

    The gallery, as I built it, is 8' long and 6' deep. It stands 8' high in the front and 7' high in the back. There is a 6' "curtain bar" that can be placed on either end of the pavilion. The pavilion is composed of 4 vertical legs and 4 horizontal bars.

    The parts can be identified as follows:

    Front Legs (2) (Part "A")
    Back Legs (2) (Part "B")
    Arm Rail (1) (Part "C")
    Spreaders (2) (Part "D")
    Curtain Bar (1) (Part "E")

    Making the Parts

    Front Legs (2) - Part "A"

    First of all... remember to make 2 of these...

    Take a 2x2 and measure to make sure that it is 8' long. Trim if necessary. Drill a 1/4" hole approximately 3" deep at the top of the 2x2.

    From the bottom, measure 30" up and make a mark. You will want to make a through mortise from this mark 1 ½" DOWN and ½" wide, centered on your material.

    Back Legs (2) - Part "B"

    Take a 2x2 and it cut it so that it is 7' long. Drill a 1/4" hole approximately 3" deep at the top of the 2x2. Make 2 pieces like this.

    Spreader Arm (2) - Part "D"

    It is important at this point to determine exactly how long you want your pavilion to be. I chose to make mine 8' so the 2x2's I bought were used whole... At each end of the spreaders, drill a 1/4" hole (hog it out so that the hole is slightly over-sized) in accordance with the accompanying drawing. Then using a saw, remove ½ of the material on the end of the spreader as shown in the picture.

    Arm Rail & Curtain Bar

    (1 ea.) Parts "C" and "E"

    The only difference between parts C and E are the length of the part. In the case of the Arm Rail... a full length 2x2 is used. The actual physical length of the arm rail is 7 feet 10½ inches overall inclusive of the 2 - 3/4" tenons. In the case of the Curtain Bar the length I used was 6 ft 1 ½ inches. This allowed for the tenons to be cut and the actual physical depth of the pavilion to be 6 feet. Cut the Arm Rail and the Curtain Bar in accordance with the illustration.

    The last thing that needs to be done is to a mortise in one of the back legs and in one of the front legs to hold the Curtain Bar. The height of the placement of this bar is elective but I chose to put it as high as was reasonably possible to facilitate walking under it. A 1½" x ½" mortise was cut (going between 3/4" and 1" deep) into one of the back legs at a height of 6½ feet from the ground to the bottom of the mortise.

    A corresponding mortise was cut at an equal height on one of the front legs. When you are cutting the mortise on the front leg, be sure that you are cutting it on a correct side. There should be no other mortise holes on the side you are working on.

    Decoration and Detailing

    The tenon on the Arm Rail is only 3/4" long so that if more than one pavilion is linked together they may both have Arm Rails and the tenons will not collectively exceed the depth of the through mortise on the front leg. If you are using your pavilion in a "stand alone" manner, you might want to consider making something like the plug I will illustrate next. I have not included this in the parts list as I consider it an optional piece and the two used in this pavilion were made from some of the waste.

    In addition, finials may be turned and installed on the steel rods to enhance the top of the shade pavilion.

    Also... square 2x2 look, well, like square 2x2s.... To give your pavilion a bit more life, I suggest using a small rounding over bit or some other router bit that you might like, to relieve the edges. I used a 1/4" beading bit to edge all four sides of my legs. I then painted the legs green and painted the bead gold... a nice contrast. All routing was started about 16 inches from the end of each piece and ended about 16 inches from the other end.

    Securing the Pavilion

    The pavilion is secured to the ground by means of four pairs of ropes. Each rope is made 15 feet long and is constructed a loop at one end (to go around the spike at the top of each leg) and a friction tightening arragement at the other. This is an extremely common arrangement that can be seen on any number of pavilions. I used synthetic rope because of its lack of stretch but selected a type that had a hemp rope appearance to it. I used a diameter of 3/8". The handles for tightening were made from 1" dowel with a 3/8" hole bored through the diameter at at distance of 3/4" from each end. Each handle is 4 inches long. There are eight ropes and rods used.

    OH, ABOUT THAT ‘FABRIC STUFF’..... O.K.... You have the frame constructed and the ropes and all of that hardware stuff.... but it might help to give a few hints on how to handle the fabric portion of the pavillion.....

    When my Lady and I built our gallery, we used 60" fabric and sewed two lengths together using a flat-felled seam. This gives a certain ‘fullness to the material and allows you to avoid having to hem the outside edges by using the selvege edges. Painting, stenciling or silkscreening should probably be done prior to sewing these pieces together.

    After the material is seamed together a pocket needs to be created that will hold the piece in place on the front spreader bar... the creation of this pocket allows the pavillion top to be held in place without the necessity for re-enforced corners and grommets such as is found in most pavillion structures. The front pocket should be loose enough for the front spreader bar to be inserted easily but not overly large.

    Then you should set up the pavillion and mark on your fabric where fabric rests against the rear spreader bar. The fabric should be fairly taut. I hesitate to give any actual dimensions in this step because the fabric you use may have a different stretch that that we used. You should mark where the FRONT EDGE of the spreader touches the fabric. This will mark where the seam is to be sewn.... Fold the fabric in such that a pocke is formed to back side of you pavillion cover.... this will need about 7 inches of material... Double seam this pocket. The rest of the material should be left to the ground.... when you set up your pavillion any excess on the ground should be placed under the rear legs... the downward tension of the rear ropes will help to keep the back of the pavillion from blowing in the wind in this manner.... Additonal ties for securing the fabric or loops for ground staking are left to the discretion of the individual.... The front and side curtains may be made with pockets or simply draped over their respective bars.

    Have fun and make ‘stuff’ -

    POST PRODUCTION NOTES!!! Ummm... where I showed using the selvege edge on the fabric to avoid extra sewing.... uhhhh.... go ahead and hem the edge. Under serious wind conditions the selvedge edge can be a weak point and can fail... this of course will lead to additional problems.

    In addition, add a couple of ties to the bottom corners of the main cover and again about half way up the back poles.... this will help to secure the fabric to the structure under windy conditions..

    You are customer 1 since I installed the counter