The Gates

Brooke here:

We now have a This.

You will HANG there and LIKE IT.

It has been a terrible couple of weeks over here, with family and dog issues dominating most of our daily shenanigans.  We’ve been sneaking in some repairs whenever possible, and have finally hung the gates.  We need to add the latch, the hinge hardware still needs some (very minor) adjustments to bring everything to perfect square and I have to put a cap on the top to reduce weathering from rain, but the gates are generally done.

These are five-year gates, in that we plan to take these doors down and replace them with a better design in five years once we have the woodshop up and running.  The design looks nice and we think it’s quite classy, but it wasn’t the result of any “planning” or “forethought,” or whatever the kids are calling it these days.  The original plan for the gates was to make them bright fire engine red and then hammer chunks of copper to them.  Brown and I got as far as the red part and agreed that life with such hideous looking gates would be no life at all.  I headed to the table saw and kept fooling with the red-painted wood until it finally looked good; folks, turns out that red speaks for itself, so if you don’t want it to scream at visitors you have to cut it all the way down into 1″ wide strips to get it to behave.

I did manage to save some of the red to use in the frame:

Progress shot of gates. Husk version on left, finished version on right.  Also: GREEN.  I can’t believe those are our garage doors.  I feel like we live in a muppet.

Using the finished red wood in the frame also created a nifty design element when the gates were opened.

Carriage bolts on interior corners, with red insets between these.

There was really no reason to use red in this design except we already had the painted wood ready to go.  We used a hellishly expensive Sherman Williams oil-based heavy-duty enamel since we thought it would have copper nailed to it, and this paint would resist discoloration.  And dogs; never forget the dogs.  It was just pure luck the gates ended up looking as though we had put a lot of thought into them.

There are some design flaws that we will probably avoid in the future.  The corners are square, but this is mainly thanks to ENORMOUS BOLTS rather than our cunning knowledge of wood joinery.  The frames were looking naked so I got some carriage bolts, painted them black, and used these to offset the corners.  This had the added benefit of uniting the wood in the exterior and the interior of the frame.  While some of the facing pieces in the frame don’t lie perfectly flat, they aren’t about to go anywhere.  The second design flaw was that a few of the pieces of wood used in the frame weren’t fully dry.  We cut and painted and sealed edges and got everything perfect, then a heat wave swung by and about half of the wood in the exterior facing part of the frame shrunk in on itself.  Dagnabbit.   So.   Those pieces were removed and the doors rebuilt, and now we are extra careful about lumber being all-the-way cured instead of does-this-seem-dry-enough-to-you? cured.

Next!  The latch.  Or maybe the lawn.  The lawn is looking really spectacular right now.


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