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By paulrockliffe
I'm after a bit of help with some gates I'm designing. I've bashed out a first draft, but wanted to get some advice on construction and also on a drop across the gates:

ImageGates 1 by Paul Rockliffe, on Flickr

Each gate is roughly 1.5m wide, the frame is 3" x 3", with 1" thick boards to fill in between the frames. All morticed and tenoned, then glued. Is this the best way to do this or should it be pegged too? Or something completely different?

General critique of the design very much appreciated, does it work structurally, is there a better way to do it, how do I accommodate wood movement etc?

There's a 17cm drop over the 3m width of the drive and, there's also a similar difference in the height of the posts. How would you design this? It feels like to much to take up with a tapered lower bar and that would mean either different angles for the sloping rail, or one gate sitting lower against the post. I don't want to cut all the mortices and tenons at an angle, but I also don't want a fudge that draws attention to the drop in height!

Lastly, what would would you make this from and how would you finish it? I'll either paint with linseed oil, or if it's nice wood a natural finish - linseed oil?

By paulrockliffe
John15 wrote:Does it need bracing to stop sag?


I don't know, the filled in panel should brace everything and everything is cantilevered off the top triangle anyway. I think. But I've not done this before....
By paulrockliffe
Mike Jordan wrote:It would be nice to see a bit of curve in the top rails

I agree, but I think that might be beyond my time/skill level. How would you add a curve; is it a wide board with a lot of waste, or steam bending?
By cedarwood
Made these last winter the curved top rail is made from one piece of timber 200 x 50 there is some waste but not too much, getting the tenons at the right angle is the tricky bit. I used sketchup to design them with the curves and using measurements from a straight line in sketchup produced a ply template to draw the curve on the timber, once one was cut and cleaned up I then used it to draw the curve on the other. Then I put the frame together dry minus the top rail, placed the rail in its position on top of the stiles and marked the tenons on the curved rail square with the stiles. Again using the marked one to mark the other top rail all very easy to say but just needs a little thought and care. By the way I am just a hobby woodworker and made the gates for a friend as a bit of a challenge, oh and they are also braced on the reverse behind the bottom boards but do not have a photo of the back.

PS if you would like to chat about them more than happy to PM you my mobile No

whatever you decide to do never say never and challenge yourself in order to achieve

By Doug71
You will definitely need some sag bars/bracing in the back.

The height difference will be hard to make look right, I would make the top half/open parts of the gates level and taper the bottom boarded part if needed. Will the higher gate catch the floor when opened if it is lower at the end?

The bottom rail is better thinner then the sides and mid rail so the boarding runs over it and then the water can run straight off.

By paulrockliffe
Thanks, I wondered about making the bottom board thinner for water drainage.

The gate doesn't catch when opened, there's a similar fall behind the gate as well, though if that was a problem then I'd use those hinges that lift the gate as it opens.

I'm struggling to see the need for additional bracing, in my head the top triangle is strong enough to hang everything else off and the bottom panelled bit is structural, so additional bracing wouldn't be doing anything. I don't mind adding something if it looks good though and at the moment there's a bit of a space at the back with the 1" panels set at the front of the 3" frame, would you do crossed diagonals, morticed into the upright posts?

I think I can fix the height difference between the tops of the two posts by having the diagonal top rail starting a bit lower on both posts, then I can have a shorter bit sticking up on one post. At the bottom of the gate, with the boards running in front of the lower rail, I can cut those boards when the gate is all together, but I wonder whether it wants to be cut with something like 10cm difference left to right, then take up the remaining gap with a board set back an inch and painted black to match the tarmac?

This is the trickiest bit, so really appreciate people's thoughts on what you would do?

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By MickCheese
If the top triangle were the other way around then I would agree it will help structurally but surely the weight of the gate will be pulling the top rail away from the hinge style when you actually want it to be in compression.

Or have I got that wrong?

By Terry - Somerset
Just an observation but making this look "right" with a 17cm slope across the opening will be difficult.

- the left hand gate top is higher than the top of the pillar
- the triangular gap at the bottom as the gates meet and are at 90 degrees to the pillar

Rather than try to have symetrical gates which will draw the eye to the problems of the installation, it may be worth thinking about a design with a trapezoidal shape. I know you did not want the aggro of cutting joints at odd angles but this may look better than (to the untrained eye) a gate that does not fit.
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By deema
Isabella made a few gates, this is a design I particularly like and made for my own house. They were made from unseasoned oak sleepers with Osmo oil used to protect them. I dried out the oak for about 18 months to get it to just below 20%. All flat surfaces where chamfered to 9 degrees to allow water run off. The hinges were made by the local blacksmith and powder coated. They still look the same after c8 years. I used green oak sleepers because! Sleepers at the time where about £20, and it took three of them to make the gates. They were only meant to be a temporary measure whilst we (the boss) decided what she actually wanted.

The gates have a curved top that was made by simply made by laminating up two pieces of oak 75 x 100. A pattern was made using a piece of MDF and bending a baton until I have a curve that looked right tracing it into the MDF. This was then cut out and traced onto the beam. The beam was cut out using a bandsaw. A router could have been used or equally a good quality jig saw.

All the joints are mortise and tenoned together using Cascomite. There are three panels in each gate. The only complex joinery is the gun stock tenon used for the middle rail. This was only necessary due to the moulding.


The picture is from when I was fitting them, the gate posts are not finished. There is too much snow at the mo. to show you what they now look like!!

I’ve tried twice to add the photo the right way up without success!! It appears the right way up when selected and when added. Sorry, I will try and get it right
By paulrockliffe
Hello, thanks for the input, I will those are nice gates and I'll probably think about sloping the gates when I do them as I can't see how I can do them and have them look right otherwise.

The project is on hold for a little bit though, so I few changes of plan so I might lash up something temporary to stop the kids escaping and do a proper gate later.