Driveway gates

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
2 Jan 2007
Reaction score
Near Dartford, Kent
I’ve just completed a pair of driveway gates. These are for myself and are part of a long ongoing project whereby I have created a new driveway. This has included digging out a few tons of earth, laying brick retaining walls which included elements of curved brickwork, laying approx 15m2 of granite setts and setting green oak posts to carry the gates.

For those interested I’m going to go through the procedures I carried out in making them and identify the problem solving techniques I utilised when using large and heavy materials without assistance.

This is the opening where the gates are destined to go:-



The width of the opening is 4630mm (needed to be this wide so as to facilitate access for my Landrover with the angle of the driveway to the road and the awful steering lock my landrover has).

A sketchup of the intended design is shown here.


Sourcing appropriate material out of air dried oak for this project was proving difficult, eventually I decided on kiln dried French oak and purchased a pack of 80mm (they did 55mm and 80mm, I considered 55mm to be slightly too thin).

The timber as collected:-


It took some effort to get it off the trailer on my own but I eventually managed it


But getting it on machinery alone would prove beyond my reach, therefore with the aid of a chalk line, a straight edge and a 75mm circular saw I managed to get it down to manageable pieces.



The saw wasn’t quite deep enough to cut right through so a recip saw was used for the last 5-10mm


Once down to manageable pieces I was able to cut off the wane on the table saw and get it ready for preparing. The widths of the stiles, middle and bottom rail being 150mm finish and the top curved rail approx 200mm



Each gate was going to be approx 2300mm wide and 1850mm at its highest point plus being 80mm+ thick I wasn’t going to be able to surface them flat on my own, so I made this


This has the facility to make it coplanar to the exit table and folds away for storage.

In use


It supported the weight excellently producing a perfectly flat face side.

Now the face edge, using the surface planer this would have required me to not only support the timber over the cutter but to also keep it tight up against the fence and with it initially being somewhat out of square I took a different approach. I used the spindle and the sliding table as shown


The timber being clamped down and fed through the cutter. This not only ensured a perfectly square face edge but also a straight one as well.


However for a couple of the pieces the table was not quite long enough with a jack plane being called into service to flatten the last 75mm



As this timber prior to preparing was between 80-85mm thick and my finish size was to be 60mm I didn’t want approx 20mm going up the dust chute as chippings. To solve this I purchased a m42 resaw blade from Ian at tuffsaws which left me with some lovely 15mm+ stock, much of it quarter sawn to use for drawer sides boxes etc.
In addition the bottom rail was to be a barefaced rail to which I could just get two out of one piece of 80mm (it was actually about 87mm). The table support I used on the planer also came into service again.


The rippings


The top half of the gate was set out on a board full size, to set out the curves on the top rail if I were to use trammels I would have needed a radius of approx 5m which was not doable. I considered a bendy lath but considered this not accurate enough. Therefore I employed a process I have used in the past to set out large but shallow bow windows. It’s called a camber slip and exploits the fact that the angle in an arc remains constant (could explain it better but this might help, angle X remains constant as it moves round the arc)


The process as used by myself using a couple of pins in the setting out board




Eventually I was able to produce a full-size template of the top rail


And used it as a template for a router and bearing cutter to shape the top rail.



Everything else was set out from the rod and morticed




Timbers were to be morticed into the top section at a 45 degree angle but prior to this the top edges of the middle and top rail were bevelled to prevent water retention I will hope the photo’s will show how I cut the tenons on the above mentioned timbers.




These were draw dowelled into the middle rail






And chopped full size into the underside of the top rail ensuring an interference fit



At this stage these timbers were glued and dowelled into the middle rail with the top curved rail located temporarily, squareness was ensured by placing the structure on the setting out rod whilst the glue cured. (cascamite has been used throughout this assembly).

Now the tenons:-

The shoulders were cut out with the track saw


And were roughed out on the bandsaw using the M42 blade

For fine tuning I used a setup with the router



The tops of the stiles were shaped again using the router


And finished with a cabinet scraper


More to follow…
To continue

The glue up

Following a complete dry fit to check all the shoulders etc I put the top sections together as shown


In situations like this I always apply the glue (cascamite) to the mortices and a small amount to the end grain of the shoulders.

Each gate was assembled whilst on the trestles and once together I had to bolt four record sash cramps together to get the length for two cramps

The joints were pulled up, wedged, then dowelled with a ¾” dowel which I had turned earlier from the off cuts





Following the glue up of the gates it came to the bracing.

Here I had to decide whether to brace to the centre of the middle rail or alternatively brace at 45 degrees. I opted for 45 degrees as this made the brace a steeper pitch.

The brace was cut and housed into the underside of the middle rail. To fix it in place I opted for three biscuits as shown.




The bottom was secured with a loose tongue which was slid into a groove I had placed in the bottom rail and the bottom edge of the brace. This was then trimmed back (the reason will become clear later).




Clean up was the good old fashioned way with a sharp smoothing plane and cabinet scraper to cut back the excess cascamite which sets glass hard (and a couple of pints of sweat).


When it comes to boarding the gates, firstly I am going to explain my method of fixing the boarding. Hopefully this will help


With this method no fixings will be visible and I have the facility to remove boards should there be a need to (excessive expansion etc)

The boards were again waney edge oak, straightened on the saw then run parallel.


To cut down on waste the width of each board was dictated by the original width of the board. Therefore, each board fitted was a different width ranging from 140mm to 225mm. They were V’eed, tongue and grooved and the two side boards and tops of each board rebated too suit the groove.

A pencil gauge was used to measure the depth of the top Vee which was then chamfered with a block plane.




All the boards were fitted, however a gap of 1.5mm was left between each board to hopefully manage any expansion, they are not fixed at the top just left to float in the groove



Following this the gates were trimmed to length with the track saw and stood up (the first time I have needed a lift as they must now be in excess of 200kg each).




Finally I have fitted the lower fillet strip using inset screw cups and stainless steel screws (all the boarding fitted with stainless steel screws)




I now await delivery of the hinges, a dry day and a couple of strong helpers (but prior to this they are to get a couple of coats of Osmo UV).
An update too this.

I appreciate there has been a delay in getting these swinging, the main reason being I spent the majority of the winter in Australia and if I had hung them prior to going I would not have been able to monitor any movement in the boards and take any remedial action as needed.

Anyway there on and I'm very pleased




I now want to sort the automatic openers, is there anyone on here who can recommend auto gate openers possibly with a keypad as well as an in car clicker

Any help will be greatly appreciated
unreal, they're incredible!

They'll also pay for themselves within the month I bet, with people that'll see them and ask for something similar for their house - just had the same with my garage doors which aren't nearly on the same level as these
Fantastic job - very elegant design. Really like the lettering on the post as well.
Thanks for the detailed write-up.

They are fantastic, really impressive.
Driveway gates are near the top of my to do list (although not nearly as large as yours!) so your post will come in very handy as a reference.
Fascinating thread. Really interesting to see how a well set up professional approaches a job on this scale. Very impressed. Thanks for taking the extra time to photograph and write it all up.