Oak gate.

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Ollie78

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I have a commission to make an Oak gate.
A pedestrian garden gate, about 180cm tall 90cm wide, solid frame with arched top and t and g v boards on the outside. The main structure will be wedged mortice and tenons.
I plan to finish it with Owatrol oil.

My question is whether to try and find some air dried Oak or just use kiln dried as I would for an internal door or even a front door. ?

I realise it's going to move and plan to allow decent gaps in the t and g boards for movement. I will also pre oil them before fitting them. To give some protection.

Any other relevant tips welcome.

Ollie
 

Jameshow

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Either, but leave it a month outdoors to accimatise? If your shop is heated take it out between sessions.....
 

Doug71

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Almost exactly a year ago I made these small Oak doors from KD Prime Euro Oak for this outdoor kitchen

outdoor oak kitchen.jpg


I left the wood outdoors under my shed overhang for a couple of weeks to hopefully acclimatise before I made them. I left a 2mm gap between each board and about 3mm gap all around the outside. They were left untreated to cut out maintenance and turn that nice silvery grey colour.

I got a call just before Christmas to say the doors were sticking, they weren't joking! There was no gap between the boards and no clearance between the doors and frames, they were stuck in solid. I had to take the hinges off and cut down both sides with a multi master to get them out :rolleyes: Back to the workshop and trimmed a bit more off, gave them a good sanding and a few coats of Osmo,. They were in my workshop a few days and the gaps started opening up between the boards again in just that short time. Hoping they are still okay as I haven't heard back but there again who uses an outdoor kitchen in winter....

So from my experience if you use KD let it acclimatise outside, give the boards PLENTY of clearance and seal it the best you can.

Funnily enough someone has just asked me to make an external curved top boarded Oak door and frame in a wall but it needs to be at least 4' wide so they can drive their lawnmower through. I politely told them I was too busy and it would be too heavy for me to deal with anyway. I didn't want to get involved after my experience with the little doors that were only about 18" wide.
 

Ollie78

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Thanks for replies.

I have an almost outside bit of my workshop with no heating or anything so I could leave it there to season a bit as I make them.
@Jameshow Not sure a month is possible I think they want it delivering by then.
This is my drawing for the design.
Front
arched_top_gate_2021-Nov-07_11-19-47PM-000_CustomizedView23101399270.png
Back
arched_top_gate_2021-Nov-07_11-14-00PM-000_CustomizedView10121576907.png

@Doug71 That is alot of movement on those little doors. I wonder how much difference a full soaking of Owatrol will make to the absorbtion level and expansion.
So are you saying they expanded 10mm each in width overall?


Ollie
 

baldkev

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I'm wondering if it'd be better to use something less dried, i.e not k.d, maybe not even air dried. Not fresh cut / green either.
@Sgian Dubh will be the man for this. Almost certainly, timber selection is key, but if you use something dry and it goes outside, regardless of finish, it will take on moisture and then can move ( both expansion and risk of cup/ twist/ bow ) i know from my experience k.d oak flooring moves around when it takes on moisture
 

Linwoodjoinery

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I’d have to agree with Doug71. I’ve used air dried and kiln dried and whatever you do the movement is close to being unbelievable. I’ve also tried loose tongues and left decent gaps but they all move. I’d say the only way is to have the timber close to where it will be used outside for a long period of time.
 

Doug71

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The overall width of each door expanded by about 6mm (but the frame stopped them going any further), each board by about 3mm if that makes sense. I guess this is probably what's expected but being such small doors I didn't worry about it too much at the time.

I did wonder if it wasn't helped by the fact that they only get air to the outside, it felt quite damp in the cupboard behind them, they don't get fresh air to both sides like a gate would.
 

Sgian Dubh

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I'm wondering if it'd be better to use something less dried, i.e not k.d, maybe not even air dried. Not fresh cut / green either. @Sgian Dubh will be the man for this.
I appreciate the recommendation, but in reality all I can do is pretty much agree with what's already been said.

In other words, air dried at about 18 - 20% MC would be best.

Failing that and kiln dried stuff at, say, 10 - 12% MC has to be used, then acclimatising the material stickered outdoors under cover (out of the rain) but with a bit of gentle air movement until the MC rises to 15 -17% MC plus (two or three weeks maybe) would be a decent plan.

If kiln dried stuff has to be used immediately then the only option would be to build in plenty of provision for expansion. This last option is the least ideal and the one most likely to lead to expansion and distortion problems.

Given both the time and choice, I'd opt for the first option described above. Slainte.
 

niall Y

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I've always used air-dried oak when making joinery for the outside, In fact some of the nicest wood I've worked with , was some oak supplied by a local farmer, that he had dried in his barn.
Re the use of T&g for the boards for a gate such as this - I now tend to use a lapped joint instead. I first encountered this used on a Victorian gate that I made a copy of for a walled garden. Its advantage is that the narrowest part of the stock is then a half, rather than a third of the board thickness. It also doesn't seem to trap water as badly
 

Ollie78

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Thanks for all the help

@Doug71 Thanks for confirming the movement amount, helps me work out the amount to expect.

@Sgian Dubh Thanks for the info.

@niall Y I might consider a lapped joint, I was considering doing the boards with just grooves and using loose tongues to allow for more movement.

I am going to have a look at some air dried Oak early next week.

Ollie
 

johnnyb

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its important to design out having a gate fully exposed to the elements. say putting it into an arched wall with tile creasing. no end grain on show(facing upbank) I love the overlap joint( it's just simpler and stronger)
a large top hat and t and g running through ( no bottom rail)
 

johnnyb

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looking at your design a top hat would be my choice. but people seem to love arched top gates but I find there typically a weak design having to much end grain facing up. could you add protection across the posts ( lead or shakes or shingles)
I was reading about covered bridges in the US. why do they exist? it's to protect the bridge timbers. uncovered they last 20 or 30 years covered they last well over 100.
 

Ollie78

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@johnnyb Your link doesn`t seem to work.

The top arch will probably be made of 3 parts to minimise end grain but I know what you mean about a top hat as you call it.
The pictures the customer initially showed me that she liked had a full arched frame between the posts but for various reasons we didn`t go that route. The gate actually sits between a short wall with a large hedge with an arch trimmed into it, they have a short crappy gate in there now.

I plan to put a slight angle on the top arch and the rails just to prevent too much standing water sitting on there. I did think about dressing it with lead at one point.

Ollie
 

furnace

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I've limited experience of making outside doors, but most of it is.......not good. The amount of movement is enormous in reality and absolutely needs to be designed in. I've recently repaired/restored a gate that had torn itself apart....
IMG_20201030_123045 (Small).jpg
IMG_20201030_153049 (Small).jpg
from movement because it had been designed (and made) poorly. No room for expansion/contraction; biscuits not M&T.

I modified the frame to use tenons...
IMG_20201111_125451 (Small).jpg
I left 8mm between each slat, used loose splines and secured them with only one (plugged) fixing and covered the gap with the original timber strips and studs attached to only one slat
PXL_20201118_102744759 (Small).jpg PXL_20201119_120523186 (Small).jpg 1647080905125.jpeg
It no longer cups and bows when expanding/contracting.

M
 

niall Y

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Regarding supplying some sort of cover for the top of the gate,
G PHOTO 41.jpg
to avoid water ingress. I used a lead capping on the last pair of gates I made . Despite them being swept head, and painted pine. the principals are still the same.
 

furnace

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This design....
20160310_091530.jpg
accommodates movement far better.

The lower panels are solid and sit in deep rebates to accommodate plenty of movement and the bottom rebate has a drain hole. It's been in 5 years now and has no discernible problems.
20160415_130716.jpg

I didn't choose the colour......
 

TominDales

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I have a commission to make an Oak gate.
Any other relevant tips welcome.
Ollie
I echo what has gone before. I've made and repaired a few garden gates and doors over the years.

Do use air dried timber and if necessary tell the client that its essential that the wood be conditioned and that takes time. Its a fact of life for a good product. It will save you problems later.

Probably a bit late for this, but I've got some lovely barn and garage doors made from Western cedar. It has very high tannin content and lasts for ever and is very light weight. It what greenhouse doors and wood were made from - probably to late for this commission but worth considering. Western cedar can be difficult to source but not always.

Avoid T&G joint for the boards if possible. I've repaired some old Edwardian oak gates/doors and they had lap type joints lasted 60 years. If the client wants that look (ie like a garage door), then allow gaps for movement. But I've found gates tend to rot in the T&G over time. Mortice and tenon for the rails to keep the frame sturdy but allow for the boards to move, ie fix in the centre of each board so that it can move laterally either way.

Finishing oils or not?
I'd talk to the client about finishing oil or NOT. If you apply a really good finish, it will need to be re-coated every year or so to keep the appearance good. In my experience leaving it unfinished looks nicest over time, it goes silvery and stays that way, maybe gets a bit green from algae, but an occasional wash with jays fluid cleans it up - once every 5 years or so. or a very light oiling. Otherwise I've found the finish starts to weather unevenly. - except for the top rail - see bellow. If the client wants to prevent the oak going silver, it will need coating in a UV absorbing finish and that will need rubbing down and re-coating every few years - quite a lot of work, but thats their choice.

Do protect the top rail with a lot of finishing oil, or a felt or metal cover- its not seen so you can do that. Design it so standing water runs off/ is on metal or felt. One advantage of the curved top rail is water will run off and its looks nice.
 

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