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Options for rotten top rail of field gate

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yeti

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Looking for advise on way forward with a 5-bar gate that has some rot to the top rail.

A sign was nail to the top rail and I guess water retention over a period has rotten that section.

Options please, short of replacing the gate; only this section is rotten..

Chop out and fill? Replace top rail? Splice in new section?
 

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Trevanion

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As you say, the rest of the gate looks in pretty good condition aside from the gaping hole in the top rail.

The best course of action would be to replace the whole top rail as it won't be much more effort than doing a tidy job of filling the hole, but that's provided that you can actually get the gate apart without causing more damage. If the joints were glued and pegged you haven't got much chance of getting it apart to put a new piece in. Plus you'd have to dismantle the whole gate and guaranteed all those coach bolts are rusted solid.

You could fill it but it's a lot of work to chop out all the dead material back to clean wood and fit a new piece in, and it won't ever look right either. The filled piece would also probably move differently to the rest of the timber, cracking the seal around the filled piece letting water in and not out and you'll be back in the same position in a few years.

You could splice a new piece in with scarf joints at both ends of the piece and this would make for a very solid repair but will still have the same problem with the possibility of letting water in and rotting.



The easiest course of action would be to let it dry out, paint it and leave it, water will egress out of the hole easily now since there's no sign and won't rot any further.
 

Noel

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If bolts are awkward, cut through with a hacksaw/recip saw etc and cut each end of the rotten rail. Cut mortice in each stile and attach new rail with hardwood lose/floating tenons and glue and replace bolts with new galvanised/painted ones. If needed use metal plate to strengthen new joints/
 

deema

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I’d make a new gate! It if I had to repair it:
With a router and two boards clamped either side of the top rail, cut off around 6mm in depth between the post and to diagonal support. Finish with chisels. Smooth the surface with plane and chisels carefully.
Route out roughly square the rotten section if possible without breaking through the top of the rail. Then with chisels, square off the hole. Make filler piece for hole hole and Cascamite into place, using a couple or three nails to hold it in place.
Now cut a 6mm thick replacement piece and fit over the rail between the post and the diagonal brace. Glue again with Cascamite and clamp in place overnight.
Stain to match and apply a fresh coat of preservative to the entire gate.

Just as quick to make a new gate!

The other alternative is to route and chisel out the damaged section square with chisels and then insert a new piece that is contrasting, slightly raised and with a design or letters carved into it or in relief with all horizontal surfaces having a 9 degree bevel. Glue in with Cascamite.
 

Steve Maskery

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The easiest option is to treat it and live with it.

But if you really don't want to see it, I think I would cut out the top rail completely, re-mortice the stiles (not necessarily an easy thing to do in situ, I admit) glue in a couple of floating tenons and then drop in a new rail from above, routed to take the tenons.

Or you could just make a new gate...

Darn, beaten to it.
 

deema

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Steve’s solution is far better than mine, and is fairly easy to do.
 

Trainee neophyte

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Tidy it up, as per above, and then make a feature out of it - fit your sign into the gap? Or carve into the rebate, perhaps, if you were feeling artistic. If the sign said "Get off my land!", it may not have the right esthetic feel.
 
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