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Thread: Door/gate construction questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Door/gate construction questions

    My wife wants me to build a garden gate. She does give me conceptual drawings which I have to figure out how to build - see the attached picture. The gate will be about 70" high and about 36" wide and will have vertical slats with a narrow space between the slats, maybe 1/4" or 3/8".

    Question 1: I plan to mortise the rails into the stiles. The stiles will be wider than shown in the picture, maybe 4.5 inches. I'm concerned about wood movement, especially since the gate will be outside. I'm thinking about making a double tenon on both rails. Do you think that will work okay for wood movement?

    Question 2: Do you think this joinery will be strong enough that the gate won't sag?

    Question 3: What glue would you use? Epoxy?

    Question 4: Right now, I'm planning on using white oak. What other wood would you recommend that's reasonably priced and will stand up outside? Mahogany is too expensive.

    Any other comments you'd like to give a novice gate builder will be appreciated.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    535
    Hi Mike,

    If it were me, I'd do wedged & pinned through tenons, no glue. If the joints are a snug slip fit, it won't sag even without the wedges. The lack of glue means that if it starts to sag, say from the rail shrinking a bit, you just put a wedge under the outside corner to straighten the door, then knock the wedges in a bit more.

    But thats just me, I'm kinda wired funny.

  3. #3
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    I built 2 sets of garage doors and so far so good. They are much bigger than what your planning.

    I used loose tenons because my parts were to big to stand on end on the table saw and my hand cutting skills were not, probably still are not, good enough at the time. Standard tennons should be more than adequate. I used Titebond .... three? What ever their outdoor/waterproof glue is.

    I found cypress for my doors. Light weight and easy to work with. Maybe not be very cheap in Cali though. It wasn't that cheap here but I have since found better suppliers.

    I have since built a set of 5' long gates and side panels but they are not installed yet. Waiting on the tractor to be resurrected so can use the auger for the post holes. But I used the same methods and have no fear of them sagging. The hinges are probably the weakest point.
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  4. #4
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    Do not underestimate the strength you will need when you hang it. Sooner or later, probably sooner, someone will swing from it. Gates can be problematic and are not as simple a thing as they look.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the advice. I'll check on the cost of cypress - it is available here. And thanks for the advice about the hinges. I'll get some big ones, maybe in brass.

    I'll post pictures when I complete it.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  6. #6
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    Whatever hinges you use, consider mortising them in. It is amazing how much strength that will add to the equation. Means the thing isn't totally relying on the shear strength of the screws.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    Whatever hinges you use, consider mortising them in. It is amazing how much strength that will add to the equation. Means the thing isn't totally relying on the shear strength of the screws.
    Excellent suggestion. I'll do that. It'll probably look better also.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  8. #8
    In terms of the wood...you're in California, close to the source of perhaps one of the best woods for outdoor use, and a light one too. Red Cedar would by my choice for its resistance to rot and its lightness, the latter helping to keep the gate from sagging. It's easy to machine, and team it up with mortise and tenon joinery and a type II glue, and you've got something that should last a long time provided it doesn't take abuse from little people swinging on it

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