This is a simple gate design that's strong, light and fun to build. It should be do-able in an afternoon, but requires a small amount of joinery. If, like me, you're pretty handy, but interested in building your woodworking skills, then this is perfect for you. This would also make a good teaching project!
I usually start with an abstract concept, and develop the design - sketch, think, repeat. Usually, only the core concept lasts all the way through to the final version. This particular design is flexible. You can easily modify the pattern to suit the width and height you will need. I have attached a sketchup file of my gate. Feel free to use this exact file, or modify it to suit your needs.
Since this was a weekend project, I didn't want to spend a lot of time preparing lumber. So, as I developed the design based on pieces of hardwood that I new were available at my local home improvement store. I made allowances in the design to tolerate the probable warping or inconsistent dimensions of their lumber.
Note: spend a good deal of time selecting your lumber. You want to look for straight even grains in hardwood. Also, it helps to look with one eye down the length of the board to detect and warping.
For this project, I purchased the following lumber:
- (2x) 0.75" x 3.5" 6' Poplar Boards
- (1x) 0.75" x 1.5" 6' Poplar Boards
- (8x) 0.75" x 6' DIA Poplar Rounds
- (3x) 1.75" x 1.75" x 3' Poplar Boards
- (1x) 0.5" x 3' DIA Walnut Dowel (oak will do just fine)
I recommend that you have the following tools available:
- 0.75" and 0.50" DIA forstner bits (Regular drill bit will do in a pinch) need one?
- Drill Press (If you try to use a handheld drill, you're gonna have a bad time)
- Medium Chisel (keep it sharp!) need one?
- Mallet or Dead Blow Hammer
- Japanese Saw (If you've never tried one of these, you're missing out.) need one?
- 220 Grit sandpaper
A note on sealing/finishing: Normally, I use a molten mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. However, due to the outdoor exposure of this gate, I'll be using a simple low-voc oil based clear finish. Use whatever you like.