This is my first Instructable!
I have four new puppies and a few weeks ago I was looking for a dog gate to create sections in the house to keep clean some areas. With a low budget, it was hard to find a gate with all my requirements, so I decided to make my own.
My idea was simple, I wanted a low-cost expandable and portable gate, easy to operate and that matches with my house interior design.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
To keep the low cost I went to some local lumber stores, Home Depot and Lowe's trying to find the cheapest lumber. The best choice I found was 1 1/2" x 3/4" x 8' pine strips on Lowe's and the price was $98 cents for strip. Also I found 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 8' pine studs $1.60 per piece. Because it's cheap lumber, you have to select the straightest ones among the piles.
You can get better lumber depending on your budget. For me, pine worked well. I got 4 pine strips and 1 pine stud for this project.
- 2 Door hinges with screws included.
- 4 Floor grippers.
- Polyshades: Stain and Polyurethane in One Step (Espresso Gloss)
- Sandpaper: Medium-Point (120) and Fine Point (220).
- Polyurethane Brush (For a smooth finish.)
- Paint thiner (For cleaning.)
- Kreg 1" screws for soft wood (Pack of 100 pcs.)
- Clean cloth
- Disposable gloves
- Miter saw
- Measuring tape
- Kreg Pocket hole jig
- Dust mask
- Security glasses
Step 2: Cutting Pieces
I used a miter saw for this project, you can use a hand saw or any other tool that you prefer, just remember to make a straight, clean and accurate cut.
To speed the process I marked and cut my first piece and I used it as reference for all the next cuts of the same type of piece. Always use security glasses when you are cutting.
A - 1 1/2" x 3/4" x 20" (12 Pcs.)
B - 1 1/2" x 3/4" x 22 1/2" (2 Pcs.)
C - 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 22 1/2" (2 Pcs.)
- Measure and mark one piece on the lumber, put on the miter and cut.
- Align the same piece with the lumber to mark the next cut, put on the miter and cut.
- Repeat to cut every piece, use the first piece to do all the marks.
- Repeat all the steps with every type of pieces (A,B and C).
Don't get confused by the picture, I had extra pieces on the table.
Step 3: Drilling Pocket Holes
I used this jig from Kreg, it saves you a lot of time and it's really easy to use. Depending on the thickness of the wood, you have to configure the tool and select the right Kreg screws for the job. I configured my jig for 3/4" holes.
You have to make 2 pocket holes on each end of one side of all the "A" pieces. The holes have to be pointing at the end of the piece.
If you can't afford this jig you can find a lot of tutorials to make a pocket hole without this tool.
- Take the piece, center to the guide (I used B and C guides of the jig) clamp and drill.
- Un-clamp, rotate the piece on the same face, clamp and drill again.
- Repeat the steps for every "A" piece.
Step 4: Sanding
I used a disc sander with a medium-grade (120) sand paper for the first pass and fine-grade (220) for the second. I sanded the pieces clamping it by groups: A, B and C. Sanding the pieces this way can help to identify curved strips and saves a lot of time.
- Clamp the pieces by group with the same face in one side and sand along the grit with a 120 sand paper.
- Un-clamp and rotate all the pieces to the next side, clamp and sand again along the grit with a 120 sand paper.
- Repeat these steps until all faces are sanded with the 120 grade.
- Align all pieces on the group, clamp and sand both ends of them with the 120 grade.
- Clamp the pieces by group with the same face in one side and sand along the grit with a 220 sand paper.
- Un-clamp and rotate all the pieces to the next side, clamp and sand again along the grit with a 220 sand paper.
- Repeat these steps () until all faces are sanded with the 220 grade.
- Align all pieces on the group, clamp and sand both ends of them with the 220 grade.
Step 5: Assembling
I used some clamps and the square to get a perfect angle. I have a framing tool but it was very hard to me trying to reach the pocket holes with the drill, you can try it. I assembled the frame first and the posts after. I used a 3" spacer between each post.
- Clamp the base (C) of the frame on the table
- Clamp the first post (A) on the corner of the base (C) with a side face on the table and use the square to adjust.
- Drill two screws on the pockets to create a corner.
- Repeat this steps (2-3) with the next corner of the frame.
- Clamp the top of the frame (B), align with the square and drive the screws in each hole at the end.
- Put two 3" spacers in two corners of the same side of the frame, put one post (A) with the face down, align with spacers and drive the screws in each end.
- Repeat this step until every post (A) of the frame are installed.
- Repeat all the steps (1-7) to complete the second frame.
Step 6: Sanding, Again...
This time just with the 220 sand paper, sand all the gaps between the joints and sand by hand all the places that you sander can't reach. Remember sanding along the grain to get a very smooth finish.
Step 7: Stain and Polyurethane
Stain and Poly in one step helps to speed the process because the drying time is less than an oil or water based regular stain. To achieve a really smooth finish I recommend a Polyurethane brush, it helps you a lot.
I drove a screw hook in the corner of the base for an easy handling and drying. I used disposable gloves because oil stain is hard to remove from the skin and paint thinner can cause injuries. Avoid to inhale the stain chemicals and wear a mask. Ventilate the work area and keep the dust out. I was using construction paper to protect the table and the floor. Try to achieve a full cover with a thin layer of stain in the first pass, you got a richest color with a second pass.
- Use a clean cloth to clean all the surfaces.
- Load the brush with a small amount of stain, do the same in each reload.
- Put the gate over the front face and paint the rear face including inside the pocket holes.
- Paint the sides of the posts and interior faces.
- Paint the exterior top, sides and bottom of the gate.
- Paint the front face.
- Hang for drying for al least 8 hours
- Repeat all the steps to paint the second frame.
Once the paint dries totally, you are ready to go for the second pass and you have to repeat all the steps again. If you notice any drip, hair or dust you can sand it lightly with the 220 sand paper before the second pass.
Step 8: Mounting Hardware
I used two 2" x 1 3/8" nickel hinges, you can opt for another model if you want. Floor grips are optional but I recommend it to protect the walls of the house and the base of the gate.
- Use two hinges to align the edges of each piece.
- Mark 3" from top and bottom on the side of the gate.
- Put one hinge above the mark and drive the screws in the center hole on the both sides of the hinge.
- Take a square and check if alignment is correct.
- Drive the rest of the screws.
- Repeat all the steps with the second hinge.
- Clean every spot with a clean cloth to remove grease and dust.
- Put a gripper on each end of the bottom in the base of the two frames.
- Press firmly over 15 seconds over each one to achieve better adherence.
Step 9: Finishing the Job
The gate does the job and I made an extra pair with different size days later, you can do the math and change the size of the gates and spacing between post depending on the size of your pet. For security reasons I don't recommend this gate for a baby. You can change the colors of the hinges or the stain to match with your house colors. Clean the gates with a furniture cleaner to protect for the dust.
I hope you enjoyed this project as much as me.
- Jonathan I