Introduction: Safety Gate

This is my first instructable so any constructive criticism will be well received.

I got a large collection of wood from Freecycyle and this shoe rack was with it. As we were in the need of a safety gate for the bottom of our stairs, I decided to use this wood to create one.

Nothing was purchased for this project. Most has come from years of hoarding (as my partner calls it).

This is only my second project, My first was a computer desk using some of the wood mentioned, I may add it once I am fully happy with it.

I have not given any measurements as firstly I used what I had and secondly the only thing I measured was the width of the stairs.

I wasn't going to make this as I have seen similar gates made before and they are mostly of the same design. Although I can't recall any having a home made latch so here it is.


  • Saw
  • Chisel
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility bar
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Square
  • Clamps


  • Screws
  • 75mm hinge
  • sacrificial pen (spring)
  • Wood

Step 1: Dismantle

I thought the wood was all lose and would be ready to use. However shelves were attached at the ends, so theses needed to be dismantled.

There are no pictures of this stage, I used a utility bar to pry the wood apart which was nailed and glued together.

Step 2: Assembly

I had an assortment of screws which I have had for some time. To check if they were suitable I aligned 2 pieces and rested the screw to make sure it when deep enough without breaking threw the other side.

Main body

After measuring and getting the width I need the gate to be I cut the top and bottom pieces.

I lined up the pieces to see how many vertical slats I would need and the gap between them. I planned on having one closer to the end with the locking mechanism at. as seen in the second picture.

Firstly I started with the top horizontal piece. I lined up the first vertical piece with the end and squared it up.

Clamped the pieces together and drilled two pilot holes. Followed by the screws.

Using one of the short pieces that held the shelves together as a spacer. I squared the next vertical piece, clamped, drilled the pilot holes, and then screwed them together.

Repeated the above for the rest of the vertical pieces.

I then squared up the bottom piece to the first vertical piece, clamped them together. Drilled the pilot holes and then screwed them together.

I then secured the rest using the process mentioned above. ensuring all the pieces were squared.

Slanted support

The wood I had were not long enough to have the support piece from one corner to the next. So I lined up where the support piece was to go. Using the square to mark where it need to cut.

Cut the bottom off, then marked the top, and cut that as well.

Clamped the support in place and drilled the pilot holes. As in the fourth picture I put one screw into the horizontal piece and one into the vertical piece.

Locking mechanism

For the locking mechanism I used two of the short pieces and a dowel piece which I had from dismantling the eldest cot.

I marked where it was going and then cut it out. Firstly I struggled by using my rotary tool, before remembering my chisels.

Using the chisels made the process much faster and I got both sides cut so the dowel would fit between. In one I made a hole for the handle to go through

I cut the dowel in to two pieces one for the lock and one for the handle.

Holding the larger piece in the workbench I made a small cut all the way round. Then using a chisel I mad it into a shape that resembled a door catch. I drilled a small hole in the opposite and glued the spring in.

I cut and glued a nut into the longer dowel, and a bolt into short piece. I don't know if it was my lack of experience or me running out of patience but it went wrong. I ended up drilling a pilot hole in the two and screwing them together.

The back piece was secured to the gate, the locking dowel placed in the front piece with the handle sticking through. Then the outer piece was secured to the back piece.


I secured two more of the pieces to the wall with three screws each.

On one side the gate was attached with two hinges. and on the other I cut out a hole for the latch to go into and a notch to push the dowel in as the gate closed.

Step 3: Result/after Thought

The gate turned out very well. Not only does it do the bottom of the stairs but it also can be used to on the living room door(to the left of first picture).

The process of making it could have been better. in particular the locking mechanism.

Firstly the latch and the notch in the wood on the wall are wrong. In the second picture you will see the notch and the latch on the inside of the gate. The problem is the gate opens out not in.

Secondly the carving out of the latch was harder than it needed to be. I should have started with the chisel rather than trying out the rotary tool. As I was nearing completion and easier way popped in my head. Had I clamped the two pieces together then secured in the workbench I could have drilled it much quicker and with a much cleaner result.

I will be entering into the before and after contest, so if this is has been of any help. And/or this instructable is OK. Then please vote.

Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017

Invention Challenge 2017

Participated in the
Invention Challenge 2017