In this instructable we will make a gate, that from the outside, looks like a normal section of a fence. This is a remix of masoon's secret door.
Materials used include:
-two 4"x4"x96" treated posts set about 24" in the ground with concrete and a small layer of dirt
-three treated 2"x4"x96"
-ten 5 1/5"x5/8"x72" treated pine dog eared pickets
-about 60 1 5/8" coated outdoor wood screws
Tools used include:
-cordless drill with various drill bits and t-20 torx bit for screws
Of course, be safe and have fun.
Step 1: Measure and Cut
The first step is to measure the opening. From the house to the outside of the far fence post is about 57 1/2". The inside post, where the gate will be attached, is approximately 12" from the house. The pickets come 72" tall which will be the height of the gate.
To allow room for the door to open, I made the overall length 57". Measure, mark, and cut the 2"x4"s to this length.
Step 2: Assemble
Start with one picket flush with the 2"x4"s. From the bottom, I measured the locations for the 2"x4"s at 12", 36", and 60". For now, just use one screw through the picket into each 2"x4". Repeat on the far side of the gate.
To square the gate, I used a speed square. To use the speed square, put the "lip" edge along the 2"x4" and press the square against the picket. Adjust the gate until the square is flush with the 2"x4" and the picket. Put in another screw to secure the gate. I started on the top of one picket and worked my way down, then did the other picket.
Fill in the remaining pickets ensuring they stay the same height on the 2"x4"s. One trick is to place a spare board across the bottom of the first two pickets. Then you have a straight and level guide for the rest of the pickets. I spaced the pickets roughly 1/8" to keep the gate from becoming a sail and flying away in stormy weather.
When I got toward the end, it was obvious I would have a gap that a whole picket would not fit into. I placed a picket on the far side, so the slimmed down picket would blend better with the gate.
In order to "rip" a picket, measure the gap which was approximately 4". Next, mark 4" from one side of the picket at the top and bottom and snap a chalk line. I angled the picket into the ground, eased the circular saw in on the chalk line, and cut down the line stopping before I cut into the ground. To finish cutting, I secured the picket in a safe manner and continued with the circular saw on the top and bottom of the picket. (There may be a safer way to do this "rip" process. If you know of a better way please share in the comments.) I also cut another dog ear to replace the one cut off. Now the picket can be screwed into the gate.
Step 3: Mount
This step will definitely be easier with a friend. Set the gate up to get an idea of how it will sit and where the hinges will be. I used blocks of scrap wood to raise the gate into position and a level to keep it straight. Although the hinge instructions suggest taking the pin out and installing each side, I marked on the gate where I wanted the hinge as I held the gate in place. Setting the gate back down, I predrilled holes and mounted the hinges to the gate. Again, I used blocks to hold up the gate as I marked on the post where the hinges will go. Predrill pilot holes and secure the hinges to the post.
Step 4: Installing a Latch
With the gate closed, hold up the latch assembly and mark for pilot holes. Predrill and screw in the latch. With the latch in place, drill the hole for the bolt. Once I started the hole I removed the bolt catch to finish drilling. Next, predrill and mount the bolt catch. I don't recall why, but I had to use some replacement screws for the bolt catch.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Hidden Gate
This gate is mostly so we have an emergency exit should the normal gates be blocked. It will also serve well as a normal gate to make short trips of carrying lawn and garden tools between the front and back yards.
I hope you enjoyed this instructables. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions.