The purpose of this Instructable is to create a baby gate that is easier to use than the common plastic gates. I started with just a few goals.
1) The gate must be able to swing both directions
2) The gate must be less expensive than the retail version.
3) Lumber will be re-sawn from standard 2x4 construction lumber.
Step 1: Materials
One 2 x 4 x 37"
Four 2 x 4 x 22"
Two 1/4 inch stove bolts 2 inches long with 4 nuts Bolts
Two fender washers Fender Washers
One 2" barrel bolt Barrel Bolt
Two 1 inch L brackets L Brackets
48 Kreg 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and plugs.
Left over stain or paint from a different project.
Total cost less than $10
Step 2: Tools
You will need the tools listed below to complete this Instructable.
Pocket Hole Jig
Some kind of sanding tool and/or just plain sand paper.
Step 3: Square Up the 2x4s
Lets begin by removing the rounded edges from our (4) 22" and (1) 37" 2x4s. To do this remove 1/4 inch from each edge of the 2x4 as pictured. This yields (4) boards 1 1/2" x 3" x 22" and (1) board 1 1/2" x 3 x 37". Refer to my previous Instructable "Thin Rip Push Block" to build a great tool to help safely rip lumber on a table saw.
Step 4: Create 3/4" X 1 1/2" Dimensional Stock
Next lets re-saw our material into 3/4" x 1 1/2" boards that we can use to build our baby gate. To do this adjust your table saw rip fence to 3/4" and cut down all five 1 1/2" x 3" boards from the previous step. Each 3 inch wide board should yield (3) 3/4" x 1 1/2" boards and a piece of scrap.
Step 5: Cut Boards to Mount the Hinge/Latch System
Take (1) of the 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 37" boards and cut it down to 25" long. This board will mount to the wall and hold the L Brackets which will be used as hinges. (Sorry no picture for this) I ended up having to shorten this board in the end to account for my existing baseboard.
In my case I used a piece of scrap to square off my railing making it easier to latch the gate closed. The scrap piece I used is 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 25" (I forgot to take a picture of this during the build process but I snapped an after picture so you can see what I am using this board for)
Step 6: Take Stock of What We Have
At this point in time we should have our basic building blocks cut. Here is what we need to proceed.
(12) 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 22" boards
(2) 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 37" boards
(1) 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 25" board (not pictured)
(1) 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 25" board (not pictured) could also easily be a 3/4" thick board if you prefer
Step 7: Sand It Smooth
My least favorite part of the project is sanding. Luckily I had a new tool to test out to make it more enjoyable. Pictured above is a 10" CMT brand Balance blade equipped with a 10" self adhesive sanding disk. This combination used in place of a table saw blade is very aggressive in sanding pine, maybe too aggressive... but it was fun.
I sanded all boards with this setup and then again with a orbital sander to get a smooth texture.
Step 8: Assembly
-Begin assembly by drilling 4 pocket holes in each 22" board, two holes on each end.
-Space your vertical spindles evenly(unlike me) and screw each into the top and bottom rails using 1 1/4" coarse thread pocket hole screws. Now would be a good time to use wood glue as well for a stronger joint.
-For a finished look use pocket hole plugs to cover the holes used to secure the joints by applying wood glue to each hole and inserting one plug at a time. If using pocket hole plugs you will need to sand each plug flush with the spindle after the glue has dried.
Step 9: Apply Finish of Your Choice
For this step I am being intentionally vague, I used Minwax Polyshades that I had left over from a previous project. I can never seem to get a good finish out of this one step product, as such I recommend using whatever product you are most comfortable with. Paint, stain, varnish anything your heart desires.
Step 10: Hinge Installation
For most installations you will probably need to use drywall anchors to anchor the hinge board and/or latch board to the wall on either side of the gate. Since this will be different for each installation I am going to skip right to the installation of the hinge system I choose for my build. The hinge system is best installed starting with the bottom hinge.
-First you need to drill a 1/4" hole approximately 1.5 inches deep 3/8" from the hinged end of the gate on both the top and bottom of the gate.
- Next install your bottom L bracket as close to the floor as possible, the higher you go with this bracket the larger the gap will be between your floor and the bottom of the gate. Remember to leave enough room for the head of the bolt and the first nut below the bottom of the L bracket.
-Thread one nut tight against the head of the 1/4" bolt and insert this through the bottom of the L bracket. Thread the second nut down tight against the L bracket and set a fender washer on top of this nut.
- Slide the gate down onto the 1/4 inch bolt completing the installation of the bottom hinge.
- With the gate in place mark out the location of the top L Bracket leaving 1/4" to 3/8" gap to account for the nut and fender washer that will hold the top of the gate in place.
- Anchor the upper L bracket to the hinge board.
-Thread one nut onto the second 1/4 inch bolt and tighten against the head of the bolt
- Insert the bolt through the top L bracket, through the second nut and through a fender washer, continue to tighten the second nut until the bolt is threaded all the way down into the hole we drilled in the top of the gate.
Step 11: Latch Installation
Finally install the barrel bolt on the latch side of the gate, I suggest installing it just below the top pocket holes for ease of access. Drill a hole in the Latch board for the barrel bolt to latch into.
Step 12: Musings
Pine Baby Gate 1.0 is not the final evolution of this project, more along the lines of a proof of concept. Pine Baby Gate 2.0 will follow sometime in the future when time permits, for now this gate is secure and solid enough to hold in my son. I tested the gate with approximately 45 pounds of weight to make sure the hinge mechanism wont buckle under my sons weight, making this gate "good enough" for the time being.
I made this quick Instructable in hopes of getting feed back on any improvements I can incorporate into Pine Baby Gate 2.0 which will then be polished up into a much more detailed and well written Instructable.
Some thoughts I have already planned for the next evolution are:
- Must still swing both directions and cost less than the retail equivalent using lumber re-sawn from 2x4 construction lumber.
- The pocket hole screws at the hinge end of the gate interfered with the holes needed to insert the hinge bolts into the gate, these will need to be relocated.
- Rounding all edges with a router.
- Re-inforcing the gate end with metal corner braces to increase weight capacity of the hinge system.
- A different finish will be tried on 2.0
** This gate was designed to fit an opening of 38 3/4", All sizes will need to be adjusted to fit different openings.**
******** Please leave a comment, suggest an improvement, or critique any of my methods ********