The Golden Gate
The is an outdoor gate my Dad and I made together. We call it the “Golden Gate” because it cost a whole lot more than we planed it would. We needed a wood that would stand up to the weather so the best choice was Cedar. The original plan called for a varnished/stained finished so that meant we needed a clear grade of Cedar. We purchased clear Western Red Cedar.
My Dad worked out several designs for this gate and trying to get the right one was difficult. We ended up making a full size prototype out of ¼ inch plywood. This prototype was dimensionally accurate and when fastened to the workbench was use to directly transfer measurements to the Cedar. By using the prototype we were able to layout all of the mortise and tenon joints full size.
The corner joints of the gate frame are mortise and tenon joints along with the center stile. The six center panels are tongue and grooved vertically and have a tongue on the top and a groove on the bottom. With a tongue on the bottom rail for the panels to sit in there is no water entrapment in the bottom rail. Space-balls were installed in the horizontal and vertical rails where the panels set in to maintain a tight fit as the panels expand and contract with the weather. Assembly was done with West System 3 epoxy. The center panels float within the frame. No mechanical fasteners were used.
The gate swings on 4 inch stainless steel butt hinges. Inside the walled enclosure is a 45Kw stand-by power generator for my Dad’s house here in Florida.
As I said we had planned to varnish/stain the gate. The more we studied up on clear coat finishes the more we were convinced that no matter what we did maintenance was always going to be an issue. Secondly there is no varnished/stained wood work on the exterior of the house so it would not really match anything. That’s why we ended up painting the gate.
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