Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Garden Gate Project - Part 1 - Design and timber selection

Not strictly fine furniture, a shop project or a musical instrument but essential all the same.
My next project is an oak garden gate and has been commissioned by my wife Elly to showcase TMc Woodworks to people who come to our front door.
I have looked around and didn't find any plans that suited so I designed the gate myself.

Street view

View from the garden
I found that the best way to make this is using 3" thick timbers, in my case oak, with the upright boards tongue and grooved. The top rail will be shaped roughly as drawn and then I will carve the name of the house into it. I think I will also engrave the house number to the gate too.
All the upper faces will be sloping with roundovers where necessary to aid water run off. The hardware is all galvanized or stainless steel so that the oak does not rot the steel. The joints will be wedged through tenons as this is definitely the best sort of construction for gates and doors outside. No furniture type blind mortise and tenon joints on this one.

I ordered some timber from a local dealer and ended up with American white oak. This wasn't my first choice as white oak is not quite as weather resistant as European oak. But as the construction of this utilizes epoxy glue in all the joints and probably Sikkens finish I thought what the heck. It is also slightly cheaper than European oak too. The original gate that this is replacing is made from treated softwood which has been painted. This is now rotted but must have been in place for at least 25 years.

A load of 6" wide 12/4 and 6/4 gate making timber

I must say that the lengths of oak that arrived were massively heavy but I crosscut them to length, by hand with a hard point saw, and jointed two of the faces. I left them overnight to stabilize but did notice that there was a slight split in the face of one of the pieces. I may be able to fill with some epoxy but I knew that timber this thick would have splits and shakes in them.

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