Thursday, 16 August 2018

Garden Gate Repair ... and new Fence

We built this gate when we first moved in here seven years ago.   At the time, half of the front aspect of the house was open and we wanted something to close it off, so we planted the cherry laurel hedge to one side and constructed the gate ourselves from timber.  

It's quite long, at 3.6 metres between the posts, hence the sprung support wheel at the 2/3 point.  

the original gate ...

This gate was lashed up quickly and intended only as a temporary measure, but of course these things have a habit of becoming permanent.   It's been re-painted every couple of years, using a different colour each time.

Anyway, we noticed the vertical slats between the structural uprights were showing signs of rot, as were some of the other connections at the rails. 

I measured up and bought some new 3" x 5' fence boards - the timber yard only stocked 6" widths in the 5' lengths, so we asked them to slit them along their lengths to obtain what we wanted, which they did for a small cutting fee.

I pre-built the slats into three panels using temporary horizontals, so I could position and fit them quickly after repairing the frame.   We also pre-painted the faces of the new slats which would fit up against the rails, to alleviate one of the causes of the problems we'd had - the original gate was fully built before any painting works, with the result that over the years water had penetrated behind the slats into unpainted wood.

I cut the new slat panels to form a top radius, so they're more decorative than the original flat tops.

one of the three panels of slats ....

The old slats were all removed from the gate - they'll be cut up for winter fire kindling - and new pieces of stretchers fitted to the carcass where the damage was greatest.  I also had to use wood filler in several places to rebuild some rotten areas.   

During the repair, I seriously thought about just scrapping it and rebuilding the whole gate from scratch, but there was enough sound material to attempt a repair that will hopefully last a few more years.

the frame after repairs, with a half pre-painted panel ...

I needed to reconstruct the lower hole for the hinge bolt, since it was very worn.  I initially made the hole larger and then used a piece of aluminium tube and some epoxy filler.

lower hinge bolt ...

The frame was given several coats of paint, and lifted back onto its hinges.   The slat panels were fitted painted-side to the painted rails, and the temporary timbers removed.  There's 135 screws in the slats - thank heavens for power tools !

new slats all fitted ...
It was then just a case of more painting, several coats for added protection.

To finish it off, we bought a new wheel for our spring pack and two galvanised pyramid caps for the gate posts.

new nylon wheel & polyurethane tyre ...

galvanised post cap ...

So here's the finished article.  It cost around £65 in total for the repairs, including the paint.  Let's hope we can get a few more years out of it.

all finished ...

We'd also thought before about stripping out the variety of bushes to the side of the gate, which formed an informal deciduous hedge.  This has become increasingly straggly over the years, and it's a bugger to keep in check during the summer and not very pretty at all in the winter, so we decided to strip them all out - the only one of the shrubs I'll miss is the flowering currant, which was always first to burst into life in the spring.

However, out they all came and we built a pallisade fence in its place, generally following the lines of the new gate.

This was another few days work - and painting it took almost as long as it did to construct it !

We'll plant a few new shrubs on the inside of the fence, but that can wait until the autumn or even next spring.

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