The historic homes I visit inspire most of my designs, including that of my front gate, which is modeled after a garden gate I saw at the Thorsen home, a Greene and Greene home in Berkeley, Calif. Like that one, my gate features the Greene brothers’ signature cloud-lift detail in both the horizontal rails and in the vertical panels.
But the gate I built is much bigger, and needed to be hung from existing poles that were out of plumb in both directions. I attached the hinges to the gate first, because I wanted them centered on the three rails. Then I marked the location of each hinge on a story pole. I placed the story pole on a temporary block of wood set at the exact elevation where I wanted the bottom of the gate. After I transferred the hinge locations onto the gate pole, I used a long level to plumb a vertical line through the marks, centering the line as well as I could on the pole.
Next I drilled holes through the pole for each hinge. I heated up three pieces of all-thread and bent a J-shape on one end to support each hinge. But I left the three pieces long because the extra-long all-thread—and two sets of jamb nuts—allowed me to plumb the J-bend for each hinge. I couldn’t get it perfectly plumb, but I got close.
Like the gate itself, the slide-latch is made from western red cedar, and the handle is turned from local madrone. Once the latch was made, we welded up the steel hardware, painted it all black, and mounted it to the gate with through-bolts and to the post with SDS screws. I hung a steel chain with a turnbuckle from the pole down to the top of the gate, figuring the gate would sag over time and I’d need to tighten the turnbuckle. But so far, it hasn’t sagged even 1/16 inch.
Gary Katz is a presenter at JLC Live and a frequent contributor to JLC. He lives in Jacksonville, Ore. KatzRoadshow.com