Pet Gate

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Project by Kevin_S posted 12-11-2012 05:58 AM 1824 views 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a pet gate I made a year or so ago. Got tired of the store bought gates and figured I could do better.

The wood is poplar, painted to match the trim. The main frame is doweled and the “bars” are dovetailed into the frame which you should be able to see in the second picture. I wanted nice sturdy joints that wouldn’t loosen up over time. It’s about 38” wide by 31” high, by 1 1/8” thick. The square opening is big enough for the cats, but too small for the dogs. That is one design feature I borrowed from the commercial gates.

The gate is held closed with magnets set into the frame that match up with magnets set into the wall mounted stop, but it’s easy to push open with a foot if your arms are full. If needed, I could add a latch that would stop any of the dogs from opening the gate, but they seem to accept the gate as a barrier and don’t mess with it.

I originally tried using double acting hinges that would let the gate open both ways, but the only ones I found weren’t sturdy enough and the gate sagged uselessly. So I went with plan B and used a couple standard hinges I already had on hand.

There is one accidental design feature in the gate and that is the small step routed into the inside edges. I meant to just round over all the edges, but didn’t notice that I had the small bearing on the roundover bit. After my first cut I saw my mistake (and followed that with much cussing). The gate was already assembled, so I couldn’t just replace the “ruined” piece. I went ahead and routed the rest of the edges and ended up liking that detail better than if I had just done a simple roundover.

7 comments so far

View Bagtown's profile


1745 posts in 5191 days

#1 posted 12-11-2012 12:00 PM

I like the cat feature.
Nice job.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View matts_dad's profile


63 posts in 4120 days

#2 posted 12-11-2012 01:49 PM

Well done, sturdy and attractive to boot!

A couple of years ago I made a gate, but I was not at all pleased with how sturdy the whole thing was. I would be interested in see a picture in enough detail to see the dovetail joints at the ends of the bars. It might motivate me to rebuild mine. – thanks for showing your work.

-- Barry

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5038 days

#3 posted 12-11-2012 01:51 PM

Good thinking well done


View redsox9's profile


105 posts in 3747 days

#4 posted 12-11-2012 02:14 PM

Clever to add the opening for the cats, though our feline household members would just simply jump over the gate as they did when the kids were small. Nice work! Thanks for sharing.

-- Jeff, North Andover, MA

View HorizontalMike's profile


7935 posts in 4374 days

#5 posted 12-11-2012 03:52 PM

Wow! What amazing joinery and router work!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Kevin_S's profile


35 posts in 4649 days

#6 posted 12-16-2012 05:26 PM

matts_dad, I wish I had taken more pictures during construction. Now that the gate is painted the dovetail details are obscured. So instead, I added another image. This one is a quick sketch of the frame and bar joint. I cut the dovetailed slots in the frame first on the router table. I cut both top and bottom frame at the same time so the slots would align. Then I cut the ends of the bars. I made a jig to hold the bars upright and slide along the router table fence. I snuck up on the right setup by shaving a little bit at a time from each side. Once I got a good fit, I ran all the bars through.

View matts_dad's profile


63 posts in 4120 days

#7 posted 02-10-2013 12:10 AM


The diagram made things clear. Now I understand why your gate is sturdier than mine. If you look at my “Flowered Coffee Table” project you can catch my gate in the background. It was difficult to get a whole bunch of tiny mortise & tenon joints to fit together without over sanding them.

So, it is with much respect that I suspect that what you have built is easier said than done.

Thanks for the detail.

-- Barry

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