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Redwood gate with window

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Forum topic by Pyro posted 10-12-2019 02:57 PM 274 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Pyro

66 posts in 704 days


10-12-2019 02:57 PM

Hey guys,

There is a fence with a gate in front of my house that really needs to be rebuilt. I’m planning on using redwood. I am a novice woodworker so when I have built gate doors in the past I have made a frame out of 2×6 with pocket holes and then I have TnG slats sitting inside the frame in grooves. I put up a single cross piece afterwards to prevent sagging. Surprisingly they have held up very well.

This new gate door must have a window in it. Not a literal window with glass but rather an open space so we can see who is standing behind it. We’d also like it to look less like a gate and a little more like a door. I know mortise and tenon is the way real doors are done but I’m a little intimidated to try it here.

Appreciate any advice or links to anything you guys think would be helpful. Thank you


13 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8788 posts in 3120 days


#1 posted 10-12-2019 03:04 PM

Practice mortise and tenon’s on scrap until you get the hang of it. It’s a skill worth developing.

Maybe build up a mock up gate as a test run.

You got this!

Dowels are also a viable alternative.

View Pyro's profile

Pyro

66 posts in 704 days


#2 posted 10-12-2019 03:14 PM



Practice mortise and tenon s on scrap until you get the hang of it. It s a skill worth developing.

Maybe build up a mock up gate as a test run.

You got this!

Dowels are also a viable alternative.

- waho6o9

I was afraid someone might say this hah.

When making a tenon out of 2x, how thick should they be?

Do you think I’ll be able to make the mortises in a super soft wood with inexpensive and moderately sharp chisels?

In your opinion would through mortises be any easier for a first timer? Appreciate it.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8788 posts in 3120 days


#3 posted 10-12-2019 03:35 PM

“When making a tenon out of 2x, how thick should they be?”

1/2” should be fine.

“Do you think I’ll be able to make the mortises in a super soft wood with inexpensive and moderately sharp chisels?”

Probably. Make a strop ( MDF works too) and get some green honing compound because a sharp edge work’s best.

“In your opinion would through mortises be any easier for a first timer?”

May be easier but I don’t think it’s appropriate for an outside redwood gate.

View Pyro's profile

Pyro

66 posts in 704 days


#4 posted 10-12-2019 04:10 PM


May be easier but I don t think it s appropriate for an outside redwood gate.

Is that because of exposed end grain and moisture or just cosmetics?

Thanks.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5415 posts in 2852 days


#5 posted 10-12-2019 04:22 PM

Look through some of these.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=no+sag+wood+fence+gate

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8788 posts in 3120 days


#6 posted 10-12-2019 04:33 PM

“Is that because of exposed end grain and moisture or just cosmetics?”

Both

View SMP's profile

SMP

1428 posts in 449 days


#7 posted 10-12-2019 04:41 PM

A gate is a good place to practice as it doesn’t need to be perfect on a gate. But if its intimidating, don’t rule out other joints like lap or bridle etc that are also fine for a gate

View clin's profile

clin

1071 posts in 1539 days


#8 posted 10-12-2019 10:35 PM

I built a gate a few years ago from Spanish Cedar. Also one of my first larger projects. I used draw bore M&T joints. If you aren’t familiar with these, look into it. In a nutshell the draw bore is a way to insert pegs that hold things together, but the holes in two piece are slightly off center so that as the peg is driven in, it pulls the joint very tight.

While I did glue mine, glue is not strictly needed. Here’s my project link.

Click for details

I see no reason to have a thru-tenon. It is a technique I’ve seen used on gates. but the reason was it used a wedge to set the tenon. So of course the end of the tenon must go all the way through and be exposed. This is a more complex M&T because the mortise is cut at a slight angle and when wedged the tenon spreads out and the whole thing is a bit like a dovetail.

As a rule, a tenon is about 1/3 the thickness of the material. If you are using 2x material which is more like 1.5” thick, then just as waho6o9 said, 1/2” would be the correct size.

I think this is a great project to learn M&T on. It doesn’t require the fine results of furniture making. As suggested by others, make some practice joints until you figure out the process that works best for you. Also, keep in mind you are making relatively large M&T joints. So you may want to help this along with some power tools.

In my case, I bored a series of holes to hog out most of the material for the mortises before using a chisel to square things up. I used a fence on my drill press for this. I used my table saw and dado stack to cut the tenons. Just give it a go and see what works best for you.

I know pocket holes are much easier and I use those here and there, but this sounds like it’s supposed to be a nice front gate and I think it deserves something that will look the best and almost certainly hold up better over time.

-- Clin

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Pyro

66 posts in 704 days


#9 posted 10-13-2019 01:27 AM

Wow Clin, your gate is what I’d like mine to be in a perfect world. Blown away by the finished product, the blog, and all the work you went through.

I like the idea of the draw bore m&t. When cutting them did you intentionally make your mortises a little deeper than your tenon’s?

Maybe I will make a miniature m&t practice frame out of pine and see how it goes. Am I correct in believing a m&t frame will not sag? I know that’s how interior doors are built and they hold up for centuries.

View pottz's profile

pottz

6760 posts in 1528 days


#10 posted 10-13-2019 01:50 AM

you could also do a floating tenon which i prefer,it’s what the festool domino does quite well,but thats an expensive tool you probably dont need.personally i dont care for or use redwood anymore because the new growth wood is mostly sap wood anymore which is not rot resistant and termites love it,id use cedar like clin showed on his gate,looks better and will last a lot longer.just some thoughts to consider.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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Pyro

66 posts in 704 days


#11 posted 10-13-2019 03:02 AM



you could also do a floating tenon which i prefer,it s what the festool domino does quite well,but thats an expensive tool you probably dont need.personally i dont care for or use redwood anymore because the new growth wood is mostly sap wood anymore which is not rot resistant and termites love it,id use cedar like clin showed on his gate,looks better and will last a lot longer.just some thoughts to consider.

- pottz

Pottz,

Is something like the dowelmax an economical alternative to the domino?

Glad you brought up the redwood. I’ve seen a lot of termites in redwood. Regarding cedar, will any cedar be rot resistant? What should I look for that’s fairly economical? Thanks

View clin's profile

clin

1071 posts in 1539 days


#12 posted 10-13-2019 03:08 AM



Wow Clin, your gate is what I d like mine to be in a perfect world. Blown away by the finished product, the blog, and all the work you went through.

I like the idea of the draw bore m&t. When cutting them did you intentionally make your mortises a little deeper than your tenon s?

Maybe I will make a miniature m&t practice frame out of pine and see how it goes. Am I correct in believing a m&t frame will not sag? I know that s how interior doors are built and they hold up for centuries.

- Pyro

Yes, the mortises are a bit deeper. This give a little room for any excess glue to get pushed into.

M&T joints are not magic. The ability to resist sag directly relates to the ability of the joint to remain square under load. With an M&T joint, much of this pressure is held by the shoulders. For example, at the corners on the latch side, that want to drop down. The bottom of the joint is under tension and the top under compression. So the shoulders at the top need to be larger enough to support this and not crush.

The lower half of the tenon is under tension and it trying to be pulled out of the mortise. The glue is what holds this, if there is no other feature, like pegs.

Also, how snug the edge of the tenon fit the mortise matters a lot as well. It’s obvious that the tighter this is, the more the joint simple cannot be forced out of square.

The width of the joint matters a lot. For example, a gate like mine, if the frame where too small, like 4” wide stock, the the forces in the joint would be magnified. The width of the tenon and the overall member is a bit like the length of a lever. The longer the lever the less force it takes to resist the load.

In the end, it is wood, and if the gate is wide like mine, gravity will have its way up to a point. I haven’t measured anything on mine, but I’d guess the latch side of the gate has dropped maybe 1/16” after about two years, and most of that was early on as it settled. I think it’s been stable for over a year.

However, it is standard practice to run a frame member diagonally from the top corner on the latch side to the bottom corner on the hinge side. This orientation is critical. As the gate tries to sag, these two corners try to move closer together. The diagonal frame member keeps them pushed apart (it’s under compression). Similarly, for more utilitarian gates (looks don’t matter), a steel cable is run from the upper hinge corner to lower latch corner. That’s becasue these corners will try to move further apart with sag. The cable pulls on them.

My gate has a different look, but I still went ahead and put diagonals on the back side. Though these aren’t full thickness and quite possible do very little to help. One would be under compression, but the other under tension and the joints for these are not M&T, just biscuits, so I doubt the one under tension is really doing anything.

What I can say with confidence is that a half-good M&T is going to work much better over time than a pocket screw joint. While a gate and door are essentially the same thing, most gates are wider than doors and this means the gate is heavier and the weight is further out from the hinge so the forces pulling on it are much more than on a door.

My gate is quite wide, and due to the space it is in, the highest hinge is still very far from the top of the gate. So it’s a near worst case kind of scenario. The worse would be a driveway gate or similar very wider gate. Huge forces on those given that they are very wide compared to their height. There’s a reason some of those have a wheel under them to hold them up.

Bottom line, I think an M&T joint (draw bore even better) is the best thing you can do short of adding steel reinforcement. Make some practice joints, small to start. But certainly make some full size as well.

Quality wood helps. It sounds to me like you are looking at using redwood decking materials. I’m pretty sure that stuff is not very dry and therefore is more prone to twisting etc. This depends a lot on where you live. I’m in the desert southwest, and there’s NO wood you can purchased that won’t dry out even more when used outside.

So just be sure to give the gate some room to move. You can’t expect to mount it with the small clearances of a typical interior door.

-- Clin

View pottz's profile

pottz

6760 posts in 1528 days


#13 posted 10-13-2019 03:28 AM


you could also do a floating tenon which i prefer,it s what the festool domino does quite well,but thats an expensive tool you probably dont need.personally i dont care for or use redwood anymore because the new growth wood is mostly sap wood anymore which is not rot resistant and termites love it,id use cedar like clin showed on his gate,looks better and will last a lot longer.just some thoughts to consider.

- pottz

Pottz,

Is something like the dowelmax an economical alternative to the domino?

Glad you brought up the redwood. I ve seen a lot of termites in redwood. Regarding cedar, will any cedar be rot resistant? What should I look for that s fairly economical? Thanks

- Pyro


well yes the dowelmax system is about 225 i think but the domino is gonna set back a cool grand,but for me it’s well worth it.as far as termites,ha it was hot today and the termites were hatching,i went into the garage this afternoon and found about 20 termites crawling on the floor looking for some tasty wood to call home.well not sure where your at but here in socal ive always used western red cedar,my patio pergola is about 27 yrs old and the cedar slats are still solid,no termite damage.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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