Garden Gate

A painted mahogany portal with an Oriental flair.

SHOP OWNER: Ellis Walentine
LOCATION: Springtown, PA

    About 5 years ago, we designed and built this 9 1/2-ft.-tall, Oriental-style gate, with a 5' x 10' lattice roof on top. It is made entirely of mahogany, with 5 x 5 posts, beams and arches laminated from 12/4 stock. We joined the framework with 7/8-in.-thick loose tenons. The lattice members are joined egg-crate style, with mating notches. They were sealed with epoxy, prefinished and site-assembled with stainless-steel deck screws.

    The arches were the biggest technical challenge. We drew the curves full-size on a piece of 1/4" plywood then cut it out with a router trammel. We used the template to trace and rough-bandsaw six pieces of 2 1/2-in.-thick mahogany, each making up one third of the arc. Next, we joined them with loose tenons and West System epoxy into two half-thickness arches. We flush-trimmed each half individually using our plywood template, then glued them together to form the full 5-in.-thick arch.

    The gate leaves themselves were a challenge. The vertical slats are coped to fit tightly to the curved rails and are joined with dowels and epoxy. The top edges of the bottom rails are beveled slightly so water will drain off, and the individual slats have mating v-grooves on the bottom.

    We sub-assembled the side frames and finished all the parts with a heavy coat of oil-based primer followed by a couple coats of opaque exterior "stain" (both from California Products). The hinges and latch are stainless steel. Properly maintained with an annual coat of stain, this gate should last many lifetimes.

...Ellis Walentine




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P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081