Ive very slowly been working on what could be considered my first “real” project. In that it is a project that is not for use in the shop. My mom had a very nice stained and stamped pation poured recently and installed a new cedar fence for privacy. So i volunteered to build a gate. She said that she wanted something that was very really nice looking and would be the focal point of the fence. So i drew up several sketches of some redwood gates, and asked what she liked the best. We decided on a large, flat panel gate with some sort of insert. She was thinking about maybe having some decorative iron made up for it. I lucked out and while i was at a garage sale, i noticed a half moon shaped glass door insert. 20$ later it was mine, and i had my insert.
I have absolutely no experience in building gates. I have never built anything that was ‘nice’, that was finished and was meant to be looked at. So i was a bit nervous, but decided that i have read enough, watched enough ‘Wood Works’ and good ol Norm to handle this project. I decided that i would have thick rails and stiles with the panel inset. So i got my lumber, let it sit in my shop for about a month and was ready.
Each step of this project has consisted of two stages. 1. spend two weeks staring at the wood, drawing sketches and drink pepsi. Then, when ive figured out how i want to do this step, 2. spend an hour actually working wood. Rinse and repeat.
i jointed and planed all the wood at the same time. The rails and stiles were to be exactly twice the thickness of the panel, so this made it easy.
For the panel, first i routed a chamfer on each edge of the boards so that it would have a decorative look, and hide the areas where i didnt joint properly then i got out my handy biscuit joiner and created my center panel. Then i face glued the rails and stiles. then i spent several weeks thinking.
After i figured out where i wanted the insert, i cut off the top third of the panel and used the bandsaw to cut the curve for the top of the glass. Then i built a jig for my router that let the router float along the curve and create the groove for the glass. I spent A LOT of time thinking about this. I knew once i cut, if i messed up, then id have to start all over, or make some trim to cover the mistake up. But the jig worked perfectly.
At this point, i would like to bring attention to something amazing. I had glued the panel before i found the glass. The glass “IS THE EXACT SAME WIDTH AS THE PANEL”. Divine intervention????? who knows.
Then it was time to create the dado or groove for the panel. It is an inch deep and 1 3/8” thick. I ran the boards through the table saw to set the outside edge of the groove and then cut the rest on my router table. This was a nerve racking part for me. I have never cut a dado, a mortise, a tenon, nothing. but i measured well and it came out nicely.
Then i cut the tenons in the top to fit the sides. And tenons in the sides to fit the bottom.
Then it was time for a dry fit.
And then stood it up.
Now its time to glue the whole thing together. I would like to finishe this thing having used no metal fasteners. I was thinking of glueing it, and then putting on several coats of a strong exterior clear coating. I do worry that harsh Montana winters and scorching summers will affect the glue though. Should i use some hidden screws or bolts to hold outside frame together? Is there a good sealer that will protect the glue? I used waterproof glue, and we dont get that much moisture here, but i still dont want this thing to come apart. So now i turn to you Lumberjocks to throw some wisdom my way here.