Redwood gate with glass insert

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Blog entry by MTBrian posted 09-10-2009 03:39 AM 5068 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.

9 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4300 days

#1 posted 09-10-2009 04:42 AM

Hey, that shop looks familiar!

I might have to stop up and see this project. It looks like your skills are coming along very nicely. Your joinery looks nice and tight and your design is pleasing.

One option would be to put pegs through the M&T to lock them together.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3778 days

#2 posted 09-10-2009 04:44 AM

cool gate and nice glass looks super.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MTBrian's profile


27 posts in 3627 days

#3 posted 09-10-2009 04:54 AM


I actually have been giving the peg idea alot of thought. the tenons are only 1 inch long, and i dont want to break them, thought about maybe a 3/8 or 1/2 peg. this again is a step i havent done before and dont know how it would affect the strength. this was a project where i wish i had more skill and confidence, as they would have been large dovetails

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4300 days

#4 posted 09-10-2009 05:09 AM

I would consider only a 1/4” peg and use two of them on each joint. It does not take much to lock in the tenon and you would not want to have too little material of the tenon left on the side of the peg.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View patron's profile


13640 posts in 3542 days

#5 posted 09-10-2009 05:34 AM

if you havent glued it up yet ,
maybe a weep hole on either side tilted down to let out the water ,
in the glass area , unless you plan on caulking it .
you have done a really nice job with this .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4300 days

#6 posted 09-10-2009 04:21 PM

I second Patron’s motion for the weep hole.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View MTMike's profile


2 posts in 3381 days

#7 posted 09-10-2009 06:05 PM

Hey Buddy, Found your link on facebook. You should’ve told be about this site. Looks Beautiful. Can’t wait to see it swingin’ in the backyard. Mike

-- MW

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3630 days

#8 posted 09-10-2009 06:57 PM

Youv’e done a really nice job with this gate. I am sure your mother will be very pleased. She’ll likely take all of her visitors out to see it. That could be harsh during the winter.

It must be nice having someone like Todd offer to come over and take a look. I might have to move back to Billings.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View FenceWorkshop's profile


267 posts in 3325 days

#9 posted 11-07-2009 04:09 AM

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