Cedar Gate

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Project by clin posted 08-23-2016 11:05 PM 2454 views 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally a project that wasn’t something for the shop. My wife insisted that a shed be placed to where she could not see it. Which meant on the side of our house where there was no access. So we had to put an opening in the wall and put a gate in.

The gate is made form inland, western red cedar. For those not in the know, western red cedar comes in two flavors; coastal and inland. Same tree, just grows different. Coastal grow very large, like a redwood, and you can get large, clear boards from it. Though it tends to be a very dark reddish brown color. Inland, where it is much dryer, grows more like pine trees and has a more yellow color. Because inland trees are a lot smaller, you don’t get the big clear boards.

I wanted this to look more like pine, which is more common for these southwestern style gates, so I went with the inland red cedar.

The build is a bit unusual in that instead of working with thick boards for the frame, I laminated three 1X boards. The three boards form a final thickness of almost 2 1/2”. Makes a nice solid structure. I’m not even sure if inland red cedar is available much thicker than 1X.

Because I laminated it, I also did not have to cut mortises. I just left the inner board short or cut it cout before laminating. The inner board is also narrower to create the channel that holds the panel boards. Of course a dado could have been cut easily. But this avoids that step.

To laminate it nice and flat, I built a 5 ft long 6” wide torsion box as a caul to clamp it to.

The center boards are tongue and groove that I cut on the table saw. Used the block plane to chamfer the edges as well as the tongue. Tongue is 3/8” long.

The wood was very dry so I spaced the panel boards about 3/16” to allow for possible expansion. The panel boards are attached, but only by stainless steel brads toenailed in on the back side. Just a single brad in the center at the end of the board.

The idea is the boards length won’t change, the board can expand and contract without restriction. The brads just hold the board in general position. Also, the boards only extend about 3/8” into the 1/2” deep channel. This allows for the way the 45 degree cut will expand and contract giving it some clearance.

I think the frame was likely stiff enough to avoid sagging, but chickened out and built in the diagonals on the back side. Figured why not. Looks fine. I did run some brass screws through the diagonals in the panel boards. I placed these where the center of the diagonal cross the center of a panel board. Again, these should be locations with minimal wood movement. The idea behind these screws was to stiffen the diagonal.

I also secured the ends of the diagonals with biscuits. There’s actually 3 biscuits on the longer edge where the diagonal meets the stile, but only the biscuit nearest the corner is glued in. Again, not gluing the entire joint to reduce problems from wood movement. There is another biscuit on the short end glued to the rail. Mostly the biscuits just hold the ends of the diagonals in position. But the one diagonal, that is in tension, just might support some tension with the biscuit joint.

Finish is Penofin (a rosewood oil finish). Penofin has a lot of UV inhibitors and has worked very well for me in my high-desert climate.

-- Clin

9 comments so far

View doubleDD's profile (online now)


7868 posts in 2240 days

#1 posted 08-23-2016 11:18 PM

Beautiful build on the gate. That is some cool looking Cedar.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View BurlyBob's profile (online now)


5973 posts in 2462 days

#2 posted 08-24-2016 12:03 AM

That’s a real nice design and execution. Your gate turned out wonderful.

View Desert_Woodworker's profile


1631 posts in 1411 days

#3 posted 08-24-2016 02:09 AM

What an inspiration for me- I want to do a similar project.

-- Desert_Woodworker

View ohwoodeye's profile


2100 posts in 3350 days

#4 posted 08-24-2016 02:55 PM

Very attractive.
Well done.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's "opinion" on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View pottz's profile


3485 posts in 1181 days

#5 posted 08-24-2016 06:24 PM

very nice looking gate, well done.

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

View Bud_3's profile


869 posts in 1421 days

#6 posted 08-24-2016 09:43 PM

Nice executed.The stumps give good contrast.

-- Personality and character of a man is like wood,must polish it to shine...

View WoodHoarder's profile


67 posts in 2478 days

#7 posted 08-25-2016 03:27 PM

Looks great Clin! There is just something about gates. I really like how you did the diagonals on the back. I really appreciate your input on my on-going project. Given that input im in the process of doing the same diagonals on my gate. Excellent writeup btw.

-- Christ was a carpenter...a fact that humbles and inspires me.

View Eddie_T's profile


208 posts in 2268 days

#8 posted 08-25-2016 06:17 PM

Would be a nice adaptable design for cafe doors, just imagine them split down the middle.

View JPJ's profile


819 posts in 2816 days

#9 posted 08-27-2016 02:25 AM

Nice job!

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