The Build No-Sag Gates for your Porch woodworking plans are a big hit with pet owners, and the interest and feedback so far has exceeded my expectations.
I want to thank the fine folks who have purchased Stonehaven Life Woodworking Plans over the years, and to extend my appreciation to all my regular readers.
If this is your first visit, I invite you to have a look around.
I also thought this would be a good time to share some ideas and tips that I’ve discovered since I completed the Pet Gate plans.
Modification and Maintenance Tips
I just received some pictures and suggestions from Michael, an engineer and hobby woodworker, who recently finished and installed his pet gates built from my original plans.
Michael made some practical modifications for his gates that I felt would be helpful for those of you who are about to build your gates or are considering purchasing the plans.
Michael didn’t have ready access to 1 1/2″ stock for the balusters so he used 1 x 2 (3/4″ x 1 1/2″) stock instead. I didn’t even notice it from the pictures.
The 3/4″ thick balusters are centred (front to back) on the top and bottom rails and the 1 1/2″ width still contributes to the strength of the gate to help prevent sagging.
SQUARE EDGES (NOT ROUTED)
The routed edges on some gate components as shown in the plans are purely an aesthetic feature designed to match the porch railing details in our Porch Companion Plans .
Michael’s gates look great without routed edges or chamfers on the balusters.
There’s no question that going with a simplified look would reduce the amount of work involved and may be the right choice to suit your existing railings. The pictures show how these gates look with just slightly eased edges on all the components.
Slider Bolt Sleeve
Michael first contacted me to tell me about his idea to add a metal (or plastic) sleeve on the bolt for the slider knob. This has two big advantages:
- it protects the edges of slot in the Cap Rail and will prevent the threads from gouging the ends of the slot if the slider channels are a bit longer than intended.
- acts as a spacer to keep the knob slightly above the top of the rail (1/8″ – 1/4″ is good) and provides a positive stop to keep the knob from turning.
And I wasn’t at all surprised to read this in Michael’s recent email:
“Everyone has commented on how fancy the latch is!”
Great job Michael.
Side-mounted slider option
In the past few months since I published these Pet Gate plans I’ve also considered the possibility of locating the slider knob on the outside edge of the top rail. My reason for thinking about this option was for people who have large dogs that would be likely to put their paws up on the gate and could “learn” to open the slider.
I haven’t looked closely at what alterations are required for this, but if you’ve got a “jumper” that you think could make a great escape, let me know and I can help work out the details with you. If you’ve already done something similar, I’d love to see some pictures.
I also had an inquiry from a purchaser who was concerned about water sitting in the slider channel. The side-mounted slider knob would also minimize the amount of water that might get in.
An easy solution would be to drill drainage holes in the bottom of the slider channel. They would need to be located to drain between the balusters.
Even though our gates are protected to some degree by the porch roof, they get quite wet due to the prevailing wind. It hasn’t been an issue for us. We don’t use the slider in freezing weather for the same reasons we wouldn’t use any other type of latch.
Basic Slider Maintenance
As with anything mechanical, you need to do a bit of maintenance now and then to keep things working properly.
Our gates have been in place for over three years. This spring, the slider was a bit sluggish, so I removed the Cap Rail assemblies from the gates (leaving the gates in place) and disassembled them.
I gave all the contact surfaces a light sanding and applied a few more coats of paste wax.
I put them back together and reinstalled them on the gates. The whole process can be done in about 20 minutes.
If you’ve made modifications or improvements when building your No-Sag Pet Gates or have questions, you can share them using the comments section below or though the Stonehaven Life contact form.