Here is a gate building project for you to follow -from the first step straight through to the self-satisfying stage of opening and closing the gate for the first time.

Before you begin the actual construction of the gate, first measure the distance between the posts at the top and bottom. If the space is not the same, make the posts vertically parallel either by forcing them apart at the top with a brace, or drawing them together with a wire turnbuckle.

Also make sure that you cut square corners on all framing members and check the ends that have been cut at the lumber yard.

Post; you can’t do this by running a wood brace the opposite way and expect the gate not to sag.

The inexperienced gate builder will have the hardest time of all getting the brace to fit snugly -and you won’t get good sup-port otherwise. Hold the 2 by 4 in place and mark the angle with a pencil. Be sure to use an exact measurement because if you’re off ½ inch, you won’t get a tight fit. If you cut the brace and you find that it doesn’t fit snugly, tighten it up with a wedge.

Another good way to brace a gate is to run a wire and turn-buckle or a metal rod diagonally from the top of the frame on the hinge side to the bottom on the latch side (just the oppo-site of the wooden brace). This brace pulls up the frame to the top of the hinge post. You can buy sets containing wire, a turn-buckle, and two metal angle plates that fit over the edges of the gate frame. Or you can attach the wire to screw eyes set in the frame. You can also have a rod and turnbuckle rig made up at a metal shop.


Although the latch is the first thing to consider, it’s the last thing you put on the gate. If all goes well, the gate should close smoothly and latch securely, and the latch should work easily. Remember that the latch is going to take a heavy beating. A flimsy latch put on with small nails or screws won’t hold up for long.