Finished Gate


fence-11Compared to our CT house, our house in MA has even more ragged old White Pines that need clearing. I haven’t yet had a chance to get really started, but I did take one dead tree down recently when I needed to build a section of rail fence to act as a gate in the stone wall. After cutting and setting posts to match the mailbox post that I made, I needed a 14 ft section of rail to fill the gate opening. This is far longer than the split rails available at the store but there was a simple solution.

I selected an old dead tree about 12 inches in diameter and cut it down, then quartered it and shaped the ends of 3 of the quarters into split rails. The chainsaw and my back got a workout, but I was pretty happy with the split-rail gate.

fence-1First, I had to take down and re-stack the rocks to create a generous passway through our stone wall (you can see a few at right which were too heavy to move far!). I then set the posts I’d already made, which I cut from a 6×6 treated hemlock to match the mailbox post that I made the same way. The split rail gate necessitated cutting receiving slots though. I didn’t have a Forstner bit big enough, so I used a hole saw and chisel to cut each slot through. This step took longer than any other part of the project, including felling and sawing up the tree.

fence-2I felled a tree about 12 inches in diameter, then cut a section about 14 feet long. I also cut myself a couple of log horses, then split the log in half.


fence-5The bark just peeled away as I quartered the log.


fence-7I shaped each end to fit into the posts, testing each one to make sure I could remove the rail fairly easily, as this is meant to be a gate (an infrequently used gate anyway).


fence-9And here’s the finished gate with my somewhat grubby self.

fence-11One last photo showing the view from the back yard along the side of the house to the front wall and gate.