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      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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Posts Tagged ‘gate construction and fixing’

Did I tell you about the time I fixed the gate I built?

Posted by joeabbott on July 29, 2017

I built a gate into Chickenville and it started to fall apart. And so I fixed it.

When we brought chickens into our life we decided to cordon off a part of our yard to create what I call “Chickenville” … the part of the yard that belongs to the chickens. They range there, the live there, their coop is there: and anything we put on that side … a bench, plants, art … is theirs to do with as they please. But, with only one entry point on the north side, we wanted another entrance, so in summer 2011 we put in a gate on the south side that’s been a fantastic addition to the yard.

However, for a couple years now, I thought the gate was warping. The gate closes against two blocks attached to the upright but very slowly, a gap has been appearing between the upper block and the gate. It was a small gap for a long while but recently it grew to the point I couldn’t deny what I was seeing: the gate wasn’t warping, the upright post was starting to slump.

image            image

The true test was when I wiggled the post, it was clearly broken off beneath the soil. It wasn’t completely busted, so my strategy was going to be sinking another post directly next to the original but deep into the ground, and then screwing it to the existing post such that it held things steady.

While digging the hole for the new post, I found the problem but didn’t take any pictures … you forget that sorta thing while you’re sweating and spitting mad: the wood I’d used for the gate was rotting away under the soil and a piece had so completely eroded that I had two lag bolts sticking out into the middle of nothing … the wood had just disintegrated!

Well, I removed the bolts and was able to use them to tie the new setup together. This time I added concrete to hold things in place and while I am under no illusion that this will “last forever”, it’ll last at least another half decade and I’m hoping for more.

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After digging the hole, I found that some of the the original structure wouldn’t allow me to lay the new post directly against the slumping post, so I needed to add a spacer. I was hoping I had a 2×4 pressure treated stick in the garage but I didn’t … so I took a couple 4×4 sections, cut them in half, and used them as the spacer. The four smaller sections weren’t as clean as a single piece of lumber, but it did the trick and kept me from spending my way out of another problem.

After chamfering the top of the new post sections, I tied back the slumping post with some bungies I had laying around, clamped the posts and spacers together, and then drove the lag bolts through the stack. I then used some concrete that I had tucked away on a shelf (it was just a partial bag) and covered the rest of that hole with some of the soil I’d removed from the hole. And then let it set.

Here’s the gate after the concrete cured and I was able to remove the straps. Good as new!

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Coda

While I don’t celebrate my failures and things breaking, one of the things I like best about building stuff is that, if I have to build them a second time, I can do better and if something goes wrong, I can fix it. It’s an incredible feeling.

Thanks for looking in and I hope your gates, literal or otherwise, always swing open and close to your liking.

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