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Building a Removable Wood Fence Section and Gate

2018 Replace — Originally Revealed October 6, 2012

Once we enclosed my yard with a cedar fence 11 years ago, it seemed like a good concept to create a removable part using a single (but ultra-sturdy) fence submit sleeve so we might get a truck inside. You never know once you may have to get back there, right? So I constructed one. And because it turned out, this came in useful time-and-time once more. (At one point, lightning truly struck and destroyed a 45-foot maple tree, and we have been capable of simply get the gear again there to take away what was left of the tree earlier than it fell on my house!) However lately, while in the midst of a large yard renovation challenge, this access wasn’t even sufficient – and all the things needed to get ripped out.

And so I had the prospect to build it once more.

My driveway is a bit over 13-feet extensive, and it leads proper into the backyard. This width is great for pretty much anything (together with a cement truck), and while I had previously created a 10-foot entry, this time I made a decision to “go for the gold” and design for all the driveway width.

You’ll be able to see what I had to work with slightly below…

My renovation activities destroyed not only my unique fence entry, but in addition a part of the driveway itself! Making an attempt to salvage what I might, I used to be working with a mason to add the grey paver apron you possibly can see leading into the yard; the asphalt was utterly falling apart up there. I also had the original fencing materials. I broke down what I might for reuse, however a lot of the wooden was previous and “tired,” breaking as I tried to disassemble the pieces – so I wanted to buy some new cedar backers and further pickets. Up to now, I had manufactured some alternative pickets utilizing a band saw, but this time I used to be working with a fence contractor on another challenge, and he was most useful in performing some small-quantity custom picket creation for me.

So, the essential goals have been clear – but, as with most tasks, issues all the time appear to get a bit more complicated if you begin breaking down the small print…

Removable Fence Section and Gate Design

The last word aim: When every little thing is assembled, the fence should look completely normal. However once I have to open all the things up for truck access, it needs to be like a huge erector set, straightforward to break down in about 10 minutes or so.

Part of my 13-foot entry was going to be a removable fence section, and the remaining portion can be a giant gate for ride-on lawn mower entry. To accommodate both of those, I used to be going to wish to create a “removable” fence publish in the middle. I’ll present you ways I did this under, but for now it’s essential to level out that using a detachable submit works superb for a secure part of fence, nevertheless it shouldn’t be used as a hinge anchor for the gate; it’s not as robust as a regular fence submit.

Given the above, a couple of very specific gadgets had to be thought-about:

1.     Tips on how to measurement the gate? My gate was going to must be outsized for weekly mower access. For me, this meant a minimum of 61 inches – but you must watch out here. When a picket gate is open, the opening gained’t necessarily be the identical because the width of the gate itself. If the gate solely swings by way of 90-degrees (like mine), the ensuing opening might be close to 2-inches smaller. (That is because of the width of the backer and picket by the hinge.) I made a decision to play it conservatively. I designed for a 68-inch gate (bodily), and this resulted in a ~66-inch opening when at 90-degrees.

2.     Where to hinge the gate? It’s crucial that the gate be hinged on a rock-solid fence publish. In addition, the grade have to be thought-about. When you word my driveway above, it pitches downward to the correct, and my gate must swing outward. If I hinged the gate on the left, it might get stuck on the driveway because of the pitch mid-swing. It wanted, subsequently, to be hinged on the appropriate.

Taking all the above together, my design required three gadgets:

  • A strong detachable fence part on the left – about 90-inches vast, plus or minus
  • A detachable fence submit to the best of the detachable fence section
  • A 68” gate, hinged on the prevailing publish to the appropriate of the driveway

For those who’re reading this and considering doing something comparable, an important point is that it’s *so* essential to assume this all out prematurely. Every design is totally different. I’m not speaking about 5 minutes of considering – I imply actually laying it out on paper and contemplating the nuances, particularly if there’s a gate involved.

Setting the Fence Posts

Except for renting a power auger (which frequently requires 2 individuals to operate), digging fence submit holes is not any fun at all. If someone finds a option to make this straightforward, they’ll make plenty of money. Because the publish to the proper of the driveway was already in place, I wanted to install only two posts.

The first thing I had to do was run a line between the prevailing posts. This was essential to maintain the sections I used to be about to construct in keeping with the remainder of the fence, and so it wanted to be tight and tangent to the entrance of the prevailing posts. You possibly can see this in several of the photographs that comply with.

Installing the First [Non-Removable] Cedar Fence Submit

Within the photograph slightly below (with me wanting very grumpy), I’m digging the primary of my two publish holes. Measure the peak you want above floor (from any present submit) and mark your submit hole digger with masking tape on one of the handles so that you simply’ll know when to cease digging. For those who can dig these holes in 10 minutes, you’re very fortunate. Normally, you’ll be able to anticipate to hit roots, stones and shale. If the bottom could be very dry, it typically helps to add a little water.

Once the opening was finished, I dropped in the submit and added concrete mix as initial backfill.  I then threw in rocks and broken bricks – something I might find to additional solidify the submit, together with the unique dust I had removed as properly. I are likely to alternate between layers of concrete, rocks and filth when installing fence posts, and I moist this all down as I backfill for max packing density. Whereas doing this, though, it’s really necessary to use a small (torpedo) degree to make sure the publish stays vertically true – whereas all the time watching to you keep the entrance of the publish aligned with the information line. It feels like a lot to think about, but you simply do it slowly and rigorously. Hold concrete away from the top Four-5 inches of the opening if you need grass to ultimately grow there.

Digging the Fence Post Holes

My Fence Publish Set up Video

Whereas not made particularly for this venture, the following video exhibits the installation of a alternative cedar fence publish for the same fence – chances are you’ll find this value a watch as properly when you’ve never installed a fence publish before; typically it’s greatest to observe a video in fact. I exploit my sawzall in right here as nicely to trim the submit(s) to measurement earlier than putting in, which is something I didn’t explicitly call out above as properly.

Now, Installing the REMOVABLE Fence Submit

Now that I had the common fence submit installed, I needed to work on the removable publish.

I used a “fence post sleeve” to create the bottom for the detachable submit. You possibly can see mine on the bottom behind me in the photograph above, and these might be found within the fence part of your ironmongery shop or certainly even on Amazon like this one right right here. I recommend getting the longest one out there for as much power as attainable. The fence publish sleeve shall be set into the ground like a regular submit, but once set – your publish will then be put in into the sleeve and secured with a couple of bolts.

So, while the fence submit sleeve will all the time keep within the floor, the publish could be removed afterwards by loosening two bolts: easy and efficient.

I set the sleeve in primarily the same method as the primary fence submit – however I went heavier on the concrete and reinforcement right here as there was just much less to chew onto. And did I mention to be very cautious about being positive to maintain the entrance of the publish (now the fence publish sleeve) aligned together with your guide line in addition to vertically true? 😉

Installing the Removable Fence Post Sleeve

Subsequent, I minimize the detachable publish to the suitable peak a good pre-painted (to keep all the things good and neat), but I needed to hold off for a day to let the concrete set a bit before taking this too much further.

As soon as this was extra secure – the detachable submit was bolted into the sleeve, and it was then time to start development of the detachable fence section.

Installing the Removable Fence Post

Preparing for Removable Fence Section Construction

The Removable Fence Section

This part of cedar fence can be secured to the posts with countersunk lag screws, facilitating straightforward removing with a socket wrench and deep socket. That’s the important strategy. However first issues first – let’s begin with the backers…

I took two backer sections, salvaged from the unique fence, and briefly nailed them into place. I decided the required general backer lengths by operating these from their desired positions adjacent to the connecting backers on the left – and taking them all the best way to “just shy” of the appropriate aspect of the detachable submit.

(I went “just shy” to allow for swelling of the wooden with humidity and rain. Keep in mind, to the suitable of the removable submit will ultimately be a gate that needs to be able to swing freely. We can’t have the backer from the removable gate part move the best hand edge of the detachable publish or it can intrude with the gate.)

More Preparation for Removable Fence Section Construction

As soon as the backers have been sawed to the right lengths, I once more briefly nailed them into place – and now began to attach them [for real] by way of four galvanized lag screws, one at all sides of every of the 2 backers. I began with a 1-inch bore at a depth that might guarantee my screw would chew onerous into the backer with out piercing to the surface. Then I drilled a pilot gap, simply a little smaller than lag screw itself – by way of the submit and into the backer. Once that is all accomplished, the lag screw gets installed. And in any case 4 are in place, we now have removable backers.

A tool-related aspect word: The sawhorses I exploit (within the photograph above) have been notably excellent on multiple tasks – simple to use and rock-solid secure. For a few years in my first house, I used to be truly utilizing a ladder on its aspect or the tailgate of my truck to secure wooden while I was sawing. That’s imprecise and it’s harmful. When you don’t have a nice set of sawhorses, I undoubtedly advocate you make the investment: you would have them for decades. I’ve been making an attempt to link to particular instruments and supplies throughout this article the place it is sensible, and this specific sawhorse set is true right here.

Drilling Countersink Holes for Lag Screws

Installing Lag Screws - Fence Post to Backer

Lag Screws In Position - Fence Post to Backer

It’s time now to show the “removable backers” into a removable fence section.

The primary trick right here has to do with managing the spacing. Fence sections are typically manufactured in normal lengths, akin to Eight-feet. This enables for uniform picket spacing. But we now have a part of custom size that certainly doesn’t have to accommodate the picket spacing used by the unique fence. We’re going to wish to get a little artistic right here.

First, I measured the width of the pickets together with the spacing used on the original fence sections. I had 3.5 inch pickets, each with about 1.5 inches in between. This means the start of every new picket began each 5.0 inches.

From the start of this challenge, we decided our gate can be 68 inches, and our detachable fence section can be 90 inches, plus or minus. We will now measure with confidence the exact length of the detachable fence section by merely measuring one of the backers that have been simply custom-cut into place. Let’s say this was truly 92.25 inches.

Take a shut take a look at the picture under which exhibits some markings I made on the top detachable backer. If our backer was precisely 90 inches, we would wish 90/5 = 18 pickets, spaced exactly 1.5 inches apart. That might have been a tremendous stroke of luck! And you may see very small vertical markings indicating this ideally suited.

But alas, we didn’t end up with a 90-inch backer – we ended up with 92.25 inches. Meaning we have to add a little little bit of further area in between. How a lot? 2.25 inches divided by 18 pickets provides precisely one-eighth of an inch additional spacing per picket.

I marked this additional spacing with the complete vertical strains (drawn with a degree), and you’ll be able to see how the spacing accumulates over every interval.

Marking Backers for Fence Picket Positioning

Once I have this is all marked out, the fun begins as a result of all I’ve to do is nail pickets to the backers one-by-one, being positive to keep all of them vertically true (with my degree once more), and making certain the bottoms of the pickets don’t contact the bottom if it may be prevented… they’ll last longer if they’re not in the water when it rains.

Hey – that is simply straightforward now! Plus, you see progress with every picket you add. And since every little thing is all marked out, there can’t be any surprises – the homework has been completed prematurely. All pickets get nailed into place and it ends proper the place it’s alleged to, finishing the detachable fence part.

You’ll be able to see under, I used previous wood the place I might (the painted pickets), however I had to minimize into a number of the new material as properly. I needed to save lots of the newer wooden for the gate, which would have to deal with far more stress on a every day basis.

Removable Fence Section Construction Completed

Building the Picket Gate

At this level, I had a very properly outlined opening between two posts – and it measure 68 inches. I reduce two backer sections from the brand new wood at about 67.5 inches because, again, I needed to go away some risk for wood swelling. I rigorously measured the backer spacing on the prevailing fence (to the appropriate) and on removable part (to the left) – these two measurements must be pretty close to similar. I then laid my newly-cut “gate backers” on the driveway spaced in response to the measurements I simply took on all sides, and utilizing four new pickets I constructed what you may think about a “skeleton” of the gate on the driveway.

Do observe that I pre-painted some areas the place the hinge and latch hardware would ultimately be hooked up. I find it’s all the time easier to pre-paint these areas than attempt to paint around the hardware later. This retains every little thing nice and clear, and it saves me time as properly.

Cedar Fence Gate Construction

As soon as I had this gate skeleton, I hooked up the hinges (with lag screws again), and related the complete assembly, very rigorously, to the fence. I examined the swing. Because of the pitch of the driveway, I found I had to custom reduce the underside of a few of the initial pickets to accommodate the swing and additionally stay about half an inch off the bottom.

To proceed with the construction, spacing for all remaining pickets needs to be given the identical advance planning as carried out for the detachable part and marked out explicitly. Moreover, each time a new picket is added – it is going to must be examined for a clear swing and trimmed at the bottom accordingly.

One thing to remember: Although that is clearly the house stretch of this undertaking, you can’t rush this part. The gate *actually* needs to be constructed rigorously.

Further Cedar Fence Gate Construction - Hinge and Latch Hardware

I additionally added two cross braces for extra help, one among which is clearly shown above. The hardware will get added in complete, and when all is completed you end up with a finished gate which a nice clearance and a simple swing.

Cedar Fence Gate Construction Completed

When all the things is painted (under) – this really seems easy and clean, as if it took no effort at all.

In actuality, this took me the better part of two full days. A whole weekend.

Painting the Removable Fence Section and Gate - Finishing Touches

Comply with-On Upkeep and Breaking-It-Down

I found (both occasions I did this) that the gate required a little tuning after a couple of weeks. Since this is giant in comparison with a normal gate, it will possibly (and will) certainly sag a little bit after a while. I had to trim a few pickets further on the left aspect of my gate and even modify the latch to regain the clean swing.

And as for breaking-this-down (opening it up), it’s a three step 10-minute process:

1.     Open the gate

2.     Take away the Four lag screws and detach the removable fence section

three.     Loosen the 2 sleeve bolts and pull out the removable publish

You, in fact, reverse this little process to reassemble all of it again.

Simply watch out no one runs over the fence submit sleeve, which I can inform you from expertise, will indeed be destroyed if it’s hit square-on by a cement truck!

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