Building A Rustic Front Yard Gate

| 8/10/2011 3:13:00 PM

Tags: gates, fencing, farms,

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.I finally got around to building a rustic yard gate for the newly fenced front yard (read about the fencing project here). I chose green Osage Orange wood for the rustic gate project because it is durable and we have plenty of it growing in our hedgerows and woodlots. Since this rustic gate would be used several times each day, I wanted it to be light and strong so I split the standards and rails from billets rather than using full dimension billets. Once the green wood dries it will lighten up further. As an added bonus, splitting the billets exposed the bright orange heartwood, which adds some nice color to the gate -- it will oxidize to a rich brown before too many seasons pass.

Rustic Osage Orange and wire gate. 

It took me a couple of hours to construct this gate, including time spent in the woodlot sourcing the timber. I haven't built my shaving horse or other riving aids so the splitting and shaping aspects to the project weren't quite as efficient as they might have been. To see a photo of the gate hung, check out Karen Keb's blog here.  

Sizing up the woodlot. 

The first step of the project was to select the right tree for the job. While looking for just the right Osage Orange tree, I noticed a copse of young American Elm trees that I hadn't seen before. We have a few mature American Elm trees but these are the first replacements I've found so far.

Harvesting a regrown Osage Orange tree. 

Chiot's Run
9/3/2011 9:33:31 AM

Quite lovely, I enjoy seeing rustic DIY projects using items we can all find around. I have a large number of saplings from clearing out a few lots we purchased and I've been debating on building fences & gates with them, maybe an arbor and a nice garden bench too.

Nebraska Dave
8/10/2011 6:42:47 PM

Hank, I am jealous of you being able to harvest such great wood for building fences and gates. We have Mulberry and Cottonwood here and I suppose it would work OK but I never let them get big enough to harvest in my Urban back yard. I really like the rustic look of your gate and it's quite interesting how you used tools from long before power tools were invented to split the wood. Did you use a brace and bit to drill the holes to make the mortise? How long does it take to grow usable sprouts from your favorite stump. I thought it a novel idea to keep harvesting branches from a stump. I'll have to keep that in mind if I ever get property with trees on it. This was a great how to homestead post. Thanks go to Karen for getting the action shots for the post. Have a great day on the Kansas homestead.

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