Working on my new front gate this weekend reminded me of my first house and the epic gate I designed and built. I was able to find some pictures of that project and wanted to share it with you.
When pinterest first came out I was obsessed. I would spend so many hours scrolling and scrolling through photos of the most unique and beautiful design ideas. At the time I was living in Redondo Beach, I had just had my first child and I was spending hours with a sleeping baby in a rocking chair. So my mind was wandering and my creative brain was in overdrive. Plus as a new parent I became obsessed with securing our yard and house.
If anyone has had a baby they will remember that there are many months where you feel kind of trapped underneath a bundle of newborn love. This left me plenty of time to obsess over my future front gate. As soon as I could schedule a babysitter (aka grandma) I ran down to my dads house and started picking through his scrap metal. He has been a welder my whole life, so his scrap metal collection rivals my scrap wood collection…
I had already drawn up plans before I headed to his house, so I had clear measurements and length requirements. Anytime I start building/designing something I first draw up plans. Either a hand sketch or if the project is more detailed I will use AutoCAD #engineerperk.
Once I found enough material I started using a metal chop saw to cut the pieces down. The chop saw is a lot like a wood chop saw, just with a higher power motor and different type of blade. Laying out the steel is very similar to laying out wood framing. Use a level surface, make sure right angles are square, measure twice and cut once.
Once everything was laid out I started welding up the joints:
This was my third or fourth time welding. I have been trying to learn for the last seven years, but having babies forced me to take a few extended breaks. Apparently “everyone” is very uncomfortable with the idea of a pregnant woman welding…sigh…better safe than sorry.
Welding is a really cool form of construction. I can’t really relate it to anything else I have done before. It is hot and intense, blinding, more dangerous than woodworking and insanely gratifying when you do it right! Plus you get major bragging rights when you can say you have welded something ð
It took me a few different weekends to bring my gate from pieces of steel scattered on the ground to this:
My dad was proud and kept taking pictures, so I might as well share them ð I got the ultimate compliment at the end of the day when he called me “quite a hand”…translation…”hard worker who put down some good welds”
Once I finished the gate I decided to have it powder coated. Since the gate is meant to last outdoors by the beach it is super important to put a protective coating on it. You have a few options, but my two favorites for a long lasting finish are Hot dip galvanizing or powder coating. Powder coaters are usually easier to locate than galvanizers, and they are roughly the same cost. Galvanizing will also result in a Very specific look. My upper deck railing was galvanized, you can see the finish here.
I chose a gray paint to match the upper deck.
Once we received our gate back from the powder coater we added the horizontal cedar slats. Andy then built a frame out of 4×6 members to support the gate. Looking at these pictures today still makes me so happy. I haven’t lived in this house for years, but I miss this gate and think about it all the time. As stupid as that probably sounds, whenever I sell a house the hardest things for me to leave behind are the items I really poured my heart into.
Now for all the detail shots.
The simple, but effective locking mechanism we used to secure the gate.
Our address numbers.
I can’t wait to add a few new details to my new house that I love as much as this gate. All in good time!