Build Your Own Wooden Gate

Build Your Own Wooden Gate – A whopper project post with lots of details on how to build a cedar fence gate. If you want to make a fence gate for your yard, you are in the right place. I share all the steps, sources and plans below.

A DIY tutorial for building a cedar fence gate with tongue and groove panels. Add beauty to your exterior with this solid cedar door using my plans.

Build Your Own Wooden Gate

When your friend asks to replace the existing rotten gate with a solid cedar fence gate, you say yes because it’s a fun challenge. Then you search the internet for inspiration and tutorials because you want to get it right. I did find some great starting points from other DIYers and from the online resources listed below.

Cedar Fence Gate Plans

In the end, I pulled together all of their information to build this cedar fence gate to my specifications and design. Check out this beautiful build made of solid cedar, no screws!

Just notice in all of these photos that the cedar is unfinished. Eventually, the gate will be painted white to coordinate with the existing fence in the yard.

This cedar door is a perfect little gem nestled between a black metal archway that serves as the entrance to the backyard. I love the curved arches with the diagonal x design and the little curved details on the post.

To be honest, this is my first construction project using mortise and tenon joinery. I tend to shy away from high-intensity carpentry skills that require such precision and skill, but I’m glad I forced myself to learn a new skill. You can bet I will be using this joinery again one day.

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It pays to let the cedar wood speak for itself. Check out the combination of curved posts, dowels and joints. Makes your mouth water! !

Be sure to read through my construction notes below. I share tips and details in this post that you don’t want to miss.

Make the tenon on the rail first. I used my table saw to set the depth to 7/8″ on all four sides. I’ve found this website to be a great reference for sizing mortise and tenon joints.

Now cut the cheeks. To do this on the table, I made a tenon jig similar to Tamar’s tutorial. There are plenty of tenoning jigs out there, make the one that best suits your sawing and tenoning needs.

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Once the tenon has been cut, now use the table saw again to cut the channel in the rail for the tongue and groove board to sit on. Also, I highly recommend making drainage holes in the bottom rail. I used a drill press with a 1/2″ Forster bit and drilled multiple holes in the bottom of the channels and rails. These weep holes allow moisture to escape.

Again, there are countless videos on YouTube on how to make a mortise, but I opted to use a drill press with a 3/4″ Forster bit. I then use a mallet (or hammer as I can’t find my mallet at this time) and a chisel to trim the mortise.

Once the mortising is complete, then cut the channel in the post. Here I am using a slot cutting bit in my router. Yes, I know the router is supposed to go left to right, but I did read somewhere that if you cut inside, it can go in any direction. Regardless, the channels are cut from one mortise to the other.

Of course you’ll be testing the mortise and tenon fit as you go along, but I recommend doing a final final dry fit on all four posts before assembling. You can also determine where the tongue and groove are, especially the end plates, which may need a little trimming depending on your gate width.

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For this mortise joinery I opted to use marine grade sealant on the tenons. Probably not necessary, but better safe than sorry and it helps prolong gate life. Apply adhesive to the tenon and tap it into place with a mallet.

Apply adhesive to the other tenons at the end, then hammer the final post into place. Check for a square and attach the clips while the adhesive dries. I let it sit overnight in the tongs.

Mark the location of the pin and pre-drill a hole about 2″ deep using a 1/2″ Forster bit. I did add some adhesive to the holes first, then used a mallet to drive the dowels into place.

Let the adhesive dry, then use a multitool fitted with a flush-cutting bit to cut away the excess dowels.

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Last but not least, cut the X diagonal section and secure using a bit of adhesive and 1 1/4″ brad nails. Start with the long veneer first.

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I used scraps to hold the door in place in the hinges while checking level and plumb.

Once properly positioned, I pre-drill holes for the bolts. These hinges have been attached to the arched frame and the bottom hinge is spring loaded to keep the door closed. Then I slide the bolt over and tighten the washer and nut.

Finally I attached the magnetic latch. I use a latch from an old rotten door because I know it fits the mechanism on the metal frame and it still works fine.

Cedartech Wood Fences By The Fence Authority

Thank you for joining me in my Cedar Fence Gate project. Leave any questions in the comments below, and be sure to follow me on social media for sneak peeks, tools, and project inspiration: About: I’m here as a Community Manager from 2014-2023. It has been a pleasure working on this idea and supporting the community over the years. Thank you for helping to keep this place fun and interactive… More on seamster »

Since this fence is going to be built next to a narrow yard (rather than along a property line), I actually have a number of options for exactly where to build it. The worst thing you can do is not think carefully about the location and weigh all possible considerations, then build a fence where you end up not liking it!

If you live where there are underground utilities, you’ll need to call the underground utility and have them come out and mark all buried lines, then follow any guidelines they provide for digging.

After marking the utilities, I carefully laid out where I wanted the fence posts and spray painted the ground where they would go.

Wood Fence Gates At Lowes.com

In general, wood fence posts should be spaced no more than 8 feet apart to prevent sagging and to utilize common lengths of lumber. For me, the distance between the posts depends on how wide I want the door to be, which is 36 inches.

I dug holes for my end posts first, then used 2×4 scrap boards to temporarily hold them in the perfect vertical position. This is done with stakes and screws as shown.

I mix and add the concrete to the post holes. After a few days, I removed the 2×4 brackets.

I take advantage of the short length of this fence to help get all the posts nicely inlined.

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How To Build A Wooden Gate For Your Yard

With the two end posts in place, I screwed a 10′ long plank over the span and used it to position the interior posts and mark their exact location.

Holes for the interior posts are dug, then the posts are fixed vertically and held in place with braces. Concrete is then added to these holes.

After securing the posts in place, I removed the supports and trimmed the tops of the posts so they were flush with each other.

The gates are made by first creating an exterior frame of 2x4s that are screwed together with exterior screws that are drilled and countersunk.

The Basics For Building A New Wood Fence

Diagonal cross braces were then added. This will keep the door square and prevent sagging. Diagonal cross braces like this should always be angled

My door ended up warping slightly so a second bracket was added to counteract the warping. This second bracket was installed with a little pressure in the opposite direction to the warp and it pulled everything nice and straight (see photo notes).

Added a few extra plates as needed on the gate and fence posts to hold the hinges I was using.

The door was braced in place and held in place with some paint stirrers as a temporary spacer to give a little distance on the hinge side.

Welcoming Garden Gate Designs

Because of the natural movement of the wood and to help the door always close fully without restraint, it is better to leave a little gap on the hinge side than to install the hinges where the door and post are squeezed against each other.

With the door in place, I’m ready to start adding the fence slats to which I’ll be installing hinges and other hardware later.

I tied a piece of string to the top of the fence to indicate where I wanted the top of the slats. some fences to follow

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