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FENCE

 
You could have the nicest home in the world, but if your fence is rotten and falling apart, people will think the Adams Family lives there, and the neighborhood children will start making up stories about the ghosts that haunt the house. There is very little time at this writing to work outside; fall is here, and I still have lots of work to do to finish the inside of the house. The fence, although rotten and rickety, was more-or-less intact except for the gates. The builder used untreated lumber, and although it might have looked good when it was new, I suspect this fence deteriorated rapidly. The tops of all the vertical slats are rotten and splintered. I mused that if we took the entire fence down and piled it up for firewood, the money we would save heating the house this winter could pay for a Franklin Stove.

There are two gates in the fence:

1) The smaller gate on the backyard fence leads onto a neighbor's property. Although it hung by the hinges and could be closed, you had to lift it into place, and every time I did, another little piece would break off.

2) The driveway gate, done in two 5foot sections, was off the hinges and held in place with knotted nylon straps.

The two five-foot wide gates at the end of the driveway literally fell off the hinges. The previous owner used nylon straps to secure the gates in place. Five-foot long gates are very heavy, and they need to be roller-supported at the free end, and open onto the driveway where the rollers could travel; not onto the backyard lawn. I salvaged and repainted the hinges for when I replace the fence next Spring.

Gatt to neighbor's property is rotten, and tangled with weeds

The top slats of the fence were all weathered and splintered and full of weed vines. For the sake of my Service dog Ninja, I decided to repair the rear gate (and wire the driveway gates shut) so at least I could let her out and not worry about her wandering off and getting hit by a car. Since the rear gate was small (3 feet wide), I tackled that project first to see how it would turn out. Here you see the old gate (between the orange and red arrows) and the latch (blue arrow). It was completely entangled with weeds, and could hardly be opened.

When a fence post is a bit off-the-level, a temporary fix is to pull it in the needed direction and add bracing connected to the rest of the fence.

A temporary "fix" for the gate post not being vertically level, was to cut the upper cross-member (not visible in the photo), and tie back the post to the rest of the fence using a piece of scrap lumber and some drywall screws. This entire fence is going to be replaced eventually, and so this will have to do ("Good enough for Government work") until I get around to the project, which will probably be around the Spring of 2015.

In this close-up of the uprights, you can see that the wood, although still sturdy, is beginning to deteriorate because of exposure to the elements and the fact that it is not pressure-treated wood.

Unusual design for gate will appeal to the artistic once the rest of the fence matches the gate

Here you see a new gate made from treated lumber that has been screwed and glued together. The corner joints are made by simply cutting half the thickness of the wood, then screwing and gluing the joint together with outdoor Quikrete® Construction Adhesive #9902-10 .

The bottom hinge is set off the bottom of the gate for aesthetic purposes; there is no reason that I could not have secured the hinge to the bottom of the gate.

The diagonal piece of wood is also screwed and glued, and provides a bit of flex support while also providing a barrier. When I rebuild the rest of the fence, I will add several more of these diagonal pieces made from left-over scraps that I don't have at hand at the moment.

All joints are mitered and screwed in place with a generous application of Loctite Construction Adhesive.

Detail of the bottom hinge mount. The wood the hinge attaches to is joined to the gate frame with a slotted joint, and by Construction Adhesive and drywall screws, so when the adhesive is fully cured, essentially, the wood is a single piece of lumber.

As a temporary measure to keep the dog in the yard (and other animals out) I used eye hooks and small-diameter Kernmantle rope to weave a "net" across the opening. Next month is Halloween, so I guess the motif will have to do until I get around to replacing the whole fence next spring.

 

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Last modified: 05/29/15

 

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