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DIY Dog Gate

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A doggy gate has been on my to-do list for a while, so I finally blocked off some time to get it done.

Here is the build video I put together showing the process:

Keep in mind as you are reading through the tutorial, that this can also be a baby gate!

1) I took some measurements. My door jam, from inside to inside is 32″. Then just playing with different heights, I thought 28″ tall would look great.
Note: I used 1/2″ poplar for this project because I already had it and it’s a simi lightweight wood. If I didn’t have this wood, I probably would have made this gate from cedar fence pickets since cedar is also very lightweight.
2) I cut all my boards to 28″, then used my table saw to rip each one to 2 5/8″. I ended up using 12 boards, which put my gate at 31 7/16″wide. I didn’t make it an even 32″ because I wanted to mount my hinges inside the door jam to avoid mounting them to the trim or adding an additional post on the end.
3) Since I wanted the top of my gate to have an arch (but I don’t have an arch making device) (if they even make one), I measured from the bottom to 23″ on both sides and made a mark. Then I grabbed a scrap piece of wood, clamped it in place at the top, in the middle, then arched the free end down to the 23″ mark and traced the curve it made. I repeated the steps on the other side to get a matching arch.
4) Next, I cut each board with my jigsaw.

Note: It isn’t perfect at this point, but I wasn’t worried about it because I planned on floating in the arch to my liking, with the sander.

Now, I could have left the gate like this. Just glued it up and start staining. However, it was a little plain to me, so I decided to add a little more to it, just for aesthetics.

5) I placed another, uncut, board under the gate in order to transfer the arch of the gate to the board. This gave me my top curve. To get the bottom, I drew a straight line down on both ends of the curve, then took my tape measure and measured down 1 1/4″ and made lots of marks. Once I had marks from left to right (just randomly), I took my pencil and connected the dots. Note: Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect since the sander will shape it.

6) I cut the arch out with my jigsaw.

…can I just say, I am loving this wood. This is my first time to work with poplar, and I think it’s so lovely.

 7) Then, since I made the top something decorative, I also made something for the bottom. The top arch is an 1 1/4″, so I cut an additional strip that is also 1 1/4″ to match.

8) Next was glueing it all together. I don’t have any big clamps, so I had to improvise a way to squish and hold everything together. I first glued the side of each slat and stuck it back in place. Then I took two scrap 3/4″ boards and clamped them down. I did this to keep the individual slats from buckling once I added the straps. The straps keep everything squished and held together while the glue dries.
9) I let it sit overnight since it was getting dark. The next morning, I took everything off and gave the front and back a good sanding.
10) Then I lined up the top arch and the bottom runner and screwed them in place.

Note: Since I added these boards solely for a decorative purpose, I wanted the screws to match the hinges instead of being the machine finish. So I stuck all the screws in a trash piece of cardboard and gave the heads a painting before using them.

11) Next was staining. I first applied a coat of wood conditioning (it makes the stain come out more even). After letting it sit for five mins, I wiped it off then put on a coat of stain.

Note: I used the color Dark Walnut.

12) In order to mount the hinges without alignment issues. I went inside the house and laid the gate on the floor. Then laid the hinges where I wanted them and used a scrap piece of wood to butt up against the hinge part (it’s essentially standing in as my door jam). Then I used a pencil to mark where the holes lined up, and drilled a pilot hole (being careful to not go through the wood!), then came back with the screw.

13) To mount it to the door jam, I set the gate on a scrap 1/4″ piece of wood and opened the gate all the way. I adjusted the placement of the hinges on the door jam so the gate wasn’t colliding with the trim, then screwed in the remaining screws.

I tested it out, and everything works. : ) Yay.

14) Last thing to do was to figure out how to keep it closed. I didn’t want to put a normal gate latch because I didn’t want something poking out. So instead I grabbed a few power magnets from my husband’s stash and used them.

They were round 1/4″ magnets, so I grabbed a 1/4″ drill bit and drilled a shallow hole in the door jam until the magnet would sit flush. Once I had them in place (I ended up using three), I repeated the steps and put magnets on the edge of the gate.

Note: When I was testing the hole to see if it was deep enough, I would shove in the magnet, then use the spare magnets to get it out of there.

15) I decided to use a multi purpose liquid nail to permanently attach the magnets. Important: If you use magnets, make sure the magnet is facing the correct way before you glue it. You don’t want the gate and door jam magnets to be deflecting one another.

That first hole I drilled, landed me right on top of a nail so I’ll have to go back and fill that in. This whole door jam needs a fresh coat of paint anyways.

Now I have a way of closing off the back of the house from the pups. : )

Total Cost: $16
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