Monday, September 12, 2011

Making a gate

This post is about making a gate.

I wanted a small gate to close off the entry to my door. My dad had some leftover wood he "rescued" from being thrown away by someone. I'm glad he did because it's a high quality wood that is probably not allowed anymore these days.

So let's begin.

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The wood. High quality, straight planks. More or less painted. Good stuff.

I used a sawing bench since it's a fair bit of work. I used it to cut the pieces the right length and also to cut the tips.

Quickly put together after it was cut. Looks promising.

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Back home I have a tiled floor. The lines between the tiles come in handy. I used the lines to make sure everything was on a 90 degree angle.

The result of putting in a zillion screws. Well, not really a zillion, OK... The top 2 horizontal pieces and the bottom one have 2 screws on each intersection of wood. The diagonal piece has 2 screws at the ends and 1 everywhere else. You can see the screws reasonably OK in the next picture.

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The diagonal bit is crucial to making a solid gate. Without it, the gate would collapse after it was put on the wall. It is important that the bottom end of the diagonal bit is on the side where it is mounted against the wall.

So I painted the back of it first. That way I could paint the front after mounting it to the wall.

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You can see the separate piece of wood here as well. That's to put on the wall. The gate will then be mounted on this piece of wood.

To put it on the wall I needed some big screws and matching plugs. I wanted to know exactly where the holes needed to be so I drilled hole in the wood first, held it against the wall and then drilled holes in the stone with a small drill-bit, just to mark where the holes needed to be.

It needs to support a fair weight so I put in quite a few screws. Starting to look good there!

Next up are the hinges. I bought the biggest ones I could find. Since the wood is hard, I pre-drilled the holes for the screws to prevent wood-splitting. You have to be very careful though not to drill through the wood!

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I sat the gate on a small piece of wood to lift it off the ground a bit. It happened to have exactly the right height. This made it easy to mount the gate on the wall.

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I don't want it to be smacked against the wall by the wind when it's open so I made a hook to hold it still.

I painted the front of the gate as well.

Not bad I think :-)

I had to think about how to lock the gate for a while. There's a gate and a pole. Hmm... In the end I decided to make a sliding lock that slides in to the pole. Except the pole is made of solid metal and the hole needed to be 1cm in diameter.  I drilled the hole by using 3-, 4.5-, 6-, 8- and 10 mm drills. I had to use my power drill for the last 2 bits.

After that it was a simple matter of putting the lock on my gate. I did this by holding it on the gate with the slide in the hole. Then I pre-drilled the holes for the screws and screwed it on.

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And so the gate got finished. This is the view from my hall way. I like the result very much.

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And there is the all finished gate from the front. It was a very satisfying bit of work and I enjoyed making it.

Mission accomplished :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fixing outside plaster

I am preparing my little patio at the back so I can put up a small shed. The wall that the shed will be standing next to needs fixing and painting. The weather was reasonably OK so I took my chance.

Plastering is difficult and requires a fair bit of skill. This was my first time ever and even though I'm pleased with the result, a proper craftsman would've done a much better job.

Anyway, this is what I did:

The bad part of the wall. I wanted that big hole and the crappy corner edge fixed. I cleaned it so it would be reasonably dust-free.

I bought stuff particularly suited for this kind of work. I have no idea if there's a special name for it in English though...

It said 3.7 litres of water on 20 kilo of cement. I only needed 2 kilo of cement so I added 370ml but that was too much, the mixture stayed to runny. I think I ended up putting an extra half kilo of cement in.

With a simple spatula I put the cement in the hole and other places.

The result is quite rough but a bit of sanding will do the trick. It's not smooth and flat but it's a lot better than it was before :-)