How to Build a Lattice Gate

Written by david thompson
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How to Build a Lattice Gate
A homemade gate can match the rest of the lattice. (side veranda. image by mdb from Fotolia.com)

A lattice gate appears light and airy leading into a garden or yard and you can custom-design it to match the rest of the lattice fence. The challenge is building its frame sturdy enough so it won't sag, while leaving a large area in the centre to add the lattice. If you make the gate no wider than necessary and add longer-than-usual hinges, a well-made lattice gate should stand up over time.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 2-by-4 boards
  • Measuring tape
  • Square
  • Saw
  • Chisel
  • Router or rebate plane
  • Epoxy
  • Drill
  • Screws or pegs
  • Pre-made lattice or slats

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the width and height you want the gate. For a basic rectangular gate, cut two 2-by-4 boards as wide as you want the gate and two as tall as you want the gate. Use a durable hardwood such as oak to make the gate both long-lasting and easy to paint, if you're planning to paint it a traditional white colour.

  2. 2

    Lay the boards flat, aligned in a rectangle with the ends overlapping. Mark the width of each board on the board that it crosses.

  3. 3

    Pick up one board and draw two parallel lines on the 2-inch sides from the line you just drew to the end of the board, dividing the side into thirds. Connect the lines across the end of the board. Mark both ends of all four boards the same way.

  4. 4

    Clamp one of the vertical boards upright in a vice and saw down the two lines, aligning the saw kerf toward the centre of the board so you don't cut beyond the lines. Chisel out the centre third. Repeat on both ends of the two boards that will be vertical in the finished gate.

  5. 5

    Clamp one of the horizontal boards upright in a vice and saw down the two lines, aligning the saw kerf on the outside so you save the full width of the middle section. Saw down from either side of the board to remove the outer pieces and leave the middle section.

  6. 6

    Test fit the boards together, sliding the tenons on the horizontal boards into the mortises you cut in the uprights. Chisel or rasp any high areas just enough so they fit snugly together. Take them apart after test fitting.

  7. 7

    Cut a rebate 1-inch wide and as deep as your lattice along the inside edges of the boards.

  8. 8

    Spread epoxy on the faces of the mortises and tenons and assembly the four boards for the frame. Use a square to make sure they're assembled at right angles and let them dry. Put four screws or glue four pegs in each corner through all three layers to reinforce them.

  9. 9

    Cut ready-made lattice the right size to rest in the rebate. Cut inch-long sections from an extra slat and place them under the high lattice slats to fill in the space between them and the frame. Screw or nail the ends of the lattice to the frame. If you want to make the lattice yourself, draw evenly-spaced marks along the sides and top of the rebates. Cut slats to length with 45-degree ends and nail them in place, first the ones facing one direction, then the ones facing the other direction. Add small reinforcing nails where they cross each other.

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