How to build a folding wood fence gate

Written by cheryl munson
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How to build a folding wood fence gate
A folding gate lets you control how wide or narrow the gate is opened. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

A folding fence makes a lot of sense for all types of homeowners. The ability to control the gate opening is a useful option for farmers and livestock owners who shepherd animals. A folding gate makes it easy for lawn and landscape service providers to enter and exit backyard spaces. If you own wide equipment, such as a riding lawnmower, a folding gate door will come in handy. Building a folding gate is a relatively easy DIY task that's also easy on the budget.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Circular or table saw
  • Plywood sheets, 2 or 2.5 cm (3/4 or 1 inch) thick
  • Lightweight, "2-by-4" wood
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or stain
  • Paint brushes
  • Marker, pencil
  • Galvanised flathead nails
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Hinges

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  1. 1

    Cut the plywood into four panels to create the doors for a 1.8 x 1.8 m (6 x 6 foot) folding gate. Adjust the measurements downward and proportionately to create a gate with different dimensions. Make the width of each panel 87.5 cm (2 feet 11 inches) for a 1.8 x 1.8 m (6 x 6 foot) gate. The extra 2.5 cm (1 inch) is necessary to allow adequate space for the hinges and attaching the gate door panels to the posts.

  2. 2

    Create an "arm" with a "2-by-4" to use so the gate will be straight when it is closed. Cut a square piece from scrap wood, 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inches) to create the "rest" for the gate arm.

  3. 3

    Sand all of your cut wood pieces with 120-grit (or higher) sandpaper to smooth the edges. Paint or stain the wood in a colour to match your fence. Once the wood pieces are dry, apply one or two coats of a protective sealant and allow it to dry.

  4. 4

    Place the panels right side up, and side-by-side, lengthwise. Use a level surface, such as a driveway to give yourself a sturdy work base. Lay two panels together to form the right side, and two for the left side. Make a mark on the side edge of each panel 60 cm (2 feet) from the bottom, and 60 cm (2 feet) from the top. Centre the hinge plates on each mark. Take a pencil and fill in the screw holes to use as a guide for drilling. Set the hinge plates aside and drill in starter holes for the screws. Use a screwdriver to finish attaching the screws manually.

  5. 5

    Turn over the hinged doors to the backside. Repeat the measuring, tracing and drilling procedures to attach the hinges to the outside edges. These hinges will be used to attach the door panels to the gateposts. Make sure that the centre mechanism of the hinge faces outwards, towards the street or front of the gate. Drill the hinges to the sides, leaving one flap open to attach to the post.

  6. 6

    Centre the 1.2 x 1.2 m (4-by-4) board, horizontally, starting at the edge of the left side double door. Drive a nail through the board so that you can lower the board up and down like a lever. Place the 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inch) rest underneath the lever. Nail the rest into place.

  7. 7

    Stand the gate door panels upright against their respective post on the left and right side of the fence. Use bricks or breeze blocks to position the doors and get a "human helping hand." While your helper holds the door panels, mark the posts for drilling in the final screws for the hinges. Drill the screws for the hinges on the left and right posts. Attach your latch hardware to complete your folding fence gate project.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider stronger timber, and more rot-resistant woods such as cedar, cypress and redwood -- especially if you are creating a more decorative gate for a residential setting.
  • Remember the woodworker's rule: Measure twice, cut once. And always wear safety goggles when using a saw.

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