How to straighten a twisting wooden gate

Written by margaret mills
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How to straighten a twisting wooden gate
Years of use and abuse can cause a wooden gate to twist. (wooden gate image by Kathy Burns from

Wooden gates can be sturdy and attractive, but after years of regular use, gravity, weight and weather, even a sturdy gate can begin to sag or twist. While replacing the gate is an option, a little repair work may extend the life of your wooden gate a few more years. This fix calls for some carpentry skills, but is not complicated if you understand the hardware involved. Most hardware stores carry the screws, cable and other requirements.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2 eye-screws
  • Length of steel cable
  • 2 U-bolt clips
  • Turnbuckle
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Measure your gate diagonally from the upper corner near the hinge, to the outer lower corner. Determine which way the gate is sagging or twisting.

  2. 2

    Install eye-screws in the upper inner corner of the gate and diagonally in the lower outer corner. Eye-screws are wires with screw threads on one end and a loop on the other. You want to oppose the twist or sag, so if the gate is twisted toward the inside, put the screws on the outside.

  3. 3

    Attach lengths of steel cable, each about half the diagonal measurement of the gate to the top and bottom eye-screws. Thread the cable through the eye-screw, fold it back on itself and secure it by attaching a U-bolt clip. This clip is a U-shaped piece of metal with two bolts.

  4. 4

    Connect the two ends of the cable with a turnbuckle, a fitting used to tighten cable or rope. Use a screwdriver to turn the turnbuckle and draw the two ends of the cable together. This in turn will pull the diagonal corners of the gate toward each other, making it square and straightening any twist.

Tips and warnings

  • Much depends on the size and heaviness of your gate, but usually a small-sized steel cable is adequate. A 1/8-inch steel cable takes a 3/16 U-bolt clip. Whatever size you use, be sure the eye-bolts are large enough for the cable to fit through the loop.

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