Carriage Gate Design Basis


  • A large vehicle or truck should be able to pass through the gate. Design width between hinge pins is 8ft 8in.
  • Gates should swing smoothly without bias in any position. Hinge pins need to be plumb.
  • I should be able to open / close and latch gate from a seated position.
  • Dogs can’t get out with gate closed. A 3in design gap is used between doors and wall.
  • The gate should not sag over time. Diagonals and bolted connections provide excellent gate stiffness to limit sag.

Carriage Gate Stonework

Foundation for the gate is substantial. I did not want the walls to lean over time, or possibly tip if “bumped” by a vehicle. Concrete and steel reinforcement is used below grade. Additional steel ties the wall to the foundation.

I went with the strongest hinge pins I could find, but they do not allow adjustment after “setting in stone”. It is therefore critical for the hinge pins to be plumb.

With the stonework complete, the gates can be hung.

Carriage Gate Joinery

The joinery used on the doors is all bolted joint connections. Because the 5/4 decking boards are truly 1in thick, there is thickness enough to countersink a locknut and fill the countersink hole flush with a decorative caulking. Truth be told, without the adjustment of hinge pins, I was a little paranoid during the design. If sag became an issue for these heavy doors, I figured I could dig out the caulking, re-square up the door, and then re-tighten the bolted joints. Fortunately the doors remain square with no sagging issues.

Carriage bolts are used and their heads give a clean look to the outside of the gate.

Teak deck caulking provides an excellent filler. It can be sanded after applying, and looks good as new nearly a decade later.

The wooden gate doors were assembled with the help of my son Adam. All wood is 6 x 5/4 decking. It is sold pressure treated, and best to store it in the dry for a few months if you can. Let the wood fibers shrink in your garage as it dries and not on your woodworking after the build.

Adam and I then hung gate doors. It was a matter of blocking up and levelling the doors with hinges on their pins. And then match drilling the hinge fasteners holes through the gates before final bolt up mounting doors.

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