Monday, March 7, 2011

Restoring a favorite garden gate

This gate, which has seen better days, is the re-purposed bottom half of an old screen door. It's probably at least 20 years old, and while I've re-glued and re-painted it from time to time, I haven't ever really done more than a slap-dash job, and I think it's starting to show:

So I took it down on Saturday, broke the dowels joints completely apart and re-glued them. I haven't got a photo of that because I was working pretty quickly to get all the slats back in place before the glue dried, and didn't have a third hand to hold the camera. These days I use Titebond III as my go-to glue of choice for outdoor projects. It's waterproof and tough as nails, and a lot easier to work with than Gorilla Glue, which is what I used to use. I've used both on my canoe paddles, and haven't noticed glue failure on either.

On Sunday, I addressed the issue of dry rot on the bottom of the gate by simply cutting it off (using a circular saw and a straight edge with clamps) until I got to good wood. If I didn't remove the dry rot, any new paint I put on would come off almost immediately.

Luckily, I only had to remove about two inches--more than that and I think the proportions of the gate might have looked odd. If that had been the case, I might have considered replacing part of the bottom with new wood.

On the other hand, if I had had to go to that much trouble, I might have considered ditching the project and simply building a new gate. There comes a point where it isn't going to be worth the labor to re-purpose something...

After I removed any dry rot I could find, I filled cracks and holes with wood putty, and scraped and sanded all loose paint down to bare wood:

I managed to get the primer on, but because I'm going to have a very busy week at work, re-painting it may have to wait until this weekend. I'm kind of glad of that, however, since I'm jiggling around the idea of changing the color, and that should give me time to make up my mind...


  1. it already is looking a bit newer...great gate and what color will you choose??? Isn't it fun to make things over...

  2. Donna--I've been painting my shed and shop doors a turquoise blue--what I think of as "the New Mexico sky" (NM is where I spent my childhood, and so is what I consider home). I'm thinking of painting it that color, and then replacing the cyclone fence with cedar pickets.

  3. It's a very cool gate. I'm glad you were able to salvage it. Love the color you've told Donna you're painting it. But, now I am curious about what a new one would have looked like. gail

  4. Gail--I thought about making a new one, just for the fun of it, but I really like this gate and I think it still has some life in it. Maybe I'll do a post soon about some garden gates I've built from scratch.

  5. looks good, glad you were able to fix it! love old refurbished stuff like that :)

  6. Turquoise blue sounds nice. Will it get the lone star again? I commend you for saving it.

  7. Mary C--Me too.

    Jean--Hmmm, hadn't thought about the Star, which is Texas. Maybe, since it is NM sky, I should look for a Zia.

  8. Nothing like re-purposing an object and this is a great example. Combine that with the fact it is a favorite gate, well.

    Let us know how it ends.

    For me the first signs of springs are the dogwood blooms and the day lillies blossoming out. I love this renewal of life partiular after a cold winter.

  9. By the way this past First Monday in Weatherford despite the cold I found a lot of metal decorative objects to add to woodwork pices. Texas Ragers badges style knobs and various size stars i thought would look good on boxes and corners of tables.

  10. It reminds me of those saloon doors in all those old westerns we used watch as kids (both TV and movie).

    That's a good memory I'm sharing BTW :)

    I've just booked my flight to Seattle, so if you're going too we get to meet at last!!!!!!!!

  11. David--Those sound like great fund objects. You'll be able to use them creatively, I'm sure!

    VP--That's how I thin of the gate, too--and yes, it's a good memory. :-)

    And very, very excited that we'll get to meet in Seattle!

  12. I just stopped by to say---You are not the boss of me. ;)

    And then I saw this gate---well---can I use this post at my new junk site. I'm writing about repurposing stuff and you do that well. Here we have a gate that would of caused any normal person some cursing and madness but you've gone and given it plastic surgery. I'm impressed.

    I really do want to use this post----ok? pretty please. The site is cause I sit around doing nothing but thinking up brilliant stuff.

  13. I forgot to subscribe to the comments--it's late for me--like almost 5am.

  14. Anna, you can absolutely use the post!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.