Month: February 2014

Privacy Gates and Screens

screens and gate 005What a winter! cold and snowy, a real one.¬† It’s given me some time to work on some stuff around the house. We needed a gate so the 95 year old dog wouldn’t be able to walk out into the road anymore and we take chase two lanes over in our bare feet, and shirtless in my case, 5am in December to snatch him from the speeding 18 wheeler and cars that surely dont see a black dog. Surprising how much ground he can cover when your not looking but if you are holding the door open and 10* out, its an eternity for him to breach the doorway.

It’s made from white pine that I milled with Tom’s Peterson sawmill last year when my work was slow. The hinges are metal gate hinges, and I made a latch out of two pieces of Walnut scrap with a Red Oak dowel drilled through the post. There is a little Locust pin on the other side of the post that stops the Walnut arm/latch from swinging down past the sides of the gate leaving it useless. Regardless…. the dog could care less.

screens and gate 007The other thing was a screen for the back porch, when we grill or hang out it feels like everyone driving by can see us, it’s a pretty busy road and at our little rush hour it’s annoying to me so until the trees leaf out I want something to break up the flow of cars. As my wife pleasantly told me recently it blocks the blowing snow when trying to fill the bird feeders too! It’s Ash splints from a log I got back in November, I remember watching a guy make Ash splints at Waterford years ago and thought it was the neatest thing. Peter has a good youtube video of the process.

Riving Ash 014

When we bought the house there was a really mangy Cherry tree that was old and dangerous, it had tons of suckers on it,


thin shoots coming off of the larger limbs and body, the flexibility¬† reminded me of willow coppice so I had to use them for something…. yes! a screen!

IMG_0112The frame is Eastern White Ceder ( a log I got from a friend and had milled)that has held up just fine and the Cherry suckers lasted six years, once they started to go it was quick, ohh the other thing that made it deteriorate quick was having a two year old and a four year old, something about being able to easily snap dry rotted twigs with criminal hands that must be irresistibly delightful.

IMG_0165There was enough to put a fence around the garden too. That only lasted one season. I think people underestimate the toughness of some woods to resist decay and expect too much from others. If there is air flow and kept out of the soil or covered in another plants foliage, even soft woods like pine and poplar will last a long time outdoors with no protective coating.

If you have an idea or urge go for it! wood is everywhere and sometimes the best treasures you get from unlikely stuff. if it fails shortly after or doesn’t last as long as desired enjoy wading around in some aspect of it and be glad you made the effort!