Sliding Home: The Front Gate Ready To Roll

The front gate is rolling on its track. I am extremely happy with it as it looks just as I had envisioned it. Although there are more than 300 weld points, the whole gate has the minimalist feel that I wanted. A few people have seen it so far and easily identified the design as cat tails.

This was a fun project even if the welding, grinding, sanding, and painting was quite tedious. I spent a lot of time stepping back, looking at the progress and planning my next move. Actually, I had to plan three or four moves in advance, as in a game of chess, so that I didn’t end up with overlaps, gaps, or clutter that didn’t make sense in the design.

Although I was replicating a wild grass, I wanted order to the design, so I worked from the center out to both sides, fabricating two of every stalk. The left and right sides from center are mirror images.

Assembly: The frame of the gate is made of 2″ x 2″ x 1/16″ square tubing. The two square tubes at the bottom formed a beam once the stalks were all welded in place; the gate doesn’t sag at all. I drilled 1/2″ holes in the beam for the stalks to pass through.  The stalks of the plants are 1/2″ round stock. The seed pods at the ends of the stalks are made from black pipe; half-inch pipe fit well over the round stock but wasn’t fat enough for a seed pod, so I cut lengths of 3/4″ pipe, too. I pounded the smaller pipe into the larger pipe then welded the pipe assembly to the stalks. After I cleaned up all the weld points with the grinder, I applied body filler (Bondo) to most of the joints and the tops and bottoms of the seed pods. Then I sanded the body filler smooth. I topped everything off with two coats of red oxide primer followed by one coat of dark gray. This color may or may not change in the future; we’ll have to see what color the containers end up being painted.

Armando and I were working on the job, and I rounded up two other local workers to help us move the gate from container 3 to its place on the angle iron track. Although the design is very “airy,” this is one heavy gate. I think a gate opener is in order; I can slide the gate but Cynthia pushed on it as hard as she could but it was as if it was welded to the ground.

Here are some photos. Remember, click a photo to make it larger, click the back button to return.

Fabrication underway.

Here is the gate all welded and welds ground out, ready for body filler. I think the design is graceful and has a hint of art nouveau.

Looking out, you don’t feel like you are in a garrison. There is a hint of a family crest in the center of the gate.

Dog tired but happy. The curved stalks are strategically placed so as to strengthen the vertical stalks.

I welded this bracket from metal 2x4s. The wheels guide the gate as it opens and closes. Remember, there will be a concrete hat on top of the columns.

Next, I think I will take some pictures of a small model that I built showing the new and improved one-story design of the house. I’ll post them so you can see the new plan.

That’s all for now.

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