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How to fit a padbolt to a wooden gate

How to fit a padbolt to a wooden gate

Unless you’re fitting a mortice deadlock to your timber gates, then you will probably chose to fit a padbolt (also known as a Brenton bolt).

The advantages of fitting a padbolt over the mortice deadlock is ease of fitting; fitting a deadlock to your gates takes a bit more time, effort and tools. The disadvantages of the padbolt is that it is nowhere near as secure as a deadlock and you can only open (or unlock, once you’ve added the padlock) from the side of the gate it is fitted to, unless you place it high enough up on the gates and then reach over to open/unlock the padbolt from the opposite side of the gates.

The two parts of a Brenton bolt (or padbolt)

How to fit a padbolt to a timber gate
A – The padbolt
B – The receiver

And that is it, it really is that simple!

Receivers vary depending on who has manufactured the padbolts. Some contain just square bolts holes, whilst others contain both square bolt holes and round screw holes.

The padbolt can be fitted to any of the horizontal rails (including the head) of the gates; if, however, none of these positions are convenient for you, then you’ll need to fit a lock block to take the padbolt: I’m assuming that you will be fitting the Padbolt / Brenton bolt to one of the rails within the gates

For now, however, we’ll assume we’ll be fitting the padbolt to the top rail – the head of the gates.

Tools required to fit the padbolt to the gate

The following tools will be needed to fit the padbolt (or Brenton bolt) to the gates:

Cordless drill/screwdriver,
3mm drill bit,
*6mm spade bit,
* Small adjustable spanner,

*Adjustable spanner, 6mm spade bit and hacksaw are only required if you choose to fit the padbolt using the bolts (in my case M6/6mm bolts).

Tools to fit Brenton bolt


The padbolt attaches fixes to the gate by a combination of screws and M6 bolts (you can, however, skip the bolts if you like, you’ll lose a little bit of additional security, but it will not affect the operation of the padbolt in anyway). When you look at the padbolt and receiver, you’ll notice a combination of round fixing holes and square fixing holes; the round holes are for the screw fixings and the square holes for the M6 bolts.

Start with the padbolt first, as we’ll fix the receiver later.

Place the padbolt on the gate, where you intend to fit it. On a pair of wooden driveway gates, the padbolt is fitted to the gate that opens first – the master or active gate.

Either line it up by sight making sure it is parallel it is sitting on or check that it is sitting square with the edge of the gate by using a square.

Mark out two screw holes through the padbolt onto the gate itself. Use two opposite holes, i.e. a hole near the edge of the gate on the front of the padbolt, and a hole near the end/back of the padbolt.

Padbolt on wooden gate

Remove padbolt and pre-drill both these holes using a 3mm drill-bit.

Screw the padbolt to the gate using the two pre-drilled holes.

Double check that it is still sitting square with the edge of the gate using your square, if not, then adjust.

Now pre-drill the remaining screw holes through the padbolt into the gates, add screws and screw up securely to the gate.

If you’re not bothering adding bolts through the padbolt into the gate, then at this stage, you can add screws to what are really bolt holes.

If you intend to add the bolts, then leave the drilling for the bolts for now as we’ll get onto this as we drill for the bolts for the receiver!

Attaching the receiver for the padbolt

Fixing the padbolt to a single wooden pedestrian gate, the receiver will then attach to your gate post,if we’re fixing the padbolt to a pair of driveway gates, then the receiver will attach to gate that opens once the master gate is open.

With the gate (for a pedestrian gate) or both gates (for a pair of wooden driveway gates) closed, we’ll now attach the receiver.

Slide the padbolt to the locked position, the end of the bolt should now protrude over our gate post (single gate) or inactive/slave gate (for a pair of gates).

Simply sit the receiver over the bolt on either the gate post or inactive gate and mark out the two holes, then remove the receiver.

Pre-drill the two holes with the 3mm drill bit, replace the receiver and screw up (even if you intend to add the required bolts).

Now check that when you slide the padbolt into the locked position that it slides into place under the receiver. If not, adjust the position of the receiver slightly by loosening the screws, moving the receiver and screwing back up, then check again!

If it does and you’re not adding the M6 bolts, then you’re done!

Adding the M6 bolts to the padbolt/Brenton bolt and receiver

To add the bolts through the padbolt, it’s a case of using a 6mm spade bit and drilling through the gate with the padbolt in position.

Drill until the drill bit starts to protrude through to the other side of the gate, then complete the hole from the opposite side of the gate to where the padbolt is fitted; don’t drill right the way through from one side to the other unless you want to risk splitting the gate as the drill bit bursts through.

Now push both bolts through the padbolt body, into the gate and attach washers and nuts and secure.

Teds top tip for fitting a padbolt

To add the bolts to the receiver, remove one screw then drill through the receiver into the gate/post as described above. Then push the M6 bolt through, add the washer and nut and secure.

Once the first bolt is in and secure, you can then remove the second screw and repeat the process.

*The padbolt I’m using only has two square bolt holes; some padbolt receivers also have two screw holes as well as two bolt holes. In this case, fix the receiver to the gate or post using the screw holes, then once you’re happy everything is positioned correctly, drill the bolt holes, add bolts, washers and nuts and secure; there is no need to remove the screws with this receiver configuration.

If the bolts you’ve used to secure the padbolt are overly long and protrude a fair bit, then you can cut the ends using either a hacksaw or small angle grinder.

My padbolt rattles in the wind!

If, on windy days, you find your padbolt rattling in the wind, there is an easy fix for that!

What you need to do is tighten up the receiver to the bolt; the quickest way of doing this which is very old school (and a bit rough!) is to get a hammer and hit the receiver – it basically squashes the receiver down towards the bolt; however, I don’t really recommend doing this!

A loose fitting, rattling padbolt

To fix a rattling padbolt you need to close the gap between the bolt and receiver

marking around a padbolt receiver

Mark around the padbolt receiver with a pencil before removing it from the gate.

The best way is to sink the receiver into the post, deep enough so it tightens up the gap between bolt and receiver.
To fix a padbolt receiver that rattles
you’ll need to grab a pencil and draw around the receiver.

Next, with the gate closed and the padbolt in the locked position, eye up the gap between the bolt of the padbolt and the rear of the receiver, this will tell you how much to sink the receiver into the gate!

Now unscrew/unbolt the receiver from the gate and get yourself a chisel that is narrower than the width/height of the receiver

Using a mallet/hammer with your chisel, start scoring the timber, making sure you go across the grain first as it will stop the timber splitting.

Once you’ve scored across the grain, repeat the process, this time going with the grain.

Fixing a rattling padbolt

Then sink the receiver into the gate
(or post) using a chisel

With the outline of the receiver now marked out with your chisel, you can then start carefully chiseling in at an angle to remove the timber.

As you do this, keep checking you’ve not gone too deep; do this by holding the receiver in position and trying the bolt of the padbolt into it. When you satisfied it’s deep enough, re-fix the receiver, close your gates and try them to see if they rattle.

Stopping a padbolt from rattling

If you’ve sunk the receiver in deep enough, then it cannot rattle!

If they no longer rattle then you’ve finished. If they still rattle, then sink the receiver a little bit deeper into the timber and try again until the rattle has ceased.

Want more gate fitting tips > Wooden gate fitting guide

2 thoughts on “How to fit a padbolt to a wooden gate

  1. Martin Boyle says:

    how can I fit the receiver if I only have brick on one side

    1. Hi Martin,

      Just drill a hole large enough for the bolt to sit in within the brickwork and disregard the receiver.

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