Bespoke Wooden Victorian Gates
As well as our range of standard designs of wooden gates which we make to measure, we also manufacture bespoke gates, i.e. gates made to your own designs.
Usually, these are based on sketches or pictures that are sent in to us.
These can be to suit existing gates our customers already have when they want something that matches, or they’ve seen something they like elsewhere and would like something similar, or for people in period properties that want something sympathetic to the style of house they live in. Here we look at some wooden Victorian gates we recently manufactured.
Victorian style wooden gates
Here, we’ll have a look at a pair of gates we recently manufactured for one of our customers in Powys. These gates were based on another pair we made quite a few years ago (the pair they were based on can be found on our bespoke wooden gates page on our website (they are also below) and are the white Victorian style gates (the picture isn’t very good as it was before the advent of digital cameras!).
As mentioned, usually any bespoke gates we manufacture are based on sketches or pictures we receive; this time we already had the picture, as we had already made the gate pictured ourselves; as well as this, we also received a sketch (top) from our customer with (a little bit of detail!) of heights of rails and widths required on. The more detail we get the better, both for pricing the job as it makes the costing more accurate, and then manufacturing the gate more straight-forward if the customer decides to go ahead.
It’s quite an intricate gate to make with the turned pieces in the top section and the cut out panels in the lower section, but as with anything, the first thing to do is to make the outer framework of the gates, as this then gives you all the relevant sizes for the infills in the top and lower sections of the gates.
Image A shows the gate framed up dry, not as yet glued; by this stage the timber is all smooth planed and jointed (our favorite through wedged morticed and tenon joints – don’t settle for anything less!); from this we get the sizes of the turned pieces in the top section and the panel sizes in the lower section, along with the infill uprights in the middle section.
Image B, shows the top rail capping prior to being jointed; this can be made from one piece of timber but would be weak due to short grain, so it’s best to manufacture it from two pieces of timber and join them together.
Image C, shows the top rail capping jointed up and in place, but loose, on the top rail, with the gate all framed up dry (no glue), we can begin making the infill pieces for the various sections of the gates.
Once the framework of the gates has been put together ‘dry’ with no glue, we can then work out all the sizes of the infill timbers; in the case of the Victorian gates, there are three different infill sections. The bottom section of the gates contain shaped panels, the middle section has rectangular panels and the top section boasts the more complex turned spindles (these are turned on a lathe). Below, some of the infill timbers are shown, the image shows the turned spindles whereas, below, these are the shaped panels for the lower section of the gates. (I’ve not shown the infill for the middle section of the gates as these are just rectangular timbers!).
Once these infill timbers have been cut, machined to shape and sanded up, they can be glued into position in the mortices located in the relevant rails, above right and below left. Unlike our standard range of gates where the outer framework is put together and glued up first, with the Victorian gates, all the timbers that make up the decorative infills have to be glued into the rails first. It can be a bit of a race against time to glue these into place before glueing the framework of the gates together, although the glue won’t totally set during the time it takes to put the gate together, the glue will start to dry, meaning it can become difficult to move any of the timbers that are not correctly placed. However, the infills have to be fitted into the gates this way as there is no other way of fitting them afterwards and the rest of the Victorian gate framework has to go together at the same time so you can check that all the infills are sitting square with the rails!
Once the turned spindles and panels have been glued into the rails, the rest of the gate can be glued up. As with everything we manufacture, the gates are based on a through wedged morticed and tenon jointed frame (don’t settle for inferior ‘dowelled’ morticed and tenon joints or stopped morticed and tenon joint, you’ll only pay for it later when your gate joints start to open up and come loose!) for strength. After being left over night for the glue to dry, the capping to the top rail is then fitted, along with the little decorative curved panel (above right) that sits under this capping, alongside and it is jointed into the hanging stile (the long vertical upright of the main gate frame that the hinges will be attached to). Once all this is done, the gate is sanded up and ready for delivery to our customer.
See the Victorian gates video for more images:
Getting a bespoke gate quote
Got a bespoke gate design that you would like a price for? Then please contact us and we’ll be happy to take a look at it for you and provide feedback. If we feel a design is weak structurally, then we will suggest ways to improve the strength of the gates. As I mentioned in the first part of this blog post, the more information we initially receive the more accurate the costing we can produce for you.