Black Picket Gates

Sometimes projects just get so…fraught ?

I had custom cut pickets sitting around since May, 2018. I spent that summer painting them – all 256 – then many were installed on the fence in the fall.

So what was the problem with the gates for the driveway ? What took so long ?

I had been dealing with an older carpenter who really knew his wood stuff. I had noticed a certain pattern emerging though – when there was something he didn’t understand – or perhaps misjudged a detail about – then work on that thing would slow to a deadening halt. I tried to get the gates built many times by the fall of 2019, then but somehow this never could happen. I think the real issue was that since this carpenter was not a fence builder 100% of the time – probably not even 5% of the time – that the posts for the driveway had been put in the wrong place. The posthole place asked where I wanted them – and that’s where I said to put them…but I have only watched fences get built. I had two choices – but one was 100% wrong for the gates I wanted.

There are two cement curbs on each side of the driveway area, to delineate the area, when the previous owner went on their concrete rampage of 1979. The posts should have been put INSIDE the driveway area vs the outside where they were. If gates were attached to the posts in the current position then the gates would have to have a couple of strange cut out sections at the bottom, to clear the curbs. Driveway gates are uncommon here, and to have them open into the narrow street was a terrible different solution.

Another option was to sister in several post sections to the set post, which wouldn’t be as stable as a post set into the ground. But no funny cut out gates !

The most reasonable option was to just get a pair of posts set in the correct position. I called around last fall but the place I had previously used for postholes didn’t return my inquiries, and the other place had a minimum of close to $ 500.00 – even for two short posts.

I tried again this spring, and contacted an ad on Kijiji. How bad could it be I wondered ? Kijiji stuff is always like a blind date – who knows what will show up ? As it turned out the posthole guys were young brothers, who were punctual, not scary and did a perfectly decent job that cost a fraction of $ 500.00.

I found a carpenter to make the frames after contacting several who would not reply to my inquiry. There were some slight headaches with the screw peg hardware’s inflexibility for placement vs the pickets but all was resolved.

I don’t have a vehicle and seldom have car guests so the construction was perhaps lighter than gates that would get opened and closed several times a day.

The gates are there to function as a pychological barrier. Like anyone can open them – or the front walkway gate. My hope is that having to cross this boundary is an impediment to the future wanton pissers, the thieves that stole two cinderblocks from the front (= ???), the rambling lawnchair crack user, the falling down drunk guy, and of course the London dog walkers who don’t pick up poop. Or anyone else who has no reason to be in my yard, but decides to be.

Meanwhile I await a visit from the bylaw officer, who has the authority to negate my fence and gate as by London standards they are in the “wrong place”, and should be placed a stupidly large distance from the street. Yet the location of the underground gas lines made this impossible. I guess I will fight that fight when/if I have to.

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