Gate City!

Ok, not really…

Gate City is the nickname for Greensboro, NC (a city close to my heart — I spent my college years there). But this project just reminded me of the moniker, as this nice couple in Mordecai wanted 2 sets of gates. One would be a sturdy set of porch gates; the other would be a more dainty (but strong) set of gates to close off their staircase. Both would — as past clients have indicated with our gates — keep curious toddlers and dogs from wandering.

We got the deposit check and a few days later fetched the materials. We then spent a few days in the shop making the porch gates.

(We have a very strong multi-piece design for this project — one that will defy bad weather, rot, and sagging — for decades…these gates might just outlast your porch.)

They are not just slapped together, but solidly built…like a tank. We build them out of treated 4x4s and 2x4s. They’re cut on the table saw and then grooves are fashioned via table saw with special Dado blades. Each gate side is then puzzle-pieced into the other (mortise & tendon). We then fashion each individual gate picket on the table saw and construct a “gate within a gate” type of deal. All of this is glued together (and clamped up to dry overnight).

Finally we screw the pickets into the inner frame, and add more screws to crucial points. Finally, a cross brace is screwed in, for added strength, and the whole thing is given a final sanding. Each gate weighs about 30 pounds, and each set takes a couple days in the shop to complete. We then spend a few hours to install on the porch columns, and install the hardware.

Here’s a pic of the gates installed on their porch…the “AFTER.”


Next up was the interior stairs gate. A previous builder had tried hard to give them a nice, custom stair gate. And it looked good, just didn’t work right; they didn’t close all the way.

It was decided that a double fold design — one that folded up in the middle — would be the answer! So Robert mocked one up in CAD and we used that in the shop. It took about 4 hours to complete, over two days (allowing time for glue to dry), and then an hour or so in the client’s house, to install via mounting boards that we custom cut and routed.

The new design. Just. Works! And we didn’t have to take down, cut and/or modify their existing handrail to make room. Simple. Elegant. Solution!

So there you have it! The clients are thrilled with both sets of gates. Now, they can keep the curious toddler and dogs both downstairs, and on the porch!

Happy clients; happy Old Raleigh Carpentry!


This project is NOT cheap; it’s NOT a couple hundred bucks (that won’t even cover the materials & hardware.)

Our porch gates are a perfected design. They take a few days in the shop to build, and a few hours to install. Expect to pay a premium. They will be worth every penny, and will never have to be replaced.