How to Build a Wood-Framed Gate With Cross Members

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You don't need to be an expert at construction to make a gate with cross members. Using simple carpentry skills and tools, you can make a gate from wood-framing studs in just a few hours. If you have a custom fence design or if you need a gate in an unusual size, the only way to get a gate that matches the fence is to make it yourself. Fortunately, this is a do-it-yourself job that is not hard.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Miter box and saw
  • Screwdriver or hammer
  • Screws or nails
  • Carpenter's level
  • Hinges
  • Gate latch
  • Measure the opening. Construct the gate so that it is an inch to an inch and a half smaller than the opening to allow for the hardware and the gate to swing freely.

  • Cut 2-by-4 lumber to form the frame of your gate. Use the measurements from Step 1, and cut the boards with a 45-degree angle on each end with the pointed parts of the angle on the same side of the 2-by-4.

  • Put the pieces together on the ground so they form a square. Screw or nail them together.

  • Determine if the gate is square by measuring diagonally from corner to corner. The gate is square if the measurements are the same.

  • Install cross members to keep the gate square. Cut the first cross member to the diagonal measurement you took in Step 4. Attach it to opposite corners of the frame using screws or nails. Cut a second cross member, then cut it into two pieces. Measure the distance from the center of the installed cross member to the corner. Cut the pieces of the second cross member to this length. Install them across the other diagonal by fitting them between the first cross member and the corner without overlapping the first cross member.

  • Flip the gate over, and install the vertical members. If you are building a picket fence, the vertical members are the pickets. Screw or nail them to the gate frame consistent with the pattern of your fence.

  • Attach hinges to the gate first. Have a helper hold the top of the gate even with the top of the fence and off the ground. First, attach the upper hinge to the gatepost with one screw. Use a level to determine if the gate is plumb by laying the level along the side opposite the hinges. Next, attach the lower hinge to the post, then the remaining screws on the upper hinge.

  • Install the latch. Put the hardware on the gate first, then put the catch on the gatepost in the appropriate place.

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