DIY Gate Closer

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A closed gate is critical for peace of mind.
A closed gate is critical for peace of mind. (Image: picket fence detail image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com)

A gate left open can be annoying as well as dangerous to children, pets and garden plants. Visitors to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia are delighted to find a simple and ingenious automatic gate closer used for centuries and built with chains and cannonballs. You can make a similar gate closer based on the same basic concepts of physics with modern items and no more skill than the ability to tie a few simple knots.

Things You'll Need

  • Sturdy rope
  • 5-pound kettlebell
  • Post hole digger
  • Wooden fence post
  • Metal eye bolt

Cut a length of rope one foot longer than the width of your gate.

Nylon rope is easy to work with and won't rot.
Nylon rope is easy to work with and won't rot. (Image: rope image by cherie from Fotolia.com)

Thread the rope through the handle of the kettlebell. Kettlebells are weights found in the fitness or sporting goods aisles of department stores or at sporting goods stores.

Use a slipknot to anchor the kettlebell in the center of the length of rope.

A slipknot will keep the kettlebell situated properly.
A slipknot will keep the kettlebell situated properly. (Image: noeud de plein poing image by cris13 from Fotolia.com)

Tie one end of the rope to the top center of the gate. If there is no obvious place to tie the rope, you may wish to attach an eye bolt to the inside of the gate and fasten the rope to that.

Assuming the gate opens out, tie the rope to the inside of the gate, as the kettlebell will pull the gate shut.
Assuming the gate opens out, tie the rope to the inside of the gate, as the kettlebell will pull the gate shut. (Image: latch image by david hughes from Fotolia.com)

Dig a fence post hole a distance from the hinge post equal to half the width of the gate. An imaginary line between the fence post hole and the hinge post should form a right angle in relationship to the gate, with the hole situated on the side of the fence opposite the direction in which the gate swings.

Insert the fence post in the hole, and secure it with dirt or crushed gravel.

Attach the eye bolt near the top of the new fence post on the side closest the fence.

Thread the rope through the eye bolt, and tie it in place. At this point, when the gate is shut the kettlebell should continue to be suspended somewhat above the ground and not rest directly on it. If not, re-tie the ends of the rope to situate the kettlebell above the ground and exactly in between where it is tied to the gate and tied to the anchoring fence post.

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