What type of adhesive do you use to build your gates? Do you use carpenters glue or do you use marine grade epoxy?
At Williams Gate Works we only use marine grade epoxy.
Epoxy is superior to glue in every aspect. Besides the fact that epoxy is many times stronger than glue, it is also highly waterproof and resistant to changes in temperature. The mortise and tenon joint coupled with marine grade epoxy actually makes the joint become stronger than the actual wood itself.
Epoxy is ideal for a stress joint, while glue becomes brittle in a short time and will soon fail. Glue is not waterproof, which is an important feature for a gate. Boats are made using epoxy for these very reasons. Marine grade epoxy is actually suitable for below waterline applications.
A gate made using glue will look good for a year or too but the glue will soon begin to fail causing your gate to sag and then completely fall apart.
Do you use bolts, screws or any other structural metal fasteners in your gates?
At Williams Gate Works we never use metal bolts, screws, or fasteners.
With the constant expansion and contraction of the wood due to moisture and temperature changes, the wood around the fastener becomes misshapen and enlarged and will no longer hold the joint properly causing sagging and failure.
At Williams Gate Works, we combine the time proven strength of mortise and tenon joinery with marine grade epoxy. Mortise and tenon joints have been used in woodworking for thousands of years. As stated earlier the mortise and tenon joint and marine grade epoxy together make a joint that is actually stronger than the wood itself.
What thickness wood do you use to build your gates, and is that solid wood or laminated layers?
The most common thickness used by production gate makers is 1 ½” thick material. They do this for several reasons.
Mostly because it is quite a bit cheaper than 2 ¼” material, and because you can get it at most any lumber yard with out needing to mill it any further.
At Williams Gate Works, I hand select large beams and mill them to our specifications. 2 ¼” material is more stable for an outside gate that may face ever-changing weather. It will have far less chance of warping, cupping or splitting. It also has a much more solid feel to it. Like the difference between a 1 3/8” hollow core door vs. a 1 ¾” solid core door in your home. There really is no comparison.
Do you seal the end grain on all your material?
At Williams Gate Works, we do.
End grain in wood is the exposed portion of the wood that the tree uses to get water and nutrients from the root system to the leaves at the top of the tree. It is because of this that the end grain is very porous. Moisture is absorbed and released through the end grain very rapidly. If the end grain is not sealed the wood has a much greater chance to warp and split starting in the end grain. It is vital that all end grain is sealed.
Notice when at a lumber supplier that all the pieces of hardwood and all the larger beams are sealed at the ends. The need to seal end grain is a known fact throughout the lumber industry. Most gate makers ignore this fact to get the product out to you quickly. However, at Williams Gate Works, we are committed to creating quality gates. We seal ALL the end grain on every piece of wood. We even seal the end grains on the internal panels before the gate is assembled.