How the Gates are Made


Mortise and Tenon is an old world Japanese wood-working technique of joining two pieces of wood together in order to create a powerful and permanent joint without the use of hardware.

If done correctly, Mortise and Tenon is superior to joinery that uses hardware. The reason being is that hardware-as well as wood surfaces adjacent to the hardware-will eventually degrade, causing the joint to weaken and the gate to sag.

By today’s gate-building standards, creating a proper Mortise and Tenon joint is expensive. Consequently, some gate manufacturers maintain larger profit margins in part by specifically cost-cutting this process, either by using small inferior Tenons, inferior adhesives, or by using an inferior form of joinery. The downside to this is that the joints are the only mechanism maintaining the structural integrity of the gate, and a poorly built joint will eventually fail causing the gate to sag. On the contrary, a properly built Mortise and Tenon joint will out last the gate it is holding together.

The concept of mortise and tenon is simple yet very effective, comprised of the two pieces of wood which are to be joined, epoxy, and a third piece of wood called a tenon.

  • We start by machining mortises into the stiles and rails of the gate using a mortising machine.
  • Next we create the tenon. As you can see, we use massive tenons, cut from 3/4-inch thick marine-grade plywood.
  • Next we flood the mortise with a powerful marine-grade epoxy, insert the tenon into the mortise, and clamp the assembly to position. As the epoxy spreads across the wood, it wicks into the grain of all surfaces of wood it contacts and permanently unites them together.
  • After the epoxy has catalyzed the joint is complete and virtually indestructible, assuring your gate will never sag.