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Interwoven branches form the center of this artfully arched gate that can complement any type of wooden fence.
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Cut two 1 x 8 boards 36 inches long for the top rails (A). Then cut two pieces of scrap about 2 inches wide by 7 inches long. Measure 18 inches from the end, and draw a centered line the width of the board. Place that board on a work surface with an edge -- what we’ll call the near edge -- along the work surface edge. Then mark the board edges 2 inches from the near edge. Then mark the center line 3-1/2 inches from the near edge (Twig Gate Project Diagram).
Clamp the spacers to the work surface, one on each side of the top rail board. Adjust the spacers so the ends of both are about 1/8 inch away from the far edge of the board. (The 1/8-inch dowel should be able to rest flush with the edge of the board.) With one finger, pull the center of the dowel toward you until it crosses the 3-1/2-inch mark. Then trace along the inside edge of the curve.
When tracing, hold the pencil vertically or at a consistent angle for smooth, even curves.
Reposition the scrap boards along the sides of the 1 x 8 even with the edge marks. Place the dowel against the spacers and pull it toward you until the outside curve is flush with the edge of the board. Trace along the outside curve of the dowel to form the second curve mark. The two curved lines should be parallel.
Stack the marked board on the second 1 x 8 with the edges and ends even. Drive screws through the waste areas to hold the boards together. Clamp the stacked boards overhanging your work surface and use a jigsaw to cut along the lines to form the curved top pieces. Save the scrap with the curved top to use later as a spacer (B). Sand to the lines and to remove any saw marks.
Cut four 1 x 4 boards 36 inches long. Lay two 1 x 4 stiles (C) on scrap spacers with the outside edges 36 inches apart, parallel, and flush. Slide a 1 x 4 bottom rail (D) under the ends to form the bottom shape of the gate frame. Use a carpenter’s square to check for a 90-degree angle. Glue, drill 7/64-inch pilot holes, and fasten the corners with 1-1/4-inch screws.
Lay a curved top rail (A) on the two side pieces of the frame. Arrange the ends of the curved piece flush with the edges of the sides and the curve touching the inside corners. Mark the shape of the curve on both side pieces. Use a jigsaw to cut along the lines.
Glue, drill, and screw a curved top piece to the underside of the side pieces at the top.
Retrieve an inside curve scrap from a 1 x 8 board cut for the top. Cut equal amounts from each end to make it 29 inches long. Lay the scrap on the curved top of the gate frame so the curves are flush at the top. Hold a pencil with the tip about 2 inches from the top of the curve and trace a parallel curve working freehand and using your fingers as a guide. (This curve doesn’t need to be as precise as the others.) Cut along the line. Then glue, drill, and screw the top rail spacer (B) to the curved top.
Gather an assortment of fresh branches pruned from green trees. Trim them to rough length and remove portions of the branches thicker than 3/4 inch. Lay out the branches in a pattern you like on the gate and trim them to their final lengths.
Drill 1/8-inch holes at the ends of the branches and screw them in place at the top and bottom of the gate. Trim off any stray portions of each branch that aren’t held in place by the frame or other branches.
Add the second curved top rail (A) so it’s flush with the curved filler piece. Drill and screw it in place without glue to simplify replacing the branches when needed. Then drill and screw the bottom rail (D) in place.
Sand the top curved pieces flush and wipe clean. Mask off the branches as needed and apply the finish of your choice (Cedar shown) to the cedar boards. Then attach the hardware of your choice to hang the gate from a fence.
Screws are only visible from one side on this gate, so choose which side will face your yard before attaching the hardware.