How To Weld A Light-Duty Farm Gate
A plan to make a gate just the right size for your needs.
By Oscar H. Will III | Photos By Len Churchill
DOWNLOAD: Equipment and materials list, plan drawings and steps for the gate and for optional do-it-yourself hinges (1.2 MB PDF file)
Let’s face it, not all openings on the acreage match neatly with the standard gate widths available at the local farm store. And sometimes you just don’t need to spend the money for a heavy-duty gate when a lighter-duty one will suffice.
While this plan is for a 3-foot-2-inch-tall gate for a 5-foot-wide opening, you can adapt the method to the size you need. One option for doing so is to simply measure your opening, reduce the width by about 6 inches to allow for hinges and hardware, and weld together a “pipe” gate frame to that specific dimension.
The following steps include using electric metallic tube (EMT) conduit for the frame and 2-by-4-inch welded wire mesh to fill the gaps. You could use another type of thin-walled steel tube if you have it readily available, and you can use virtually any mesh for fill.
These instructions assume some welding experience, but the project can be accomplished relatively easily with a small, 110-volt flux-cored wire-feed (0.03 wire) welder. If you don’t have much experience welding thin-walled material, you should definitely practice before embarking on this project.
14 Steps To Weld A Gate
1. Cut two 54-inch-long pieces of the ¾-inch EMT from one 10-foot section, and cut three 37-inch pieces from the other. Save the scraps for other projects—like making your own hinges. (See downloadable PDF plan for the homemade hinge plan. Note: Attach such hinges before you do Step 3 of this gate plan.)
2. Using the bench vise, flatten both ends of the three 37-inch-long pieces by inserting the last ¾ inch of each end between the vise’s jaws and crushing them flat. Take care that the flat ends are both in the same plane (parallel to each other).
3. Clamp one of the 54-inch pieces of EMT to your worktable. Position two of the 37-inch pieces at each end of the long piece so that the edge of their flat end lands on the centerline of the 54-inch piece. Using the square and measuring tape, position the 37-inch-long pieces of EMT so they are perpendicular to the 54-inch-long piece and parallel to each other, and then clamp them to the table.
4. Adjust the welder to the recommended settings for welding 18-gauge metal using electrode-negative polarity.
5. Position your fan to provide a gentle cross breeze, and open windows, garage doors, etc., to enhance ventilation. Do not place the fan in such a way that it draws the fumes toward you.
6. Gear up (respirator, helmet and gloves), and weld the flattened ends of the two 37-inch pieces of EMT to the 54-inch piece. Short bursts with good penetration will help prevent burn-through.
7. Clean the welded areas with the wire brush once the beads cool.
8. Flip the structure around, and position the non-welded ends of the 37-inch-long pieces of EMT on the centerline of the other 54-Inch-long piece, square everything up, clamp and weld as before—cleaning the welds with the wire brush.
9. Position and clamp the third 37-inch-long piece of EMT centered between the other two, weld, then clean with the wire brush once cool.
10. Spray all of the cleaned welds with liquid galvanizing compound to slow the formation of rust.
11. Position the gate frame on a flat surface weld-side up, and lay the welded wire mesh over the frame to cover the two large openings. Align the mesh on one end, then use wire cutters to cut excess mesh just flush with the other end of the frame.
12. Fasten the mesh to the outer frame tubing and the center upright, using evenly spaced zip ties.
13. Trim the ends of the zip ties with wire cutters.
14. Install purchased hinges or hinges you make, hang the gate, and then install and adjust the latch of your choice. Tip: For a livestock pen, put the mesh side of the gate toward the (most) animals.
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