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Most of the time, the best way to buy a chain link gate is to buy one that’s preassembled. Sometimes, however, you may want a custom gate— one large enough to accommodate a big landscaping tractor, for example. Building a gate is a lot like building a short section of fence, except you won’t need a fence puller. When building your own gate, first fit the frame together, then attach the mesh by slipping tension bars into the tension bands. You also can buy special corner brackets that let you customize the width of your gate.
Shown at left: (A) top rail; (B) latch; (C) hinge; (D) side rail; (E) tension band; (F) bottom rail; (G) tension bar.
A chain link gate is amazingly strong. Unlike its wooden counterparts, a chain link gate isn’t likely to sag over time. The mesh is stretched across a frame of metal tubing and held by tension bars, which are anchored to tension bands. Standard tie wires hold the mesh at the top and bottom. Metal hinge pins hold the gate in place, while an adjustable metal latch keeps the gate securely closed.
SKILL SCALE (Easy, Medium, Hard): Medium
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? - Experienced - 1 hr.
- Handy - 1.5 hrs.
- Novice - 2 hrs.
- Mechanical skills
Slip tension bands onto the pieces of tubing that make up the frame. You’ll need at least three tension bands for each tension bar—four if the gate is more than 4 feet high. Assemble the frame by sliding the pieces of tubing together.
Insert a tension bar into the chain link mesh by sliding it through the end loops of the mesh. Be sure to thread the bar through the entire width of the mesh.
Attach the tension bar to the tension bands on one side rail. Thread a second tension bar into the mesh close enough to the other side rail to hold the mesh taut once it’s attached to the tension bands. Unhook the strand of mesh near the outside of the second tension bar and pull it out to remove the excess mesh.
Pull the mesh and the second tension bar tightly and slip the tension bar into the tension bands. If the mesh isn’t tight enough, unhook the tension bar and slip it into the next set of loops, then unravel the excess mesh and hook the bar back into the tension bands.
Once the chain link mesh is firmly in place, attach tie wires to the top and bottom rails. Hook the tie wires around the mesh intersections, pull the mesh so it is slightly above the gate frame, and wrap the free end of the tie wire around the mesh.
Install the hinge straps on the gate, spacing them evenly from the top and bottom. Position the gate and support it on wood blocks. Mark the gatepost to show where the hinge straps will meet it.
Set the gate aside, then slide the hinge pins into place at the marks and tighten them with the top pin pointing down and the bottom pin pointing up. Install the gate on the post, lifting the upper hinge strap onto the top hinge pin and lowering the bottom strap onto the lower pin.
Position the latch catch on the gatepost opposite the hinges and tighten it. Slide the latch pin onto the side rail of the gate, line it up with the catch, then tighten it with a socket wrench.
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