Thursday, March 25, 2010

Build Your Own Black Iron Gate

Decorative iron entry gate

Properties that incorporate black iron gates add beauty and security. Unique yet versatile, they can be forged by hand or fabricated and assembled by welders, foundry workers, and blacksmiths. Each gate starts with a basic frame pattern. According to the use and imagination of the owner, the basic black iron gate can become anything from a simple farm gate to contain animals to modern pieces of movable art to protect a family home or estate. Building a black iron gate does require the skill of welding or joinery; be it done with forge and anvil or with electric welding devices. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Accurate measurements of the gate opening is a crucial part of building a black iron gate.

Measure the inside height and width of the desired opening. Take care to measure each side at total height and distance from the ground along with the width at both the top and bottom. If the gate is to fit on the outside of the opening, measure the dimensions from the center of the gate hinge pintle to the desired point where the gate will close flush on opposite side.

2. Allowance for the pintles and latch pins are deducted from the overall gate measurements to allow for opening.

Measure the diameter of the hinge pintles and the outside point of the latch when in the open position for a gate that is to fit on the inside of a measured opening.

3. Not all openings are plumb and square.

Draw template of gate on cardboard, plywood, or concrete using pencil or other suitable marking device according to opening sizes. Make sure that one inch or more is deducted from the width on the hinge pin side to allow the pintle to be mounted on existing structure, and that the the measurement of the latch pin is deducted from the entry or opening side if the pin extends past the frame. Fit the frame or outer pieces to the opening sizes keeping in mind that not all openings are plumb or square and allowing for pintles and latch pin. Level the top and bottom or shape to opening and grade of ground.

4. Cutting forged black iron with a cut off hardy for traditionally joining gate pieces.

Measure and cut the 1-inch by 2-inch mild steel for the gate frame according to template. Traditionally joined black iron gates may require additional stock and will need to be measured in accordance to the type of joinery being used.

5. Watch for warpage by using a carpenter level while assembling.

Assemble gate frame using traditional forging techniques or by welding. Square any 90 degree corners with carpenter square and level frame pieces by laying 6-foot carpenter level from side to side and top to bottom before final welding.

6. The weight of a black iron gate requires strong welds at the hinge.

Place and weld hinges to the gate frame, positioning the center of the hinge's pintle hole where it aligns with the center point of the pintle when attached to its supporting structure .

7. Oxyfuel cutting torch cuts gate stock iron to desired design lengths.

Cut the various stock iron, making bends and decorative pieces according to the desired design. Purchased fabricated balusters, railings, and ornamental iron pieces may need to be cut, bent, ground, or otherwise altered to fit into the existing design.

8. Added dead bolt lock to iron gate.

Assemble gate according to the design template by welding or attach using traditional forging techniques. Adding additional hardware including any unique features such as dead bolt locks, kick plates, pet doors, and Cain bolts should precede the attachment of ornamental pieces. Traditional assembly methods, such as the use of "collars," require additional metal to complete the joinery.

9. Unfinished black iron will rust, taking years away from its lasting durability.

Clean and apply a finish to the completed black iron gate in accordance to the owner's choice. Black iron left unfinished will rust quickly.

Tags: black iron, iron gate, black iron, black iron gate, deducted from, gate frame