We live on 80 acres. We have two hay fields that are fenced in order to keep the cows out. While we don't have cows, our neighbor does and he grazes his cattle on our pasture. Better to use it than to watch it revert back into brush and trees. There are a couple of gates to pass through to get to the back 40 acres. One of those gates is a simple barb wire gate that we aren't fond of. To access that gate, we leave our yard and drive over to the front hay field and then to the back side of the field. We decided a gate installed in our back yard fence line would be a worthwhile project. This write-up details our pasture gate project.
We decided on a metal tube gate so we checked out the offerings at the local L&M Fleet Supply store. Light weight gates and heavy duty gates were available. They had a number of reasonably priced 2" tube gates and we decided that a 12 footer would the job. That is easily wide enough for anything we have. If something bigger needs to get through (such as haying equipment), that barb wire gate is still available.
I wanted this gate to last and had no desire to work on it again in 10 or 15 years. I bought several 8' long pressure treated posts for the project. Three of them were 6" diameter posts and one was a 4" post. Two of the 6" posts would be used on the hinge end of the gate and the other 8" post would be on the latch end. The 4" post would supply the bracing between the two 8" posts.
The fence line where our new gate was going is a stretch of 4 strands of barb wire on steel t-posts running about 150 yds between brace posts. The plan was to install the gate about 30' from the far end. With the cattle in the pasture, I couldn't just cut the fence and pull the t-posts to make way for the new gate because I knew it would take me a couple of days to complete the project. Since I'm retired, I enjoy the slower pace for "fun work". I decided to build the gate right next to the existing fence. Once built, I could cut the barb wire and wrap it around the new wooden posts. This would prevent the cattle from going where they shouldn't be and I wouldn't have to re-stretch the barb wire when I was done. The existing fence is in great condition as it was installed just a few years ago.
The 6" post that will hold the gate hinges has been set. I used a regular post hole digger and went down a full 3' giving me 5' of post above ground level on which to hang the gate. I spend way more time than most folks do when it comes to tamping a post into position. I watched my Dad do it on the farm for many years. I can't remember a fence failing where our cattle got off our property. He firmly believed that any job worth doing was worth doing well....and that was a trait that he passed along to me...thanks Dad! I used a level to make sure the post was plumb and put it as close to the barb wire as possible. I encountered a few small rocks while digging the hole but none that I couldn't dislodge with a 5' iron pry bar.
I located the second 6" post about 5' from the hinge post. Yeah, I know it looks crooked but it isn't, as you'll see in subsequent photos. This 8' tall post was put a full 3' into the ground and up against the fence just like the hinge post. This post will brace the hinge post and also take much of the exist fence's tension when the barb sire is eventually cut.
Notice the green sleeves on the barb wire behind the post. These are pieces of scrap water hose I recycled into barb guards. Since I was working so close to the barb wire, it was way too easy to cut myself while using the post hole digger and tamping the post into position. I cut a piece of worn out hose and then slit it lengthwise which allowed it to fit over the barb wire.
Here is a pic of the braced hinge post. I initially notched the second 6" post near the top and also trimmed the brace post to fit the notch. After doing so, I didn't really see that much of an advantage and decided to skip that step when attaching it to the hinge post.
I used 8" long screws, two on each end, to anchor the horizontal brace post into position against each of the 6" posts. My DeWalt 20V cordless driver made short work of those screws. This was one of the power tools I added to my collection after moving to the homestead. You can see the notching in the post, that I previously mentioned, in this pic.
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