Building a better dog barricade

One of the major sources of stress in our house is the fact that we have so many animals, and more specifically, that some of those animals don’t play nice together. Even more specifically, the big bulldog and the cats.

Right now, a baby gate in the kitchen portal keeps the dogs in the back of the house so they have access to a door leading to the back yard, and the cats in the front part of the house and the bedrooms. This baby gate was originally a temporary solution, but it’s turned into a long-term solution and has been in place for far too long. It’s begun to show its age: the cheap plastic pieces have begin to break, the handle requires more effort than it should to lock and unlock. I actually bolted the spacer bars that keep it in place right into the wall, just to make sure it can withstand the impact of a running bulldog who doesn’t seem to care that he’s running into a fence.

My wife and I decided a nice full-size metal gate would be the way to go…not only would it look nice, but it would be strong enough to withstand the dogs and be tall enough to keep the cats from going over it. After doing some research online, we discovered that the types of gates that we would even consider installing into our kitchen started about $1,200, and that was way outside of what we could spend.

That’s why, when the opportunity to take a welding class came along, we thought it would be a good way to kill two birds with one stone. Not only do I get to learn a cool new thing, but in the end we get a fancy new gate built just the way we designed. So, even before I took the first class, I had begun putting together ideas about how the gate could look and function. Did we want it to accordion fold, so it was flush with the wall when it was done? Or a Dutch door, so we could pass groceries over it easily? I started working on designs: 

KitchenGate

An early iteration of the accordion design, as seen from the front room looking into the kitchen.

In the end, we decided on a simple single-panel gate that mounted on special hinges that allowed it to open from either side, and be easily removed from the frame if we needed to move furniture or something through the space. So, on March 19, as I was running out of welding classes, I began building the frame, and adding a few of the purchased pieces of scrollwork that had come in. The tall pickets had been ordered, but hadn’t come in yet, so I began putting in the elements I could: GateTall Several of the straight pieces in the photo above will be replaced by the decorative pickets when they arrive, but for now I just needed to have something to anchor the scrollwork to. GateDetail   While there are elements of the scrollwork that don’t line up exactly, I’m okay with that. There will be much more scrollwork added, so any asymmetries will be much more difficult to spot, so it’s not the end of the world. I just need to get this project done and make sure it’s safe for the animals and people in our house.