This week, retired fencing contractor Micheál Geoghegan talked to Agridirect.ie about hanging farm field gates that will last. Micheál has hung hundreds of farm gates over the years. His advice is laid out here in a simple 9-step guide.
- Assess the gap site. Select a spot that is level, or excavate it to make it level. Never hang a gate on a slope, or it will end up running away from the ground – i.e. there will be a gap under the gate on one side. Make sure that the ground on either side of the gap is also level, so that the gate will be able to swing open fully.
- Decide what sort of pillars you want to hang your gate on. You can choose either wooden or steel pillars, or a built concrete pier. All of these have strong advantages and some disadvantages. Durability is the major advantage of the steel and concrete pillars, but the timber post is very handy because you can drive it with a machine easily (provided the ground is suitable and not very stony).
- If you’re using prefabricated gate posts or RSJs, you have to dig your holes, allowing enough space for your gate and hangers. For instance, for a 12-foot gate using an RSJ clamp hanger, you need to leave approximately 4 additional inches for the hanger.
- Mix concrete, put your posts into the holes, and make sure they are plumb using a spirit level. Once posts are level, set the concrete around them. Leave to set, making sure that if you’re using prefabricated gate posts the bolt-receiving hole will correspond to the bolt on the gate. (i.e. make sure it’s at the right height).
- For an RSJ post, put on the bottom hanger clamp close to the ground and tighten it using a spanner. Sit the bottom spud of the gate, meaning the bottom of the vertical bar, into the clamp.
- Attach the top hanger clamp loosely on the RSJ above the height of the gate’s upper spud. Lift in your gate, pull the top clamp down onto the top spud and tighten it too.
- If you’re using a timber post, you can either use threaded bar hangers, which you have to drill through the post to attach; or bolt on hangers which you attach using coach bolts.
- If you haven’t got a sheep gate, and you have lambs in the field, you may need to attach sheep wire to the gate to prevent the lambs from escaping. Using your pliers, cut a piece of sheep wire a foot longer than the gate. Remove the vertical strands to leave 6 inches of horizontal strands on either end. Tie around the two vertical end bars of the gate. Using tying wire, tie the bottom strand to the bottom bar of the gate. Use more tying wire to tie the top horizontal strand of the wire to the closest corresponding horizontal bar of the gate. Use additional pieces of tying wire to secure the central strands of wire to the gate.
- Stand back and admire a job well done!
Note: Sincere thanks to Micheál Geoghegan for agreeing to talk to us and share his advice once again.