HOW TO… Make a Gate!

It’s amazing what can be done with an old wooden pallet. Here, Louise Ross, our Project Facilitator for Groundwork Yorkshire, offers a guide to making a gate…

Tools required

  • Pallet breaker -available from Screwfix
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver -manual or bit for electric drill
  • Electric drill
  • Pallets – we asked a local firm who was being charged to dispose of them, but, a walk around will often find unused or fly-tip pallets. You could also try asking on Gumtree or even Facebook.
  • Saw
  • T-hinge
  • Lock/bolt
  • Marker pen
  • Hack saw
  • Metal file
  • Sandpaper
  • Wooden posts


1. Break up pallet

2. Knock out nails with a hammer

3. Measure gate hole

4. Make sure the pallet wood is the same height. Pallets come in all sizes and if you need to use wood from more than one pallet then it’s best to check they are the same height

5. Mark horizontal wood with the length needed, don’t forget that it will be hanging off the wall, don’t overlap it with the brick.

6. Lay out the pieces to be fitted. We used 5 lengths of wood going vertically, one at the top, and one at the bottom going horizontally.

7. Line up the top of the gate so they are all at the same height.

8. Leave a gap between the vertical pieces of wood for the wind to be able to escape through to give longevity to the gate. We left the width of two fingers (or 3.5cm) between each piece.

9. Drill pilot holes in the wood where the vertical and horizontal pieces cross to make screwing easier. Consider putting a piece of scrap wood underneath to stop the drill bit from going through to the tarmac too. We used a battery-powered drill which meant it was transportable to the back street. Match the drill bit to be slightly smaller than the girth of the screw. the drill bit for wood should have a spike to penetrate the wood.

10. Screw in the screws.

11. Make a cross piece to improve strength. Place wood that meets both the top and bottom piece of wood. Mark with pencil/pen the excess to be taken off. Saw off the excess. Screw in at the top, middle, and bottom cross sections after making the pilot hole first.

12. File off any nails sticking out with a metal file. This is best done before hanging so that you can put weight behind the filing. The alternative way, if there is a large number of excess screws is to use a hacksaw with a blade that is suitable for metal (lots of small teeth – the more teeth, the better), then file the small stump down.

13. Add a T hinge. The T hinge should reach a third of the way across the width to be strong enough to hold the weight of the gate. Hold the gate up in the hole in the wall/in the place it needs to be fitted and mark with a pen where the t hinge needs to screw into the wood and mark the wall hole positions. this is best with a pen or marker pen.

14. You may consider adding a wooden post if there isn’t already one attached to the wall. This provides a nice straight line for the gate to hang to, rather than a wonky wall.

15. Drill a pilot hole then add screws to attach the t hinge. Drill a hole in the wall using a masonry drill bit. We used the highest tork settings and hammer settings. We started at a slower speed and then moved to a faster one once an initial hole was established in the correct position.

16. Add a plastic wall plug to the hole. These are colour coded for size and packs often have advice about which size is best to use for the drill bit and screw size.

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