How to Install Strap Hinges to a Wooden Gate
Strap hinges are designed for holding up heavy doors and gates. Gate strap hinges, also known as T hinges, are different from those made for doors, as they have one long horizontal leaf and one short vertical leaf. A strong pivot pin connects the two parts, allowing for a heavy object to swing on it. Gate hinges range in size from 4-inch hinges for light gates up to 10-inch thick steel hinges for heavy wooden gates. The weight and size of the gate will determine the size of hinges needed.
Determine the placement of the hinges by the design of the gate; hinges are attached to the horizontal boards on the gate. A light gate will need two hinges measured and set an equal distance from the top and bottom of the gate, while a large gate will also need a third hinge in the exact center of the gate.
Lay the gate down flat on the ground. The pivot pin on the hinge protrudes out one side; this is the side the hinge will swing to. Set the long strap leaf of the hinges on the gate with the pivot pins up.
Adjust each hinge so the pivot pin is off the gate, yet perfectly even with the side of the gate.
Draw circles inside the screw holes of the hinge strap with a pencil. Remove the hinges and drill holes slightly smaller than the screws that are provided with the hinges, and in the exact center of the penciled circles.
Put the hinges back on the gate aligning the holes in the strap over the drilled holes. Drive the screws in tight with the drill using the screwdriver bit.
Stand the gate up alongside the gate post with the width of the pivot pin between the gate and post. The short vertical hinge leafs should be level with the gate and flat against the inside of the gate post. Place blocks under the gate to hold it at the height and ground clearance desired.
Press the vertical hinge leafs flat against the gate post and draw circles inside the screw holes with the pencil. Flip the hinges back toward the gate and drill holes in the center of the drawn circles.
Flip the hinges back in place and use the drill and screwdriver bit to drive screws into the drilled holes and tight against the hinge.
Remove the blocks and the gate will swing in the direction the hinges are mounted on. If the gate is heavy, attach the third hinge in the center of the gate in the same manner as the other two hinges.
- Should the gate be too heavy for the screws provided with the hinges, use heavier screws, or drill completely through the gate and attach the hinges with appropriate sized bolts and nuts. Use heavier screws to attach the vertical leaf to the post as well.
- Should the T style hinge’s vertical leaf prove too narrow for the post, you can use a door-style strap hinge with two long leafs.
- Don’t try lifting and maneuvering a large heavy gate by yourself; this can lead to injury. Get another person to help you hold the gate.
Dave P. Fisher is an internationally published and award-winning Western novelist and short-story writer. His work has appeared in several anthologies and his nonfiction articles in outdoor magazines. An avid outdoorsman, Fisher has more than 40 years of experience as a hunter, trapper, fisherman, taxidermist, professional fly-tyer, horsepacker and guide.
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