How to Build a Pipe Gate
A pipe gate is essentially a steel frame, made from any type of pipe, with some kind of interior covering. Many farm and ranch pipe gates have been made from old water pipe or, in oil country, from used oilfield pipe. You also can buy new galvanized pipe at farm and ranch and building supply stores. The basic requirements for building a pipe gate are welding equipment and experience in welding and metalworking. Don't try this construction unless you have the tools and knowledge.
Building a Pipe Gate
Measure the width and height of your gate opening and check that the gate posts are solid. Pipe gates may be mounted on either metal or wood posts, but they must be sturdy. Cut pipe for your frame with a metal saw, and deduct space for the hinges and the latch from your opening measurements. Then weld the four pieces into a rectangle. You can miter the corners or weld them straight; some builders "cope" corners, rounding the ends of the vertical pipes so the top and bottom rails fit in neatly. You can also make rounded corners, but these require pipe-bending tools and experience.
Cut interior posts and rails. Most pipe gates have two or three horizontal rails inside the frame; longer gates also need one or two internal vertical posts for support. These can be the same dimension as the pipe frame or smaller pipe. Experienced builders drill holes in vertical supports for horizontal rails to run through; this works especially well when vertical supports are the same dimension as the frame and the rails are smaller. Weld these in place, making sure all posts and rails are plumb and square.
Attach the hinges and a latch. A variety of hinge styles are available at farm and ranch and building supply stores. The sturdiest is a post and hole type -- a hinge half with a vertical rod is welded to the gate and a retainer with a hole for the rod to slide into is attached to the gate post. Put the rod facing up on the bottom hinge, down on the top hinge. Latches may be simple rods that slide into an opening in the gate post or a receptacle fastened to the post. More elaborate styles have catches that fit over pins on the gate.
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.