Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

From Gate to No Gate and back to Gate again

I wanna tell you a story ...

First we had two pairs of gates to the two gravel driveways of our Holiday Home.

Here's one of the pairs looking quite happy with the world, doing their job keeping wandering cows out and wild children in.

And then last December the guests that were staying at the Gite sent me a text to tell me the wind had broken one of the gates - not a happy gate any more.

So when I was over at the house earlier in the month, one of my jobs was to restore the gate to it's former glory and make everything well in the gate department again.

When I got there it was pretty clear what the problem was, the three cross-way spars (which were not all that thick) had over time rotted, then in the gales had snapped in two. This called for a rebuild rather than "lick of paint" job!

Unfortunately as I was only over at the Gite for 3 days (Sat, Sun, Mon) I had to get a move on with getting the repairs done. Quick trip out to Bricomarche in Pontivy and I bought 3 pieces of what I guessed was pressure treated pine - none of the wood they had in stock were described with words like preservative; the most likely candidate was rough sawn and a yellowy colour so I hoped this was the right one. Back home cut the pieces to size and painted them on both sides with undercoat and gloss paint whilst I dismantled the old gate which was fortunately nailed together and easily came apart.

By Monday afternoon the coats of paint were fairly dry and it was time to reassemble with lots of screws to give it more strength. Apart from nearly assembling it all upside down (and all the bolts being in the wrong place) it all went back together OK. Final job was to drill the holes for the hinges which were bolted on to the cross-spars with 60mm coach bolts.


When I bought the new wood I hadn't really noticed that the new wood was thicker than the original broken spars and now the original coach bolts were not long enough to go through the hinge, the gate and the cross spar. No way could I bolt it all back together. By then it was 4:50pm and the shops would be closing soon! Hared off in the car to La Cheze where there's a small agricultural supplies shop, but it was closed on Mondays. Carried on to Loudeac which is the next sizeable town and found a builders merchant that had all the coach bolts I could desire.

Unfortunately by then I'd forgotten what length bolt I needed! Thinking that the old bolt wasn't too far short I plumped for a box of 70mm bolts and was very relieved when they fitted perfectly.

A few final adjustments and another coat of gloss paint and the new gate looks good. Some of the upright parts of the gate will need replacing soon as will some of the other gate but for now we're back with 100% gate operation.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home