Sad Asanoha


About a year ago I made this gate with wanton abandon towards the fundamental principles that act on hinged frames, namely our old friend gravity. The hand plane finished surfaces look really good though, haha. So I keep saying, oh, better get on fixin the gate with some diagonal bracing.  But really, a wooden gate should have a roof, so… it doesn’t get fixed because its not worth fixing without a roof on there first. More on that in a bit.


I managed to get a 3D printer working (Flash Forge Creator Pro), finicky machines these printers. After a whole bunch of fuss calibrating the build table to the extruders I still couldn’t get parts to stick properly, hot plastic mess ensued. For such an expensive machine, they are still far from perfect. The fix was a four dollar bottle of max strength hair spray, figures.

I’ll leave the existential quandary of using a tool like this for later when I have less to get done. For right now there’s a satisfying feeling to have it merrily printing out useful parts while I’m in a pit digging a foundation.


I also bought a Rikon 12″ Planer/Joiner combination machine. When you get to the point of having rough sawn lumber for a full house to process you have to pick your battles. That or start taking apprentices.

Its a decent enough machine for the money, just barely there on quality. It would have helped to know that the chip extraction is a total joke without a power dust extraction system. Even with the jointer tables flipping up and down to use the planer it seems to hold alignment. After years of planing all my stock four square with hand planes its also a bit of welcome relief, allowing me to get to joinery much faster. Of course, long thin material like shoji stiles will still have to be jointed by hand, and I kind of laugh at the idea that the planer table could adjust with the tolerances of my kumiko thicknessing kanna.


I was left with the shipping crate that the thing came in, after an ordeal with a stupid truck driver and hiring a forklift to move the thing into my shop. Oddly enough I had just enough material from cutting up the crate a bit to sheath a 7.5/10 pitch roof on top. Providence wanted it to be a chicken coop, so I build a coop.


And with the new planer it was blow and go to get the siding material resawn from 2x dimensional lumber, down to 9/16″ board and batten.


The 3D printer came in handy for printing the hinges, and I used a simple post foundation. Didn’t have to buy anything for making it but the asphalt shingles, a whopping $10 from a building recycling store.

Of course chickens also need a fenced run to keep them from eating all your tasty perennial food forest crops, and a fence needs a gate to get in and out. Around here I guess that means I need to make a gate too.


To come full circle on today’s post, a proper hinged gate, courtesy of knowledge from a Chris Hall series A Bracing Situation.

I used mostly lap joinery to speed up construction. The rails all taper from the hinge stile to the latch stile, lightening things up where gravity has the most effect. The diagonal brace meets the upper rail with a butt joint, but with a particular shape of cut that allows it to bear against more end grain in compression. And, it being cheap lumber, I painted it to moderate movement from moisture cycles.


Hopefully my shoji inspired main gates can get some tender love and care, but there’s no easy way to retrofit wooden diagonal bracing.  And the roof over it will be mostly western red cedar, currently drying a bit in my shop awaiting resawing for decking and shingles. Now if I can just remember to close the window above my drafting board and keep the rain from ruining my plans. Wouldn’t a roof help with that? Haha.