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Prowell's Spokewheel Wood Gate #206






Wood Gate #206 is a series of expanding arcs, banded by a spokewheel of continuous tenons.




Prowell's Creative Garden Gate #206


The usual paparazzi lurking outside the prowell shop, disguised as gardeners, repairmen, and homeless vagabonds, poised for that one exclusive photograph that could, in the span of a shutter speed, launch a career. Or perhaps caring less for the work itself than the hoopla of hired ballerinas.

Exceptional Custom gate 206 by Prowell





Shown here cutting the radius on the bandsaw.

  building an innovative wood gate, by prowell

And from the bandsaw to the spindle sander. Were we to cut such a tight radius from a single board, rather than joining two boards as shown, we would save a fair amount of time but be left with the vulnerabilities of what's known as short-graining. At no time should the grain run perpendicular to the width of the radius.

Short graining is often seen in Victorian corbels, with their radius profiles cut from a single board. Where there are short ends with the grain running horizontally, the opportunity for checks and cracks over time are almost certain.

On gates, exposed to the elements on all six sides, such a flaw has no chance of surviving a full year, much less fifty years.

  Unique Design Wood Gate #206

Scribing the arc of the 6th truss.

  How to build a wood gate that doesn't sag

'Scribing Points' from Lee Valley Tools shown fitted to a long radius stick. The Scribe Points are adjustable. The stick itself is sanded and waxed for easy adjustments.

Each profile increases in width. Beginning with a narrower width on the left and spreading to a wider width on the right to create, we hope, a spreading confluence that gradually becomes closer to the top level rail shown at the bottom of the photo.

  charles prowell designing a unique wood gate #206

  Unique wood garden gate #206

Dry fitting the parts and sketching a few chalklines to further the illusion.

  wood gate creative designs, by prowell

Laying out the trusses to begin furthering the spokewheel tenons.

We are addicted to your voices. All your voices calling and writing when for decades consultants have advised how it's better to have someone else answer your inquiries. Someone other than Ben or Charles. It's a commonplace role and one that any number of applicants could employ with a predictably kind and courteous manner. And yet we continue to answer every call and every letter, perhaps because it's as direct a link to so many permutations of humanity than we'll ever know short of becoming social gadabouts.

  prowell's guide to building a wood gate

The technique for fitting the multiple tenons along the top and bottom of each truss and at the changing angle of the spoke is, well . . . there is no actual technique. One spoke tenon at a time, and gluing each successive truss to its smaller mate. And so on. At this juncture nothing is glued and joined to the gate's one stile and bottom rail. Just the trusses and tenons until we have them all joined into a single assembly.


On the left, a gate #115 at 60" width Ben is diligently working on for a Memphis home.

  Innovative wood gate #206

It may be hard to get a straight-on photo until we're all finished and the entire gate can be stood up vertical in it's proper positioning. Until then we'll carry on, lead by the mind's eye, as if lost in a children's book co-written by Dr Seuss and MC Escher.

  custom wood gate design #206

And eventually the rest of the gate, all joined and clamped.

One begins to wonder if what once resided in Charles' mind has been effectively translated. Worth mentioning simply because sometimes what we see and what's seen by others is not the same entity. Everyone looks upon the physical world with their own set of eyes and, metaphysically speaking. we are all aware of the same physical properties--a building, a flower--but our eyes are different, and to further confuse things, there is this phenomenon of how what we see is interpreted by our brains, and all the genetic history inhabiting those brains. A body builder sees something beautiful in the mirror, whereas others may see those efforts as carried a bit too far. There will be those of you who look upon Gate 206 with a triggered association to the ripples in a pond drawn from a tossed stone, while another recalls a pond infested with alligators and snakes.




Wood gates in Fine Homebuilding

Golden State Gate Builders
by Ben and Charles Prowell
Featuring gate #206, among others.

Fine Homebuilding
April 2016

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wood gates
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