Narrow Leaf Woodworks logo - Gates, Doors & Barndoors design in Albuquerque, NM

How We Build Gates: Part 1

Narrow Leaf Inc, builds Albuquerque custom wood gates with the finest materials and accurate, proper fitting joints. Though there are several different types of wood gate construction methods, the best include the all important joinery. We use joinery on all our gates, even our mid level priced gates so they last.


Sadly, many pedestrian and garden gates are constructed with a frame and then have panels attached to the frame. This method is used because it is more affordable and most handy men and homeowners have the tools and skill set to produce them. They have no joinery, so each piece is “attached” to the other with fasteners. The success of this gate design holding up over time is dependent upon the fasteners used, usually nails, screws, or lag bolts. Invariably, they fail over time as gravity pulls at the fasteners and surrounding wood, loosening them. As a result, the gate drops on the side opposite the hinges and drags on the ground. These gates become what we all call, “rickety”. We always build Albuquerque custom wood gates with joinery of some type. On our mid quality level gates the frames have half lap joints, use water proof glue and have hidden fasteners. This “glued frame” construction will outlast a similar gate that is missing the joint and glue.

The vertical sections of the frame are referred to as “stiles” and the horizontal pieces as “rails”. The “panels” fill in the space inside the frame which provides the privacy. We use mortise and tenon joints on our best custom wood gates in Albuquerque due to it’s longevity and strength. They are the result of machining wood to interlock with each other, producing a strong and stable union of those two parts. They do not require any screws or nails to remain robust over the years. To build an attractive gate our Albuquerque custom wood gates also incorporate tongue and groove “panels”. These panels can be installed vertically, at 45 degree angles or be raised. A “raised panel” is a thicker panel edge glued together and machined to look more like an entry door or cabinet door. Another option that looks nice is to use a different species of wood for the panels to add contrast and interest.
Give us a call today and let’s discuss the possibilities.