Project Gate Crossing

I am not suggesting you build this week’s project. This is a project that should probably be made from steel and by someone who knows what he or she is doing or at least has some liability insurance. I am simply telling you what happens behind the closed doors of our shop and what may be of interest to you. This is project gate crossing.

I like to check our little group of cattle pretty often. These trips are made on a four wheeler which means I have to open the gate each time I cross. I spend much of my life building things to remedy that which irritates me; opening gates is an irritant.

I started my project by cutting a twelve foot 2 x 8 in half then cutting each end at a 45 degree. These ends were then screwed together to form an upside-down “v” or truss. I laminated the junction with two pieces of plywood that were both glued and fastened with screws over the junction of the 45 degree angles. I always use screws as they hold better and I can remove them to fix my numerous mistakes. I placed the trusses on top of 2 x 6 boards that would serve as skids to move the whole structure.

I placed the two mounted trusses facing each with about five feet apart between them, then started at the bottom and began spanning the distance with 2 x 4 boards. I placed the boards about five inches apart and quit after I got to sixteen inches high. At this point I fastened a 2 x 6 across the distance created by the “v” of the truss. This board was where I fastened more 2x 4’s to create a flat plain at the height of sixteen inches. The whole idea is that I will climb the ramp with my four wheeler to sixteen inches, then land onto the plat plain before driving down the ramp at the other end of the “v” truss. The cattle won’t climb the boards because they are oriented the narrow way, on their edge. The 2 x 6 that creates the base for the flat space is also buttressed by one pier at it’s middle point.

This is a simple project but one that would be dangerous if not properly constructed-consult an expert. I adhere to a few simple construction techniques that have served me pretty well that I will share. I glue and fasten most boards, plus I use an unholy amount of screws just to make sure nothing falls apart. I never rely totally on screws to hold anything. I try to build like post and beam carpenters in that I place wood in such a way that one piece will hold the other up and that the fasteners are just there to keep things from wiggling apart. A good example is that I place blocks of wood between each 2 x 4 step to keep them from twisting. I also ran a 2 x 4 along the bottom of each side of the junction where the truss and step met so that the fasteners do not bear the considerable weight of man and machine. I also ran a board at a 45 degree angle along the backside of each ramp and the flat plain too eliminate any flex. Finally, laminating the junction of two boards with plywood and glue is a technique that Ross Cota from Red Lake Falls, Minnesota recently taught me (thanks, Ross.)

I don’t know if you have cattle but it seems most folks have a four wheeler. I hope this little project is something you can have made or at least makes you think of what can make your atv more enjoyable. I enjoyed this project and it cost less than $110 so I can probably afford to enjoy it again.

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