Sunday 1 May 2022

Making a Gate From A Yew Log - Green Woodworking - Part 2

 So with some chunks of yew at my house it was time to break them down a bit smaller. When I've worked with sweet chestnut a froe is a handy tools for this.

The knotty yew wouldn't entertain this idea though. So it was axe and wedges for every piece. Intruth I could have donw with soem bigger bits, as it was I ended up using quarters for the styles of the gate when really it would be better to hew something square from something bigger. 

I stripped the bark from each individual piece on the shave horse. 

I also shaped each rail on the shave horse. It makes me wonder if I should have done more with the axe first, but this is a learning experience. 

With all the components cut and roughly shaped I laid out the gate on the floor. What I wanted to do next was add the mortices to the stiles. For the them I made an easy template and each mortice was two 20mm holes drilled close together then cleaned up with a chisel. 

The tenons are then shaped to fit on the shave horse again, testing each one as I go without having to get up.

I assembled these parts and went on to make the brace. I morticed brace into the style a bit as well as cutting it where it met the rails to keep it flatter. As it is I worry the brace has pulled the gate into twist a little. 

Then it was a matter of making some pegs (on the shave horse again) and pegging the gate. The brace was nailed and clinched to stop it all from sagging. 

The then hung it to the rose arch I made a few weeks ago (will feature in Woodcraft magazine before it features here too much I'm afraid, but it looks nice). Not sure how it will dry, maybe it will twist or open up, its said to go as hard as iron when it drys and should last a long time without the need to treat it. 

There's lots of things I'd change about it a second time round, but it was fun to make and I learnt loads. It also cost me nothing to make other than time. To use the wood in its raw for like this was really liberating and something I've been meaning to do more.

I need to make a gate for the other side of the veg garden and I think I'll be making it with green woodworking skills to hone them further. 

Do you use wood straight form the log? Make useable timber in this way?


  1. Thanks for sharing your blog on Twitter. First post I've actually seen about it, glad to come over and check it out. I love the gate. Isn't it wonderful what having done a project the 'first time' teaches us all. Never do we have to go back to before we knew. Our Kevin just built his first ginseng boxes this weekend. The next generation will be so much more improved just by the doing.

    Hands on education- nothing like it.

    Have a Wonderful May.

  2. Yew really is a beautiful wood. A friend of mine got a craftsman to cut a vertical slice, complete with bark, and make it into a coat rack for me. It has now lived with me in four houses and is one of my favourite possessions. I envy you your gate

  3. I like the rustic look of the yew gate. It should last for years.

  4. Looks really good Kev!

    Some day if I am lucky, I will have oak and pine readily by to do such things.


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