Monday 20 June 2016

Installing a gate post

We had a busy day installing one of the two gate posts for the new field gates at the roadside near the river bridge.

New gate post in place

This is the new left hand side gate post concreted in place behind the old stone gate post. The stone post has a substantial tilt and is not usable for a gate. The tilt was probably caused when the river bank collapsed some years ago. Whoever restored the bridge did not repair the post at the same time. You can see the stone stile of the public footpath standing next to the stone gatepost. 

The new metal gate post is fixed using postcrete in a socket in a concrete beam buried under the soil. We constructed the beam using steel reinforced concrete in December 2015. It was cast in place and also supports the wooden fence post shown to the left of the picture. The River Ecclebourne is just out of the picture to the left. We chose to construct a concrete beam to prevent any further damage or risk of collapse to the river bank. Many hour's work and approximately £150 (GBP) went into the construction of the beam.

The metal post is heavy galvanised steel tube with a cross section of 200 mm square (4 inches). The lower hinge lug is set approximately 20 cm  higher than if it was supporting a gate in a level field. The earth slopes down in two different directions at this gateway. We managed to set the post perfectly square and upright with a handy right angle magnetic post spirit level tool. The tool is placed against one corner of the post and it stays in place while you manoeuvre the post. We used a professional grade of Postcrete which was easy to pour around the post into the socket in the concrete beam. Once we'd triple checked the measurements and levels the post was firmly fixed in place within 15 minutes. We'll now leave it for a couple of days for the Postcrete to fully cure before attempting to hang a gate from it.

We've left sufficient space for people to be able to use the old stone stile for the footpath if they so wish, but we'll also make arrangements to allow pedestrians and their pets, buggies to be able to use the gate to access the footpath. 

I'd constructed a builder's water level to allow us to make sure both gate posts will be set at the right height on either side of the gateway.

Water level gauge

The picture above shows one end of the water level gauge at the old right hand gate post. Use of this tool will help to ensure the right hand steel post is exactly level with the left hand post which we've just installed. This type of level gauge tool is hundreds of years old.
We took the time to dig the hole for the right hand gate post, but need to double check the width measurements of both gates and their hinges before we position and install the gate post. The hole is over a metre deep and approximately 40 cm in diameter. We had to chop through buried stones and tree roots to complete the hole.

Right hand post hole

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