While visiting my neighbor last year, I noticed a latch he had on one of his gates. It was a two-way lockable latch, meaning you could swing the gate either way from the latch. I liked its simple design. He told me where he picked it up in town and I grabbed one there earlier this year when I started getting everything together for the project. It is marketed by a company called SpeeCo. Look for a two-way lockable gate latch on their web site. It fits both 1-5/8" O.D. tube gates as well as the 2" O.D. tube gates like I used. It does NOT come with lag bolts for mounting the latch on the post on the post so make sure you have some. You'll need four of them.
it was time to start tamping the last 6" post into position. The latch mounting instructions stated you should have a 2" to 2-3/4" gap between the gate and the post.
The latch is a two part design. This part mounts on the gate itself and is called the gate pin. I had to make a slight alteration while I was installing the gate pin on the tube gate. Note in the above pic that I had to drill a hole (circled in red) through the green bracket for the other mounting bolt. I could have mounted the gate pin on another tube of the gate but SpeeCo states to mount it just above the center of the gate and aligned on a tube....so this was where it needed to be. The two mounting bolts, one above and the other below the tube, prevent the gate pin from moving unexpectedly on the gate. A set of shims are also included which allow use on the smaller diameter 1-5/8" tube gate.
The other part of the gate latch is mounted on the post. You will need four lag screws to secure it into the post. I drilled small pilot holes before screwing in the lag bolts. Proper positioning of the latch on the post is crucial in order for the latch pin to properly move into position and be captured by the latch. Take your time....measure three times, then drill one hole, do a test fit while checking again. When the tube gate swings into position, coming from either side of the post, the gate pin will push up one of the two silver colored pieces of metal and be caught between them. Lifting up on either one releases the gate pin and allows the gate to swing open in that direction.
Here's the completed installation with the gate pin secured by the latch. There is about a full inch of gate pin protruding into the latch. If you are a little too close or not close enough, you can adjust the nuts on the hinge bolts to move the gate closer or further away.
Now that the gate was installed, it was time to cut the barb wire. Before I cut the wire, I grabbed my hammer and a box of fence staples and secured the barb wire to the hinge post and its support post. I then did the same thing on the latch post. I then removed the wire clips that held the barb wire to the t-posts. The barb wire was now securely nailed to all three posts. I then cut the wire in the middle of the gate. Be careful, the wire is under tension and you don't want it whipping into your arm and giving you a nice scar. Once cut, I took each loose end of barb wire and wrapped it around the post and around itself. Doing it this way kept all the tension in the rest of the fence which meant no extra work getting rid of sagging barb wire.
Here's the end result and yours truly posing with his newly installed tube gate. The price for this project was about $250 with nothing being purchased on sale. I like the gate....Donna likes it....and I'm pretty sure my Dad would like it as well. It was a job worth doing and I did it the best I could. Going to the back 40 will be a lot easier now and I won't have to drive through my hayfield to get there anymore....and that is a good thing! Hope you enjoyed the article.
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