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November 18, 2002

We moved into a new house recently; a central feature of which is staircases. They are lovely staircases but they have engendered some trepidation in Ellen's mind with regards to Sylvia's safety. I am opposed to the folding gates you see everywhere on grounds of esthetics and convenience, but recognize that something should be there to block her from falling... Ellen suggested, and it seems to me like a good idea, that I should build a hinged gate to be mounted on the wall at the top of the stairs. I got some walnut last weekend and started dimensioning it this evening.

The gate is going to be quite simple, connected with nails and screws and with air space between the slats so I don't need to bother about joining. However I do not want a rough surface like an outdoor fence; everything will be planed and sanded smooth, and finished with oil. It was a lot of fun using my bench planes tonight, the first chance I have really gotten to use them since we moved; I find I can do a lot more with them in the larger space.

December 8, 2002

I hung the gate today, it went much easier than I had feared -- I was able to find a stud with almost no exploratory drilling. For hinges I used some old brass ones that I found in a drawer in the basement. I closed the gate with a hook and eye; it took Sylvia about 10 seconds to figure out how to open it, so we went to Home Depot and found a hook with a spring action latch that should be a little more effective.