The Puppygate Affair

gates beforeI’ve been working at the Humane Society of Jefferson County for just over 3 months.  In the puppy room we have 8 inside/outside runs.  There are chain link gates at either end and a sliding door in the wall that separates the inside from the outside.  Outside the gates are  7 feet or so tall, inside, two runs have tall walls and gates (for jumpers) the rest have 3 foot high walls and gates.  Two of these short runs had really sad gates on the inside.  The bottom rails rusted completely away and fell off, leaving an oddly shaped door that was augmented by zip-tieing cat crate doors to the chain link to fill the growing gap between door and post.

I award points to my fellow staffers for ingenuity, but these were difficult to open and only going to degrade further.  They did not present the best image of our facility either (they were ugly).  It’s time to do something more permanent about this.  So I took it upon myself to properly fix them.

I ordered the hardware from an on-line supplier I’ve dealt with before.  Their prices are 1/2 to 1/3 the price at Lowe’s or Home Depot and the parts are just as good as the others.  AND they have everything I need.  Go into Lowe’s and ask for the wire ties needed to fasten the top and bottom of the fencing to the rails and I get a blank stare: “Ummmm … bailing wire is over here, or we could sell you this expensive stainless steel wire…”

No, I want the aluminum ties used by fencing companies.  ChainlinkFittings.com has them and a bag of 100 pre-cut ties with one end precurled is just $6.00.

cut-off saw for making gatesI bought a metal-cutting wheel at the local Ace Hardware so I could use my chop saw to get accurate, square, clean cuts in the rail stock — I just needed to clean out all sawdust from around the saw because cutting steel pipes gives off an impressive incendiary spray.

I bought some 10’ top rail at Home Depot.  The online supplier can’t ship lengths of rail.  What my local Lowe’s carries is not 1 3/8” (1.375”) diameter but a metric “equivalent” (1.30”).  That smidge of difference generated a lot of bad reviews from people who bought fittings and rail and were angry when Lowe’s own fittings don’t fit the Lowe’s rail.  They had to cut shim stock to make the joints tight.  So I drove to Home Depot in Morristown to get proper top rail.

gates framedI built the frames at home and took them to work today.  I stripped the mesh off of the old gates (because I cannot find 36” high chain link mesh) and mounted it to the new frames.  I also bought a chain link stretcher that worked pretty well.  It didn’t want to pull the tension bar over quite enough to get the bolt through  the tension band … but being a bright fellow I found a way to shim the pivot and get it to work.

gates installedThe end result is, I think, a big improvement in appearance, functionality and ease of use.  It took me a couple of hours to complete the gates and mount them.  The first one took far longer than the second one, because I was figuring it all out on that one.  Once I knew what I was doing (I’ve never done this before) it went fast and easy.

There are quite a few other gates that need work.  Most just need the bottom rail replaced: it’s rusting but not gone yet, not a complete rebuild.  I’ll tackle those as I can.  A co-worker, Julie, said she has a bunch of top rail stored in her yard that they don’t need and I can have for future projects.  That will cut costs even more!

H.S.J.C. has bought a building and land in an industrial park, but it’s going to take another three years or so to raise the capital funds and produce designs needed to refurbish that building into a “shelter”.  So this building is going to have to serve us for a while.  I’ll do what I can to help with that.

2 Replies to “The Puppygate Affair”

    1. There is a link in the articles text for ChainLinkFittings.com. I’ve been pleased with their service, pricing, and products.

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