For this past Christmas my grand daughter asked me to get her a sheet of plywood. When I asked why, she said that she wanted to build new doors for the horse barn on the farm. The horses that once lived there had chewed the tops so bad that the doors (gates) were falling apart. I offered to not only get her the plywood, but also help her do the carpentry necessary. The 4 stall barn will no longer have horses in it. She will be getting some goats soon and wants to keep them in the center two horse stalls. The stall to the right is going to be a tack and feed room. The stall on the opposite end may some day in the future be for a donkey.
So, last weekend on Friday I made the trip to the farm and measured the stall gates for the new doors (gates). It was then that I discovered that this horse barn was not built using a square or a level, and probably not even a ruler. Nothing was even close to square or level, not even the land that it was built on. What a challenge this was going to be.
Since the space for the stall doors (gates) turned out to be 54" wide I was going to need 2 sheets of plywood and not just one. The frame for the original horse chewed doors was made from 2 X 6, but we decided to go with 2 X 4 since we felt that the goats weren't likely to be able to chew them like a horse can, nor are they strong enough to break such a door down. So it was decided, 1/2" plywood for the panels and 2 X 4 for the frame. I bought 2 sheets of 1/2" plywood, eight 2 X 4 X 8' and two 2 X 4 X 10' with the plan to use the 10' length cut in half for the top and bottom of each door (gate). I also bought 4 large gate hinges and 2 large slide bolt latches with pad lock capability, and two D rings to use instead of padlocks for a total cost of $110. With the lumber yard shopping and my other morning chores I didn't get to the farm until nearly noon time, so it was going to be a race to get these built before Sunset.
Since she has worked with me before in my shop she is quite familiar with most power tools and likes building things, so I made her do most of the cutting and assembly. I just directed the process and helped when more than one pair of hands was needed. We half lapped the corners of the frames and cut the plywood to size. Then assembled each door (gate) using Titebond II and exterior screws. No photos were taken of most of the work because we were both trying to get these finished before dark, but as the Sun began setting her mom (my daughter-in-law) came and took a few photos of us and the doors (gates). In the photo, I'm on the right with Moses, her chocolate lab in front of me. My grand daughter Heather is on the left holding their neighbor's cat, who insisted in doing constant inspections of our work all afternoon. One of the completed doors (gates) is between us. We managed to build and install both gates, stop for photos, and then pick up and return the tools to my truck before it was too dark to see. A very busy afternoon, but it was very enjoyable to be working with my grand daughter again.
Long ago I built a coral for my step daughter's horse. They also chewed on the wood, and goats are notorious chewers. We found a product that you spray on the top rail that has a bitter taste horses don't like.
Just looked this up and found this suggestion on a Horse Forum: The best anti chew formula, better than pepper, used oil, whatever, is Irish Spring soap, easy as pie too. Buy a few bars and just rub them along the boards, nothing will chew your fence! And the whole place will smell "just like after an Irish rain", lol. Reapply every few weeks or after a lot of rain, surprisingly that soap's odor still sticks around after a rain, lots of chemicals in it I guess.
I'd apply it to the goats' stall in advance. If it's dry in there, it will stick around.
Thanks for the Irish Spring soap suggestion Tom. I'll pass it along.
There is a 5' overhang of the metal roof on the front side of this barn, so only blowing rain will ever get to these gates. The goats are supposed to be small pigmy goats, so they won't be able to reach the top of the gates, and the inside of the doors is smooth plywood, so they shouldn't be able to find any edges to chew on, but only time will tell if they can figure a way. There has been some delay in the arrival time of them. Not sure why, but she doesn't have them yet. They were supposed to arrive last Monday.
I will likely be posting some more about projects for this farm in the future. A new farm house will be built this Spring, if all of the legal permitting, etc. gets resolved. At present there is a double wide home on the new farmhouse location that needs to go too. The farm is about 20 acres in size with several smaller barns, a tractor shed, dog kennel, chicken coop, a large workshop, and this horse/goat barn. About 15 acres is forest covered and the rest is clear and fenced pastures. It's more of a "hobby" farm. They bought the place last year. It's been vacant for several years, so it has taken a lot of work to get the open land and pastures cleared again.
Great project and even better with the grand daughter! Seems most barns I have been around are not square, level, nor plumb. If they were at one time they age to a different posture. That sounds like me!
It's always nice to get out and spend time with family. Then to do something you both enjoy and has practical application makes it a bonus. I'm sure the memories made will be treasured. But I also would look for a chewing solution. I didn't think there was much goats don't like to chew on. But then again my only animal experience has been dogs. Very nice job.
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could
be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
A forum community dedicated to router and woodworking professionals and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about different types of routing and routers, shop safety, finishing, woodworking related topics, styles, tools, scales, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!