cleft oak gates
The design for Roger and Annie’s bespoke cleft oak gates was inspired by the shape of a fallen bough in their idyllic field. The main branch had a lovely curved section that was perfect for the rails of the gate, and a straight piece for the heads and heels. The lesser branches had some fabulous gnarley kinks and curves that would make for interesting pales.
The bough was sawn into lengths, and the larger ones cleft into quarters using a maul and wedges. Each piece was shaped by hand with a side axe and a selection of drawknives. The corresponding pieces on each gate are cleft from the same branch so that each gate is a mirror image of the other.
The mighty posts were relocated from the drive, resized and handworked to reveal beautiful characteristics and colour tones. The rails slot into drilled mortices in the heads and heels and are pegged using oak dowels. The pales are clenched using handmade, galvanised rosehead nails. The result is so much more than a pair of gates, they are a functioning oak sculpture.