Baby gate door for the baby’s room

I picked up a baby gate this morning on freecycle. It’s a weird cloth one like I’ve not seen before. The prior owners evidently used it to keep dogs where they belong so as soon as I got it home the thing got disassembled and the cloth got tossed into the washer.

Dirty baby gate
Dirty baby gate

I took this and made a door for Bella’s room. We need a door to keep the cat out of her room but we don’t want to use the current door as it stops the room from heating well as it blocks  the cold air’s path to the cold air return.

Bella's new door
Bella's new door

The door frame is just 1″x1″ wood scraps from the snowshoe building adventure. I used the existing door hinges so when we get tired of this, I can just re-hang the original door.

simple wood construction and using the original door hinges
simple wood construction and using the original door hinges

One feature I did add is an auto-closer. The door closes behind you, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it open so the cat can sneak in. He LOVEs her room. Probably because he’s not aloud in it.

Bungie auto-closer that can be quickly taken off so the door can be left open if needed
Bungie auto-closer that can be quickly taken off so the door can be left open if needed

Overall, I am only ‘meh’ about this door. It doesn’t quite close all the way. I think the cat will be able to push it open too easy and get trapped in Bella’s room. It doesn’t look bad, I just wished it looked better. It’s got a bit of a torque to the frame as well.We will probably use it until the cat becomes a pest about it, and then I will need to re-build it a little bit differently.

I think original baby gate frame will become closet clothes hanger rods. Re-use all the pieces, right?.

Installing a baby gate for the front entry

Today I installed the baby gate on the front entry as a half-door.

Baby gate
Baby gate

This gate is an expansion gate designed to span a door way. This won’t quite work for the front entryway. The trim buggers stuff on on one end, and the whole thing can’t clamp down tight enough to hold it in place with any amount of sideways pressure.

So I made it a hinged unit. The baby gate now opens and closes with minimal fuss.

Open Baby Gate
Open Baby Gate

For the hinges, I used some cabinet hinges I found in one of my parts boxes. I don’t even remember why I had the hinges, but they will work well here. I screwed a small board to the wall so I had something to attach the hinges to at the correct angle.

Baby Gate Hinge
Baby Gate Hinge

As you can see, I needed to re-manufacture the hinges a bit.

Drilling new screw holes.
Drilling new screw holes.
Counter sinking the screw holes.
Counter sinking the screw holes.

I needed to stiffen and secure the gate so it wouldn’t lengthen or shorten while in use, so I used some zip ties. The natural colored ones are hardly noticeable, and look no worse than the gate itself.

Zip ties to stiffen the gate.
Zip ties to stiffen the gate.

The gate latch is where I think I am quite clever. The gate just needs to stop a baby/toddler from going down the stairs. It also needs to auto-close and be easy for an adult to use. I figure by the time Bella has enough coordination to manipulate my gate latch, she will be old enough to be mindful of the rules and able to handle the stairs, basement, etc. If this is not the case, the latch can always be re-evaluated in the future and adjusted as necessary.

I used velcro as the latch mechanism.

Velcro as the gate latch
Velcro as the gate latch

I cut a strip of wood to follow the contour of the end-post of the railing and zip tied it down. I didn’t want to put screw holes in my nice wood. A bit of velcro down the whole length, and my gate is complete!

Staples help keep the sticky-back velcro from peeling off
Staples help keep the sticky-back velcro from peeling off

I am pleased with the idea of the curved cut wood strip, but not exactly happy with the results of my first attempt at making it. When I find another piece of wood that I can butcher cut I will try my hand at re-making the strip so it follows a little closer.

The hole project put 5 holes in my sheetrock wall that needs paint at some point in the future anyhow, and 4 holes in the baby gate. Pretty non-destructive for such a modification to a commercial baby gate..

2010 – In Review

2010 has been a good year for me. Busy, but good.

The most important event this year was the birth of my daughter. She is the joy of my life – with my wife coming in a very very close second (sshh, don’t tell her that!). That little girl just loves to smile!

I seem to have come in possession of a house as well. It required a bit of work.

With all of this happening in my life, I didn’t do near as much blogging as I probably ought to have. I did manage do some blogging work, migrating from Blogger to WordPress, although it was forced on me. Most of my ‘blogging’ seems to have occurred on twitter this last year, but I did manage to embed twitter into my blog.

I did manage to get a few projects done. However, not the rough draft of the book on aquaponics I want to write – the website is coming along though.

I did manage to give some presentations this year. I even somehow found time to go camping once!.