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A store-bought household product won’t always do what we want it to — it’s difficult to design a mass-market product that’ll 1) fit everyone’s house or setup, and 2) pull off all the jobs we can cook up for it — so we get creative.  Reader Vincent Ma has the concept down with his new baby gate mod.

So now that Horten’s crawling and standing, we need to fence out the stairs so he does not do the Humpty Dumpty.

Tyatt found these clear baby fence from Zellers and I’m happy to attach them.  However, our fence posts presents a number of problems. One, the height of the pressure pads on the opposite side of the hinge matches with the middle round part of the post, so it doesn’t pressure mount properly and the safety catch thingy cannot be properly attached and two, the wife insists that I do not drill into the post.

So, with a few pieces of leftover dimensional lumber, I quickly constructed a piece that wraps around the post and a sacrificial piece for the screws of the safety catch to mount on. The side flaps are there to prevent the main 2×4 from moving towards the stairs (sliding), and the cable ties prevents the piece from falling off the post. Since the gate should be closed most of the time the 2 cable ties should be sufficient.

This jig preserves the post, I think. I think I’ll attach foam around the edges of the lumber to prevent Horten from a royal bump in the head.

We dig that Vincent still managed to get it done even with the no-drilling handicap imposed by the other half.  Once again, a bunch of scrap wood and a few tools save the day.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


11 Responses to BabyGate Mod

  1. Old Coot says:

    I’d be very concerned about those cable-tie ends finding their way into Horten’s eyes. They should be turned away from accessible areas or otherwise made safe.

  2. Scott says:

    I did the same thing with my stairs (minus the ears), but never thought to send in a pic (dope slaps self).

    I agree with the Old Coot: slide those tie ends in between the balusters and newel post and clip them short. If you’re feeling CDC-grade cautious, you can file the sharp ends down to avoid any scrapes from curious fingers.

  3. It’s hard to tell if there’s enough room from the picture, but couldn’t you just screw another piece of wood into the side flaps to capture the post completely and dispense with the cable-ties.

  4. Scott says:

    We need to build something similar for my nephew. I’ll put some pictures in the flickr pool when we do.

  5. Zathrus says:

    I’d actually wonder how much scratching is going to occur to the post after a few years of having that in place. The missus might discover that having you fill four holes would’ve been easier and less damaging.

    And the round problem isn’t so much of an issue if you can move it up or down an inch or two to make things work. I had to do that for the gate at the top of our stairs. The bigger issue was the opposite side where it attaches to the wall — I wound up buying a piece of PVC trim, coping out a portion to match the return on the handrail, and screwing it into the 2×4 that the gate couldn’t reach (because of the handrail and it being a corner).

    All that said — I do wish I’d thought of that… since now I have around 10 holes to fill on ours (mine, plus the previous owners, plus my screw ups!). I think I would rather refinish the dang post.

  6. Vincent Ma says:

    I totally agree with Old Coot and Scott. Even though, right after I took that picture, I cut the ends of the cable-ties, now I’m concerned about the knobby bits that still stick out. I’m thinking of wrapping the post (especially the corners) with foam.

    Benjamen also has a great idea.. when I did it those are the only scraps I had that were still straight .. but I might go ask my buddies for scrap and try Benjamen’s idea, and get rid of them cable-ties completely.

  7. dave says:

    when you wanna get rid of those little tie-wrap bits take a set of pliers and twist the end as close as you can get it to the termination piece until it shears off. that way when your little tyke touches it it won’t cut him. we use this trick in the trades every time.

  8. ChrisW says:

    I would use much stronger cable ties, or at least three times the number of this size tie. Either way, they should be replaced annually.

  9. Jon says:

    Nice engineering, but would it kill you to have painted it first? If you’re going to walk past it for the next year or so at least make it look nice.

  10. David Bryan says:

    Forget about the post, just wrap the Little-Bundle-of-Joy in the foam. Stick in a breathing tube, of course, and don’t forget to put a in a handle and a D-ring for a leash.
    I sure hope you got some attaboys for this, you deserve ’em.

  11. Jim K. says:

    It’s projects like this that seem to make my wife think twice before commenting on my scrap pile.

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