Gate and Heavy Door Hardware

Large or small, gates are really just doors in fences or walls.  As hinges attach to doors, they also attach to gates; and, like doors, it’s the pintles that attach the hinges and gates to the post or wall in which the gate hangs.

Our gate hinges and pintles are actually the same as the strap hinges and pintles we make for doors and shutters – just scaled up to fit the project needs.  Arched hinges are shown on the classic gates below as was often the case where historic arched gates were fitted with hardware made to match the installation.   These and other arched strap hinges are a custom piece.  Pricing is dependent on the size and style of the hinge as well as the radius of the arch.  We will only make curved hinges like these when we have a full sized template from which to work and fit the hinges.

Strap hinge selection is a matter of personal taste and the requirements of the installation.  The pintles carry the weight and are dictated by the available mounting surfaces.  A board gate in a board fence would probably use surface mounted pintles like those shown in our barn hardware pages – you can have some fun with these, just like the old boys did.  The gates shown above are mounted on heavy threaded pintles drilled through a 6 x 6 inch mounting post and secured with matching nuts.  Concrete poured posts or masonry columns require pintles designed to install into those materials.

Above - mid-1700’s gate pintle designed to install masonry - here a brick column anchoring a metal fence around a Philadelphia church.  The pintle is massive, but since its bulk is buried in the brick, not visually overwhelming.

Right- The gates themselves are shown to the right - 7’ tall by 9’ or so wide.  The mass of the fabricated iron and significant leverage from the gates required the 3” wide by 1/2" thick iron pintles.  Looks like it worked for a couple of hundred years and ain’t broke yet.

Historic Falmouth Port, Jamaica---Royal Caribbean Terminal

We recently fabricated hardware to hang and lock a large number of really big doors for the Royal Caribbean cruise terminal in Historic Falmouth, Jamaica. The structures on the wharf of the port are new construction built in the style of 18th century British architecture. Considering the size of the openings - 12' high by 14' wide - and the hurricane winds that hit the north shore of the island, defining a heavy strap hinge and masonry pintle configuration that would withstand the weight and stresses was an important aspect of the project.

The structures are poured concrete with brick & limestone façade, so we looked to the historic examples of similar large doors and heavy 18th century hardware in the Caribbean. 

We based the pintles and installation on the historic Philadelphia masonry pintles shown above - similar pintles hold the big doors on the 18th century ocean-side warehouses of Charlotte Amalie on the island of Saint Thomas.

That massive historic hardware has held those similar doors through more than two hundred years of hurricanes in the islands. Good enough reason to follow the early approach.

We designed pintle anchor plates to work with the contemporary construction and buried them behind the masonry façade. The installation approach satisfies the historic requirements of the project and keeps Ţorvaldur Guđjónsson (Valdi), my favorite structural engineer, more than satisfied with the resultant math.

The hinges and pintles hold and swing the doors. When hurricanes blow, it's the bolts that keep the doors locked and secure. They have to be massive to handle the stress and they're visible when the doors are open, so the bolts are a big part of the visual package.

See Historic Falmouth Port

We further modified the horizontal bolt to work as both Head (at the top) and Foot (at the bottom) bolts. These bolts match mass of the horizontal bolts. We fitted them so that they could be locked in the disengaged position and then drop or be lifted into and locked to secure the doors. These bolts worked out really well. They provide visual interest and secure the doors when in the open position, as well as locking the doors against impending storms.

Right - The sketch to the right represents the final step in our design of the hardware and shows the locked doors seen from the inside.

Left - I was familiar with this interesting shutter bolt on Carpenters' Hall in Independence National Historic Park - right across the street from Independence Hall. The period was correct - 1770's - so we worked off of this historic example and scaled it up to the 12' tall doors on the island. The horizontal bolts pictured in Historic Falmouth Port are forged 3/4" round stock mounted on 3" high x 18" wide plates.

Wall of Kong

Shown below are a couple of quick and dirty big doors we built for the blacksmith shop to isolate our space from the 50' high bays of the building immediately adjacent. They're mostly open in the summer and always closed in the winter.

We built and hung these doors in a couple of Saturdays using 24' long shipping crates for the material. I call them "The Wall of Kong" and yes, that's a cat door at the bottom of the passage door. The doors lock in both the open and closed positions with cane bolts at the bottom. The doors are 12' tall and have a couple of feet of air-stop vinyl strips at the top to allow tractor trailers to pull into the shop and unload steel.

Note that each door is hung with only two strap hinges - it's the pintles anchored into the concrete walls that provide the strength to carry the weight, not the hinges.