Friday, July 19, 2013

Gate Hardware That Is Off The Chain: The Shop 4 Classics Guide to Great Gate Hardware

There is an old adage about a chain being only as strong as its weakest link.  Coaches and managers use the saying to encourage teamwork but it also applies to your home.  A seemingly minor piece of hardware can have a major impact on the overall look of your home.

If the weak link around the exterior of your home is an ugly chain link fence, upgrading to fancy gate hardware may be like putting lipstick on a pig.  However, if you've invested in a custom wood or metal fence, choosing high quality gate hardware can really make your gate "off the chain".

Coastal Bronze Bronze Gate Hardware

Shop 4 Classics offers a broad selection of top quality gate hardware from Coastal Bronze, Agave Ironworks, Antique Revelry and Acorn Manufacturing, among others.  Today, the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog offers a guide to the different types of gate hardware that you might choose to improve your gate and enhance your home's appearance.

Gate Hinges - Hinges differentiate a gate from other parts of a fence.  Gate hinges make a gate swing.  Strap hinges, also called gate band hinges, are used on gates because they not only allow the gate to swing but the straps help reinforce the gate.  Additionally, the straps provide accent.  So much so that decorative dummy strap hinges are often added to gates hung with traditional butt hinges to provide additional ornamentation.

Gate Latches - If hinges make a gate swing, gate latches make it stop swinging.  In general, gate latches have the mechanical complexity of a teeter totter.  One side has a handle with a thumb actuated tailpiece that extends through the gate.  The tailpiece rises when the thumb grip is pressed down.  The tailpiece lifts a drop bar on the other side of the gate.  When the drop bar is raised out of the catch plate, the gate can then swing open.

Gate Stops - Gate stops install on gates to prevent them from swinging past the closed position.  An over-swinging gate can damage gate hardware and the gate itself.  Gate stops are an often overlooked but especially important gate component for gates that use drop bar gate latches.  Without a gate stop, the drop bar can be bent or broken off if the gate swings past its closed position.    

Agave Ironworks Iron Gate Hardware

Gate Bolts - Cane bolts and gate slide bolts provide security for privacy fence gates.  Gate latches don't typically lock so a cane bolt or slide bolt is used to supplement gate latches.  The bolt on a cane bolt locks into the ground while a slide bolt locks into a strike plate on the fence.  Cane bolts can also be used to lock a gate in the open position.

Clavos - Clavos are decorative nails applied to a gate's surface to provide ornamentation or to cover modern screw heads in a vintage setting.  Sometimes called door studs, clavos are usually round or pyramid shaped and have a distressed finish to make them look like Old World handcrafted bolts or nail heads.  Clavos with more complex designs are often referred to as door bosses.

Speakeasy Grilles - Tall privacy gates may have a small window or door on the gate to allow the homeowner to speak with visitors before opening the gate.  A speakeasy grille covers the window to keep it from simply looking like a hole.  Whether it is a basic design or a highly detailed design, speakeasy grilles provide a decorative element to spruce up a gate as well as secure it.

Much of the same hardware used on gates can also be used on doors for other outbuildings around your home.  Garage doors, carriage house doors, shutters, barn doors, and garden shed doors can all benefit from the same treatment.  The curb appeal of your home is more than just the structure.  There are many architectural elements around the exterior of your home that link together as a team to create one cohesive visual impression.  Look for the weak link around your home today and improve it with high quality iron and bronze gate hardware from Shop 4 Classics!

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