Regency gates for a walled garden

During January Martin Smith and Paul Ashmore worked on the restoration of an unusual kitchen garden gate from Cothelstone in the foothills of the Quantocks. The Ironart team was also commissioned to follow the original design and make up three new, replica gates to replace those that have long since gone missing from the walled garden, a challenge which we gratefully accepted.

The original gate is an impressive, heavy wrought iron example of complex, traditional construction, featuring tenon joints and curved punched rails and elegant forging. By Martin’s estimation the gate dates from c. 1820 and was without doubt specifically commissioned for the walled kitchen garden it graces. This was a really interesting and challenging project for the Ironart team who fully appreciated the craftsmanship and high level of precision with which it had been made.
Because the assembly of the original gate was so complex the team chose not to remove any of the component parts for cleaning. The extensive corrosion between joints had resulted in a great deal of rust jacking and failure of the tenon joints, all of which had to be meticulously cleaned by hand with brushes, chisels and scrapers. Any replacement parts were made by the team using wrought iron to retain the structural integrity of the gate. The original spring latch was reinstated as a working feature and a new stainless steel mortice lock was enclosed within a wrought iron box in sympathy with the original design. (For those that are interested, the main construction of this original gate was 1 1/4″ stiles, 3/4″ main bars and 2″ x 1/2″ rails – both straight and curved.)

The replica gates were tackled by one of our highly experienced blacksmith’s Jason Balchin, understudied by NADFAS intern Cecilie Robinson and Adrian Booth.
Jason’s first challenge was to scale down the dimensions of the original gate and create templates for the three new gates to fill the apertures in the wall. The new gates not only faithfully followed the design of the original, but were also traditionally made, with tenons, mechanical joints and firewelded features. The central diamond detail was made up of fire-welded joints and halving joins. All the ends of the rails had forged tenons which were heated up and riveted into countersunk holes on the stiles. It’s important to point out that these new gates were constructed using modern materials – ie: metric mild steel instead of imperial wrought iron.
Due to the complexity of this project the team had to assemble them three times during the making process to ensure that all dimensions and calculations had been accurately achieved.
Prior to assembly all the mating joints and tenons were flooded with a zinc rich primer before being sent to a local firm for shot blasting and hot zinc spraying and priming. Once this has been done they’ll be ready for their final paint application.

Jason Balchin says of this project: “It was really enjoyable making these complex, technical gates and a pleasure to work with Adrian on our first big project together – he did a really great job.”

 

Wrought iron garden gate at Horton

We’ve been cataloguing images and came across some pics of a lovely single garden gate we made for a client in Horton north of Bath last year. This gate design was worked up from a sketch supplied by our client and frames the entrance to a beautiful mature garden. It features flowing scrollwork, spear finial and collaring and was made here in our workshops by Ironart’s Jason Balchin. If you are looking for a garden gate and need some inspiration, take a look at our portfolio of work and contact us on 01225 311273 to discuss, we’d love to help.

 

The making of the Anemone gate

We have nearly finished this really lovely and unique garden gate. The ‘Anemone gate’ was one of those exciting commissions which fires everyone’s enthusiasm for our work. Working to Andy’s unique design, with plenty of input from our clients, a team of blacksmiths set to work on the forge. Jason, Simon and Cecilie were all involved in it’s making.

The Anenome Gate by Ironart of Bath

The Anenome Gate by Ironart of Bath

This sequence of pictures show the team at work forging what is largely a traditionally-made gate. For those who have a technical level of interest, you might like to know…

  • The gate frame was made with forged tenons
  • The gate styles were upset and formed (4 inches of material disappeared during this process!)
  • The flowers were forged from 3mm sheet steel, they were constructed with ball and thread, drilled and tapped into the stem.
  • The long tapers were drawn out to form stems which were then upset at the bottom to give a natural flared look.
  • The neat collars were put on hot
  • The lettering for the property will be laser cut in stainless steel and fixed to the plate at the bottom of the gate.
  • The finish? Well… it will be galvanised and then hand painted!

We’ll blog some more pictures of this project as the gate nears completion.