Step 7: Install the Stiles and Rails

hands installing the stiles and rails for building a dog gate
Photo: Laura Moss
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Lay the stiles and rails in place on top of the panel, on the flat. One by one, lift each piece and apply glue to the ends, the outside edge, and to the panel where the piece will lay. Set each piece in place. Secure the stiles and rails with 1½-inch pin nails by nailing through the legs and crosspieces and into their outer edges. (Nailing through the legs and crosspieces, instead of through the panel itself, will decrease the need for filling holes on the panel's backside.)
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
      to cut the plywood panel
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • bar clamp
      24- to 36-inch bar clamp
    • pneumatic finish nailer
      Pneumatic pin nailer
    • drill
      Drill/driver
      fitted with an 11/32-inch drill bit, a 3/32-inch drill bit, and a 1-inch paddle bit for installing the gate's feet
    • paintbrush
      1-inch paintbrush to apply glue
    • allen wrench set
      Allen key or wrench
      sized to the insert nut and hex-head bolt for attaching the feet

    Shopping List

    1. Oak 1x2 Get at least eight 6-footers—enough to make legs, crosspieces, spindles, stiles, rails, and feet for the two-section gate shown

    2. ½-inch oak veneer plywood Get enough to make two 12-by-22½-inch panels

    3. Oak panel molding Get at least two 6-foot pieces to trim the panels

    4. 1½-inch finish screws to assemble the legs, crosspieces, and spindles

    5. 1½-inch pin nails to attach the panel, rails, and stiles to the crosspieces and legs

    6. 1-inch pin nails to attach the trim to the panels7. ¼-20 40 mm threaded insert nuts Get four, or enough to insert one into the bottom of each leg

    8. ¼-20 40 mm hex-head joint connector bolt Get four, or enough to attach one foot to each leg

    9. 1½-by-¾-inch butt hinges Get three per pair of gates

    10. Medium-grit and fine-grit sandpaper

    11. Stainable wood glue

    12. Stainable wood filler

    13. Finish of your choice (could be tung oil; sanding sealer with stain and shellac and acrylic clear-coat; or primer and paint)