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How to Build a Customized Baby Gate

The DIY to the Rescue crew shows how to build custom safety gates for interior stairs.

More in Remodeling

Step 1: Take Measurements, Then Cut the Wood

Measure at the base from the wall to the opposite spindle (Image 1). Then, measure the height and take the same measurements at the bottom of the stairs (Image 2).

To cut the wood, set the miter saw to 90 degrees and trim the ends off to make sure everything is squared. Cut three pieces of wood to 28-15/16ths" (Image 3).

Trim the balusters for the gate to 29-1/2".

Step 2: Sandwich the Boards

Run two lines of wood glue on the bottom board (the bad side), then with the good side facing up, simply sandwich the two boards together (Image 1). Check to make sure the ends are flush with the side boards.

Add two 3/4" nails at the corner. Continue to add two more nails every 6 inches (Image 2).

Add wood glue, checking if the boards are flush. Then, nail them together with a pneumatic nail gun.

Step 3: Drill the Baluster Holes

Drill the larger baluster holes with a 3/4" spade bit, spacing each about 4 inches apart.

Switch to the 11/16" spade bit for the smaller baluster hole and finish drilling the top baluster holes.

drill baluster holes

Step 4: Secure the Balusters

Add a generous amount of wood glue to the tip of the baluster (Image 1) and slide it into the drilled hole (Image 2).

Using a nail gun, drive a nail through the drilled hole directly into the baluster's tip (Image 3).

Repeat these steps and insert all the remaining balusters (Image 4).

Step 5: Fasten Everything With Nails

Once the glue dries, fasten the rest of the frame together.

Confirm that the gate is square, then fasten everything together by driving 3/4" nails around the perimeter of the frame.

Finally, use a random orbital sander to remove any blemishes on the balusters (Image 1). Follow that with a protective coating of water-based polyurethane stain (Image 2).

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