Magic Lake Property Project

1024 767 Thuja Wood Art - Reclaimed Cedar Furniture Wood Art Vancouver Victoria Gulf Islands British Columbia

This was a very large project including 4oo’ of custom handsplit cedar fencing with 3 sets of driveway gates (technically its 3 separate properties), 2 pedestrian gates, and a set of double saloon style gates.   It is on a high bank waterfront property at the end of a road in Magic Lakes on Pender Island.  There is a beautiful view out to the ocean with the ferries going by and a very well established eagles nest on the property with all the protections that go with that.  The clients wanted to protect the nest and provide some privacy from the road which is above the house and everyone who comes by to look at the eagles looks directly into their house and yard.  The fencing is all made from salvaged red cedar driftwood, split by hand into 4×4’s for posts, 2×4’s for rails and grapestake pickets for the fencing (3/4″ thick by varying widths).  I use metal post brackets set in concrete (or bolted directly to bedrock if we cant dig a hole) to keep the posts up off the ground and 4″ screws to attach the rails and posts.  I used ardox spiral nails to attach the grapestakes, but will try to use screws in the future (even though much more expensive) because the metal from the nails causes black streaks as the metal leaches into the wood over time.  Eventually it will all turn silver in the sun and wont be noticeable…

Two sets of the driveway gates were made to look like part of the fence as they will only be opened occasionally.  For these I had Jeri from Thistle Rock Forge make a couple of big beautiful sliding bolt latches.  The main gates were large with an 16′ span to cover.  We added diagonal braces to the gate posts on either side to help hold the weight of the heavy gates  (the fence goes off on a diagonal away from the main posts so isnt as much help with bracing as if it were in line with the gates).  Jeri and I together designed a new style of double gate latch that will work well on these large gates and allow them to be opened from either side, and its been working very well.  There is also a cane bolt on one side to keep the gates firmly in place when shut as there are strong winds in this location so near the sea.   The 2 pedestrian gates allow passage on the trial down to the water and into the side yard.  The double gates are beside the lower house and with a simple arbour over top make a nice entrance to the hot tub area.   All the gates are made with salvaged red cedar driftwood, and split by hand.  As usual I also did all the wood joinery with mortise and tenons, glued and pegged.   All the hinges and latches were custom designed by myself and Jeri, and made at Thistle Rock Forge on Salt Spring Island.

This project has a very organic feel as we undulated the top of the fence and then I also attached some thin cedar strips to the fence to create flowing lines along the fence.  This helps draw your eye along and makes a huge mostly solid fence feel much nicer.  The grapestakes also are not all tight to each other so you can see through a bit, and its nice to see the light or greenery show through at different times of the day.  Thanks so much to Ted and Martin for allowing me to create something different from the norm…


Colin Hamilton

All stories by: Colin Hamilton
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