Stained Glass Gate Project

1024 684 Thuja Wood Art - Reclaimed Cedar Furniture Wood Art Vancouver Victoria Gulf Islands British Columbia

This project took me back to Bowen Island to install some fantasical driveway gates.  I spent many summers on Bowen Island as a child (my parents ran a summer camp at the time) and it was great to get over there again.   For this project the client wanted to create a fun and bright entrance to a private subdivision, with an added pedestrian gate where the public could walk through to access a public park at the top of the hill.   She wanted to use bold colours with the cedar gates so we decided to add stained glass.  As I am not a stained glass artist we decided to bring one into the project and hired Tracy Calvert, an artist friend here on Pender Island.  We quickly realized that in order to mount the stained glass into the gates and minimize the chance of the glass breaking from racking or wood swelling, we would also need solid metal frames to hold the glass sections.  For this we hired Callum McKay from Stainless by Design.  I have worked with Callum many times before and he is amazing, can basically build you anything you want from metal!  While Tracy and the client decided on colours and designs for the stained glass I made the gates and then worked with Callum to design metal frames that would fit into the cedar gates easily but also be able to mount the stained glass and take that in and out if needed.   These gates were based on inspiration from another large set of driveway gates I made many years ago with scrolling metal and copper designs instead of glass, but a similar fanning out of the pickets which alternated with brass poles.  In this project the whole thing slowly became the sun rising and fanning out its rays in wood and colour.

The client had a local contractor build the stone pillars the main gates hang on and I installed the posts for the pedestrian gate and arbour.  Along with the stone pillars they installed a new system of electronic gate openers which are basically motors that are fitted under the gate and ashpalt of the road with only a small bracket sticking up that the gate stile sits on.  We had to specially design the lower gate hinges to fit onto this bracket which allows them to open automatically.   The upper hinges were just allowed to swing freely.   Callum made the heavy duty stainless steel hinges with fun curves in them that I designed with the client.  After Tracy finished all the stained glass we mounted the glass into the metal frames and the frames into the gates and it all fit perfectly.  Beside the main driveway gates there were also 2 side panels and the pedestrian gate, all with stained glass.  Tracy used recycled glass plates and othe cool features in the glasswork.    All the gates and panels are made from salvaged old growth red cedar, which I hand split to shape the wood.  I used mortise and tenon joinery (glued and pegged) to assemble the gates.  These gates are sanded smooth and finished with an oil based stain (which client did).   What a fun and creative project, and I so enjoyed working with Callum and Tracy, they were able to bring something new to my gates that I couldnt ever have done myself.  I look forward to the possibility of doing more gates with these 2 in the future!


Colin Hamilton

All stories by: Colin Hamilton
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