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Question: Is there a way to slow down the speed a chain link fence gate opens?

Context: Our preschool has a basic chain link fence with a standard entry gate (see photo). We recently installed a wooden arbor outside the gate and now the gate slams against the arbor post as its opening, at the approx 110 degree mark. It's a sort of school tradition that the kids "ride the gate" out of school, and we can't stop it even if we wanted to, but the gate swings fast and now that there is the arbor post it has a hard stop vs. swinging freely like before. We don't want to worry about accidents.

So far all I've found for solutions are a rubberized door stop that can be mounted on the arbor post, which we plan to buy & use (but won't solve the speed issue), and a heavy duty safety chain w/spring which is intended for actual structure doors and I don't think could even be mounted to the chain link gate post anyway.

I feel like there has to be some sort of adjustable hinge that would solve the speed issue, right? Or some other solution I'm not thinking of? I'm handy-ish, but by no means a contractor or engineer.

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  • Does the gate automatically swing shut, or does someone have to shut it?
    – Huesmann
    Feb 26 at 12:03
  • Alex, please take the tour to learn how to respond to answers. "Thanks" comments are discouraged.
    – isherwood
    Feb 26 at 13:52

3 Answers 3

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The mounting will be a trick, (nope, they are available correctly configured) but this is the normal function of a spring-hydraulic (or gas-strut) damper type door closer. They automatically close the gate (or door) and also limit travel speed to prevent slamming. Better ones offer two stage damping so the final few inches/cm can be slower to close than the bulk of the closing action.

They are offered (I searched for chain link gate damper) pre-built with gate attaching hardware and suitable for outside use.

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  • googling now, thanks!!!
    – Alex
    Feb 28 at 8:10
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A common strategy for indoor hinges is to deform the female part of a hinge to generate more friction against the male part. Typical indoor hinges have a tapered pin, though, so there's little issue reassembling them after they've been modified (by laying the hinge on something strong and whacking it with a hammer). You might need a file or an angle grinder to taper the pin a little to facilitate reassembly. Focus the deformation at the top edge away from where the hinges initially mate to hopefully avoid such complexity.

Alternatively, you might drill and tap the side of the female hinge part and install a set screw with a flat bearing surface to press against the pin. Sharp set screw edges will tear the pin metal, so the bearing surface's flatness is important.

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Put a nylon (or similar) insert into the hinge and adjust the tightness to slow it down. You might find that you now have to actually close the gate instead of letting it swing.

As a handy person I would look at some of the black or blue thick wall hosepipe commonly available and try with that.

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    I wonder if the mfgrs or installers of chain link fencing have a special hinge type to accomplish this. Anythng improvised is questionable in a school setting. Check with school authorities before even considering how to deal with this. Volunteers often dream up "improvements" that can't get approval. Feb 26 at 12:04

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