Baby gates are designed to keep babies out of trouble, not to keep a 50 pound German Shepard puppy at bay. Even the staying power of this heavy duty gate was only as good as its friction fit, which due to the chair rail in the way wasn’t very good at all. Yes, I did try mounting the gate so the friction disc was above the chair rail, but I was tired of stabbing my toe on the threshold. Also Natasha (“Tasha”) was able to knock the gate down anyway when she decided she really didn’t want to stay in the kitchen anymore.
It isn’t fine woodworking, but I found a way to make the gate very secure with minimal damage to the woodwork. To counter the problem of the chair rail being in the way, I cut two 2x4s a little taller than the height of the gate. Using my table saw and miter sled I nibbled away at the wall side of the 2x4s to match the profile of the chair rail and base. I then cut a recess for the gate’s friction discs to slide into, effectively capturing them in the 2x4s.
Once I was satisfied with the fit of the 2x4s over the woodwork, I secured the 2x4s into the wall by driving two 3-1/2″ screws into the studs on either side of the gate. To do as little damage to the existing woodwork as possible, I drilled a larger through-hole in the 2x4s and marked the location of the screws on the woodwork. I then carefully drilled pilot holes for the screws. This way when it comes time to remove the gate, I can just fill four small holes and nobody will be the wiser.
Tasha hasn’t been able to push the newly secured gate over yet. Now she just has to figure out that she could jump over the gate if she got up a head of steam.