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Cane Bolts

Cane bolts or as they are sometimes referred to as gate anchors or drop bolts, as shown in Figure 1, are a very popular method of keeping exterior doors and gates open and closed. If you are not familiar with cane bolts you can consider them a larger and more robust version of a barrel bolt.

cane bolt
Figure 1 - Cane bolt

The cane bolt is a rod that fits through a couple of holders. When used on an outdoor gate, the rod, when lowered, usually rests in a hole that has been bored into the surface of a driveway or walkway. The hole is slightly larger than the diameter of the rod. There is a cane bolt hole placed in a spot on the driveway or walkway which aligns the gate in its closed position and there may be another hole placed in a spot which keeps the gate in its open position. When the rod is in its raised position it clears any holes that may be placed in the ground surface material.

Note: The rod can even be lowered directly into earth, however continuously dropping the rod into earth will, over time, create a hole that is so large that it does not hold the gate in its desired position any longer.

If you do not have solid material, such as concrete or patio stones, under the area where you want to close a cane bolt you should consider inserting a piece of metal pipe into the ground. The pipe should have an inside diameter just slightly larger than the outside diameter of the cane bolt. The pipe will prevent the ground around the insertion point of the cane bolt from becoming larger and no longer holding the gate in its desired position.

Cane Bolts are often used on double gates where the standard style of gate latch, as shown in Figure 2, will release if any pressure is applied to the gates.

common gate latch
Figure 2 - Common gate latch

Another advantage of cane bolts over regular gate latches is that they hold the bottom of the gate secure. Wider gates can have a tendency to open wide enough at the bottom for a pet or young child to escape the confines of the fenced area.

Cane bolts can be used on any gate construction material, including metal tubing (special fittings maybe required, as shown in Figure 3) or angle iron and all types of wood.

The use of cane bolts has expanded from being a gate fastener to being a security item in both homes and businesses.

Cane bolts mounted to the inside of exterior doors provide an added level of security. Cane bolts can be used in both horizontal and vertical configurations. Although the strength of having the bolt lock into a hole in the floor gives it superior strength.

Some of the latest versions of cane bolts have integrated locks, as shown in Figure 4.

key lock cane bolt
Figure 4 - Key lock cane bolt

When a cane bolt is used indoors it is common to have a small metal cup insert mounted in the flooring material to capture the cane bolt rod, when it is in the closed position.

If you have outdoor gates or possibly a door security problem and are looking for a robust solution consider the use of one or more cane bolts.