Post and rail fences.

Building a post and rail fence .

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Building a post and rail fences

 

Post and rail fence

 

Horizontal rail fences come in a variety of styles, but all of them bring a simple, modest beauty to a landscape. Capped post and rail fences, an outgrowth of earlier styles, go well in contemporary settings. Close rail spacing increases privacy, alternate widths add interest, and the cap rail strengthens the structure. Notched post and rail fences bring a classic ranch look that feels at home in many landscape styles. Rustic mortised fences usually with only two or three rails are also adaptable to almost any landscape theme. Materials costs for a capped post and rail fence will run on the high side because of the large quantity of lumber required. Notched and mortised fences are less expensive, but require more assembly time.

When constructing a capped or notched fence, always offset the rail joints on alternate courses and pre-finish the fence before assembling it to make sure all surfaces are protected from the elements.

 

 

 

 

        How to use a post and rail fences.

 

·         Defining space: Excellent, they make attractive boundary markers.

·         Security: Poor, low fences are easy to climb over.

·         Privacy: None open rails permit open views.

·         Creating comfort zones: Minimal, low height does not block wind. Closely spaced rails can block drifting snow.

 

Building a post and rail fence

 

1.      Lay out your fence line set posts for 4 to 6 foot bays. Cut the posts level with each other. Using a combination square, mark the center of the posts. You can mark only the locations where the rails will fall or scribe the line down the length of the post. The line will ensure that you have jointed rails centered.

 

2.      Starting at the top, fasten the first rail flush with the top of the posts. Then alternate 1+6s and 1+3s spacing them with a 2+2 spacer. Note that butted rails alternate with through rails every other board. Staggering the joints in this fashion increases the strength of the fence.

 

3.      Measure and cut a 2+8 top rail, mitering the corners. Cut the miter first, then cut the other end of the rail so that any joint will be centered on a post. Apply a thin bead of clear silicone caulk to the edges of the mitered corners, then fasten the rails to the posts. Pull the mitered edges together with angled screws. Wipe off any excess caulk with a damp rag.

 

 

 

 

                       Building a notched post and rail fence

 

Notched post and rail fences take a little more time to install than other fences. In part this is because of the time it takes to cut the notches, but also because you must level and set each bay individually. That way you are assured that the notches will be level with each other. The proportions of the fence will differ with its size and bay width. For a 4 foot fence, fasten 1+4 rails to 4+4 posts, 6 to 8 ft. apart. For a 5 foot fence, use 6+6 posts with 2+6 for rails. Buy 16 foot rails so you can span two 8 foot sections, but be sure to offset the joints on alternate courses. Surface mounted rails go up faster but are structurally weaker and less attractive, even with stagger joints.

1.      Cut your posts to a length that will allow you to set them deep enough for local code compliance and still leave 36 inches above ground. Clamp them together with pipe clamps, keeping the tops flush with each other. Mark the position of the notches on the end posts and snap chalk lines across all the faces. Cut and chisel the notches. Then cut the rails and pre-finish them if desire.

 

2.      Lay out your post and rail fence line, dig the holes and set the posts in loosely but not in concrete. Hold the first post plumb and fasten 2+4 braces at its base so the top of the post is 36 inches off the ground. Backfill the post hole with concrete, plumb the post, and let the concrete set up , it doesn’t have to cure. Then hold the second post upright and insert a 2+4 in the notches of both posts. Level the 2+4 and fasten 2+4 bottom braces to the second post. Backfill the second posthole and let the concrete set. Repeat the process for all posts and let the concrete cure.

 

3.      Distribute the rails along the fence line so they will be close at hand when you need them. Insert the rails in the notches, centering any joints on the post, and fasten the rails with coated screws. Note that butted rails should alternate with though rails to add strength to the fence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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