Author Topic: Split Rail Fence  (Read 6244 times)

Cincy Stache

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Split Rail Fence
« on: June 06, 2014, 07:53:04 PM »
Any advice on how to go about putting up a split rail fence on my own?  steps, materials, aprox costs?

I figure I'll save at least 50% if I do it myself.  I've never built a fence, but I'm capable I'm sure.

Thanks in advance!

Transmatic

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2014, 07:36:57 PM »
I think it's a nice addition and gives your house a unique look. I grew up with one around my yard as a child and my first home had one already put up. Unfortunately both winters I have lived here someone has decided to crash through it and park their truck on my lawn. Fortunately each person wrote a check and made it well worth my time to replace that section of fence.

I pay $4.99 for each rail and $5.99 for each post at my local lumber supplier (less than 1/2 mile from my house) which is cedar. I simply dig a 2ft hole, fill with 1/2 bag of mixed concrete, ensure each post is level, let concrete sit for 2 days then fill remaining hole with previously removed soil.

Here is a view from side of my yard I took last spring (I live directly off a lightly traveled road). You can see my fence and the double row of thuja green giant trees I planted last year to eventually build a privacy barrier (they are 5 times this size now).

« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 08:56:06 PM by Transmatic »

Cincy Stache

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2014, 08:09:55 PM »
Thanks Trans!  Hopefully it will be rather painless and I'll post a finish product pic.

Transmatic

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2014, 08:17:06 PM »
The only difficult part will be digging your holes. Best thing is to use a good post hole digger. If you don't have very calloused hands you should probably wear gloves. Best of luck. Should look great.

Rural

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2014, 08:47:25 PM »
Huh. That's not at all what I think of when I hear "split rail fence." The kind I'm familiar with doesn't have posts. Like this:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-rail_fence#mediaviewer/File:Split_rail_fencing.jpg

big_owl

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2014, 05:17:51 PM »
Well I *literally* just finished putting up about 250ft of split-rail fencing about 30 minutes ago!  I did it all myself - started Saturday at 10am and like I said just finished minutes ago.  Actually I still have to build the two gate doors, but I'm too exhausted to do it this weekend and will finish those next weekend.  It was very tiring even for someone a strong and athletic as myself, but my yard is very hilly and the fence design included a lot of corners. 

Equipment I used:

1. Post-hole digger
2. Level
3. String
4. 60lb bag of concrete (only for the gate hinge posts)
5. Recip saw (to trim rails where needed)

Lessons I learned:

You always lay the fence out ahead of time on the ground to get the spacing right, and then put the two end posts in for a given section.  Then run a string to serve as a guide or else I guarantee you you'll end up with sections that aren't straight.  It was eerie how I didn't have to relocate and of the end posts from their original locations as I finally completed each run - I thought for sure the clearances would have ended up a couple inches off as I got the fence into the ground.  Digging the holes was a pain in my yard since the soil is really damp clay.  Luckily I'm pretty bad ass so I toughed it out.  In loamy soil it would be really easy.  Mark your post hole digger on the handle to correlate to the appropriate depth - that way you don't have to keep measuring the depth of your hole.

Long straight runs are cake.  Corner and end posts are a little more of a pain but not too bad assuming you don't have to cut the rails shorter on the last section of the run in order to fit.  Try to avoid having to cut the rails at all!  It's not too had if you cut rails between one end section and a center section, but it's hell on earth to try and cut rails between two end posts!  Cutting the rails to length isn't a problem, it's trying to notch out the ends to get them all to fit in the slots that is almost impossible.  You'll get the bottom one to work out... the cut the middle one and try to fit it... and then the bottom one ends up too short so it falls out when you place the middle one... then you finally get the bottom two in and try to fit the top rail... same problem and much rage occurs.  I probably had to cut on average 5 rails before I got a combo of 3 that worked right in these scenarios.  Thank god for the reciprocating saw, if I was doing it by hand it wouldn't have happened.  Another pain when cutting a notch in a rail is getting it to line up vertically with the slot.  Invariably I'd think I did a good plumb notch and when I lined it up with the slot it would be like 30 degrees crooked.  Really frustrating. 

The only places I had to do this was around my gate, in order to make everything fit. If you don't have any gates and can size your fence such that you don't have to shorten any sections then the whole thing is pretty easy.  Again... try to avoid having to shorten rails between two end or corner posts!!!

That's my brain dump right now.  Oh yeah, my project cost just under $1k - all for the lumber.  It seems like posts and rails all run right around $10ea.  I used treated wood but would have used cedar if I had the choice, nobody around here sells it though.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 05:22:30 PM by big_owl »

Transmatic

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2014, 07:56:43 PM »
Glad to hear your project went well. You are spot on about having to cut rails, it can certainly be a pain to notch them.

Unfortunately someone ran their car right through my fence this afternoon. My wife wife son and I were headed back from a photography shoot my wife had just completed and got a call from the police. Luckily they only took out 1 post and 4 rails. This is now the third time someone has crashed through our fence in the 18 months we've lived here. The other 2 times were somewhat understandable as each person slid down the windy hill that goes in our neighborhood in the winter. But today's wreck I don't know what they heck they were doing. They came about 6ft away from hitting my wife's car. Not sure if this is a sign that we should move (something web something somethinghave somethinghaveb)......something we have been talking about a lot lately. Sorry for the typos my phone won't let me backspace and keeps inserting the same word and this is my third attempt to post this.

I'm sure you will enjoy the look of your new fence. Just make sure you charge someone a pretty penny for your labor if they run their car through it like I am now going to do for the third time, haha.

Greg

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2014, 01:42:19 PM »
This is now the third time someone has crashed through our fence in the 18 months we've lived here.

Maybe switch to concrete? :)

big_owl

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2014, 03:46:59 PM »
Glad to hear your project went well. You are spot on about having to cut rails, it can certainly be a pain to notch them.

Unfortunately someone ran their car right through my fence this afternoon. My wife wife son and I were headed back from a photography shoot my wife had just completed and got a call from the police. Luckily they only took out 1 post and 4 rails. This is now the third time someone has crashed through our fence in the 18 months we've lived here. The other 2 times were somewhat understandable as each person slid down the windy hill that goes in our neighborhood in the winter. But today's wreck I don't know what they heck they were doing. They came about 6ft away from hitting my wife's car. Not sure if this is a sign that we should move (something web something somethinghave somethinghaveb)......something we have been talking about a lot lately. Sorry for the typos my phone won't let me backspace and keeps inserting the same word and this is my third attempt to post this.

I'm sure you will enjoy the look of your new fence. Just make sure you charge someone a pretty penny for your labor if they run their car through it like I am now going to do for the third time, haha.

Easy, a few well placed large boulders will cure youth problem... and make the consequences much worse for the person running over your fence.  Amazing how quickly a problem is solved once the consequences for those causing the problem are made much more severe.

Cincy Stache

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2014, 08:42:23 PM »
Wow.  Thanks all!  I'll let you know how it goes and cost$

hokiegb

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2014, 01:47:52 PM »
Just wanted to second the reciprocating saw to cut any rails to length that you need. It took me about half of my fence project to figure that one out, and it got MUCH easier once I did.

If you have a lot of the fence to put up you can rent an auger to dig the holes. Or you can just use a post hole digger, which is what I did. It's a good workout!

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Split Rail Fence
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2014, 01:57:55 PM »
Huh. That's not at all what I think of when I hear "split rail fence." The kind I'm familiar with doesn't have posts. Like this:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-rail_fence#mediaviewer/File:Split_rail_fencing.jpg

That was my first thought as well.