Guide in Building a Timber Fence
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Published by TOP4 Team
Putting up a timber fence is a satisfying project that does not require any special skills or tools. the hardest part is digging the holes, after that the structure takes shape quickly. You will need to rent a post-hole digger, but otherwise will require only a circular saw and ordinary carpentry tools.
Before beginning, check your local building and planning regulations. Many councils specify maximum heights, distances from property lines and the street, and even the materials you can use.
Preparing the site
Once you have chosen a design and established a location, stake out and measure the site. Plot post spacing for the most efficient use of timber. Spans of about two metres work well; never set posts for a paling or panel fence more than 2.4 m apart. If you are building your fence on a slope, plan to step the fence down the hill, setting each section lower than the one preceding it. Build the fence to follow the contour only if the slope is very slight. In any case, be sure to set the post vertically or the fence will look as though it is falling down the hill.
1. Lay out the site, dig holes and set posts in concrete or anchor brackets, starting with the end posts. Check each post for plumb by holding a level to two adjacent faces; nail braces to too, that posts are aligned by tying string from end post to end post.
2. As you shovel concrete into the holes, have a helper tamp the concrete to remove bubbles. Round off the concrete so that water will drain away from the posts. After the concrete cures, cut the post to a uniform height, if necessary. Shape the post so that they will shed water.
3. Attach the rails to the post. Traditionally, mortice and tenon joints have been used for fence construction. A line level and combination square ensure that each rail is level and square with the posts.
4. Measure carefully and use a square to mark locations on the rails for each fencing board. Wood blocks squeezed between the board will maintain uniform spacing. Have a helper align the boards -- in this case, flush with the bottom -- while you nail them to the rails. This is not an easy job for one person.
In termite-prone area, always use treated timber for all posts and bottom rails. To minimise rust, buy only galvanised nails and fittings. To preserve post, let them stand in a 20-litre pail of creosote overnight.
If you want to stain or paint your rails and fencing before you nail up the fencing. Besides saving time, you’ll get better coverage.