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Wooden fencing questions, got the basics right?

Discussion in 'In the Garden' started by skadster, 2 Jun 2014.

  1. skadster

    skadster

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    Hi all,

    I'm erecting a fence tomorrow in my pals garden, I done a bit of fencing before, but was decades ago, so just seeing if what I'm about to do is fine.

    my friend has two 9 meter sections of fencing to erect. The fence is to be six feet high. Posts are eight feet in height, wooden.

    My initial plan was to dig a hole two feet down at the top of the garden were it runs slightly downhill, then 9 meteres on dig another hole two feet down. Mark the two posts two feet from the bottom, mix up some concrete, plumb them then fill and let to go off.

    I was then going to attach a string line from one post to the other about 4 inches from the earth, and use this as a guide to keep the other posts straight, and use as a measure on the other posts between the start and finish posts. this sound okay so far?

    After the posts have set I was going to attach rails six inches from top and bottom, and a rail going through the middle, staggering the rails. I think I have that right so far, is this how some of the fencers here would suggest to do this.

    I'm going to get cracking tomorrow, so any replies are greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. Ouch77

    Ouch77

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    That sounds about right.

    I'd be tempted to put two string lines, top and bottom, as then you can get the post approximately plumb in one direction without getting the spirit level out - handy to ensure the hole is in the right position laterally.

    Consider getting a few bags of coarse gravel, and putting a shovelfull in the bottom of each hole prior to seating the fencepost - it'll help any moisture to drain from the bottom of the wood, rather than being sat in a concrete pocket. It's also good for fine-tuning the final height of the hole, too low: lift and stick another handful in, too high: shimmy the post around a bit. If you're lucky then the post will stand plumb and unsupported on the gravel alone.

    Have a few halfbricks handy as well, you can use them to temporarily wedge the post in the hole, and they can stay in there, meaning less concrete is needed. My fence post holes area good resting place for odd fist-sized bits of rubble. You'll need a long thin stick to work the cement down around the rubble though, you could end up with large air pockets.

    Use spare posts, or other long timber to prop the posts whilst the concrete cures- I had some 8ft bits of CLS that I drove a long screw through the end and used those as bracing - though it wasn't really needed in many cases.

    Are you using premixed post-crete, or mixing it yourself?
     
  4. skadster

    skadster

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    HI Ouch77, Thanks for the reply.

    The concrete I'm just going to make myself. 3 aggregate, 2 sand and 1 cement. Thanks for the tip about the line top and bottom, as I only remember setting a bottom one.

    I also couldn't remember adding old rubble to domestic fencing (I remember doing it with the strainers in field fencin ) So good to know too. I done fencing for about a year when I was a nipper, but the memory's a bit fuzzy nowadays.

    Friend contacted me tonight to tell me the timber merchant has dropped off the posts, rails etc. 11 posts and 11 3m rails delivered. The timber merchant said that'll cover both 9m runs.


    This is a bit unfortunate, as I'd hoped to do the first run as follows:

    Post at beginning and end of first nine meter run, then a post at 1.5m, 3m, 4.5m, 6m, 7.5m. Using 7 posts in total, and using 3 rails at top, middle and bottom, using 9 rails for the first run. This would have worked out well for spacing, probably a bit overkill for strength, but would have made it easy.

    Looks like I'm going to need to rethink my post spacing and use of rails.
     
  5. Ouch77

    Ouch77

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    I'm guessing the two runs of fence aren't connected? If they were sharing a post, you'd be okay for 1.8m spacing, but then you'd need 3.6m rails.

    Did your friend specify what quantities were needed, or just what he wanted to achieve? I'd be tempted to ring up the timber merchant and ask them to check their maths..
     
  6. skadster

    skadster

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    Thanks again Ouch77, sorry for the late reply, got caught up this last couple of days.

    My friend didn't specify quantity as the supplier also builds fences, so he assumed the quantity would be correct. I can only think with so few posts, the supplier was possibly thinking of 3m between posts, and possibly why he supplied 3m rails too.

    I'm not about to leave 3m between posts though, so have told my friend we'll need more rails and posts, and we'll try work the spacing to use as few posts as possible.

    You were correct in regards the runs not being corrected, a greenhouse separates them.
     
  7. JohnD

    JohnD

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    you can get a plastic fencing aid which has several spirit levels in a squared-off bracket which you put or tack on your posts while you are setting them, it can save time and show if a post has been knocked or settled after setting.

    I don't know the trade name of the gadget.
     
  8. wrathkeg

    wrathkeg

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    It's a post level. screwfix number 14623.
     
  9. skadster

    skadster

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    Maybe pick one of them up today. I just used a normal level yesterday, placing it on two sides as I tamped the concrete in.

    Only got the first and last post in due to time constraints, picking up materials etc. Wish i had a pinch bar, ground was fill with dockeys. Hell on the wrists. Will get by without it though.
     
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  11. Ouch77

    Ouch77

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    'Dockey'??

    Not a word I've come across n the southwest, but if you're referring to smooth, clay coloured stones, embedded in clay, I feel your pain. I resorted to digging around such obstacles with a hand trowel, though you end up with a hole that is bigger at the bottom than at the top.
     
  12. mikeey84

    mikeey84

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    surely a hole bigger at the bottom than the top is not alway a bad thing?

    I would imagine that it helps keep the post even more stable?

    That was my thinking anyway when i had the same problems!!
     
  13. sh74

    sh74

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    What size posts are they?
     
  14. skadster

    skadster

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    Hi again,

    Yeah dockey lol. Not thinking should have said large stones. We refer to anything here larger than fist sized as a dockey. I'm in Angus Scotland.

    I'm using eight foot posts sh74.

    So I've got the first run of posts in, used both lines as ouch77 suggested (thanks Ouch), thats gave me a nice level line across the top of the posts.

    The posts are all roughly six foot out the ground, running down a small slope. Going to rail and slat shortly. The ground as I mentioned slopes, was thinking I'm best to get a slat at the start of the 9 meter run, and one at the end. Then run a builders line at the top of each slat and pull tight, then then use this line as guide for all slats attached to the rails thereafter?

    I'll use a spirit level on the first and end slat to make sure they are plumb first, then use some sort of stick as a spacer between each slat? I think I remember that right?

    Any tips on the slats welcome, memory is shot and can't really remember how I use to do it before. not wanting it looking wonky.
     
  15. Ouch77

    Ouch77

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    If you're fitting gravel boards, get them in first, and sit the slats on top, that way as long as the boards are straight, the top of the slats will be too.

    If you're not intending to fit gravel boards, reconsider, as they'll stop the bottom of the slats rotting out. If you're determined not to fit gravel boards then I'd be tempted to temporarily fix a timer rail to the bottom to sit the slats on, this would function as a gravel board for alignment purposes.

    I wouldn't bother with a builders line, for height of the slats, as there's too much risk of it being knocked off true by a wonky slat, thus compounding the problem for the next ones.

    I made a jig of a overlapping t-shape, to get consistent spacing of the slats, hard enough to describe but simple in the making. The long edge sits along the edge of the previous slat, the short section on top of it, the length of the short section is such that butting the next slat against the end of it puts it in just the right place.

    Use a spirit level as often as you feel you need to, it does no harm.
     
  16. skadster

    skadster

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    Thanks for the reply again ouch77.

    There wont be any gravel boards, it's just vertical slats/spars. Gravel boards would have been good as you suggested, but I have no say in that.

    I see what you mean about the jig, I use to use just a long inch wide bit of wood before, but I'll probably just make a quick jig like you've suggested for spacing.

    I probably didn't explain the line thing right (I'm terrible at putting into writing what I'm thinking) I would get two slats/spars plumb, start and finish of the nine meter run. Attach a line on a nail at the the top of the first slat, run that line till the end slat, then pull that line taught and tie off. I then use a jig or bit of wood to get my spacing for the next slat, then push the slat to the line I've pulled tight. Carry this method on down till I've finished the run.

    I used a similar method or something like it years ago, when I had a job working for fencers, but can't remember exactly how it was implemented. I think I remember when the run was on a slope, only the corner of the slat barely touched the line. If the line was pulled tight enough, this kept the top of the fence in a straight line.

    My memory is a bit hazy though, so I could be remembering wrong. I'll post a picture up tomorrow of how I got on. Hope I don't balls it up lol.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
     
  17. Ouch77

    Ouch77

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    Think you might get a bit of sag on a line over 9m.

    Got a laser pointer? Bodge that to one slat, putting a dot on the top of the last one, and use that as a guide. Only works on cloudy days unless you've got something quite powerful.
     
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