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Installing post and board fencing tips?

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  • Installing post and board fencing tips?

    DH and I are helping a friend install post and board fencing this weekend. DH & I have installed a lot of no climb fencing over the years but never post/rail or post/board.
    I don't think friend and her husband have done much fencing.

    The posts, rails and walk behind auger are being delivered and we are hopefully going to do this on Sat & Sun. I am guessing this will be about an acre and a half that will be perimeter fenced in a rectangle. So it should be pretty straightforward.

    I am not sure what size auger bit is being delivered. DH & I have digging bar & post hole digger, lots of types of levels (hang on string, long, short, corner), drills, saws, measuring tapes etc....

    I was planning on seeing if there are any youtube videos out there but I figured I would ask for tips here.

    I know we have to run a string to keep things straight. PA One Call will be called today to make sure we don't hit any utilities (unlikely).

    Do you dig one hole, set post, then measure next, dig next or can the auger crew get a few holes ahead of the pole setting, board installer crew? Can we just install the post and top board to set spacing and then go back latter to install the lower boards?

    Any tips or thoughts other than hiring a pro to do it would be appreciated. Pro installer is not in the budget plus due to a long back story this fencing needs to go in sooner rather than later so no time to get a pro scheduled.
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

  • #2
    Keep the boards on the INSIDE of the paddock, so leaning horses don't push them off

    When we did it, we ran a string, dug the holes, then set the posts, drove the posts, then used a level to attach all the boards.

    So, dug all the holes first, then pounded in the posts, then did all the boards at teh same time to make sure they were level and relative to each other.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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    • #3
      Might want to stake out a level line for the fence line so you keep the fence straight. Also, make a quick simple template for spacing the boards so you don't have to measure every post on where to nail the rails. Same with the auger, put a mark on it on how deep to dig, that way all the holes will be roughly the same depth. It's a good idea to mix some dry cement in with the fill dirt once it gets wet the post will be more secure.
      "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."

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      • #4
        Set the corner posts and then run two strings, one low, one high. That will help you get the face of the posts square and level to the fence line. It makes leveling the posts *so* much easier than with a single string.

        Figure out where you want the top rail to run. You can either make it level, or you can measure up from the ground and follow the contours. (Or, more likely, some combination.)

        Once the top board is in place, make a jig to hold the remaining boards at the correct spacing. It will hang on the top board and have indentations for the other boards.

        Periodically walk away from the fence and see how it looks. If something's going wrong, you want to find out as soon as possible to decide how to correct it.
        --
        Wendy
        ... and Patrick

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        • #5
          Has anyone used screws instead of nails on horizontal board?. I'm re-doing some baord fencing now since I've not found any nails that really hold for long.
          "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

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          • #6
            I've been using deck screws for replacement boards.

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            • #7
              Pull line for holes. Mark hole location. Set posts at ends of straight runs. Pull mason's line top and bottom on the board side. Set posts in between those two to line, but leave a little daylight showing between every post and the line as the dirt is tamped in. Use a level to plumb the posts in the single plane left after the lines establish the other plane. Measure and mark top of top board location on each post. Put one screw in each end of that board to hold it in location. Stand back and look at it once you get a number of top boards tacked in place. Cheat some ends up or down to make it flow smoothly. Mark all the rest of the board locations under the now permanently fastened top board. Drill all the holes in board ends. Use "star drive" Deckmate screws from Home Depot. Be sure to get the right sized driver bit, and some extras, for your impact driver while buying screws at Home Depot. No impact driver-buy one. Don't try to "improve" on these directions. Home Depot currently has a Makita 18 volt kit with drill, impact driver, and circular saw for 299. It's the best deal I've ever seen.
              www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Mr. SonnysMom here - thanks all for the good detail. I like the idea of cutting templates to aid in consistent spacing. We are definitely on board with using the star drive deck screws and pilot holes. I have a couple more questions. If we are using 10 ft boards, do we try to space the posts at exactly 10 ft(center to center), or do we go slightly under 10ft and know we will trim to fit? I expect this property's soil has been farmland in the past, so I do not expect to be working around many buried boulders, and we should be able to get the posts where we aim.
                Last edited by SonnysMom; Jun. 12, 2013, 11:13 AM. Reason: Spelling
                Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

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                • #9
                  Mostly people buy 16' boards (that will be about 16'3") and aim for exactly 8' center to center. A fence made with staggered, overlapping joins so not every board is cut at every post is a lot stronger than one where the boards are the same length as the post distance.

                  If you've already done the sums and ordered the materials, that might be hard to change though.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by tangledweb View Post
                    Mostly people buy 16' boards (that will be about 16'3") and aim for exactly 8' center to center. A fence made with staggered, overlapping joins so not every board is cut at every post is a lot stronger than one where the boards are the same length as the post distance.

                    If you've already done the sums and ordered the materials, that might be hard to change though.
                    The fencing project is at my friend's place. She did the ordering so I am not sure what she ordered. Hopefully she got some guidance from the fencing place since I don't think she has ever installed fencing before. I will find out more when DH and I are there for dinner on Friday night.
                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tangledweb View Post
                      Mostly people buy 16' boards (that will be about 16'3") and aim for exactly 8' center to center. A fence made with staggered, overlapping joins so not every board is cut at every post is a lot stronger than one where the boards are the same length as the post distance.

                      If you've already done the sums and ordered the materials, that might be hard to change though.
                      About this...I'm totally a believer in it, BUT, when the fence line has to go up and down on really hilly uneven land, how can you do it? Because if the spacing between boards is the same (whichi it has to be or will look terrible), and you are going up and down with the land, and you have 16 foot boards, with posts at 8 feet and alternate, you can't change the height of the board that is meeting the post in it's middle. My husband and I argued over this when installing ours and ended up not alternating because of this problem. And by the way, having done about 7 acres of board fence with just him and me (and he's a perfectionist) I can say the advice here is right on the money!. one thing though, we didn't try to set posts to the perfect height, partly because you do run into boulders where I am, and decided to get close, and come along with a chainsaw and cut off the post tops (half rounds) at an angle, which looks great and saved us huge headaches.

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                      • #12
                        Oops, one more thing...plan for gates!! And buy the gate beforehand so you can set posts and get measurements just right!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Having put in more than my share of fence posts...I can tell you that the worst part of using an auger is that it can go extremely slow....especially when you hit a rock and have to dig that thing out by hand...on ...every ...single...hole.

                          We had many fencing parties.

                          The best thing I EVER did was hire a landscaper with a larger John Deere than we had with a post hole pounder attachment. He was able to pound in the posts in a few hours where it took us weeks to do with the auger...and it didn't cost much at all.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by whitney159 View Post
                            About this...I'm totally a believer in it, BUT, when the fence line has to go up and down on really hilly uneven land, how can you do it? Because if the spacing between boards is the same (whichi it has to be or will look terrible), and you are going up and down with the land, and you have 16 foot boards, with posts at 8 feet and alternate, you can't change the height of the board that is meeting the post in it's middle. My husband and I argued over this when installing ours and ended up not alternating because of this problem. And by the way, having done about 7 acres of board fence with just him and me (and he's a perfectionist) I can say the advice here is right on the money!. one thing though, we didn't try to set posts to the perfect height, partly because you do run into boulders where I am, and decided to get close, and come along with a chainsaw and cut off the post tops (half rounds) at an angle, which looks great and saved us huge headaches.
                            Yes, you can only alternate on straight, level runs. Tacking the top boards in place, standing back looking at the run, and having one person call up or down at a particular meeting spot for the boards makes a world of difference in having smooth flowing lines, or a jagged mess.
                            www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tom King View Post
                              Yes, you can only alternate on straight, level runs. Tacking the top boards in place, standing back looking at the run, and having one person call up or down at a particular meeting spot for the boards makes a world of difference in having smooth flowing lines, or a jagged mess.
                              Or you can do what my Type A, perfectionist, cabinet-maker husband does and use clamps. Clamp the boards for the panel in place, stand back and adjust without having to pull out a tack screw (and drop it in the grass, never to be found).

                              Another trick--swipe the screws across a bar of soap before driving them and they will go into your posts much easier.

                              Building fence is my second-most despised job. The first is doing hay.
                              Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                And use 6x6 with concrete for the gate posts! We just did a new short run as I'm re-configuring my pasture layout, and Mr. Trev decided to do the post spacing at 7.5 instead of 8 feet. Added 1 additional post, and we had to trim the boards, but it also meant we could be an inch or so off on the holes here or there and not be in trouble.
                                Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                Witherun Farm
                                http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Sing Mia Song View Post
                                  Or you can do what my Type A, perfectionist, cabinet-maker husband does and use clamps. Clamp the boards for the panel in place, stand back and adjust without having to pull out a tack screw (and drop it in the grass, never to be found).

                                  Another trick--swipe the screws across a bar of soap before driving them and they will go into your posts much easier.

                                  Building fence is my second-most despised job. The first is doing hay.
                                  I also build cabinets. Have your husband look at my website. I have a lot of all sorts of clamps, but not many to use out on the dirt. We usually run a few hundred feet of fence at the time if one run goes that far. Don't back the screw all the way out.
                                  www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks for all the great suggestions. We are having dinner and a planning party tonight.
                                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I forgot: Curves need to be made up of straight segments equal to the lengths of boards, and not alternated. If you bend the boards around curves, they will end up pushing the posts out of plumb over time.
                                      www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

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