How to Build a Wood Split-Rail Fence

Wood split-rail fence is the oldest sort of fencing which does not use any metal studs to hold it in place. It’s simple and easy to make and install.

  • Materials and Tools Required
  • Cedar Wood for Posts and Rails
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Stakes
  • Sand or Gravel
  • Level
  • Plumb line
  • Wheel Barrow
  • Hammer
  • Wood Shaver

Step 1 – Take Necessary Precautions

When working with drills and saws, wear protective clothing (gloves, glasses etc). Whenever you decide to fence your area, it is advisable to contact your utility company so that they can mark your property for any underground utility supply lines. Fencing regulations of the Home Association should be consulted for the suburbs.

Step 2 – Marking the Rail Area and Taking Measurements

Decide where you have to install your wood split-rail fence; the fence is built as you go along. The posts and rails are sawed and then inserted into the latches, which are specifically made to fit each other. Measure the length of the area that is to be fenced; this will help determine the number of posts and rails required.

Step 3 – Staking Post Marks and Gate Area

Use stakes to mark the openings you want in your split-rail fence. Also use stakes to mark where the posts are going to be dug up. For the exact number of posts required, divide the total length of the area to be fenced by the length of the rails, and use that number to mark the posts.

Step 4 – Making Posts

Line posts will have holes straight through, and the corner posts will have holes halfway through the rail. The number of holes to be made in the posts will depend on how many rails you want in your fence. A standard wood split rail-fence will have two to three rails running through each line post. For a three rail fence, the post will be approximately 7 feet high. If you are making your own posts, saw the posts to the required length and drill holes at equal intervals through the post. For an end rail, you will have to carve out the holes halfway through the post width for a finished look. The posts are installed by digging up a hole big enough to fit 1/3 length of the post. Add sand and gravel at the base and put the post in place. Install the end posts before the line posts.

Step 5 – Constructing and Inserting Rails

Rails are simple to make. Saw the rails to the length you have decided upon, and the width should be enough to fit through the holes that are made in the posts. Run the rails through the posts. If some pieces don’t fit, use a wood shaver to shave off the edges to make them fit.

Step 6 – Finishing Up

Whatever wood you are using, it’s best to seal the wood for durability and better protection against weather. You can stain, use wood sealant, or paint on your wood split-rail fence. Some people prefer to let the wood weather naturally before applying any sealant. This process can be done before or after installation.