How to Make a Rustic Wood Split Rail Fence

What You'll Need
Post hole digger
Measuring tape
Power drill
Hole saw kit

A wood split rail fence is a piece of classic Americana that found its origins during the land grab era of the Wild West. Settlers used to use a wood split rail fence to mark land claims and boundaries. Wood split rail fences were favored because they were quick and easy to build. You can add a rustic wood split rail fence to your properly just as easily and this article will show you how.

Step 1 - Determining the Size of the Wood Split Rail Fence

It is difficult to purchase materials without knowing how much you need. Walk your property and place stakes where you would like to have a fence post. Attach string between the stakes so you can visualize the project. Use the tape measure and measure the space between each post. Divide that number by the width of the rails you are using. Do this for each section.

Step 2 - Cutting out the Pieces

It is a good idea to measure and cut all of your pieces before you start assembling. This ensures that the wood split rail fence will be the same. Drill out all of the holes needed at the top and bottom of the posts so they can fit the rails. Cut the rails to the right height. Cut the posts in which the holes do not go all the way through such as corner posts where the holes are right angles. And line posts where holes are created through the post.

Step 3 - Post Holes

Go to each of the stakes you pounded into the ground and remove one at a time digging a post hole as you do. You want the post hole to be large enough to fit about 1/2 of the post into it. It should sit in the ground so that there is no less than a foot between the bottom rail and the ground. Allow for an extra 6 inches for the gravel. The gravel in the post hole prevents water from damaging the wood.

Step 4 - Building the Wood Split Rail Fence

Begin to assemble the wood split rail fence by placing some gravel in the bottom of a post hole. Insert a wooden posts and place more gravel inside the hole. Pack it down as best you can and then add extra soil to top it off and to even it out with the surrounding group. Do this for each post you need to place around the property. You may have to make adjustments in order to make your posts all even. Once your posts are secured in the ground you can start installing the rails of the wood split rail fence. If the rail is having problems fitting inside the holes of a certain post you can use the planer to shave away extra wood from the holes. You can now finish the wood split rail fence however you please.