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  1. #11
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help

    BTW, a nephew of mine used to work for the State of Virginia several years ago. One of his projects was linked to the Archeology Dept. His crew was given the task of building a split rail fence in regards to a historical settlement. I remember him telling me that it was quite labor intensive. Best wishes.
    The PUPIL who does not surpass his Master, fails his Master.

  2. #12
    Silver Member farmeratheart's Avatar
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    JD2520

    Default Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help

    Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help



    Many thanks Artisan. I'm going to give it a go this weekend. I'll post results.

    Mark

    Hi Mark,

    I never made rails for fence but I've split many cords of firewood that way. Back in the mid 70's around the time of the Arab oil embargo my Dad and I started to sell firewood. We used to take his Farmall C winto the woods with a small box trailer behind it. We would cut trees down and cut them into ~66" lengths. I would then split any logs too big for the two of us to handle using the technique displayed in the video supplied by Artisan. We then hauled the 5 1/2 foot wood out to our buzz saw to make into 16" chunks for sale. It works for maple, oak, birch, etc until there are branches involved! One time, just to prove I could do it, I split about 25-30 feet of a single white ash trunk. It's not hard to do at all and if you have some straight 'unknotty' oak you should give it a try!

    Frank

  3. #13
    New Member
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    May 2012
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    Midlothian, Va
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    MF 1652

    Default Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help

    Thanks for the words of encouragement and caution.

    I'm only planning to build a decorative entrance fence. If I need to replace it down the road, I will have retired and will probably need stuff to do anyway.

    We're not far from the Petersburg Battlefields so I thought it would be kind of cool to add a historical look. I'll only be using white oak which weathers much better than red. I will also insulate the wood from the ground by using flat stones.

    We used white oak sections for the main support beams on bridges for mountain bike trails in nearby Pocahontas State park some 15 years ago. We used flat stone under the wood. These are still in excellent condition today.

    Mark

  4. #14
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    Sedro-Woolley, WA
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    Kabota

    Default Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help

    J have a hundred feet or so of cedar split rail ( cosmetic) fences around wifes planting areas, just three rails deep ( sometimes just two.) I split them myself from big logs left on my property and a couple big trees I downed myself. Splitting is time consuming but not difficult- I start with a splitting wedge (or two) then use a larger maple wedge (cut that day) and hammer on that till it gets wasted in a couple trees worth. It works best if each split halves the pieces- if you try to plit off a narrow piece from a big one it comes out tapered.
    I used only ccedar- don't know if you get same results from oak- am positive it wouldn't work with maple.
    I was over 70 when I built it- recently split some more for an entry trellis repair and don't think splitting is beyond a normal active persons ability or strength.

  5. #15
    New Member bbaierl's Avatar
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    Ingomar, PA
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    Kubota RW-25

    Default Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help

    I know this is an old thread but i just came across it and it is one of those rare occurences where I can add to knowledge base. I had great luck constructing such a fence out of salvaged telephone poles. Local maintenance facility for Verizon gets a fair number of take-outs (some get bent - some get hit). I cut them to 9 foot lengths; split them with two wide wedges and a 16# sledge but quite frankly could have done them with an 8# maul. Had to hide the perfectly round side that used to be the surface of the telephone pole but it turned out great. Have since removed it when an addition took over the space but would do it again.

  6. #16
    Super Member two_bit_score's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help

    Quote Originally Posted by bbaierl View Post
    I know this is an old thread but i just came across it and it is one of those rare occurences where I can add to knowledge base. I had great luck constructing such a fence out of salvaged telephone poles. Local maintenance facility for Verizon gets a fair number of take-outs (some get bent - some get hit). I cut them to 9 foot lengths; split them with two wide wedges and a 16# sledge but quite frankly could have done them with an 8# maul. Had to hide the perfectly round side that used to be the surface of the telephone pole but it turned out great. Have since removed it when an addition took over the space but would do it again.
    That might be something to see. Can you put up a picture?

  7. #17
    Member linanddave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help

    The following is from our barn forum. We added the zig zag fence posting to show how it looks along side of our monitor barn. I happened to come across this thread and thought it might be of some help to also show it on here.
    When we first looked at it, the original two rail fence was one of the reasons I liked this property. It also was an influence as to how I designed the barn. The fence had the right look for a special barn.

    Well it seemed that I was not the only one that liked the fence, termites did as well. But the little suckers don't just look, they eat. A lot of the locals I mentioned this to, say that termites don't eat cedar. I found out that the cedar in that fence is not local cedar. We were going to replace the post but it seemed like a big job, some of the posts are set in cement, and we were spending all of our time on the barn. The fence wasn't getting any better, now the ends of some of the rails were also eaten, something needed to be done.

    Enter our new friends. They live about forty miles from us, they found us on the web and came to see the barn. While here, I showed Ken the fence. He told me that he has cedar fencing on his property and has no problem with termites. We went to their place and right, the old cedar fences that have been up for many years, had no signs of termites.
    His property, a lot of acreage, had a major tornado go right through it about five years ago, and he still has trees that have yet to be picked up. Some of which are cedar. He seemed to think that we could split some of those, so I could build a replacement fence. Lin loved the idea of a battlefield fence, also known as a zig zag fence. Ken said we could get together on this in the late fall, when the weather turned too cold to do staining and barn work. Good plan. Well by the time we could get around doctor appointments etc. and get over there, Ken had already split and stacked at least 75 rails. He did leave a few logs so he could have me join in on the fun and make another 25 plus.

    So now we have rails and again with his trailer and truck, we also have them here on our place. What have I got myself into now?

    Anyway this is the new fence for the barn, hope it might be fun for some to follow.

    These are the 75 or so that Ken had already split and stacked.



    The first load headed to our place.



    We distributed them along the old fence, with the hope that it would cut down on lugging them from one spot.



    He also provided us with 45 rocks from way back on his land, to use for keeping the first course off the ground.



    This is how I started it, 2-13-2013. You can see some of the old two rail fence is still up.
    I use the rocks that Ken provided for us to lay out the first course. Thick one where the land is low and thin where it is high.
    None of the rails are pinned or attached to each other, they just sit there. On some that were too rounded I would flatten the bottom and in some cases the top of the log below. The property runs down hill quite a bit, so to keep it looking some what level I would use the large end of the rail on the low side.



    The idea behind this is to have it come out looking like it was built years ago, as rustic as possible. For the ends I put up two posts and a cross piece to set the end rail on. Just buried the posts about 15 inches in the ground. Nailed the cross pieces with a nail gun. A hammer would do real fine. From that point it is just a matter of selecting rails and stacking them.



    This section is about 50 feet from the upper drive to the drive to the barn. Will need to do another 120 feet or so to complete it.



    Cedar splits fairly easy, these rails, the longer ones are 10 feet long. I used a combination of a standard 5lb wedge and a wedge that has a point, also a 5lb. The pointed one is shaped like a pyarmid about 8 inches long. That one is great to start the split with. Drive it in with a hand held 2lb sledge in the grain where you want it to split. Once started in the log than I went to the 8lb hammer. I am 75 years old, if I can do it, so can others. Most hardware stores carry these wedges, I got mine at my local ACE.
    This was a lot of work, but well worth the effort. Can't believe how many people that have stopped and made positive remarks about this.
    Post and let me know if you would like to see the finish of the lower section.
    Lin and Dave

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  8. #18
    Super Member two_bit_score's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of building a Zig Zag, worm, civil war fence - need some help

    Very nice!

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