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  1. #1
    Super Star Member
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    NH TC25D

    Default Laying Out A Fence

    Do any of you have a good method for laying out a fence? My pasture is roughly 200' x 500' and will require 194 posts spaced 8 feet apart. My tentative plan was to lay out a side, dig the holes and set the posts before moving on to the next side, dividing the long sides in half. This is to break the work into bite size chunks, both from the amount of work and from a budgetary standpoint, since I will be buying only enough posts to finish each bite size chunk. I will tell the place I am buying the posts from what the total order will be in order to obtain a discount. The other problem I have is that I have no place to store 194 4" x 4" x 8' posts. Once I have all the posts in, I will put the rails up (actually wide electric tape from <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.horseguardfence.com>HoreseGuard Fencing</A>).

    Any good ideas for how to mark where the posts go?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    a can of inverted markin paint. are you runnin a string
    pa

  3. #3
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    <font color=blue>are you runnin a string</font color=blue>

    Yep. A string to mark the posts and then a string to keep the posts lined up.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    lay a tape beside the string mark the 8s on the string remove dig the spot.
    to make 90 is 3one way 4 the other and if it is a true 90
    it should be 5 between the 3 and 4 those are ft. i think
    9, 16 and 25 will work and on. i no how to do it just aint good
    exsplainin. and one other thing leniment oil for your delts.
    no farmers out there can drive them in for you dont yall barter
    pa

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2002
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    Northern Michigan
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    Ford/NH 1715

    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    Mike,
    If your putting tape on instead of rails, why are you going 8' OC. I'd go 10', maybe 12'.

    As far as layout, stretch a string from point A to point B. Whatever you decide to space your posts, cut a somewhat straight stick at that length. Use a shim or something else that is plentiful and push in ground at your first post, lay down your measuring stick and push another shim at the end of the measuring stick, move the stick, and so on, and so on. Just push the markers in under the string line and you'll have a nice straight fence. It is not important to have square corners if you follow a tree line or have your corners predetermined.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    <font color=blue>If your putting tape on instead of rails, why are you going 8' OC. I'd go 10', maybe 12'.</font color=blue>

    Good question. I'm going 8' OC in case "she who must be obeyed" ever wants to put 1" x 6" x 16' wooden rails up.

  7. #7
    Elite Member Gary_in_Indiana's Avatar
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    Fort Wayne, IN
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    John Deere 4200 MFWD HST w/ JD 420 FEL w/ 61" loader bucket & toothbar & JD 37 BH w/ 12" bucket

    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    <font color=blue>"she who must be obeyed"</font color=blue>

    An obscure reference to Mrs. Horace Rumpole... very nice. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  8. #8

    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    i think the paint and the tape would be quicker . you still have the string strung for straightness. inverted paint is easier on your back and once tape line is out you dont need to reel it in
    til you have to move down. this is just my opinion
    pa

  9. #9
    Super Member
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    Wylie, Texas
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    JCB165HF

    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    Let's pretend for a minute that I was a fenceman and we were buds. You invite me over for a bar b que and to meet the boss, maybe have a beer, and show me what you had in mind.

    One of the first things I'm gonna be looking at is how the fence line is going to in the property. Is it going to be according to property lines or is it going to be in harmony with the house? What are your plans in the future and how will this fence affect them?

    If it's gonna be with the property line I'd be trying to decide if it needs to be just a couple of inches in on the property line like I'd do normally or would I suggest that you move it in far enough where you can get a mower between the fence and the property line for maintenance. The reason I'd suggest that would be if there is the possibility some neighbor new or old might have something adjoining the fence that would potentially cause you heartache down the road. This might be something as simple as them planting or not containing certain predatory plants or keeping a horse or donkey that was by nature antisocial enough to keep you worried about the safety of your animals.

    If the property line is not an issue then I'd look around and try to find something to orient the fence that's already in place. It could be the road, the house, the barn, another fence, but something to give us a starting point.

    Let's say we want to use the house. The house is on the right side of the driveway as we come up it. The new pasture is gonna be on the left but over about a hundred feet to allow for parking and maybe a garden or something.

    I'd pull off from the front of the house with a tape and go out a hundred feet. I'd drive in a pipe post just enough to stand up plumb. I'd do the same thing at the other end of the house.

    I'd go down to where the boss thinks it would be perfect to have the corner of the fence towards the road. I'd hold up another pipe post plumb. I'd be looking down the side of the post in my hand at the two posts I used for marking off from the house. Holding the post plumb I'd move it in and out until looking down the side of the post I can only see one post where I know there is two. Now where I'm looking is down the side of the post I'm holding plumb. And I'm just barely peeking around the side of it. I mean when I look I can see the edge of the post I'm holding and I can see the marking post. And what I'm looking for is the back marking post to barely disappear behind it.

    I drive in that post enough so that it'll stand up plumb on it's own. I double check, make that triple check, that it's plumb and when I look down the side all I can see is the front post and if I move my head out a quarter of an inch I can see the back post too.

    I go up to the other end where the boss thinks she wants the pasture to end. As I walk by the front marking post I put in for the marking off the house I pick it up and take it with me. It's done did it's purpose, time to move on, fish to fry.

    I do the same exact thing that I did at the end near the road. Except this time I'm using the other end post as my back post and I'm lining up off the post in the middle. Again, exactly, over, no change, done deal, that's it.

    You said you wanted five hundred feet.

    I'd go to the end where the boss said it was to start. I'd pull out my heavy twenty five foot tape. You want a tape that will stay straight. One of the one inch wide ones will do. A heavy duty Stanley will do better.

    I come up four feet off the post. Now if I'm using upside down paint I use it. If I don't have upside down paint I use a framer's claw hammer. At the four feet mark I swipe a line across perpendicular to the fence line. I do this as I'm looking up at the two marking posts standing there in front of me. I'm going to use them to guide me in a straight line for marking the posts spacing, not the post holes, the posts spacing.

    I slide out the tape to ten feet. I drag it up walking towards the end of the fence line until the end of the tape sits in the middle of the paint line or the gouge the claws of the hammer just made. I make another mark at exactly eight feet. I repeat this until I hit the middle post. Then I turn around and continue up the fence line making my marks but I'm looking backwards at the two posts back towards the road. When I'm done I'm gonna have sixty three or so marks for posts. I pulled in four feet because I don't believe pastures should have ninety degree corners just because they cause animals to panic when they're cornered. It's also a bear to mow if you have to on occasion.

    If it was mine I would pull down sixteen feet and in towards the middle of the pasture sixteen feet. I'd then pull a radius and put my posts closer together and and have nice sweeping corner. It's animal friendly and human nice too.

    Now that I have the post spacing marked out for that line I'd want to find the center of the post hole.

    I usually use posthole diggers for this. You might find it easier with another piece of pipe. But I'd put the pipe over the first hole. Keeping it plumb I'd do the same thing I side when I marked the corner. When it was perfect I'd mark it with the hammer or paint. I'd move to the next one. It's all downhill from there.

    I would try to get all my holes marked. The thing you must keep in mind is you've got to sight down the same side, road side or field side of the marking posts now matter which side of the center marking post you're on.

    I don't like string except in small places and on small jobs. String sags, string catches the wind, string will let something as simple as a weed take you out of line. Five hundred feet on a string, not on a bet. I you insist on using something for that distance I'd suggest nine gauge wire and two tractors. I'd pull it so tight it'd make the hair stand up on my neck. Then I'd pull it a little tighter to see if it would go back down again.

    String or wire the sag is going to be three feet minimum over five hundred feet. That means to keep your holes straight you're gonna have to using a plumb and marking post anyway. And it's not gonna be comfortable with that wire so tight that all you can think about are the what ifs. What if it breaks. If it does will the insurance cover the new fence costs too. What if your wife marrys a guy who doesn't treat the tractor right. What if he says the heck with it and puts in some crooked fence after you done gave the ultimate sacrifice for a straight one.

    Leave your marking posts up. Drill your holes.

    Some points on your posts. You're dead set on wolmonized so that's a non issue. If you were my son in law I'd probably tell the daughter to divorce you. She might or might not listen.

    Try to buy the dryest posts possible. That means if your dealer is cutting your a break on price but to get that price you take what's in the lift (bundle) then you might be money ahead going to a box store (HD Lowes etc) and paying a little more and picking through to get the ones you want.

    Whent the wolmonized start drying out there's no telling which direction it's gonna go. Another thing is sometimes you'll grab the posts off the bundle just like they were put on it. That means you grab one post and it's gonna lay that away. The next one you grab was on the other side of the saw making that cut and it's gonna want to go the other. You get everything done and when they dry out you've got yourself a wishbone looking fence. Sorta artsy, kinda cute, hurt the pride a bit too.

    I like concreting the posts in. A lot of folks don't. It really boils down to the soil conditions. If you're in dirt or sandy soil then pea gravel or just dirt works great. I you're in clay then you're going to have the same problem with rot whether it's in concrete of not. I go for concrete. If you go concrete then keep it down about four inches minimum from the top of the soil if you're around livestock. They're gonna walk the fence. Just what they do. They're gonna walk the dirt away from the concrete. Then they might hurt themselves. Gawd made them pretty but he never ever intended for them to be smart.

    Gates, pasture I'd go minimum twelve feet, preferably sixteen. That's just for equipment access. I'd go six by six minimum on the gate posts and at least six feet deep for the hinge post. I'd want the gate where it only opens in and I'd want the hinges so that the gate when opened can be secured back against the fence. You can't have too many gates. You can have them in the wrong places though. Really think it out. I like to consider the worst possible circumstances when considering a gate's location. It's blowing rain, the wife's mad, the animals aren't cooperating and you're barefoot. If you use that for a rule you will figure out where the best places are for gates.

    Too wordy I know. But it's like we're friends and I know that you only catch half what I'm saying anyway. I gotta try. Gawd knows there are enough bad fences out there already. Of course it's nice to see a friendly fence on an occasion now and then, wavey like that.

    If you want to lay out the rest of the fence the old three four five works great. I would shoot it out to thirty forty fifty if you have a good tape or can mark a tight string. That way you're much more likely to be dead on than just going three four five on a two hundred foot line.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Slamfire's Avatar
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    Coker Creek, TN
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    Mitsubishi D 1800

    Default Re: Laying Out A Fence

    Wow Harv, I just put up a post at each end and run a string between 'em. But then I ain't doin' 500'. For wire fence a rod (16.5') between fence posts is enough, but then the 16' 1x6 wouldn't fit.

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