Known to be both warm and welcoming, picket fences are probably one of the most common out there, and are highly desirable because they’re aesthetically pleasing. Although these fences dont necessarily offer much privacy given the openings between slats, it is exactly this feature that makes them a great contender for high wind regions. The openings between slats allow for the wind to pass freely through the structure, minimizing the wear on your fence, even among the windiest conditions. Note that these fences are only ideal for windy conditions when the vertical slats have several inches of space between each of them, as smaller spaces will not let the wind pass freely.
Some farm projects are simple, but fixing fences is rarely one of them. When a fence needs maintenance—either routine work or a quick repair of a damaged section—it can require an impressive array of tools to get the job done. Here are nine tools that I like to have on hand when embarking on any fence-repair project.
1. Electric Drill
After expounding on the virtues of electric drills in a previous column, I have to rank them as one of the most important tools for fixing fences. From drilling holes to screwing things together, an electric drill is essential.
2. Post Hole-Digger Or Auger
During fence repairs, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually need to move or replace fence posts, and having a post hole digger or an auger on hand is the way to go for digging new holes.
3. Digging Bar
Few tools are more useful on a fence-fixing project than a digging bar, my tool of choice for loosening the dirt around posts, prying the posts out of the ground, and later tamping dirt back into place. Being 5 or 6 feet long and made of steel, they’re heavy, but they’re worth it!
Replacing old fence posts or adding new ones requires moving a lot of dirt. Even if you use a specialty tool for actually digging the hole, you’ll want a shovel on hand for shifting the dirt around and adding it back into the hole once the post is in place.
5. A Lot Of Drill Bits
Remember that summer when you accidentally bought square-head screws instead of your usual star-head screws? It’s not uncommon for fences to have been assembled from a variety of screw types (whatever happened to be handy), so you can save yourself some trips back to the tool shed by bringing along a variety of drill bits …
… and also a hammer! Just when you think you’ve got all the drill bits you need, you’ll discover that one part of the damaged fence is held together by nails. Use a claw hammer to remove old nails, and bring along a few new ones if you like to use them.
7. Pliers (Multiple Pairs!)
Even massive fences that surround acres of land are made up of tiny components, and these can be troublesome at times. Maybe you tied that knot in the rope a little too tight when you first installed the fence, or maybe you need to hold on to a nut while you tighten a bolt. I always have multiple pairs of pliers on hand, including at least one pair of locking pliers (commonly called vise-grips) that clamp in place and hang on tight without any effort on my part.
As you can see, fixing fences requires a lot of tools! You’ll want a wagon of some sort (perhaps a yard cart or even a tractor-pulled trailer) to carry all your supplies to and from the work site.
9. Safety Goggles
Although not technically a “tool,” plastic safety goggles are great for protecting your eyes from flying objects (because you never know when you might need to break up a piece of concrete holding an old post in place).
Keeping fences and gates in good repair is an important part of maintaining a farm, whether large or small.
Good fences help keep livestock safely housed: A sagging fence or gate, broken wires, and downed or loose poles may tempt animals to make a break for it—out on a busy road or into hostile territory—possibly injuring or killing themselves in the process.
Here are a few simple and inexpensive tips to help make fence and gate repair easier.
Tightening Wire with a Hammer
When mending a wire fence—such as tightening sagging wires or splicing broken wires back together—a fence stretcher is nice, but a simple carpenter’s hammer will also do the job. To repair a fence with broken wire, you may need to add extra wire—a short piece (one to two feet long) of smooth wire—to make your splicing task easier. The additional material gives you enough wire to loop the ends of the broken section and make a “hammer roll” to pull it tight.
To start the splice, make a loop in one end of the broken wire and run an additional piece of material through the loop. Place the hammer against the wire and anchor the loose end between the hammer claw. Then roll the wire around the hammer, making as many twists as necessary to get the wire very tight.
Once the wire is taut, untwist the hammer, leaving the wire tight where it bends. Then you can go ahead and twist the remainder of the loose ends, finishing your splice. Using the hammer this way, you can pull the wire much tighter than you can by hand, making the bend in the wire tight enough to hold until you can finish it off by wrapping it around itself.
Tips for Tightening and Splicing
- Make a loop in one end of the wire and pull the other end through it.
- Anchor the loose end between the hammer’s claw.
- Twist the hammer so the wire wraps around it.
- Keep twisting until the wire is as tight as you want it.
- Untwist the hammer, leaving the wire still tight where it bends.
- Take the hammer off the wire, leaving the tight crimp to hold the wire tight.
- Finish the splice by wrapping the end of the wire tightly around itself.
Chicken Wire to Protect Wood Fences
If you have horses, you’ll find they like to chew on posts and poles, especially if they are confined in a small area. Horses that grow up in big pastures don’t develop the wood-chewing habit as readily, but if they are kept in small pastures or pens without enough room to roam or grass to graze, they almost always chew wood. Some horses will ruin a good fence in a short time, eating clear through posts or poles.
However, wooden fences are usually safer for horses than barbed wire, metal posts and other types of unforgiving fence material, but they must be protected from chewing or they won’t last long. Wood preservatives and foul-tasting applications used by many horse owners to protect fences will deter some chewers, but not all. Some horses will chew wood regardless of how hard you try to discourage them. In addition to being poor deterrents, some “anti-chew” remedies are toxic—old motor oil, for instance, contains lead which is highly poisonous.
One way to keep horses away from wood fencing is to use an electric wire in conjunction with the fencing—the “hot” wire is installed inside the fence line, adequately spaced, so that horses can’t reach the wood without first getting a “zap.” This works well in pastures or large pens, but is often not advisable in a small area where horses (or people) may inadvertently bump into the hot wire—or be forced into it by overly playful or aggressive animals.
A better way to protect wood fences that enclose a pen or corral is to cover the wood with small-mesh chicken wire. To do this, use tin snips to cut the chicken wire into strips sized to completely cover the exposed portions of the wood. Posts, poles or boards in a pen or paddock can be protected this way because a horse cannot, or will not chew through the chicken wire.
The chicken wire can be stapled to a post or pole at frequent intervals so there are no loose patches or sharp protrusions—just a smooth surface that the horse can’t grab hold of. It takes quite a few staples to secure the wire properly to ensure that there are no loose edges or pieces of wire sticking out that might otherwise attract curious horses. To avoid injuries, all cut edges should be carefully tucked. Use staples that are large enough to hold securely and not pull out. Wood covered with small-mesh chicken wire is not accessible for chewing, and it is not pleasant (abrasive on the teeth) so horses tend to leave it alone. To help maintain your fencing, a non-toxic wood preservative, such as log oil, can be applied to the posts and poles periodically with a brush, even after the chicken wire is installed.
Chicken wire is inexpensive and a roll will cover a lot of fence. But your installation time will be a factor. However, when you weigh these costs against replacing poles, boards and posts—or rebuilding corrals and pens—you’ll find that chicken wire is a thrifty way to prolong the life of your wooden fences.
Fixing a Sagging Gate
A wooden or metal gate can become a heavy burden to open and close if it begins to sag and drag on the ground. Gate posts should be sturdy and set deep to avoid sagging. But unless the posts are set in concrete, even well-constructed gates can drag because posts can “give” over time. In some areas, the ground is unstable and won’t hold a post well, especially for a heavy gate. For example, frost can push posts upward, making them less secure. Occasionally a simple pole panel is used as a gate in an opening that does not have a sturdy post for hanging a proper gate. Having to lift or drag the panel to open and shut can be a back-breaking chore. These problems can be solved, however, by putting a small wheel underneath the moving end of a panel or sagging gate. The wheel takes all the weight and supports a gate or panel to prevent further sagging and enables easy opening and closing.
Just about any type of small wheel will work for this purpose. On our gates we have used old wheelbarrow tires and small metal wheels—the kind you sometimes find in old junk piles or salvage from a piece of ancient farm equipment. A wheelbarrow tire can be easily adapted by bolting the uprights (or even just one of them—the piece of metal that comes down either side of the tire to hold its small axle) to a wooden or pole gate.
An old wheel or tire with any kind of long axle attached to it can also be securely wired to a metal gate by fastening the axle to the bottom rail or pipe. If you use stiff, strong wire and secure each end of the axle (close to the wheel and at the opposite end), the wheel will stay solidly in place and the weight of the gate will not alter the angle of the wheel much, if at all. You want it securely attached so the wheel or tire will stay upright, with no wobble. Then it will roll freely and easily on the ground, taking the weight of the gate without binding or catching.
Easy Fix for a Gate Latch
Metal gates are handy in pens and pastures, and some of these have latches that work with a handle that is pulled or pushed. Typically, the latch is a metal prong that inserts into a hole in an adjacent post when the gate is shut; to open this type of gate, the latch is usually pulled to release from the post. These latches work fine if the posts are solid and never move. Sometimes, however, posts can shift over time, and latches no longer reach them.
A simple way to fix this without having to reset posts or rehang gates is to securely nail two small poles or boards on both sides of the latch hole on a gate post. Then the metal latch (when shut) will insert between the two poles or boards and “catch” to hold the gate closed.
Electric Fence Gate Crossing
If you use electric fencing around horse or livestock pens and pastures, you’ll generally have an insulated handle on every gate so you can open and close without getting zapped. On frequently used gates, you may find it easier to install a tall pole on each side of the gate, so you can route the electric wire up over the gate, high enough that people, animals and large machinery will not touch the hot wire.
However, if you do use insulated gate handles, always situate the handle on the end toward the fence charger, so that the gate “wire” will have no electricity because it’s disconnected from the charger when the handle is undone and the gate is open. This way if the hot wire gets looped over the wooden or metal gate, or thrown on the ground while open, it won’t shock anyone or short out and possibly start a fire in dry grass or weeds.
If the hot wire is spanning a metal gate, the wire may become a nuisance at times if it happens to touch the metal while the gate is closed and short out the electric fence—or electrify the gate and shock anyone who touches or tries to open it. It can be tricky to open and shut a metal gate if you forget to unhook the electric handle. Even if the electric wire and its insulated handle are a few inches away from the metal gate, the wind may sometimes cause the wire to touch the gate.
A good way to eliminate any chance of having the hot wire touch the gate is to put that segment of wire through an old garden hose. Cut the hose to match the length of the metal gate—with a couple inches to spare on each end so there’s never any danger of the wire touching the gate. The rubber or plastic hose will adequately insulate the wire where it travels along the gate, to prevent any shorts or shocks.
If the wire you use for the gate portion is somewhat stiff, it’s not difficult to gently push it through the length of hose, and then attach the electric fence handle to the end of it.
Easy-close Gate Idea
Occasionally a gate may be made of wire rather than metal or wood. Wire gates (made of netting, or six to eight strands of wire, with “stays” to keep the wire properly spaced) can sometimes become difficult to close, especially if they are tight gates that livestock can’t get through. One way to make such a gate easier to close is to put a handle on the gate post to give you more leverage for pulling it shut.
A metal handle with a wire loop attached can be securely fastened to the top of the gate post by means of a flat platform that is bolted onto the post. The handle, when open, with the wire loop attached, gives you an extra 12 to 18 inches of reach for shutting the gate, eliminating the struggle to get the end of the gate into the wire loop.
Then when the gate end (small upright post) is put into the loop, you can use the handle for leverage, pushing it up and over, which automatically tightens the gate and brings it up snug to the post. When it’s closed, and the metal handle is folded back over the top of the gate post, it can be secured with a pin in a raised metal tab to keep the handle from ever popping up or opening accidentally due to cows and horses scratching against it.
For a barnyard or pasture gate that needs to be nice and tight, yet still easy to open and close, this arrangement works very well, especially for those of us who don’t have long, strong arms for getting the gate shut.
This article first appeared in the February/March 2003 issue of Hobby Farms magazine.
Get the most out of your outdoor space this summer by transforming it. After getting the much desired privacy by adding a fence to enclose your yard, make it even more inviting by using some of the ideas in this article. From lighting to furniture, you can easily create an outdoor living space that is inexpensive and eco-friendly with recycled materials.
10 Ways to Update Your Outdoor Space
Jul 19th 2014 9:03AM
By Laura Gaskill
Been gazing out at your backyard, wishing you could spruce up your hangout space? You don’t need to spend a lot to make a big difference in the way your outdoor rooms look and feel; you can whip up furnishings and decor, hunt for vintage bargains and make smart choices about new purchases. Here are 10 ideas for updating your space on a dime.
It’s the time of year where people begin to plan how to spruce up their outdoor spaces to enjoy in the warmer months. A fence is a great addition to any yard for privacy, increased security (especially for pets), and curb appeal. However, the decision can be made difficult because there are so many options of fencing materials and designs available. The two most popular materials are wood and metal. If you can’t choose between the two, this article from DoItYourself.com might help.
Wood Fence Panels vs Metal Fence Panels
It’s time to put up that fence, but there are so many choices to choose from when it comes to wood fence panels and metal fence panels that it’s hard to make a decision. The below information explores the various pros and cons of choosing wood or metal for your fence panels.
Wood Is Most Popular
You will find that wood, even today, is the most popular choice for fence options. Most fences you come across will be made of wood.
Wood Is Easy
Wood is easy to work with. Wood is mainly worked with using only a hammer and nails. It’s also easy to find. Lumber yards and local home supply shops will carry new wood, or wood can be salvaged from old homes and projects for a different look. Different sizes, different treatments and different looks are available.
Wood Is Eco-friendly
Wood is a natural material, and is renewable. Basically if you want to get down to it, when you are working with wood, you are really working with trees.
Wood Is Not so Durable
Wood is not as durable as metal. Wood will be subject to insects, rot, and old age, making it weak. While there are treatments ad protectants available, wood will eventually fall pray to damage.
Wood Is at Risk from Heavy Weather
Wood can be damaged by any weather if not treated right, but the best treatments cannot protect a wood fence from high winds or heavy snow.
Metal Has Options
There are different kinds of metals you can use for your fence. There is aluminum, wrought iron, and chain link. Each have their benefits, and each have their downfalls.
Metal Can Rust
Most metal materials actually will not rust. The exception is wrought iron, which is prone to rust. Rust will create structural weaknesses over time. Wrought iron must be painted regularly to protect it from rust.
The Look of Metal
Wrought iron is beautiful, very pleasing to the eye. Aluminum gives the look of wrought iron and is also pleasing to the eye, even though it doesn’t give you a wide variety of colors to choose from. Chain link, however, is not so pretty. We’ve all seen chain link and it will never win an award for any designing competition. However, there are chain links that are coated with vinyl in different colors, so it may add a little character to it.
Metal Is Strong
Most metal materials are very strong. Aluminum is the exception. Aluminum is to be seen and not touched. If you are looking for a fence that your kids can touch without worry, aluminum would not be the choice for you. Wrought iron and chain link, however, are very strong and can withstand a lot.
Some Metals Make Better DIY Projects than Others
Choosing the right material is up to you, and if actually installing your fence is something you wish to finish yourself, choosing either aluminum or chain link is the right metal material to go with. Wrought iron should have some soldering done, which makes it a little more complicated on your part.
Hopefully you are feeling more confident in choosing which material is right for you. Weigh out the above information,and just remember that the material needs to do exactly what you are looking for.
Article sourced from: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/wood-fence-panels-vs-metal-fence-panels
People that have pets are the most common to install electric fences on their property to keep their pet close to home without physical fences blocking their lawn. There are advantages and disadvantages to the different kinds of electric fences. This article from DoItYourself.com points out what you should know before taking the plunge of buying and installing an electric fence.
What to Consider Before Purchasing an Electric Fence
When you are considering purchasing an electric fence, there are two main decisions to keep in mind: what type of electric fence you want and what amperage and voltage to use. Electric fences will deliver a jolt of electricity when touched or crossed. The amperage of the electric fence determines the strength and severity of the shock that it will generate. When considering purchasing one of these electric devices, there are several things to keep in mind.
Warning: Double-check product standards and safety guidelines regarding your animal type before making your fence purchase. Remember not to use more voltage or amperage than required, as this can hurt both animals and humans. Many states, cities, and counties have laws related to maximum voltage that you should research before making your purchase.
Types of Electric Fences
There are three main categories of electric fences.
The first type is the standard, above-ground electric fence. This type of fence will typically consist of posts and wire. Anyone that touches the wire of this fence will receive an electric shock.
The second type of electrical fence is the underground fence. This type consists of electrical wire buried in a small trench surrounding the perimeter area. For this type of fence to deliver a shock, the animal must wear a receiver in a collar.
The third type is called a wireless fence, and it has a transmitter that sends a signal outward, creating a circular boundary. For this type to work, the animal must also wear a receiver in a collar.
Fence Amperage and Voltage
With all electric fences, the intended outcome is to deliver a shock to startle the animal without causing any harm. If the fence is created to keep people out, usually a warning sign on the fence is enough to stop someone from attempting to cross it.
The amperage required of your electric fence depends on what the fence is keeping in or out of your property. If the amperage is too low, the electric fence will not be effective, and if the amperage is too high, the shock could be harmful to the animal or human that is shocked.
You will typically see voltage amounts used as well as amperage. Voltage is the power of flow, while amperage is the current, or the rate of flow. Most often, these two measurements are seen together. Even though voltages are high in electric fences, current (amps) is very low and is generally intermittent or pulsed. Amps are the dangerous part of an electrical charge.
Some studies have concluded that a minimum of 2,000 volts is required to create an effective fence. The typical voltage on an electric fence when keeping cattle is 3,000 volts. This is enough voltage to deliver a startling shock.
Keeping Purpose in Mind
When considering this kind of fence, keep the reason for using it in mind. The type and size of animal intended for the fence will help determine what type of fence is best and what voltage and amperage the fence will require.
Article sourced from: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/electric-fence-and-amperage-what-to-go-with
Chain link fences can typically withstand a lot of wear and tear. However, with time, the material can thin out and tear apart. If you have noticed some damage like this on your chain link fence you might be able to repair the sections without having to replace your fence completely. Try following the guide below from DoItYourself.com.
How to Repair a Chain Link Fence
You may need to conduct repairs to a chain link fence for a number of reasons: a tree fell on it during a storm, it was cut by trespassers, or it stretched and popped out of place under the weight of a snowplow. Whatever the cause, it’s an easy repair with some tools, instructions, and a little help.
Step 1 – Find all the Damage
Inspect along both sides of the fence in places where there is obvious damage. Branch out from there to check for loose posts, gates, and top rails as well so you’re aware of everything that needs attention. Make note of these areas on a rough diagram to keep track of them all.
Step 2 – Measure and Buy new Parts you Need
Take measurements between intact fence posts to learn the standard length of fence railing for your existing fence. Then, count the posts that run throughout the damaged area to calculate the length of new fence railing you will need.
Measure the thickness of the fence railing as well so you can buy the same size you currently have in your fence, either 1 3/8-inch or 5/8-inch. If the fence posts or gate have been damaged, take one of each with you to get replacements in the correct size.
Assess if you will need new chain link, too. Some of the material will be able to be bent and refitted, but if the metal is badly bent or cut, it will need replacement. Buy all necessary parts and the hardware to attach everything.
Step 3 – Remove the Damaged Fence Rail
Start by cutting the wire ties that hold the chain link to the rail. Then, place the new fence rail on top of the old one and mark where you’re going to cut on the damaged one. Mark the other end of the new rail where it will meet a joint.
Set the new rail aside and cut the damaged one into 24-inch pieces with a hacksaw. Slide the very end off of the joint and set all these aside for later disposal.
Step 4 – Remove and Replace Damaged Posts as Needed
Remove the fence railing all the way to any damaged posts. Clip any ties that are still intact and slide the old posts out of position. Install your new ones using the same post holes.
Step 5 – Install the New Fence Railing
Remove the nearest end post cap, brace bands, and the vertical tension bands from one end of the fence. Slide the new fence railing into the rail cap slot, and along to where it’s needed. Attach the end of this fence railing to the end post rail cap, and reconnect brace and tension bands.
Step 6 – Fix the Chain Link Fabric
While you hold the closest post, ask someone to aid you in putting the undamaged chain link back over the new post. Insert a soft nylon cord through chain links to help pull. Look at an intact fence section to check that caps and bands are in the correct position before tightening the connecting bolts fastening the chain link to each post. Note that the vertical tension bar, woven through the chain link parallel to the fence post, is correctly aligned. Reconnect the horizontal tension bands to the vertical tension bar, and the vertical brace bands to the fence railing.
In the event some of your existing fencing was irreparable, it’s at this time that you will want to clip away the damaged chain link and add in new material. Make sure to wear work gloves to protect your hands from sharp wires.
For large areas of damage, it will be easiest to cut the fencing at the surrounding poles. This will ensure that the existing fencing is held securely while you’re weaving in the new material. If you have just a small hole, this will mean buying a lot of extra material, so you can clip around the damage and just have a helper hold it.
Clip and bend two vertical lengths of wire from the old fence to use in attaching the new fencing. Then, on one end, use one of these pieces to weave the ends of the two chain link sections together. On the opposite side, use the come-a-long tool to stretch the fencing tight. Cut your new material to the length you need to fill the space and use the second vertical length of metal to weave these ends together as well.
Step 7 – Maintain Your Chain Link Fence
Keep your chain link fence well maintained. Check it in spring after heavy snow and after severe storms where trees have fallen. Even if the trees fell far from your house or garage, damage to the fence at any point will reduce the stability of the entire fixture.
Article sourced from: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-repair-a-chain-link-fence
Wrought iron used to be a very popular material to use for fences. However, as most metals do with time, it can rust. If you have a wrought iron fence on your property and want to restore it back to its original beauty you can roll up your sleeves and follow this guide. It will take a little elbow grease, but it is worth it to keep your fence looking great.
How to Restore a Rusty Wrought Iron Fence
Many homes have outdoor spaces that are open and allow little privacy. If you spend a lot of time outside and want more privacy in your yard or simply don’t want passersby to see in your house, this article will be useful to read. There are several options for outdoor privacy. Read about them all below and decide what works best for you.
3 Privacy Options You Can’t Afford Not to Have
By: Sandra Karnes
Keeping an eye on the structure of your deck and/or fencing is important in upkeep if you want the structures to be safe and in tact for a long time. You can always consult professionals like us to do the job, but this blog post from Pro Referral explains how to do it yourself. It points out what to look for and how to begin. Check it out below:
What to Expect When You’re Inspecting: Decks and Fences
Techshed Devops | May 3, 2016
As with any structure exposed to the elements, decks and fences should be inspected for rot, rust and rickety supports. Far too many homeowners never take this simple step. As a result, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors estimates that of the 45 million existing decks in North America, only 40% are completely safe.
Contact Western Fence Co.
Western Fence Co. Headquarters:
6020 South 300 West Murray, UT 84107
Sales: 1-888-GET-FENCE (438-33623)
Western Fence Co. is Utah’s oldest fence company. We are experts in both residential & commercial fencing as well as design and installation of all fencing types including chain link, wrought iron/ornamental iron, other types of ornamental fencing, vinyl, wood, and aluminum.
We also carry and install automatic gate operators and have thousands of fencing products including hardware and fencing panels in stock! We even do custom CNC Plasma Cutting for artwork and railings!