As stated in the previous post, we began building by making Cedar ‘X’s. The reasons for this are that we keep wildlife in mind, looking far into the future and planning for the fences’ eventual decomposition far in the future. Barbed wire, though quick to install, is a huge hazard for wildlife, whether you continue to inhabit the property or not.
As a responsible land owner, the safety of all creatures should be a top concern, in as much as you are effecting their safety by man-made construction. Desiring to enclose pasture on the upper property, the Cedar Buck Fence seemed the wisest choice. This was based on cost, ease of assembly, natural beauty, and most importantly: what happens to this fence in the future, and how does it impact the surrounding nature?
This is a good guide to building with wildlife in mind.
You have only to do a little google search about barbed wire fences + wild life to see the horrible results of animals being caught in the wire. They can tangle a foot or an antler, get wrapped up, and perish right there on your property line. Not only is this a tragedy for the animal, but then you have to clean up the carcass; it also ruins your fence, so whatever you were fencing may get out (provided it isn’t deterred by the rotting carcass stuck in the wire.)
So, I will be a bit more thorough about our fence-building activities. These posts are made of Cedar, which was chosen because it is especially resistant to rot.
1) So, get the poles ready. (We used poles that were 5’5″, though some are 6′, depending on the source.) Strip them of bark. Measure up 44″ from the bottom, then make another mark 46″ from the bottom. This should make a diagonal line, a pattern for you to notch the wood so the two poles will lock together. Estimate the width (diameter) of the matching pole, and make your lines wide enough to accommodate. Using a hand saw, cut into the pole parallel to the ground, about 1.5″ deep.
Take care to make them even to each other; these are your guides for chiseling, and a proper cut will make it go so much smoother in step 2. (Do not notch more than half the diameter into the pole, it will greatly weaken it.)
It’ll look something like this:
2) Set the pole into a sawbuck, and get to chiseling. You want a flat, clean surface to mate with the other pole. We used a 1″ chisel head. Here are some more photos of this:
3) Do a test fit to check that your notches are correct. If they don’t fit together tightly, then fix your notch so that they do.
4) Now its time to drill some pilot holes; these will help the lag bolt enter square and straight (plumb). Get out your hand drill and get to drillin’. (Note: though this is operated by manual power, it wasn’t any more difficult than holding a power drill. It just took about 127 seconds longer.)
5) Okay, now we have to get these lag bolts in there. We found that using a ‘cheater pipe’ made this so much easier. This is a pipe that slides over the end of the ratchet to extend the lever, adding more force on the bolt with less effort from you. Gotta love physics; so simple, and effective.
If you find your two poles pulling away from each other while you’re driving the bolt, simply back the bolt out until just the point of it is showing through the first post. Then, as you drive the bolt down again, put a lot of weight/pressure onto the top pole, so that it won’t be able to push up as you crank.
What’s happening, is the bolt isn’t driving into the second post, yet you are turning the bolt, so the first post is still climbing up the lag bolt.
At this point, hopefully, you have assembled a cedar ‘X.’
Now, do that 34 more times, and you’ll have an epic stack that looks like this:
Updates will come when the fence begins assembly on the pasture. Happy fencing everyone!
Remember this is a Mother Nature – Friendly way to enclose a pasture for horses, or just to mark a property line. It is assembled quickly, looks beautiful, and will not entangle or mutilate wildlife now or anytime in the future. ❤