Table of Contents
Chapter I - Rail and other Primitive Fences
Chapter II - Stone and Sod Fences
Chapter III - Board Fences
Chapter IV - Picket Fences
Chapter V - Barb-Wire Fences
Chapter VI - Fences of Barb Wire and Boards
Chapter VII - Hedges
Chapter VIII - Portable Fences and Hurdles
Chapter IX - Fences for Streams and Gullies
Chapter X - Making and Setting Posts
Chapter XI - Gates and Fastenings
Chapter XII - Wickets and Stiles
Chapter XIII - Fence Law
Chapter XIV - Country Bridges and Culverts
Excerpt from Chapter III page 24 Board Fences.
Building Board Fences
In building a board fence always start right and it will be little trouble to continue in the same way. Much of the board fencing erected is put together very carelessly and the result is a very insecure protection to the field or crops. A fence-post should be set two and a half or three feet in the ground and the earth should be packed around it as firmly as possible. For packing the soil there is nothing better than a piece of oak about three inches square on the lower end and about six feet long rounded off on the upper part to fit the hands easily. Properly used this instrument will pack the soil around a post as it was before the hole was dug. In putting on fence boards most builders use two nails on the ends of each board and one in the middle. Each board should have at least three nails at the ends and two in the middle and these nails should never be less than ten-pennies. Smaller nails will hold the boards in place for awhile but when they begin to warp the nails are drawn out or loosened and the boards drop off. This will rarely be the case where large nails are used and a much stiffer fence is secured. Many fence builders do not cut off the tops of the posts evenly but this should always be done not only for the improvement that it makes in the looks of the fence; but also for the reason that there should always be a cap put on and to do this the posts must be evened. The joints should always be "broken" as is shown in the engraving figure 25 (pictured in book) so that in a four-board fence but two joints should come on each post. By this means more firmness and durability is secured there being always two unbroken boards on each post to hold it in place preventing sagging. On the face of the post immediately over where the rails have been nailed on nail a flat piece of board the width of the post and extending from the upper part of the top rail to the ground.
Figure 26 shows a slight modification which consists in setting the posts on alternate sides of the boards securing additional stability. The posts are seven feet long of well-seasoned red cedar white oak chestnut or black locust preference being accorded to order named. The boards are sixteen feet long fastened with ten-penny steel fence nails. The posts for a space of two and a half feet from the lower end are given a good coat of boiled linseed oil and pulverized charcoal mixed to the consistency of ordinary paint which is allowed to dry before they are set. When the materials are all ready stretch a line eighteen inches above the ground where it is proposed to build the fence. Dig the postholes eight feet apart from centers on alternate sides of the line. The posts are set with the faces inward each half an inch from the line to allow space for the boards. Having set the posts the boards of the lower course are nailed on. Then for the first length the second board from the bottom and the top board are only eight feet long reaching to the first post. For all the rest the boards are of the full length sixteen feet. By this means they "break joints." After the boards are nailed on the top of the posts are sawed off slanting capped if desired and the whole thing painted. A good coat of crude petroleum applied before painting will help preserve the fence and save more than its cost in the paint needed.
We see another style of board fence now and then that is rather preferable to the ordinary one; it looks better than the old straight fence. It saves one board to each length; and by nailing on the two upper boards as shown in the illustration figure 27 (pictured in book) great extra strength is given. These boards not only act as braces but ties also and a fence built on well set posts and thoroughly nailed will never sag or get out of line until the posts rot off.
Copyright Permission given by Alan C. Hood & Company Inc.