Jefferson Swivel and Secretary

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making a Split Rail Fence

Well it's been almost a month since my last post and that about sums up how furniture making has been going. Pretty dead right now, but it was time for me to get back on the horse and write about something hand work related. This time I'm splitting out rails for the split rail or snake rail fence I'm putting around my better halves garden. I only had one log today but plan on getting a couple more to complete a 5 rail high fence.

 Here is the first log. About 15" dia. at the small end and its 9 foot long or so. I go through the splitting process like that on any other for the most part.

      I begin by first splitting the log in half. One thing I've noticed is it's way more difficult to split long pieces. I usually split out 5 foot long sections at the max, and at just over 9 foot, this log took some muscle and quite a bit more gusto from me than it normally does.

After the initial split, I split each half again making quarters.

  Then each quarter is split into half again making 1/8ths. The smaller the log gets the easier it is to split. I used a wedge to get the split started then turn to the trusty ol' froe to help the rest of the way. By using the wedge to hold the split open as I move along, I can then remove the froe and hop over the wedge and continue the split. Out of each 1/8th of a section I split out two more pieces.

                                                   This is the rails ready for use in the fence.

Checking the look and finding out that I need 2 more logs.


     After about 2 hours of splitting I had the whole log split up into about 23 rails and was ready to get the fence started. Here you can see the fence in it's "Civil War-ish" look. Hopefully after 6-8 months it will grey up to that Civil War fence grey and look pretty good.        


The garden with a partial fence. I plan to cut an opening for a gate but want to get all the rails split out and in place to see where the best location for it will be. I'm planning on driving 2 split posts into the ground and running the rails into mortises in the posts. Now on to get a couple more logs and complete the whole fence, or maybe after a little nap.

1 comment:

  1. We were imagining it would be a nice place to plant some flowers and/or flowering bushes so that it would be one of the first things you see when you drive onto the property. best fence