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How do I make this fence? Is there a fence making machine?

 
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It looks versatile and it can keep in sheep?!?  Amazing.  

How do I make it?

Pictures from here
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Hey r ranson, I'm willing to bet this is how they did it. It will require two spools of wire, let's say galvanized 18 gauge just for information purposes. You'll need two spools on a bar or stick for ease of winding for each horizontal strand or run, so six in total. Rotate the spools to wind the wire, insert a post, then rotate the spools again, repeating this process to make the fence!

Edited for clarity.
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r ranson
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That looks great.  Love the picture.  Makes total sense.  

What sort of wood would be good?  I'm thinking four feet high would be about the right size for my sheep.  I love the idea of a portable fence that looks nice.
 
James Freyr
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I think the best wood is whatever is growing on site. Looking at the fence in the pictures you provided, it'l take a metric butt ton of posts to start making hundreds of feet of fence. That's a lot of labor trimming and debarking tree branches. And it appears one end of the fence posts are in contact with the ground and that'll hasten decay. I think the best wood would be black locust, but if that's not available, perhaps something else slow to rot like cedar.
 
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Sometimes, sticks can be added to pre twisted wire. If there is some play, a piece of metal shaped like a flat file, can be hammered in, to allow the wire to spread. I would try this with a very small section before committing.

The description with the diagram is the way I would go, if I were trying to produce any quantity.

Split red cedar is the obvious choice around here. It splits easily and is rot resistant and light.
 
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Here in the UK this kind of fencing is called 'paling fencing'. Sweet chestnut is a typical wood for this kind of fence, apparently because of the ease with which sweet chestnut splits.

The diagram that James provided is almost identical to the one in Ben Law's book 'Woodland Craft'. The only difference is that, instead of simply winding the wire while spooled, Ben demonstrates the use of wire tensioners to maintain the right tension. He then uses a wooden peg threaded between the two wires to twist them together.

A few months ago I did see a wooden paling machine advertised on a Facebook group. I didn't take a look at the time but it would be interesting to see how that would function. Especially if you wanted to make a large quantity of fencing.

Edit:

Here's a video that shows the paling machine in action as well as a description of the material, how its processed, and why.

 
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I love the collective knowledge of this forum😊
And I'm a sucker for new types of fences, so I'll have to try this😊
 
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You can buy this stuff in France too although I doubt it's goat proof
Need to make sure the your poles into the ground are close enough together other wise the sheep will accidentally knock it down and stretch the wire
 
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r ranson wrote:That looks great.  Love the picture.  Makes total sense.  

What sort of wood would be good?  I'm thinking four feet high would be about the right size for my sheep.  I love the idea of a portable fence that looks nice.




In the United kingdom  it's called" Chestnut paling fencing .



This Cleft Chestnut Pale fencing is a traditional product, made in the UK and made from 2 to three inch diameter chestnut poles cut in four foot lengths . They  are cleaved by hand into pales. Cleaving means that the chestnut poles split with the grain and this gives the maximum strength and durability to the chestnut pale. The process of wiring the pales together into continuous lengths is then done mechanically.

Chestnut is a hardwood that has long easily split fibres once it is slightly seasoned . If you try splitting it after a certain point you'll have a hard time of it . It's split with a cleaver .... our cleaver used to be an 18 inch long x 2 inch deep 1/4 inch or so thick blade  with the blade being very sharp   ithe clever was fitted via a long burred over tang through a waisted seasoned Ash wood 12 inch long handle . The length helps when you use an oak log as a hammer to knock the clever down into the pales and allows you to pop it right through without bending down too much .

You'll  see from pictures oif such fences that you need a fair bit of wood to make any decent lengths of fencing .

The simplest & cheapest way to make it might be this .

If you knock in three nine inch nails per wire run on the flat side of a plank of timber raised to about waist height you'll find that the nails can be used to set the gauge / spacings of the pales  and using the rolls of wire as already shown but with the axle bit threaded at only oine end then made as a letter" D when you've welded nuts as eyes to a C shaped bar you can  get the wire tight  to the pales .  One of the nuts will have to be drilled to clear the rod diameter  
Having the spool holder as a letter " D "  means no loose ends to catch you in the eye or in clothing  etc and it means it can be used held in place one handed when needed

If you want to make it in 30 yard lengths  think of having each of the first set of straining wires almost 42 yards each  & see if it's long enough   I'd also leave /make up a twisted 12 inch long tail for joining each successive set of palings  as sods law dictates the join is always in the middle of two fence posts  . .

You could also drill  a five foot length of 2 x 1/4 inch  equal angle iron fitted up on trailer etc . so the straining wires are  put through it & fixed to a horizontal log  ,. Then use a rounded edged steel bar with a guide plate welded to it  that also has two holes  the same distance as the spreader angle iron welded to it  twist the wire close to the pale , on the next pale twist it in the opposite direction for the same number of turns

The straining  wires are usually soft iron that is either electrically galvanised , cadmium plated or a soft aluminum alloy wire that has a n electro plated ,/ anodized anti weather coating on it .
 
pollinator
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As others have said this is a very common type of fencing here in the UK. It is cheap and versatile. We have historically had an extensive chestnut coppice industry, and these palings use lower grade split wood that isn't suitable for other products. I wouldn't attempt to make it yourself; its longevity depends on having rot resistant timber and the wire uses a special machine for twisting and securing with adequate tension. It probbaly wouldn't be worth investing in the equipment unless you planned to make miles of fencing. Plus you have the time requirement to split the timber.
 
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I agree that the wire would need to be a strong gauge, which is not that easy to work with by hand without using force multipliers (ie, the picture near the beginning with the stick holding the two spools might require a longer stick for a weaker person to manage the twist - and you'd need a pair of wires at each height, so for the fencing shown, you'd need 6 wires.)

I agree that it would be very important to keep the tension on while building this fence or there would be issues with it being floppy - possibly a tendency for the sticks to fall through rather than staying put.

I agree that the supports to hold this fencing up would need to be very sturdy and close enough to support it well, so you need to decide at that point whether this fencing is suitable year round, or whether having the posts in year round will be a nuisance even if the fencing is stored somewhere out of season. If the animals are small enough, T-bars might do the job for temporary applications and they can go in with a T-bar pounder and come out with a farm jack reasonably quickly. I recall that Paul has some triangular fence posts which can be filled with rocks, but I can't remember what they were called or whether they were for temporary use or because the ground wasn't suitable for pounding in posts. If you're not a purist, I'm wondering if a single wire of electric fencing on the inside to keep the animals from challenging it, and on the outside to keep dogs from worrying the sheep would make it more secure if the posts needed to be temporary.

The commercial tool for building this was certainly slick. Before seeing it, since my background included weaving on a loom, I pictured a large roller for the finished fence with a cog to tension it (like the back roller on my loom), a sturdy table to support several sections of the fence as you're building it, and some *very* sturdy posts to tension the wire on. My "I can build anything" neighbor could probably bodge something up to do the job that might make it worth while. To get around the time needed for splitting and peeling wood, bamboo cured in boric acid, might last 10 years and you could use weaker, easier to work with wire as well. Dale, how long do you think red cedar would last?

I certainly agree that this is an example of old school technology that is just as relevant today as when it was invented. It's certainly much more pleasant to look at than bright orange snow fencing. I'm wondering what would happen it it was made 7 feet tall to discourage the deer?
 
Michael Cox
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You can make it long, although it is rare to see it 7ft. It would need strong support posts, and probably an extra strand of wire.
 
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The Snowbelt of the USA has a lot of this type of fencing though here we just call it snow fence. Plastic snow fence has taken over the last few years, but up until about 15 years ago wire and wood was how just about all snow fence was made; identical to this. It costs $75 for every 50 feet, but can be bought at Home Depot or Tractor Supply.

If a person wanted to build it themselves, and alternative to splitting your own would be to buy lathes. Here in Maine lathes go on sale this time of year for buttoning up houses for winter. Like having a few 2x4's, bundles of shingles, strapping and spikes of various kinds, I always have a bundle or two of lathes kicking around for odd projects. Lathes are 1/4 thick and four feet long, and they could be twisted up with wire as she did. However a faster option, and one that would work for temporary fencing and still having the same look; would be to buy a heavy upper and lower wire, then space lathes at the spacing the woman did, then pneumatically staple the wire to the lathes. It would give you the same look in 1/5 the time of construction. Just put the staples INSIDE the fence so that livestock push the lathes into the wire and not against the staples and pull them out which is what would happen if it was the other way around.



 
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I have a thought on simple wire twisting

dig in strong end posts, take six strands of wire and connect 2 to the lower run, 2 to the middle run and 2 to the upper run, run them around the outside of the next corner post and staple in place so the wire can slide, and stretch out more wire to keep untangled, hire three young kids to hold the spools to keep a bit of tension on the wire.

Now, take a clamping pliers or something to grip the wire and twist X times, Use separate pliers for each run, stand in a post, move your pliers to the wire the same length you estimate it took to make your first X twists, and twist in the OPPOSITE direction (this will keep your tag ends untangled) X times for each level...  add a post, move pliers, twist OPPOSITE of previous twist.... keep going till you are at the next corner...  then figure out how to secure it around the corner post, and start again on the next side....



just thinking out loud.
 
pollinator
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So I watched that video back in March of this year and quickly afterward built my own fence machine for making 8ft tall fences.

Fence machine works good. I have put up 460 feet of fence so far since may 1st or so. It makes 50% shade and cuts the wind noticeably

I use six pairs of 17 gauge galvanized electric fence wire, spaced at 1ft, 2ft, 3ft, 4ft, 5ft, and 7ft. Gearing is 16 teeth on the crank and 32 teeth on the wheels. Easy to turn.

For wood I have been using mill scraps called log jackets that are the D-shaped barky outer pieces first milled off when making a squared beam. I fly them through the tablesaw to make .75" x 1.5" x 8' pickets and always try to get rid of as much of the bark as possible. The first couple rolls I made with heavier, barkier pieces and they didn't come out as nice as when made out of tablesawn pickets.

I make them in 13 foot long rolls for use on 12 foot post spacing. Any longer and they are too heavy for one person to put up.

If fencing an open space it could be wheeled along a fence line, attaching to posts as you go, avoiding a ton of labor in cutting the wires, rolling/unrolling and putting up sections, restringing the machine, etc.

If made to keep out goats you'd need to use some pretty heavy pickets, and you'd need to either build it in place or make shorter lighter rolls.



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Michael Cox
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I notice you are using what looks like milled off cuts. Here in the UK, where these fences are used a lot, the wood is typically split chestnut. Splitting is quick and I believe is supposed to give longer lasting product because the fibers are left intact.

I do love your gearing mechanism though. Quite ingenious!
 
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That machine is brilliant!
 
Abe Coley
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Michael Cox
Post Today 2:01:12 AM     Subject: How do I make this fence?
I notice you are using what looks like milled off cuts. Here in the UK, where these fences are used a lot, the wood is typically split chestnut. Splitting is quick and I believe is supposed to give longer lasting product because the fibers are left intact.

I do love your gearing mechanism though. Quite ingenious!



Phil Gardener
Post Today 5:53:54 AM     Subject: How do I make this fence?
That machine is brilliant!



Thanks, glad you like it.

I'm not too worried about the longevity of sawn pickets here in western MT because the climate is so dry that just about any piece of wood stuck up in the air in a vertical orientation lasts a very long time.

I have access to a coppiced poplar tree plantation where I can cut thousands of round poles that are about 2" diameter at the base and 8' or 10' long, very similar to what the Wheaton Labs people are using in their junkpole fences. Once the leaves drop I'm gonnna harvest some of those coppiced poplars and give them a try. However, I get those mill scraps delivered for free via dump trailer to my house every week, so time-wise i don't think it's going to be any faster or less work to go out and harvest wood myself.





 
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Abe Coley wrote:
However, I get those mill scraps delivered for free via dump trailer to my house every week, so time-wise i don't think it's going to be any faster or less work to go out and harvest wood myself.



How did you go about making that kind of arrangement???  I've been depending on the frame of mind of the Lowe's garden center staff to let me dig through their dumpsters, lol.  I did a lot of it last year and got some decent stuff, built a small garden bed or two.  I have a tiny Honda Fit, so can't haul much inside and no hitch.  Might be a far stretch to set up the same gig here, but thought I'd ask how you did it.

Thanks,
 
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First you find sawmills in your area.  Then you ask them.  They will likely have slab wood as scrap that they give away or sell cheap.  These are the first cuts of the log and are half bark, half wood.

When they then cut the boards with bark on one or two edges down into boards with four good edges, they end up with small scrap pieces.  I think this is what Abe makes his fences out of but I see some slab wood in the background as well.

Around me you can get a bundle of slab wood (pickup truck load) for $5 to $10.  Most sawmill people know several more in the area.  So if one doesn't have it or already has a place to sell it (wood pellets, mulch, bedding, etc) he/she may be able to send you to a few other possibilities.

Free delivery would be a dream but don't hold your breath.
 
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Thank you, Mike!  I'll see if I can get up the nerve to ask once I find one within driving distance.  

Honestly, I'd have never known that was possible. I learn so much here - mainly how much I don't know, lol!
 
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Hay folks...… there is a much easier way to make a very similar fence..... we have made many of them to keep goats in and deer out...………  buy a 150 ft roll of 48" high,  woven wire field fence.... (sold at most feed stores and building supply stores)  $146 for a roll...………….. then weave in sticks, branches, grape stakes, or any type of long thin piece of wood...… weave it into each section of the woven wire fence AFTER you have put it up on fence posts (wood or steel)….. about 4"to 6" apart...…. looks just the same as your photos there... but you let the fence company do all the wire twisting.... you just install the sticks.... they don't need to touch the ground.... it also keeps rabbit and chickens in.... hope this helps.... it has worked well for us for many years on several homesteads....  
 
Abe Coley
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Sunny Baba wrote:Hay folks...… there is a much easier way to make a very similar fence..... we have made many of them to keep goats in and deer out...………  buy a 150 ft roll of 48" high,  woven wire field fence.... (sold at most feed stores and building supply stores)  $146 for a roll...………….. then weave in sticks, branches, grape stakes, or any type of long thin piece of wood...… weave it into each section of the woven wire fence AFTER you have put it up on fence posts (wood or steel)….. about 4"to 6" apart...…. looks just the same as your photos there... but you let the fence company do all the wire twisting.... you just install the sticks.... they don't need to touch the ground.... it also keeps rabbit and chickens in.... hope this helps.... it has worked well for us for many years on several homesteads....  



That sounds easy and fine but that's like a price of $1/ per foot. I'm doing 100 feet for between $6 and $12, depending on how many strands of wire I use.
 
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You can do this pretty easily with a 6 inch nail by putting it between the two strands of wire and twisting.
 
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I might be wrong here, but isn't coppicing a traditional way to get the proper sized posts for these types of fence? Most that coppice easily tend to be softer, but I would think they'd last longer with bark on. if you have a source of the wood cheap it might not make sense to coppice for your own posts, but coppicing has plenty of other benefits
 
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“ That sounds easy and fine but that's like a price of $1/ per foot. I'm doing 100 feet for between $6 and $12, depending on how many strands of wire I use.”


It also comes down to whether you have more time or more money, and what your time is worth. Building good fence is a good investment of time, so there’s that, but I think your time would have to be valued quite cheap to be ripping slabs on a table saw, then setting everything up for the wire twisting operation, plus the time to build the twister contraption (requiring welding and fabricating skills and equipment). Woven wire fencing goes up fast, and while I don’t know what the time/ft would be for the slab/wire fence, I do know it’s very easy to string a few hundred feet in a day using woven wire rolls. Another consideration- Where I live, the wind can gust to 50+ mph several times a year, and occasionally even to 100 mph. I’m not a fan of any fencing which catches that much wind, it wouldn’t hold up unless the support posts were very close together.
 
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Nice fence....

I think I know how I can now corral my ducks cheap. As far as slats, the horizontals off of pallets come to mind. Uniform size and the price is free. As to afixing to the ground -- slip a 1/2" emt every once in a while. Then slide a piece of rebar down the center with a bit of it bent to form a handle for removal.
 
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My uncle fenced pigs that way, but just used the pallets and 3/4” rebar 6’ long. The support rails were drilled out- 1” holes about 2” in from the ends, the pallets stood on edge with the slats vertical, and the rebar driven through the drilled holes and into the ground a couple feet. I had completely forgotten that until you mentioned ‘tops bent over’. Rebar comes 20’ and he cut it in thirds and bent over about 6-8” on top, not so much for a pulling out handle but to secure the pallets so the pigs didn’t root under them and lift them with their snouts. It made a quick and sturdy enclosure for just the cost of the rebar. One pallet had one end with the rebar sliding into a pipe in the ground, so you could lift it out and pivot the pallet as a gate of sorts to go in and out.
 
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Incredible! This is totally awesome. We may try something like this for chickens...I do wonder if anyone ha used this successfully for goats?

Totally rad Abe!
 
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Additional bonus...

If that top pair of wires were deliberately linked together along a stretch of fencing, it would make for an excellent longwire or Beverage style shortwave receiving antenna.  Might work as a transmitting antenna as well, or that might set the fence on fire; so there's that too.
 
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