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junkpole fence: freaky cheap chicken/deer fence made from wood typically thrown away

 
pollinator
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Fred told me of a 'new and improved' version of the junk pole fence today.

Brown poles have fasteners in them. Lighter poles are loose within the frame.
JUNKPOLEFENCE_03_PIC01.jpg
One side of the fence.
One side of the fence.
JUNKPOLEFENCE_03_PIC02.jpg
Another side of the fence.
Another side of the fence.
 
Davin Hoyt
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How it works:

Vertical posts are sturdy; fixed in the ground.
Top and bottom horizontal members are fastened to vertical posts via screws.
Junk pole pieces are placed vertical in between vertical posts.
A few of these junk poles are fastened to both top and bottom horizontal members.
One Mid-height horizontal member is fastened to the few junk poles that were/are fastened.
This creates a frame to keep the junk poles standing up straight on top of the ground.
JUNKPOLEFENCE_03_PIC03.jpg
Section: One side of the fence.
Section: One side of the fence.
JUNKPOLEFENCE_03_PIC04.jpg
Section: Another side of the fence.
Section: Another side of the fence.
 
steward
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Brandon and Nikki have their own junkpole action going on.  check this out!






There's more on their thread here:  https://permies.com/t/57360/Brandon-Nikki-Homestead#489378

Or go to the beginning of their thread here: https://permies.com/t/57360


 
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Nice to see all the creativity using "junkpoles" .

THese young spruce are often thinned out of woodlots, so that might be a good source of material , as the thinning crews leave them on the ground.  THink: free materials if you ask nicely.

Spruce especially will last forever if standing upright. Horizontally it will soak up water and  rot fairly quickly.

In Norway at least they make the fencing out of fir and they split it so that the "wedge" shape points up, they are placed diagonally like in Sweden , but are tied with strips of green bark to the double posts,  which tightens when it dries. They axe cut the tops level. "Ski gard" (stave fence) The double posts are quite thin roundwood and they are left quite high, about 8 ft whereas the fence usually 4 ft. this so they show up in deep snow.

The rails are much like the split cedar rails in N.A. Making 4 staves out of each 10 ft  piece of fir. Fir splits easily, like cedar. When splitting long pieces an iron wedge is inserted in the 4-6 inch butt and wooden wedges inserted in the side as you work your way up the log.

In Denmark they use these pole fences with the vertical poles very tight together and quite tall as attractive privacy fencing. Again these are thinnings from plantations of spruce/fir.  

Great to see so many people making use of this abundant and inexpensive material !
 
pollinator
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For what it's worth, your "junkpole" fence is historically called a Palisade or Stake Wall.
 
Mark Deichmann
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Good point Peter,

The pallisade fence/wall played an important role in American history. The Iroquois nation tribes used them  and the settlers soon copied the idea and it was widely used as a quick and easy Fort design on the Frontier.

Also sometimes called a Stockade.
 
master steward
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I looked up "pallisade".  There are similarities, but this design is different enough that I think it is not a pallisade.

 
pollinator
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Thanks for Sharing our Junk Pole Fence, we loved helping Evan at the Lab do his for Mr. Chops, the Larger section was very loosely modeled after Wattle and Duab. It has grape vines growing on it now and we usually plant Mexican Sour Gerkins on it during the summer that helps to fill in all the holes. And after three years its still standing strong.
 
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That is real interesting, I guess if ya had neighbours that had extensive brush land , you could almost offer to clear out their bush just to build yourself a fence. looks like it may work good for a snow fence too.
 
paul wheaton
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I had to update the design a few times.  I will get into more explanations in a moment.  But for now, the most important change is that we go from this:



to this:
wood-fence.png
[Thumbnail for wood-fence.png]
 
paul wheaton
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First issue is the rock jacks:  there were getting in the way of the junkpole.   Wherever a rock jack encountered junk poles, it got weird.  

Another thing is that for every four people that were working on a fence, only one had actually looked at the image.   And then as they worked, three would outvote one on "the right way".   So the very thing I emphasize to NOT do, was the very thing that they WOULD do.

This change results in a fence that just looks far better, is easier to maintain and does a better job with controlling smaller critters.   And, most of all, minimizes the "don't do this" stuff.  

 
paul wheaton
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this drawing is a bit more accurate.   The horizontal poles can overlap, so then the whole fence becomes more consistent.
wood-fence-2.png
[Thumbnail for wood-fence-2.png]
 
pollinator
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Junkpole fence in December
BFDE574F-5795-43FE-A288-35CA8C0B809B.jpeg
[Thumbnail for BFDE574F-5795-43FE-A288-35CA8C0B809B.jpeg]
F5088714-7CC3-4E32-9216-439397122D60.jpeg
[Thumbnail for F5088714-7CC3-4E32-9216-439397122D60.jpeg]
576A2B4A-B16A-4154-A1CB-F6E575C70EE8.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 576A2B4A-B16A-4154-A1CB-F6E575C70EE8.jpeg]
 
Coco Newlon
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Wheaton labs base camp junkpole fence 2019





 
Worked on by leif from our PEP1 event for more photo and info click here.

 
Coco Newlon
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Fred leading the 2019 ATC group on junkpole fence.



 
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Very impressive.

I was wondering how the larger poles that hold the horizontals together are anchored into the ground? How deep would you usually dig a hole to put them in? And is soil just packed back in around it?

Are these fences something one person could make on their own, or are there stages of making a fence where it's best to have help?

And are there any specific widths of poles that work best for these? Any minimum size for the larger horizontal and corner poles?
 
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hello, i have a question as well
i plan to make a fenced in garden using thinned saplings
i envisioned myself making a trench with a pickaxe and burying the butts

is this style to save on labour and time as compared to what i have described?
 
paul wheaton
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This particular spot is solid rock.  So we are using rock jacks

https://permies.com/t/39351/permaculture-projects/rock-jack

 
Coco Newlon
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More photos for our new and old junkpole fence at wheaton labs
 
pioneer
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Love the look of the junkpole fence.  I'm going to have to clear out a lot of smaller trees that would be perfect for this.  I've been saving a lot of them, much to my wife's chagrin.  Now I have something wonderful to do with them besides burning them.  The crooked ones will go to the hugulkultur pile, and the straight ones to the junkpole fence pile.  Love the idea.
 
Coco Newlon
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10-1-19 junkpole fence













more to come!!!
 
master steward
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Nice!  You guys have been busy!
 
paul wheaton
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a quick video about building junkpole fence

 
pollinator
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It is a great solution, and this new version is even easier to build than the oryginal one. One thing I would like to point out is that in the description it says it is good for chickens. It obviously doesn't let chickens out, but unfortunately it doesn't prevent the fox to go in. Works great for my woodland garden, but chickens would need addition of LGD or some other means of defense.
 
paul wheaton
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A big fence is going up at allerton abbey ...

A load of junk pole freshly gathered:



(this image is from Orin's bootcamp thread)


An 8-foot tall junk pole fence is about to be built.  Here are a few of the posts:




Since this new fence is up at the lab, we will use regular posts instead of rock jacks.  This thing has been mighty handy:




We got this tool called "the log wizard".  It's supposed to be a bark scraping tool, but we found it dug into the wood too easy - so we prefer the manual scrapers.  But we did discover that this thing was great for putting a saddle notch into a horizontal.



We got it from amazon:  https://amzn.to/3bhhIZt




 
paul wheaton
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Stealing pic's from Orin's thread:  https://permies.com/t/70/136523/permaculture-projects/Orin-Boot-Camp-Pictorials


This is something we are trying:



The idea is that if we have round-to-round and the wind blows and wiggles the bits, the screws/nails eventually break.   But if we get a really solid connection, then there is much less wiggle - we think that the screw/nail will last ten times longer.


Here is some fence going up at allerton abbey:


 
paul wheaton
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The junk pole fence at allerton abbey:

 
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Here's a fascinating video of Finnish rye farmers practicing swidden agriculture in Sweden. They just show up, cut everything down, burn the residue, build junkpole-ish fences and grain cribs from onsite materials, plant the crops, harvest/dry them--these were some working-ass people!:


 
paul wheaton
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To prevent forest fires, the gub'mint will pay crews to go and collect the junk pole, put it in a big pile, throw a tarp over it and then come back in the winter and set the pile on fire:



So we simply redirect that effort to put that same wood on a trailer:



So, yeah, knick off those tiny branches with a hatchet, and stack it a bit orderly.   But on the bright side, you don't need carry it as far (to the pile), and you don't have to come back in the winter to set it on fire.  

So now we have a trailer loaded up with junk pole.   In a way, it is free and came with zero effort - because that effort would have been about the same for fuels reduction.  

If you buy fencing materials, you have to drive into town, part with a lot of coin, load your rig, and drive back.  

So if we had two crews, one crew that that was all about fuels reduction and paid by the gub'mint, and a second crew that built junkpole fence.   I think that the junkpole fence crew might build that 8 foot tall fence in about the same time as the same crew building a more conventional fence that is the same size.  And I think there is further room for optimization on this design.

So this is not a good fence for an urban situation.  Nor is it a good fence for any property that has no trees.  But it is an excellent fence in areas that are susceptible to conifer forest fires, like our area.

 
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Paul Wheaton wrote:

So this is not a good fence for an urban situation.  Nor is it a good fence for any property that has no trees.  But it is an excellent fence in areas that are susceptible to conifer forest fires, like our area.

There's a series of videos mostly about food that someone posted showing traditional oriental growing and cooking. I noticed in the back-ground the oriental version of a junk-pole fence! It was made from bamboo and I'm looking at my bamboo patch and thinking it's just too small an area, but the culm size would be quite suitable. Similarly, if time was no object, setting up a decent coppicing system would provide ongoing junk-pole fence materials. So exactly what you're building and how may not be appropriate in most urban areas, but the concept may well be transferable - "variations on a theme".

Urban areas around me have huge deer issues - one of the "features" of the junk-pole fence is that the wood isn't all the same height and I've read somewhere here on permies that multiple heights is more likely to discourage deer from trying to jump the fence. I used that concept in a spot where I had some short fencing by sticking some of the side "branches" from some bamboo stakes I harvested sticking up vertically above the short fencing  giving that "uneven" effect. Deer generally love eating strawberry plants which is what's inside the fencing and they haven't jumped in. (Sorry - bamboo is a grass, but I don't know what else to call the bits that stick out other than "branches". Anyone know what they're officially called?)
 
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Live somewhere with forest fire control, then a junkpole fence is perfect!  It solves two problems with one action!

But there is no single solution for every situation.  Every situation is unique.  
 
pioneer
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paul wheaton wrote:Since this is a brand new thing, it is possible that as the years pass it will become a terrible idea.   I hope to keep you all updated.



Paul, how has this fence design held up over the last 5 years in your estimation? In reading through BWB book right now and followed a link to this post. Nice looking fence, that's for sure!

Also, do you get beaver in your area, and so you reckon they'd view this fence as scrum-diddly-umptious?
 
paul wheaton
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We are getting mixed results so far.  I think there is still room for optimization.

No beaver damage yet.  
 
D.W. Stratton
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paul wheaton wrote:We are getting mixed results so far.  I think there is still room for optimization.

No beaver damage yet.  



I always appreciate your candor. Thank you!
 
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These are beautiful! I noticed this thread was started about 4 years ago, how are the fences holding up?
 
paul wheaton
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The older fence has needed mending several times - mostly because of rock jack problems.  We are still getting the kinks out.
 
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