More than just a fence.

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Project by schugi posted 10-16-2015 03:53 AM 3345 views 19 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Dad says that “Anything worth doing is worth over doing”. And so I present to you my fence.

Inspired by the work of Charles Prowell, it is built out of the clearest western red cedar I could find. From design to construction to installation, it took exactly one year of evenings and weekends to complete.

Each panel is 5ft wide. All of the slats in the upper portion of the panels are fitted using loose tenons. With the mortises in the slats and the corresponding ones in the rails, that ends up being over 2,000, for the 29 panels that were required. Everything was glued together using System Three epoxy. The boards in the lower section are allowed to float. There is a groove top and bottom that fits over aluminum flat stock epoxied into grooves in the middle and lower rails. That keeps them from trying to cup. A wood spline in between each board keeps them from bowing and keeps any gaps from showing through. All the parts of the panels were sanded to 150 grit. When asked why I would sand a fence that smooth, the only way I could respond was, “because I can”.

The only posts that are fully cemented into the ground are the ones supporting the hinge side of a gate. The rest sit on top of a 3” layer of pea gravel and are backfilled with more pea gravel. At the top of these posts is an 8” thick collar of concrete (If I were to do it again I would skip this part as it didn’t seem to make the posts any more rigid). This allows water to freely drain away from the post, minimizing rot.

All hardware and fasteners are either stainless steel or bronze. Every wood part is designed to shed water instead of collecting it.

The gate with the two flanking short panels are removable in case I need to get something big into the back yard.

Finished with Sikkens Cetol SRD. I don’t know if there is any finish that would hold up to the sun. This one doesn’t. The south side has had to be restained 3 times in 7 years. Maybe that’s normal, but it is a lot of up keep. The north side looks as good today as it did when it was new.

This was a super satisfying project. Even more so now, as it is still as plumb and level as the day it was put in. I doubt that I will ever have a woodworking project of this enormity again!

Thanks for looking.

-- Chuck, Minnesota

27 comments so far

View fatman51's profile


335 posts in 3300 days

#1 posted 10-16-2015 04:19 AM

That, is a beautiful fence. Nice Job!

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View BurlyBob's profile


10528 posts in 3728 days

#2 posted 10-16-2015 04:35 AM

Chuck Your fence is absolutely beautiful. It’s obvious you put a lot of work into it. I had a guy show me a method for using concrete around all the posts. He poured a 2”-3” layer of concrete. He let that dry, poured in a few inches of gravel then he filled the hole around the post with concrete. Like yours using the gravel is what I did. In the future I might try this other method. Sounds like it would also drain water.

Again, an awesome fence.

View lepelerin's profile


498 posts in 3788 days

#3 posted 10-16-2015 05:26 AM

very nice fence, lots of work in it.

View DonB's profile


591 posts in 4155 days

#4 posted 10-16-2015 10:22 AM

Impressive. Like the appearance and the fit/finish. Well done.

-- DonB

View socrbent's profile


1051 posts in 3732 days

#5 posted 10-16-2015 01:55 PM

Beautiful and well done.

-- socrbent Ohio

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 4061 days

#6 posted 10-16-2015 02:30 PM

That is freakin’ amazing. Well done.

View ohwoodeye's profile


2775 posts in 4616 days

#7 posted 10-16-2015 03:49 PM

Chuck…......Minnesota…........and you are worried about this not holding up to the SUN?????
Every cedar Adirondack chair I make looks good for 1 year until the Wisconsin winter destroys the original beautiful color. Then it is sand and refinish every year and they never look as good as new so I say screw it, let them age naturally.
I sure hope you can keep your fence looking this good for a much longer time. It is stunning!!!!

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 3230 days

#8 posted 10-16-2015 05:04 PM

Now, that is beautifully done.


View Ottacat's profile


556 posts in 3314 days

#9 posted 10-16-2015 05:20 PM

If good fences make good neighbours then you must have great neighbours :)

View DCooksey's profile


46 posts in 2558 days

#10 posted 10-16-2015 05:37 PM

Sometimes, a fence makes a neighbor grouchy and they complain loudly. However, this fence should silence any such foolishness and make them thank you for such a work of art. Well done!

-- There are rarely any mistakes made in turning, but there are a lot of on-the-fly design modifications!

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1993 posts in 3432 days

#11 posted 10-16-2015 06:03 PM

That is beautiful. Really pops with the colors. Amazing work

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Marc82Much's profile


13 posts in 3661 days

#12 posted 10-16-2015 06:16 PM

I just finished my new fence and was going to post photos…now I’m not.

-- Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

View sb194's profile


197 posts in 4481 days

#13 posted 10-16-2015 08:21 PM

Wow, that is one of the nicest fences I have ever seen. Well done sir.

View iminmyshop's profile


409 posts in 3457 days

#14 posted 10-16-2015 09:01 PM

Really really nice work. You’ll sit back and enjoy that piece of work for many years.


View Sheisserick's profile


124 posts in 3308 days

#15 posted 10-16-2015 10:22 PM

I´ve been meaning to make a new fence for our front yard….

Sigh… Your project just took all motivation out of me. No way could I ever build something that beautiful. And once the bar have been set, its hard to go below it!

Thanks for sharing man. Good job.

-- I doubt, therefore I might be

showing 1 through 15 of 27 comments

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