Help creating large wooden frame

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Forum topic by BrindleDog posted 03-05-2021 05:24 PM 337 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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85 posts in 133 days

03-05-2021 05:24 PM

I’m thinking about creating a frame for hex chicken wire or deer netting that is around 7’ x 10’. The idea is that I could join these panels together to create garden protection, chicken runs, cat enclosures and not have to drive posts or deal with long and unwieldy lengths of netting.

Does anyone have an idea of how to join and brace such a large frame while using lumber around 2”x3” at biggest. Can I half lap everything and then glue and screw or staple it together?

I think I would be using SPF and I know how much it moves if it gets rained on. If I sealed the wood while it was straight would it prevent the frame from becoming a twisted mess? I’m guessing that each piece would need all of it’s surface area sealed, and even then it would get beat up outside.

Would treated be an option for this or would it be too unstable because you buy it soaking wet?

I know wood may not be the most ideal material for this, but may be the most cost effective and nice looking option if stained or painted.

Also, I’ve seen a type of nut that is a threaded sleeve with teeth on the end to bite into the wood. Does anyone know what these are called?

Thanks for any ideas.

11 replies so far

View bilyo's profile


1345 posts in 2158 days

#1 posted 03-05-2021 06:27 PM

I think a better solution would be to use PVC pipe and glued fittings. The panels would be light, easy to fabricate, and won’t rot in contact with the ground. I read a recent test report that indicates that UV light does not adversely effect the strength of the pipe. It will, in time, discolor it, but will not effect the overall strength. And you can always paint it if you want to. You don’t mention how you plan to hold them up without posts. I suppose you could use diagonal props. I think wind could be an issue at times. I would stake them down to hold them in place.

If you elect to use wood, I would advise the use of pressure treated. For what you are doing, I think that pressure treated fence slats would be a good material. They are inexpensive and durable. I would just lap the corners and screw them together. Put in a diagonal brace if you want more rigidity. Use exterior glue if you want to. Also, use an exterior stain or paint if you want to.

View BrindleDog's profile


85 posts in 133 days

#2 posted 03-05-2021 06:41 PM

Thanks for the reply. I thought about pvc but wasn’t sure how to cleanly and securely attach the netting or join the panels together.

I’m imagining something that is refined in way that there aren’t exposed edges of netting or wire and that it easily bolts together.

View bilyo's profile


1345 posts in 2158 days

#3 posted 03-05-2021 06:56 PM

Are you trying to make this a permanent installation or something more portable/changeable? Will it be utilitarian or do you want it refined looking? Is cost a factor?

Threaded inserts are the devices you are thinking of.

View BrindleDog's profile


85 posts in 133 days

#4 posted 03-05-2021 07:19 PM

I want it to be portable and expandable so that I could connect the panels and make a fully enclosed structure.
I’ve built many chicken and cat runs with welded wire and chicken wire and they are utilitarian but way over built and ugly. I typically use t posts or 4×4s sunk into the ground.

Cost is a factor in that I can’t afford metal and I can’t afford to learn how to weld at the moment.

Ideally it would be really nice looking in that there are no zip ties or staples visible and the netting or wire is stretched cleanly across the frame.

My main concern is that something like a treated 2”x2”x8’ would end up twisting so bad during drying that I couldn’t join them with half laps. Also I’m afraid that a half lap joint on such a large assembly with thin framing members would be very weak. Maybe with X bracing it would work, I dunno.

View ocean's profile


229 posts in 1888 days

#5 posted 03-05-2021 07:59 PM

I would use pvc pipe as said above. It is cheaper than just about anything else. Panel could be made to size you desire. End each panel NOT with 90 elbow but with T’s top and bottom. This will allow you to connect and disconnect to another panel with short pieces of pipe to extend the area you wish to enclose. Make up some elbows with short pieces of pipe in both ends to use to connect to a panel at 90 degrees (do not glues these at the corners). You may also need to put center frame uprights to help support the frame depending on size. To hold the netting you could use screws with finishing washer (these are commonly use on boats, they are use on tapered screw heads) that will grip the netting. Good luck.

-- Bob, FL Keys

View BrindleDog's profile


85 posts in 133 days

#6 posted 03-05-2021 08:28 PM

2 votes for PVC. I think you maybe be right. The dimensions of the lumber I’m imagining don’t seem suitable to be joined without a metal sleeve angle or something.

Thanks for the info on finishing washers.

View LesB's profile


2956 posts in 4498 days

#7 posted 03-05-2021 10:11 PM

PVC will work but you may need schedule 80 for it to be stiff enough not to sag over a 10 foot span…or have middle bracing. I use a fairly heavy “bird” netting over the top my 12’ wide blueberry patch and it is held up with schedule 40 PVC with a center support. It goes us seasonally because if we get a winter snow or ice storm the weight would collapse it.

With netting you can “sew” it on to the pipe or poles. Just loop it around and stitch away. For wire there are aluminum wire cage “c” clips similar to upholstery clips only wider that work great. Most farm supply hardware stores have them. You will need the proper pliers to crimp them closed. I have used them to put chicken wire on hog and cattle fencing panels.

-- Les B, Oregon

View splintergroup's profile


4982 posts in 2278 days

#8 posted 03-05-2021 10:11 PM

I’d worry a bit about the long top rail sagging, PVC is quite flexible. The comment from Bob (ocean) about center bracing is spot on, per your 10’ length and say 3/4” PVC, I’d probably go with 2 or 3 braces in addition to the two end uprights.

Best bet if doing PVC is to buy the “contractor packs” of ten fittings from the big-box store, much cheaper that way and it sounds like you’ll need a bunch.

Using a “T” at the corners is a great idea, with short stubs of PVC pipe you can link the panels together in a straight line, or make your stubs with an elbow (create a square pen) or 45 deg. bend to make an 8-sided octagon.

I use a similar design to make a break-down fuming tent (4’x4’ cube) and it works excellent, though the fittings can easily get stuck onto the pipe since the fittings have a slight taper and sung up when the pipe is pushed into place.

View PCDub's profile


254 posts in 1299 days

#9 posted 03-06-2021 04:21 PM

I’ve seen a type of nut that is a threaded sleeve with teeth on the end to bite into the wood. Does anyone know what these are called?

Threaded inserts are the devices you are thinking of.

Also look for something called t-nuts

View Foghorn's profile


1149 posts in 442 days

#10 posted 03-06-2021 09:49 PM

I wouldn’t recommend PVC. It will eventually sag guaranteed, especially if you have hot summers. Just my opinion of course.

-- Darrel

View ibewjon's profile


2354 posts in 3848 days

#11 posted 03-07-2021 05:52 PM

Sta Fast calls them a T nut, and shows pictures of these and other fasteners that might work.

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