Well its been 3 years in the making, but it is finally done (save for a few more U-nails). This is the "pasture" area (almost an acre) that I plan on keeping the meat chickens in to protect them from predators (mostly neighbor hood dogs, like the 2 killers across the street.) Today I hung the main gate and stretched the last section of field fencing from the gate post to the corner post. What a pain! Of course it would help if I didn't make custom cabinetry out of everything (yes that is a 45 degree miter on the top rail in the corner).
I don't know how farmers and ranchers notch out the flat spots on the top rail where it sits on the posts (probably with a chain saw), but the way I do it takes forever! I built a jig for my skill saw that keeps it 3-1/2" off the table surface. I cut the top rail to length, flip it upside-down, then make several relief cuts with the skill saw jig 3" in on each end and 6" wide for the middle post, and clean it all up with a hammer and chisel. I clamp a 2' level on the first flat spot I cut out, then make sure it reads level before sawing out the other two flats. I will post some pictures of this process later.
Yesterday I spent most of the day staining the gate that I made out of cedar lumber about 2 years ago. I wish I had stained it then. Its been leaning up against the house all this time and one side is gray weathered while the other side (of course the back side) looks like it did the day I built it. After staining I stapled on some leftover 2" welded wire which just barely fit. Then I went to hang it and discovered that in my over-building cleverness that the hing strap placement wasn't going to work. (see the 3 holes just above and below the straps.) So I spent all morning re-moving the hing straps, adding more lumber, staining them, then re-attaching the hing straps in their "new and improved" locations. So much for being clever.
LESSON LEARNED: Field fence hinges need to be at least 6" from the top and bottom to work.
Here is a shot of the remainder of the run that I finished up over the last couple weeks. The posts have been set for a couple years, but I finally installed the top rail 2 weeks ago. Then my son Jacob helped me hang the remainder of the fence wire last weekend. I ended up about 6 feet short on the roll of fencing. I wasn't about to go buy another 330 foot roll, so last night I put an ad on Craigslist and this morning I got 3 calls from folks with leftovers that I could buy. So at lunch time today I picked up a piece just big enough to finish the job. I can't believe that it took me so long to fence one stinking acre. Oh well its done now.
You can see the hoop house I built for the meat chickens in the background, which I will cover in detail in an upcoming post.