I’ve been keeping busy with a fence project at my house. The original fence was builder grade original to the house, thus it’s no surprise that it’s failing. Fence contractors wanted an obscene amount of money to do the job so I spent ~33% of their bids on materials and went to work myself.
Nearly all of the materials I would need (there’s always at least one more trip to the hardware store).
Layout is important. A nominal 4" offset from post center to picket face was a mighty convenient number. Postholes don’t have to be exact, but very close is a good target.
In retrospect, I could have stopped at a hair over 24" and been happy.
Digging postholes - and mixing concrete - by hand will make you tired in short order.
Shims. Never start a project without them.
The two directly-adjacent posts are for the gate - should help keep it sturdy. I set those two first and used them to reference the post to the left once set. The method of locating those posts would later prove a tad troublesome with my fence set back ~2" vs target.
“You can never have too many clamps”
-Old woodworking joke
“You can have sufficient clamps”
The picket spacing on the latch side of the gate ended up being just a little too tight so I improvised with some board-on-board.
Ended the main run with another board-on-board because of spacing issues.
Now the white collar part - engineering the gate. Gates are the weak point of almost all privacy fences, invariably sagging after just a few years. I opted to overbuild the pi__ out of this gate, starting with an actual frame that’s held together with ~3-1/2" construction screws sunk through counterbored holes in the vertical rails.
crossbeams and patch plates on the diagonals in addition to screws through the “toes”.
It may pain vintage tool aficionados to see this, but I just happened to have this plane (from one of my grandfathers) and also just happened to need to remove ~1/4" from one of the pickets to make the gate work.
, the gate was smaller than the opening! I also braced the corners for funsies. I should buy stock in Simpson Strong-Tie™.
And it’s a Boxing Day Miracle that once attached, the gate swings freely!
But there’s always a bodge. In fact the entire project was one small error, miscalculation, or mistake after another to recover from. In this case the gate hardware was a tad too tight-fitting, thus some fine-tuning with a chisel corrected the problem. Presumably, most folks mount the strike plate directly to a 4x4 post, thus I also had to improvise a tad on the mounting.
I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine what hardware was protruding where …
I’ll likely run a cheater strip across the top to deal with the height mismatch. Hardware mismatch: tough toenails.
I’m going to speculate that I spent ~26 hours of direct labor, another 4 hours transit and buying, and another 2-4 hours planning. Materials cost is hazier since I had some of the materials, overbought knowing I have another larger project coming up, and also bought some tools - around $450 seems right.