I’m not very good at tutorials so here goes….
Concept – To build approximately 180 feet of graveyard fence as cheaply as possible.
While looking over other versions of graveyard fences and estimating the costs, I came to the conclusion that many of them were too expensive for the area I needed to cover, especially PVC, PVC toppers and plastic paint. I know that pallet wood is free, but by the time you take them apart and if you don’t get EVERY nail out, you risk the chance of damaging your saw blade (expensive). Plus they are very hard to get apart!
For those of you that shop for lumber, you know that Lowe’s discounts their warped lumber, sometimes up to 80% off the retail price. They sell what is called “cull packs”. This is where they gather up a bunch of warped lumber, band it together and sell it as one unit. They are usually kept outside the lumber department. But, what most of you don’t know is that you can make them an offer on these cull packs to get them even cheaper! Just ask at the commercial sales desk. They just want to get rid of it! I purchased $447 worth of 2X6 and 2X4 lumber for $100! It was already marked down to $175. I saved $75 more $$$!
After calculating what I would need to use, it came to $1.20 for every 4 foot section! Not bad.
Working with warped lumber is not that hard, especially for a graveyard fence, because you WANT it to warp in order to make it look old. Also, it will warp even more on it’s own. Because you are working with smaller pieces, when you cut them, it eases the “pressure” from the warped wood making it easier to work with.
The design – Try to come up with something that looks cool. Many of you can come up with different designs than I did, but, I wanted a design that was hard for people to squeeze through or jump over. Next, comes the toppers??? I wanted mine to have somewhat of a fancy look and somehow look spooky. I decided to put “points” on my pickets. This way, if the people try to step over the fence, they may have second thoughts when the points poke their private parts .
My design is based on a picket fence style. I wanted it to have a “shape” when it was all assembled. I also wanted it high enough so that people couldn’t easily step over it.
Tools & materials that I used – Table saw, chop saw, 1 3/16” brads, waterproof glue, and an air nailer with compressor.
Making the fence – you can do whatever you like but what I did is make it all out of 1-1/2” by 5/8” that I ripped from the 2X4s and 2X6s. If you make it 5/8” thick, you should get 4 pickets from each 2X4 and 7 pickets from each 2X6 depending on the thickness of your saw blade.
Cutting to lengths. For my fence, I used two horizontal runners, two 48” pickets, two 46” pickets, two 44” pickets, two 42” pickets, two 40” pickets, two 38” pickets and ONE 36” picket.
I first cut the lengths I needed, then I ripped them to size. The design and spacing of the pickets are up to you. I spaced my pickets at 2-1/4”.
To make the points, I set my chop saw to 15 degrees and found the center of each picket and made my cuts. I would recommend that you cut and rip everything first, THEN set your saw up so that you can cut the points quickly. I clamped a block of wood to my chop saw so that I wouldn’t have to measure each time.
As far as assembly goes, because I had so many to build, I made a jig so that they would all come out the same. This made assembly easy and fast. I used waterproof glue and 8 brads (4 on each side) where each picket touched each horizontal runner. Let them dry overnight.
Painting – this was not included into the cost of the fence because so many of you have your own preferences and some of you are very resourceful. I used flat black spray paint that I picked up at Lowe’s for $0.99 per can. You can use goof paints which works out to be even cheaper, it just takes longer.
The finished product….
When you have all your sections made, use some left over lumber to make stakes. Drive one stake into the ground where every section of fence meets and use zip ties to hold everything together. This way you can assemble your sections quickly and take them apart easily. I make my stakes 36” long. I also painted them black and used black zip ties.
Storage – All 45 sections (180 feet) of my fence takes up a 4 foot by 5 foot space (20 square feet) when stacked together.
I hope this helps some of you?