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The Finish.jpg

Four years in the making………………., it had a simple beginning as a simple pile of pallets at my local siding world.

The Beginning.jpg

This is no ordinary pile of pallets, these are 12 ½ foot by 4 foot pallets, that’s not a typo I said 12 ½ feet. I was able to disassemble a number of the pallets and had a nice stack of lumber for my cemetery fence. Unfortunately that pile of wood sat for four years while other props and life took precedent.

I initially wanted to make my main two fence panels 8 foot high gracefully curving to 4 feet by 8 foot long, and as many secondary panels 4 foot high by 8 foot long, this had to change, more about this later. After doing research on the forums both Halloween and woodworking I determined how I was going to make my top rails of my fence. They were going to be bent lamination, bent laminations are just thin slices of wood glued into the shape you want. After cutting the 8 inch wide pallet boards into 2 ½ wide boards, I then sliced them into 20+ 2 ½ by 3/16[SUP]th[/SUP] thick strips.

slices.jpg

I then cut the remaining wood into 7/8[SUP]th[/SUP] inch square pickets, where I did simple pyramid top. My Wife and Son pre-painted the pickets to make it easier to assemble and finish painting later.

Picket end #1.jpg

The next step was to make my form for the upper rails of the fence. Since I wanted the curve of the top rail to be symmetrical, I drew half the curve out on poster board adding 4 inches to the end that would be adjacent to the pillars. This was for an offset for the pieces of 3 inch PVC pipe I was going to use for decoration. I then starting assembling pieces of 2 x 6 boards to match the final shape of the upper rail. Then using the pattern I transferred the curve of the top rail to the form, flipping it at the midpoint to complete my top rail, I then repeated this ¾ inch away from my first line. Using a jigsaw I cut just to the waste side of the lines, then using my belt sander I sanded to the line. At this point I realized that the width of my form was only had 1 ¾ inches but I had 2 ½ wide strips. I then added pieces of ¾ inch plywood to bring my form to the proper width of 2 ½ inches. I then coated the mating surfaces of the form with clear packing tape so glue would not stick to it. Finally added some clamping guides and my form was done.

The Form.jpg
 

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I then starting laminating my four top rails, I using Gorilla glue since it has a long working time.

Top Rails 1.jpg

I wanted more of a wrought iron look to the fence where there were the pickets are square, this would also aid in assemble of the fence. To make the lower rails of the main fence and the rails for the side panels I started with a 2 x 4. I cut dadoes every 6 inches in the 2 x 4s, I then cut them into four 1 x 2’s, marking them to make sure that I kept the same original 2 x 4 board together.

Horizontal Rails 1.jpg

Horizontal Rails 2.jpg

I then ripped my top rails into two pieces, one piece is 1 ½ inches wide and the remainder is a ¾ inches wide cap piece. I then temporarily set up one of the fence panels to determine where the dadoes needed to be on my curved top rails. I then took my top rails and clamped them to this fence panel and transferred the location for the dadoes onto my top rail. I marked both sides of the top rail so that I would be able to determine the angle the dado needed to be cut at.

Laying Out the Top Rail 1.jpg

Laying Out the Top Rail 2.jpg
 

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At this point I started to realize that my side panels at 48 inches high were too tall, after making a quick mock up I decide to shorten the fence pickets to 39 inches, 32 inches between the top most rail and the bottom most rail, this includes a 3 inch reveal above the top most rail and four inches reveal below the bottom most rail. This also meant my secondary fence columns had to also be reduced from 48 inches to 42 inches. This also forced me to shorten the main fence panels from 96 inches (8 feet) in height to 83 inches. Once the main measurements were determined I then started laying out the first of the main fence panels. I put the two end pickets in place with the proper reveals and nailed them in place. I then started filling in the pickets in the middle, I placed each picket where it belonged with the proper reveal at top and then marked and trimmed each picket to fit and nailed it in to place.

Fence layout 1.jpg

Once all the pickets were in place I nailed the cap piece in place, for the straight rails I ripped a 1 x 2 inch board into two 1 x 1 inch boards for use as cap pieces.

Horizontal Rail Cap.jpg

Horizontal Rail Cap 2.jpg

We then finished painting the fence panels and attached the decorative circles. For the decorative circles of the fence I cut two pieces of 3 inch PVC pipe into 7/8[SUP]th[/SUP] inch slices, which were sanded and pre-painted. I wouldn’t have gotten the fence panels done if it wasn’t for my Wife and Son doing the painting

Main Fence 1.jpg

Fence Section 1.jpg

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
 

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This is really impressive. Looks beautiful. I'm just curious how hard was it to really bet that plywood to bend the way you wanted it to? Also, you must have some really nice wood working equipment to make that scrap lumber look so nice. What did you use?

Edit: Wait I went back and look at your photos. I can see you've got a Ridgid compound mitersaw and a really nice looking table saw. Is that all you used? Did you use screws or air nails to put it together?
 

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The top rails were bent lamination, basically I made my own plywood but in the shape I wanted. Yes the mitersaw and my craftsman table saw are my main tools i used on this cut the wood, i did use a pneumatic finish nailed to assemble the fence panels.
 

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The top rails were bent lamination, basically I made my own plywood but in the shape I wanted. Yes the mitersaw and my craftsman table saw are my main tools i used on this cut the wood, i did use a pneumatic finish nailed to assemble the fence panels.
Beautiful! Really, really impressive work!
 
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