Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More of Fencing: Season Two

I took advantage of the nice weather and long weekend to finish the section of fence from the house to the garage. Prior to this weekend I had gotten the posts set into place, so now all that was left was to put the wood in place. I say that as though it was just a trifle of work. After all, the panels and the gate were already assembled and cut to length - how much more work could it be? A surprisingly large amount, as I discovered last year. I estimate I spent about 5 hours each on Sunday and Monday. The results are nice, but to do it properly is painstaking work - a task somewhere between rough framing and finish carpentry.

I mentioned that I had the panels made by a local company. However, unlike last year, they used the semi-decorative rails that aren't strictly rectangular in cross section, but rather have one convex face. They still attached to the metal posts alright, and would eventually be covered with facia boards. Still, it was, like the 7' posts that were actually 8', a vexing detail.

Another vexing detail: like I discovered with last year's fence, the large granite blocks that make up the foundation below grade step outward from the house the further down you go. So, instead of having this terminal post close up against the side of the house, it was a foot away. I would need to take this panel and split off a bit to mount on the other side, to close off the gap to the house.

One nice thing about white cedar: it is fantastically easy to make a quick, clean cut with hand tools.

I pulled the 4"-wide picket off the rails and replaced it with a 6" to close the gap to the house

That's starting to look like a fence. Except for that big hole in the middle. That's for the gate.

You can see here the gate installation in-progress. The gate post on the right, which is two of the metal posts back-to-back, has been fleshed out a bit more with 2"x2" segments, capped with 1"x5" boards and a whole bunch of screws holding the pieces tight to one another. This gives the post a bit more meat for attaching the gate hinge, and makes it look a lot more attractive than the bare metal.

Single-handedly getting the 40-lb gate up to just the right height, and level, and holding it in place while I attach the hinges to it and the gate post is no small feat. I managed it though, and it swings as smooth and easily as one could hope for. Unlike its predecessor, which dragged its way inwards across the grass, this one is set to swing outwards, and has a few inches of clearance above the pavement below. It won't do anything to stop cats from coming and going, but should be plenty against a wily, fuzzy black dog.

The facia wood for post opposite the gate came next, along with the gate latch. Some more cutting and screwing of facia boards, and I was ready to declare it done.

Looks pretty good from the outside, too.

So that's two of four fence sections in the back yard taken care of. The other two, which go along the property line, will be larger endeavors. For one, there's just a lot more footage to deal with. For another, it'll be 6' privacy fencing, which means taller posts (probably not set deeper, though) and much heavier panels - probably a two-person job. On the other hand, there won't be any gates to worry about, so locating the posts can be a bit more relaxed. Let's hope I can work up the courage to take it on soon.