Zigzag ( Worm Snake Virginia ) Fence help!

ghoti2(z7b/8a SC)February 24, 2010

We have been given the use of 12 acres of recently clear-cut land to make into a Community Garden. There are literally acres of limbs and tree tops scattered on the ground that we need to clean up to prepare the garden plots. We would like to use this wood to make rustic fencing such as a zigzag style fence. The construction of this fence seems straight forward from the info I can find. What I do need help with is how to construct the corners and gate/entrances through zigzag fences. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Black iron corners and plates would provide sound structural connections while keeping the rustic look.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 4:27PM
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ghoti2(z7b/8a SC)

What are black iron corners and plates?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 4:42PM
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I tried to find a link, but no such luck. Think black wrought iron angle.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 5:21PM
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I assume you are wrangling a deal with one of the area tree companies to arrange to have a chipper on site for several days to chip some of the debris which is pure gold to your community garden. So many uses for those chips such as composting some and also using them as mulch for pathways. I would further guess that with so much acreage you will be setting up a fruit tree growing section and the chips would make excellent mulch for that situation.

I walked a zigzag fence last week in NC. The gate was attached to round cedar posts, the type used for split rail fencing. There must be a fence installing company in your area which should have an example set up of how this is done. There is a a great deal of definitive building information using search plus references to fence building books which should answer all your questions.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 10:30AM
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Have a look at the way pioneers (they invented the fence you are talking about)did it, if a community garden serves any purpose are we not talking about empowering? That is using your human resources. Ordinary joes didn't consult the internet when they came to a corner in the fence.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 5:37PM
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ghoti2(z7b/8a SC)

"Inkognito" Someone did invented it and then other followed their example. If we always try to re-invent something on our own rather than learn from someone elses experience and then improve on it ourselves we would never make any progress.
I know how to lay the logs to make a zig zag fence line. What I haven't been able to find is information on how to accommodate for gaps /gate areas. Been trying to work out the problem with pencils and while I can get them to stack properly the ends at the gap area have no support and fall causing a cascade effect along the fence.

"Nadina" yes an orchard with fruit and nut trees are planned, Possibly chicken and goats as well. We have tons of wood for chipping and will use that as mulch for path ways and in the orchard. We are planning on planting 100 blueberry bushed and put individual wire cages over them to keep the deer and rabbits away till they get to a good size. We want to use the zigzag fencing to separate plot areas from wildlife areas from orchard etc. Free fencing (minus labor) is good and should add an aesthetic look to the area

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 2:24AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

My recollection of such things is that they just ended. The last run of logs were spread in an arc on the ground.

They are relatively common at colonial historic sites in Pennsylvania and probably Virginia. They are absolutely brutal to mow around, and all the ones I've seen have just been for looks.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 10:18AM
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ghoti2(z7b/8a SC)

"mad gallica" Thanks that is what I had surmised but haven't been able to see any descriptions/instructions nor pics of a gap/gate opening in the fence.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 10:40AM
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Zigzag rail fences are often seen in this ranching/forest area - some are quite old and others new. They are very labor intensive which is one reason we've never done one ourselves.

I'm sure there are many ways of building these fences but I'll tell you what I know. At the bottom of each corner ranchers put either a chunk sliced off a log or a large flat stone to keep the rails off the ground so they don't rot too quickly. I've heard some people also drill a vertical hole thru the rails/logs at each 'corner' and place a rebar to hold the rails together.

There is a way to build a 'gate' (which is not really a gate, as such) for people but which cattle and horses cannot get thru altho it's not easy to describe and I cannot find a pic online w/a quick search. What is done is that the fence is constructed so the person has to walk in a 'V' alley which is fairly narrow. Cattle and horses do not have space to do the same and will not walk where they cannot see a clear path. Maybe someone else can describe this better. It may not be what you need as it won't keep people or small animals out.

Wherever you need access to this garden you could overlap the fencing leaving a space for people to walk. The rebar idea would help keep the fence together at those ends. I think it's the mass of the log rails that will keep it secure. Wouldn't be easy to push over. If you do need a proper gate for security you could use a couple of posts in those areas and hang the gate on them. Use spikes to connect the rails to the posts in those areas (or wire them together) otherwise the posts won't stay vertical. Some physics involved in fence building when it comes to dealing with the stress at corners and gates.

I haven't read this site but there are pics showing this type of fence.

Here is a link that might be useful: stack rail fence

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 4:17PM
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To do gaps, pound 4 uprights into the ground :: with two on each side of the gap to hold the stacked poles. For corners, pound two uprights into the ground at a 45 degree angle to the fence lines and stack the poles in the gap. Uprights are often painted steel fenceposts for rot resistance.

"Gates" are usually the

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 12:36PM
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