Home & Garden

How to build a picket fence

How to build a picket fence

A picket fence is ideal for Federation homes and consists of a number of evenly spaced pickets attached to two horizontal rails supported by posts spaced about 2m apart.

You can build a fence by cutting all the pickets the same length, or you can create a curved look by adjusting their lengths and attaching the shortest in the centre and the longest at the ends.

To build the fence, temporarily position the posts to check the height, then cut the rail housings. Sink the posts in the ground with concrete and leave to set. Secure the rails in the housings, then attach the pickets. 

Secure the pickets 

The key to building a professional-looking fence is to keep the picket’s level and evenly spaced. Use spacers to make sure the gaps are even, aligning the tops of the pickets with a stringline set between the posts.

Step 1: Make pilot hole

Make a pilot hole jig by drilling two pairs of 3mm holes into a picket aligned to each of the rails. Offset the pairs of holes 15mm from the edges to prevent twisting. Position the jig to drill into three pickets at a time.

Step 2: Set pickets

Set out the pickets using two 33mm wide spacers made from offcuts with a cross member so they can hang off the rails. Mark out the picket positions with even spacing, starting at the centre of the rails and working towards either side.

Step 3: Prepare pickets

Prepare the pickets by cutting them to size with a mitresaw, sanding with 150 grit abrasive paper, then priming and painting. Secure each picket using two 45mm x 8g square drive treated pine screws, checking for plumb with a level.

Republished with permission of Handyman Australia.