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How do I install the pickets for a Solid Wood fence?

How do I install the pickets? 

Again, we are building a six foot tall privacy fence.  The pickets will be set side by side, butted tight together to avoid any gaps.  The pickets will be installed on the neighbor /public side of the fence, leaving the good side out. 

  1. Layout enough pickets at each bay, standing the pickets up against the fence.
  2. At each change in grade, temporarily nail one picket.  Do not worry about properly spacing these pickets.  Once you begin to install all the pickets, these temporary pickets will be removed and fit into the fence line. 
  3. At each temporary picket, place a six penny nail half way into the top.howdoiinstallthepicketsforasolidwoodfence-1.png
  4. Run a string line from temporary picket to temporary picket, wrapping the string around each nail as shown below.
  5. The string line represents the top of the fence and how it flows.  Evaluate the string line to determine if you can make any adjustments in the fence line to “better make it flow.”  You may slightly push a picket into the ground and you may raise a picket a couple inches above grade.  Too much variation will lead to a large gap at the bottom of the fence.
  6. After making your adjustments, start at one end of the fence line.  Place your first picket flush to the edge of the house or end of rails. 
  7. Each picket will receive two six penny nails at each rail.  Nail the picket to the rail with one nail at the top rail. 
  8. Before proceeding to add more nails, place your torpedo level alongside of the picket and level it.
  9. Then, place another picket tightly up against the first picket.  Again, place one nail at the top, level the picket and then finish nailing it.  Repeat this process at each picket.  You may elect to only level every third picket to pick-up the pace but do not go too long before leveling your pickets.  It is easy to get out-of-plumb and have to remove the pickets.howdoiinstallthepicketsforasolidwoodfence-2.png
  10. howdoiinstallthepicketsforasolidwoodfence-3.pngWhen encountering a temporary picket, move it so that it does not interfere with the spacing but keep the string line intact.
  11. Initially, install only two nails per picket.  At the end of the run, you can then go back and hit the remaining nails.  This is recommended in case you do make a mistake or get out-of-plumb which will be evident at the end of each run. 
  12. When installing the nails, make sure that these are in the center of the rail and approximately one inch in from the side of the picket.  This is to avoid splitting the rail or picket.  Also, make sure that the nails are in a straight line and not jagging up and down. 

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© 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.

    © 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.