I got the idea for this fence while taking my students to Colonial Plantation located in Ridley Creek State Park.  After we moved into our new home, there were two problems that needed to be addressed.  First, we had a number of oak trees that needed to come down and second, there is a drainage ditch in the back that we wanted to put a simple barrier in front of.  The solution?  Use the wood from the trees to create a simple split rail fence like the one I saw on the field trip.  In addition, I wanted to recreate the experience of an early American colonist as (relatively) authentically as possible.

The best part about this style of fence is that it does not require nails or screws.  It is quick and easy to disassemble to re-position or move completely somewhere else.  Plus, if you are unhappy with the results, with a few quick cuts from a chainsaw, you have a nice stack of firewood.  

DISCLAIMER:  You assume any and all risk.  Remember: You are always one small slip away from an ER visit.

It is imperative that you take several precautions before starting this project.

1.  If you are attempting this project, it is assumed that you have experience using the tools listed in the materials section.
2.  Always wear eye and hearing protection.  Avoid wearing shorts and open-toed shoes.
3.  Pace yourself!  Accidents tend to happen when you get tired or bored.  Need a break?  Take it!

  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection (the sledgehammer hitting the wedge is surprising loud!)
  • Sledgehammer
  • 2-3 splitting wedges
  • Maul
  • Logs cut to length
  • Chainsaw (optional)

Step 1: Selecting Logs to Split

Virtually any type of tree will work for your fence.  Oak is a very good choice as it splits easily and lasts for years.  You want to select pieces that are roughly 1-1.5 feet in diameter.  These sizes will generally yield 4+ rails each.    Length is up to you.  I cut each log to approximately 6 feet in length.  You can cut yours longer or shorter, depending on application.  I used an oak tree that uprooted during Hurricane Sandy.  It will be used to repair the fence that it destroyed when it came down.
Thanks for this great idea! I had to adapt it to use very thin pieces of wood I had, but it turned out great since I only needed a small fence to turn the babies away from a steep slop.The whole family loves it ;-)
<p>That looks great! Thanks for the pic!</p>
btw good ible! Jeff Gordon! 24 all the way!
Thanks! I though Jeff was going to have that win at Sonoma last week!
:) Let's hope he wins at Kentucky this week! Do you ever go to races?
I try to got to at least 2 a year. Mainly Dover and Pocono. I actually saw Jeff win at Pocono in 2011.
Oh cool! I've never seen him win in person, but go to about 2 a year too (this year Charlotte and Kentucky this weekend). My favorite highlight this year was when the camera cable fell in NC. It was pretty wierd. My dads favorite (Harvick) won though. <br><br>My least favorite driver: Kyle Busch
Wow this looks great!
Thank you very much!
how stable is the fence? I think this would be a cool project.
Hi, thanks for checking out my instructable! The fence is very stable. My original one was built in 2006 and was still in great shape up until a tree took it out during Hurricane Sandy. I will say that it is not meant to be climbed, which is part of the reason that I keep it at 2.5 feet high (so I can easily step over it if necessary). I have found that the key to stability is taking the time to make sure that each rail sits well, and that if it rocks, to reverse it or create a flatter part where it sits with a hatchet. The fence should last many years and withstand storms, harsh weather, getting hit by an errant soccer ball, etc. Thanks again!
your a Jr fan eh?

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