Deck Railing With Hogwire Panels





Introduction: Deck Railing With Hogwire Panels

About: At Nelson Treehouse and Supply we strive to create the most interesting and beautiful treehouses in the world and to provide high quality services, information and supplies that allow others do the same. Ou...

Want to add a bit of flair to your deck/patio? Learn how to make these hog wire panels for your next railing. Nelson Treehouse & Supply has used these railings on treehouses across America. Now we want to teach you how!

Step 1: Tools & Materials

In order to complete this project, you're going to need some tools & materials!

Step 2: Preliminary Sketch

Before diving into any carpentry project, it's best to set yourself up for success. Putting a sketch on paper will help you visually understand what you will be building, and provide a place to record measurements & important information later!

Step 3: Dado the 2x2

The hogwire panel will be set in place via the 2x2's. In order to accomplish this, you're going to have to Dado out a channel. The nature of the hogwire prevents us from channeling out the 2x2 dead center. The true dimension of a 2x2 is 1.5 inches. Therefore you will set the fence on your table saw with 3/4" to the outside of the Dado blade. Then, set the heigh to 1/2", this will allow plenty of room to lock in the hogwire panel. Once your blade is set, go ahead and rip the 2x2!

Step 4: Measure & Cut 2x2's to Size

Your 4x4 posts are attached to the deck at the base, this is where you will pull your measurement. In this case we land at 40". Now is a good time to record your measurements on the preliminary sketch. Subtract the 3 inch gap from each side, along with the vertical 2x2's. This gives us 31" for our horizontal 2x2 frame. We know that our 4x4 posts are 36" tall. Therefore, subtracting the 3" gap along the top and bottom, along with our 2x4 horizontals, land us at 27" for our vertical 2x2's.

Head over to the miter saw and chop your 2x2's to length!

Step 5: Assemble the 2x2 Frame

Now that you have your 2x2's cut to length, it's time to assemble the frame! Make sure the dado cut on your vertical 2x2's run opposite of the dado cut on your horizontal 2x2's (refer to image above). Use the drill & countersink bit to make pilot holes, If you skip this step there is a good chance your 2x2's will split! Then secure your frame with 9x3 Flat head screws.

Step 6: Cut Hogwire to Size

Visually, it is best to have your hogwire centered within the wood frame. Measure the interior size of the wood frame, and add 1" (=1/2" dado on both sides) to the horizontal and vertical measurements. Then, strategically cut hogwire to size so it will fit centered within your wood frame.

Step 7: Pull Apart 2x2 Frame and Set the Hogwire

You can see now, how the hogwire will dive into the dado kerf. Pull apart the wood frame, set the Hogwire panel in the dado, and screw it back together! You'll notice on this step why we offset the dado cut.

Step 8: Cut 2x4s to Frame in Hogwire Panel

Now that you have the hogwire panel made, you can see how it will "float" between the 4x4 posts. In order to achieve this, we will frame it in with 2x4's. Remember the measurement you pulled from the base of the 4x4s? In our case it was 40". Go ahead and cut two 2x4's to that length.

Step 9: Install Bottom 2x4

We used left over 4x4 to cut 3" blocks. This will make installation a breeze and keep you from wishing you had four arms! Throw the spacers down, set the 2x4 ontop, and toe screw them into the 4x4 posts.

Step 10: Install Hogwire Panel

Using the same 3" block, set the hogwire panel on top of the 2x4 you just installed. Measure 1" in from the side of the 2x4 and attach the panel through the dado cut using 9x2 trim head screws.

Step 11: Install Top 2x4

Set the second 2x4 on top of the Hogwire panel and toe screw it into place.

Step 12: Install Top Cap

Once you have installed all of your hogwire panels, It's time to finish with your top cap! Take your top cap material and screw it in with 9x3 Flat head screws! We toe screw from the bottom to avoid seeing the screw holes.

Don't forget to pat yourself on the back & enjoy your new hogwire deck railings!

2 People Made This Project!


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22 Discussions

I was just about ready to start my own instructable on hogwire railings when I found yours. You did such a great job on the tips and construction details another version would just be a duplicate! Our design is a little different, but fundamentals are the same. I will include some photos and tips on where we differ.

I love your design using offset dados to hold the wire panel. I don't have a table saw/dado blade, and instead used pre-made 1"x2" cedar lattice caps (many big box hardware stores carry them in 96" lengths). These have a slot about 3/8" wide which will accommodate the offset wires in the panels, with the downside that the overall fit is a bit looser.

We also used a double rail design on top for a couple reasons: The double thickness allows for longer spans between posts if you are looking for a more open design, and we wanted a recessed lip to run RGB LED Strip lighting.

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3 replies

This looks great! So how did you do the lighting? I have a small table saw, but like the idea of the pre-made ones. I live in the deep south. Will the cedar hold up? Did you use a 2x2 and then attached the fames to it?

The fence is in Eugene, OR - so it gets plenty wet for six months of the year, and cold for about three, but nothing like the heat and humidity you would get in the south. Cedar is naturally rot and insect resistant - I find if you take the time to seal it with a stain, particularly the end grains, it stands up well. I ultimately did post my designs, you can see them here:

The lighting is regular 5m spools of 5050 RGB LED lights that you can get online. We ran a heavy duty transformer to power most of the runs of lights (no more than 2 x strands per run) and a wireless controller which had better range and allowed us to hide the controller box. We just tacked the lights up under the rails with the little plastic clips and SS screws you can also buy online.

Wow, this looks awesome! There's definitely no one right way to do it, and it looks like you nailed it!

We love the LED strip lighting idea, adds a great touch!

Hello I love your hog wire fence tutorial and want to do this on my deck but I am having a hard time finding the wire any help would be appreciated thanks.


Question 2 months ago

Beautiful job. What gauge wire did you use on this project ?

This is awesome!! It just so happens that I am in the middle of a treehouse project right now. Thanks for the great design

7 replies

If you end up building hogwire railings we would love to see your finished product! even if you don't, we'd love to see it! Maybe check out this project as well:

I did take a look at that ship's ladder, and I think I will be borrowing very heavily from your design (if not copying it outright from the Instructable) for the ladder to my tree house. I am still considering the hogwire railing, though I need to find a supplier close by. I think it would look much better, as well as being more fun for my little one to be able to see through most of the railing. Here is a shot of where I currently am.



I was thinking the same thing. I haven't gotten to the point of building the railing on my daughter's elevated playhouse, but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. This is perfect!!! I'll add photos when I finish it.

We would love to see photos! Awesome to hear people putting this DIY to use!

I like the idea of using these in a treehouse too, but I worry that the panels could be pushed out by active kids, or if someone fell against them. Is this unlikely? I was thinking perhaps cutting the panels so that there is a perimeter of metal mesh that can be locked into the dado with a few screws or a bead of gorilla glue

There are multiple different ways to construct these panels, use your creativity! We've used these panels in dozens of treehouses! I've yet to hear of someone breaking through one!

Great idea for railings....did you put silicone in the bottom dado kerf? I would think that moisture would be trapped there and rot the wood. We are redoing our deck and am considering this railing as it look sharp and your instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

Does anyone have a source for the hogwire panels in South East Michigan? I've tried the fencing supply companies, and it appears Home Depot or Lowes don't stock it. Tractor Supply does, but in a higher gauge.

3 replies

This looks great, but how does it handle the weather? Do you remove the rust from the hog panels and paint them, or just let it rust? I don't like how rust makes the wood turn black, and eventually the wire will just rust through and fall out.