Instructables

Road Sign Fence

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For the 2010-2011 academic year, I have been the construction manager for the Greensboro, Alabama chapter of YouthBuild. YouthBuild (http://www.youthbuild.org) is a national program funded by the Department of Labor that provides low-income young people a chance to study for their GED and acquire trade skills, all while earning a small stipend for their labor. This fall, my students and I built a fence adjacent to our campus. It encloses a playground constructed by the Rural Studio (http://www.ruralstudio.org) in 1997 and currently used by a daycare center. The local county and state highway engineering offices donated old road signs, which we then cut, sanded, filed, and drilled to create pickets. Using jigs and a self-organized assembly line, the students manufactured nearly a thousand pickets for roughly 225 linear feet of fencing. By cutting and randomly re-assembling the signs, the graphics were broken and rebuilt into a new collage of abstract symbol and color.

Unfortunately, the new Congress has voted to completely eliminate YouthBuild's funding in the next budget, potentially causing all 273 YouthBuild affiliates to shut their doors once their funding runs out. In 2007, the most recent year figures were available to me, YouthBuild cost the federal government $50 million dollars. This represents a mere .00039 percent of America's current deficit, yet, by some studies, YouthBuild generates $9 of economic output for every $1 spent on it. We are working hard to get America's economy back on track by training skilled workers and helping young folks help themselves rise above their circumstances. Please help us by signing this online petition in favor of YouthBuild's continued funding: http://www.change.org/petitions/save-youthbuild-act-now-2#?opt_new=t&opt_fb=t

I would like to thank all the students who participated in building the fence last fall: Raheem Ameen, LaDarius Carlisle, Anthony Davis, Nathaniel Davis, Quency Edwards, Shineka Gilmore, Jamie Gray, Jonta Greene, LeDarius Kennedy, Percy Lawson, Markel Lewis, Marshe Lewis, Andrew Mitchell, John Mullen, Marcus Pasteur, Marcus Richardson, Korderra Robinson, Tyisha Thomas, Dai-Samona Waller, Eric Watkins, Shakena Webb, Melvin Webster, Eric White, and Roderick Williams.

I would also like to thank the YouthBuild staff: Jon Carter, Dakesha Greene, Dan O'Hara, RaMell Ross, Ron Ross, Carter White, and Sara Williamson. Thanks to RaMell for the first ten photos and several more throughout (http://www.ramellross.com)

You will need these materials:

Approx. 80-100 3' x 3' aluminum road signs, reasonably flat and bullet-hole free
6" x 6" x 10' pressure treated posts (for corners and sides of gates)
4" x 4" x 10' pressure treated posts (for intermediate posts)
2" x 4" x 10' pressure treated horizontals
3" galvanized screws
1-1/4" galvanized screws
Quickcrete

You will need these tools:

Posthole diggers
Shovels
Picks
Wheelbarrow
Circular saw/table saw
40+ tooth carbide saw blades
Chop saw
Impact driver
Drill
Carbide drill bits
Measuring tape
Level
Speed Square
Chalkline



 
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justjill1 month ago
Great instructions!!
very nice use of recycled material. i didnt even know you could get old road signs
Dr. P1 year ago
Good for you and what you're doing.
WUVIE1 year ago
Wow. This is absolutely fantastic! A job very well done by all!
This is ace
crazyg1 year ago
a night photo with headlights or big flash would look great, super high viz fence,sharp edge security,easy clean and lasts for ages. if i built one id be arrested for theft of public property.
The signs were decommissioned and donated by the city. And don't tripple post please.
sorry not deliberate, not sure what going on there x3.super donation!
fwray3 years ago
LOVE THIS IDEA!!!
tinker2343 years ago
nice lovely
I love your sign fence iv always wanted to do something like this like a license plate roof or something i agree with drbill its realy redneck im from west virginia myself and iv seen a couple but not like this there just road signs wired to a chain-link fence but yours is AWESOME
Momastray3 years ago
Your fence is awesome! I would love to have a fence like that. I hope more people do this and make use of these old signs. I would if I could. Great job!
chicopluma3 years ago
its incredible that those signs go to waste, but your fence is a piece of art, nice work
There are a bunch of instructables on here that use road signage. If nothing else, you could sell some of the signs to city people on the Eday or Craigslist and get some startup money. If people like the look of your fencing, sell it in unassembled sections. DIY for the far off homeowner!

Sorry for rambling on so much, my inner capitalist just went into overdrive!
Who needs funding? If you can still get those signs free, you and the kids can make all sorts of things and sell them yourselves! It would be EXCELLENT learning in trades, business, and marketing!

I am sure there is some kindly person(s) to help with tools to use. With all of that raw material I think the sky is the limit for all of you!
zack2473 years ago
now that, is really cool. i wish more people would do this, fences like these are so nice to look at!
a lot of homeowners associations wouldn't allow it
Yes Sir most of them do not and will not have a sense of humor, but we who live otherwise are in luck and this project looks like fun, and a team effort .
mrscythe1233 years ago
Hey cool!
I live in Huntsville my friend!
Good stuff!
leonardml3 years ago
I love seeing repurposing at work. Great job wholman!!
Dr.Bill3 years ago
lol This is so redneck, I love it !

You ever hear Jeff Foxworthy ?
They're in Alabama. They've heard of Jeff Foxworthy ;)
ewilhelm3 years ago
The difference between the inside and outside views is really striking, and really highlights the lost potential for color and art of most fences.
woodNfish3 years ago
"...a lot of signs or portions of signs had to be discarded due to bullet holes, excessive dents or bending that couldn't be hammered out, or other damage."

That's called "character".
That is such a creative work of art, great way to recyle as well.

Goin to sign the petition!
really really awesome. Sorry bout your funding.

I enjoy the note that the signs should be bullet hole free. :)
alan4813 years ago
Hook your tape measure to the blade of the PHD (post hole digger). Use a Sharpie or other permanent marker to place tick marks at 1/2 inch intervals along the handles. This way, you know the depth of the hole as you dig and do not have to stop every few buckets to measure.
Awesome, bummer about Youthbuild's funding, I used to work with Americorps and Youthbuild in Lawrence MA and the stuff they did was awesome and great for the community, I've signed your petition! Great Work btw!
Nice Work and creative! Greensboro is about a two hour drive from here. 3 hours from Huntsville depending on traffic and the "Southern Foot" Next time I'm in Greensboro, Ill check it out.
Wasagi3 years ago
Nice!!
fzumrk3 years ago
Great Project!  I hope you can maintain funding for your organization.  Our current government seems to be determined to eliminate any programs that actually invest in our future.

Check out this similar project I saw in Meadville, PA (not my website):

http://fiveprime.org/hivemind/Tags/art,meadville


I would love to see it up close and meet all of you. It's art in so many ways. Thanks so much for telling and showing us the pictures of this inovative project. Well Done!!!!
hafsteinn3 years ago
nice work!
baneat3 years ago
Good luck getting YouthBuild back up! it sounds like a worthy organisation.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
nice work, I'll bet this looks awesome at night with light reflections!
Dr. Pepper3 years ago
Very, very cool!