How To Install a Wooden Stockade Fence

Photo of fence

A stockade fence must be constructed and installed to withstand the forces of movement, weight and weather. The fencing must consist of a durable post and rail assembly that attaches to a sound post and foundation system. The fencing must be a minimum of 6’ high.

Begin by staking out the area to be fenced and draw string lines to establish the perimeter. Drive wood stakes at 6’ intervals along the string line. These will be the locations of the footings and fence posts. Dig the post footing 60” inches deep by 16” in diameter and ensure that the natural soil grade is well compacted and undisturbed. If the soil bed is loose. It will be necessary to re-compact the area at each of the post locations to 95% compaction at approximately 4’ each way of the post centers.

Once the post footings are excavated, place 12” x 12” moisture-treated posts, approximately 12 feet long each and secure them by installing the footing concrete. Plumb the posts and align them on square with the string line. Allow the footing concrete to cure for 48 hours before installing the fencing rails.

The fencing rails must be 3” thick, moisture-treated Doug fir and these rails will be installed horizontally at 24” intervals apart, beginning at 4” from the base of the posts. Layout the fence rails in the stockade area since the rails will be attached to the inside face of the posts. Measure the distance from center of one post to the center of the next. Cut the rails to this length and drill (3) ¾” holes, evenly spaced approximately 3-1/2” from the end of each rail. Continue this procedure until all the rails for the lowest course of rails are cut to length and pre-drilled.

Draw a string line between the posts, 4” above the grade and begin installing the rails above this line. Temporary blocking, nailed below the string line may be used to assist with placing the rails. Align a rail and fasten it using ¾” x 6” long hex-head lag bolts with plate washers. A smaller pilot hole may be drilled into the post if needed however, do not exceed ½ the diameter of the lag bolts for these pilot holes in order to ensure a fast connection.

Once the lowest rail is in place, install the next course of rails in the same manner. A spacer block may be used to ensure even spacing of the rails and assists with the installation. Once the rails are in place, check all lags for tight, but do not over-tighten. The connections should be stout and remain that way.

Coat the posts and rails with a durable weatherproof sealer and allow to dry and cure for at least 2 days before introducing livestock into the area.


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