Over the past year we’ve spent time mending horse fences. Some repairs worked, some didn’t last. Here’s what we’ve learned:
- Screws work better than nails. Eventually nails creep out, especially since horses tend to lean against fence boards pretty hard. At least ours do.
- When using screws, drill pilot holes first. Otherwise you end up with wood splitting. In fact, many of the boards that were nailed in actually split from the nail.
- Have spares – never know when you need them, such as in the middle of the night. There have been a few times this year when we heard a loud bang outside and it turned out the horses had broken a fence board. It’s important to have spares around for emergency repairs.
- Save broken fence pieces for other repairs. We occasionally have a break in the middle of our 12 foot fence boards. We’ll take the two halves and trim them for use as center supports.
- Center supports work and look nice. A center support is simply a small section of board attached across the center of the three fence boards. Lots of people don’t use them but I find our 12 foot sections tend to sag over time in the middle. The center support ties the three boards together in the middle to prevent that and to spread the force of a horse leaning on the middle across all three boards. They also look nice.
- Fences are expensive! We discovered our 3 board fence costs about $40 per 12 foot section. That really adds up when you’re looking to put in 150 foot of fencing. We may need to replace a few sections of barbed wire fence at a time.
I have an idea for a fence strengthening brace that might also look really nice. The idea came to me while I brainstormed about how to save the fence boards that had split at their nail holes. I wanted to see if there was a way I could repair them using easy-to-find and inexpensive hardware items. What I came up with is a simple piece of flat steel brace with three holes in it. If I screw the fence boards into the posts through one of these, it would spread the grip of those three screws across the entire brace, essentially clamping the board onto the post. And if I painted it black and maybe rounded the corners, it would like nice against the wood. Here’s my concept photo:
The braces should cost less than $.50 each, or about $3 per 12 foot section. I’m still toying with the idea but I’m thinking about trying it on a small section of fence to see what it looks like.
Other posts about fence mending: