Fence panel design
Photo: Mathew Benson
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Fence Panels

Whether you choose a picket, board, spindle, or lattice style, premade wooden fence panels can be had at many lumberyards and home centers for a reasonable price. But building your own panels from scratch allows you to customize their design and use longer-lasting, premium lumber stock.

Walpole Woodworkers built the 3½-foot-high northern white cedar fence sections shown here off-site, then trucked them to the job for installation.

Here's how they're made: For each one, a frame is laid down on the worktable consisting of a top and bottom rail and two side cleats. Horizontal lattice battens are spaced 3½ inches apart and attached to the side cleats with galvanized nails. Vertical battens are stapled to the horizontal ones with the same spacing; then they're nailed to the top and bottom rails. A second frame is placed on top, sandwiching the lattice, then screwed through the rails and cleats. On-site, each section is screwed into fence posts through the cleats. The rail cap is attached flush to the top rails, nailed at either end and in the middle with two offset nails. Caps are nailed onto posts through each side. Holes are filled (and touched up, if needed) once the fence is complete.
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