Kentucky 3 Rail Fence, need rail size.


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I just had a new septic drain field put in and they had to kill about 20 feet of the crappy picket fence the prior owner never took care of. I'm going to replace it with a Kentucky 3 rail fence, 6" posts on 6' centers (in think), but am not sure what to use for rails.... are they 1"x6"?

Like this:


Looks like 1x6 to me, but not sure.


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Jul 15, 2008
Waynesburg Kentucky
Typically the fences are built with 6" posts 8' on center with 1 1/8" x 6" x16 ft. rails. Personally I like the look of the 4 board fences here but I'm not the one paying for it.

At Home Camaro

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Mar 13, 2002

See below for a pic of my backyard fence, very typical of "post and board fencing". The added wire (2x4 galv steel ) is to keep the dog in.

What is common to use for fencing boards are rough cut 1x6 oak, 16' lengths (they will be 1" thick by 6" wide, not surface planed). If you have a real sawmill or a good lumberyard you can get boards like this. Fresh from the mill - not kiln dried - they will weigh a ton, but you can cut and drive nails thru them easier than when they are dry. The posts you see in the pic are round sided pressure treated landscaping timbers (except the corners which are 4x4 square sided), I took 16 footers, cut them in half, buried about 3 foot in a hole (no cement), and cut the tops after the fence was up.

The fence in the pic is about 25 years old and I have done nothing to it ever. It is near the end of it's useful life, the wire is shot, the 2 top boards could maybe stay but the bottom boards will all be replaced soon (probably just replace them all).

Fencing like mine is a bit wavy, not square and even - that happens as the boards age. But I like that look. The oak is chosen not just because it's cheap but it's strong enough to keep horses (don't have any, but built lots of fences like this on horse farms) from pushing down and breaking the top rail to get at the grass on the other side. For that matter, a horse just leaning or itching on a 1x6 pine board would go right thru it. If you want even and regular, then choose some 5/4x6 pressure treated decking boards - the extra thickness is worth it. A regular 1x6 pine fence board will not stand up well as people climb over them from time to time. Definitely try to get 16 footers, use 8' post centers and stagger the seams.

Most of the work is all about digging holes, the actual fence construction is easy.

3 vs 4 board fencing is all about preferences, obviously 4 boards will cost you 1/3 again as much. Also in your pic the vertical boards are all about hiding the ends of the horizontal boards, again a preference thing.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks guys... that helped a lot. Stuff for the first leg of the fence should be in the driveway by the time I get home tonight. :)

Gonna do it one side at a time - a: so I can pay for it in cash, b: so I can recuperate and not be all crippled up, lol.