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I hate ornamental fencing

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  • I hate ornamental fencing

    There are many reasons to hate it. One of the best reasons is the way it is sold now in the box stores and through wholesalers we're competing with guys installing it who have less than a thousand dollars invested in new equipment doing it.

    They have a one man auger they bought for a couple of hundred, a 110 volt flux core mig for about twice that, a sawsall, and now they're an ornamental fence installer.

    Another reason to hate it is the stuff coming in by the container load from China is as good if not better than the local boys are making if you consider durability.

    If you want to see something check out the stuff Ameristar is making to compete with the stuff from China. It's better and it comes with a twenty year warranty on the color. They bring it in on train cars as forty ton coils of galvanized sheet. It leaves finished and coated inside and outside. It's not powder coated. It's actually dipped in a tank of paint twice. It's got color inside and outside, no rust potential anywhere.

    But probably the best reason to hate it is the consumer can't tell the difference between stuff made by craftsmen and just stuff.

    So I don't do it. If you're a good friend and you want to buy the materials I'll do a better job of installing the prefabbed stuff than the next guy will. But I'll complain the whole time.

    I have a bud. He needed some picket ornamental fencing. I got prices from some wholesalers for him and agreed to install it. Looking at what he needed it for and what we were looking at material wise I ended up going to King Metals here in Dallas and doing it my way.

    One inch pressed point pickets, one inch 14 ga rails, 1 1/2" fourteen gauge posts. Pickets welded to the faces of the rails.

    Now if you've ever welded pickets to the faces of rails you know you get a heckuva bowing problem. If you look at the stuff the wholesalers have you know that it is basically tack welded to cut back on that bowing problem.

    I've been to production shops that knocked that stuff out big time and seen a couple of guys jumping up and down on panels to straighten them out before they were sent on to the powder coating process.

    I have an old jig thing kind of table that's seen a thing or two. A new project comes along and it gets modified the minimum to get the job done. So it looks, well, like it has been rode hard and put away wet way too many times.

    I had a hundred foot of fence to make. I'm old. Because of that and wanting to keep the weight of the panels down for handling I made six foot panels.

    The first thing is to eliminate the bowing problem.
    Attached Files
    life is good

  • #2
    If you look down those panels you will see they're pretty well straight. Keep in mind the pickets aren't tacked to the rails.
    Attached Files
    life is good

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    • #3
      I welded a tab for each rail on to the jig. These tabs fit inside the rails.
      Attached Files
      life is good

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      • #4
        This isn't my first rodeo. I figured I would try out a one inch bow up front. It seemed like memory has it that I'll get about a one inch bow in a six foot panel of fourteen gauge one inch tubing.

        So I built the one inch bow at the middle in the jig. The far end is pulled down in place with C clamps.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by wroughtnharv; 02-18-2011, 10:22 PM.
        life is good

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        • #5
          One of the things I like to do if the panels are to be installed in existing concrete, this one is, is weld in the posts, one per panel, except for the first panel, two poster that one.
          Attached Files
          life is good

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          • #6
            Looks pretty straight to me harv. Nice work and I'm sure its gonna hold up better then the mass produced stuff.

            Would you mind sharing a pic of the die you used to pinch the picket tops?

            Thanks for sharing.

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            • #7
              As you can see, I got lucky on the one inch guesstimation.

              Since there are only sixteen panels I pulled a tape for each picket. I will probably never ever need this particular version of the jig table again. If I was to do much of this I would of course weld int stops, keeping mind of course the need to slide the panel out to free it from the rail tabs, grin.

              I first tacked the pickets in place, one tack to the top rail and one tack to the bottom rail, opposite side to keep from rolling the picket with the weld pull.

              Then I ran it hot and fast as possible so that the heat would be pretty well uniform. I released the two C clamps and pulled the rail out from the tabs.

              It worked as you can see, came out of the jig already wanting to do right.

              The powder coater will wipe off the oil and grease and powder it black for two dollars per foot. That beats painting ten times multiplied by a million times.
              Attached Files
              life is good

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tom37 View Post
                Looks pretty straight to me harv. Nice work and I'm sure its gonna hold up better then the mass produced stuff.

                Would you mind sharing a pic of the die you used to pinch the picket tops?

                Thanks for sharing.
                Those four foot long pickets are on sale at King for $1.42 each. That's over half off. In fact that's less than if I bought the one inch tubing in twenty foot sticks per foot price, .35 per foot and it's stamped.

                Unless you're turning out hundreds of panels there is no reason to buy an ironworker and a die for pressing points in pickets. In fact, if you're turning out that kind of volume you're better off ordering container loads from China like the big fence guys do.
                life is good

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                • #9
                  This fence is designed to be attached to the back side of retaining wall. It's supposed to cause bad guys to think twice. One of the advantages of welding the posts and then centering a picket on the post is there is a continuous line of pickets for the bad guys to admire.
                  life is good

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                  • #10
                    Nice thread Harv. I've used the pre-bow method building pasture gates out of pipe and putting welded wire on. As you know, a little practice and you can make the gate come out straight with no bow in it.
                    Jim

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                    • #11
                      There is a way to weld it to prevent the panel from bowing.

                      The welds now are holding the pickets with a vertical weld on each side of the picket. So when you add up all of those transverse welds on the frame the pickets are attached to, the amount of shrinking of each weld is what is making the frame bowed because they are all on one side of the tubing . When all are added up.

                      Instead of welding vertically on each side of the picket to the panel rail weld the
                      pickets on the horizontal on the bottom of that top rail and on the TOP of the bottom rail.

                      That way all of the welds will be longitudinal on that panel rail and on the very corner. I will post a drawing.

                      The other thing you could do is to put the pickets on alternating sides and then there would be an equal number of welds on both sides of the rail the pickets are attached to. Shrinkage would be equal on both sides.
                      Last edited by Donald Branscom; 02-22-2011, 03:24 PM.

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                      • #12
                        One more possible solution.
                        Visualize this in steel.

                        Put a rail on both sides then there will be equal welds on each side and the welds will be less visible.



                        And one more idea...
                        If you took the bowed panel and lay it on the ground and pass a torch flame down the opposite side of the panel the same direction as the weld ,every where there is a weld, then the panel will shrink on that side and it will flatten out.
                        You could start in the middle and work your way towards the ends. Just do every other weld to start with and maybe that is all it will take. Just a red hot path going the same direction of the weld but on the opposite side of the tube.
                        Last edited by Donald Branscom; 02-22-2011, 03:37 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Donald Branscom View Post
                          There is a way to weld it to prevent the panel from bowing.

                          The welds now are holding the pickets with a vertical weld on each side of the picket. So when you add up all of those transverse welds on the frame the pickets are attached to, the amount of shrinking of each weld is what is making the frame bowed because they are all on one side of the tubing . When all are added up.

                          Instead of welding vertically on each side of the picket to the panel rail weld the
                          pickets on the horizontal on the bottom of that top rail and on the TOP of the bottom rail.

                          That way all of the welds will be longitudinal on that panel rail and on the very corner. I will post a drawing.

                          The other thing you could do is to put the pickets on alternating sides and then there would be an equal number of welds on both sides of the rail the pickets are attached to. Shrinkage would be equal on both sides.
                          Sir,no disrespect but regradless of how you weld those pickets, as long as they are welded on one side it will bow.Fabricate a 6 foot section welded like you say and post a picture. I personally run my horizontal pieces thru my roll bender first to put a slight bend in it before I weld the pickets on but everybody has their own method.
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                          • #14
                            Thanks for documenting this so well. You might hate ornamental fencing, but the rest of us like seeing a project like this done by a man and not a machine.

                            When I made the fence for my yard, I came up with a system to 'unbend' each section on the table that had held my jig. It would take a few minutes for each section -- a variation on the 'jump on it' technique you described in your posts.

                            Jack Olsen
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