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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    308

    Default 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.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    308

    Default

    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.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    308

    Default

    I welded a tab for each rail on to the jig. These tabs fit inside the rails.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    308

    Default

    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.
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    Last edited by wroughtnharv; 02-18-2011 at 09:22 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    308

    Default

    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.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Kansas City Metro
    Posts
    387

    Default

    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.

    Miller 211 A.S. and Spoolmate 100
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    308

    Default

    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.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    308

    Default

    Quote 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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    308

    Default

    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Abilene, Texas
    Posts
    639

    Default

    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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