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The Fence Post

Worm Fence - What Is It?

January 5, 2010 | by Duncan Page

worm fence - Gettysburg

Worm or snake fence  

  • A fence, zigzag in plan, made of rails resting across one another at an angle - according to the Random House Dictionary.

This style of fencing is also known as Snake Fence, ZigZag Fence and Battlefield Fence - the latter term due to its presence on many Civil War battlefields. Worm Fence has been used in America since the 1600s. Easy to build, split wood rails are stacked on each other to create the fence. The ends of the rails alternate, creating the openings. For stability of the stacked rails, each section of fence is angled slightly from the previous one, giving the appearance of a worm or snake. Sometimes a pair of crossed posts would be used at the junction point of each section. This would allow the fence to be closer to a straight line.

No post holes and good for rocky terrain 

No vertical posts are required to build the fence--eliminating the need to dig post holes and making the fence easy to install - a particular advantage in rocky terrain. Nails and other hardware are not necessary. Such simplicity means it's repaired without difficulty and can be moved or taken down readily. 

With a rustic look

With a plentiful supply of wood and ease of construction, it is easy to understand why worm fence was the most common type of fence used in America by the late 1800s.  It is gaining popularity today for use as a rustic fence that will add to the appearance of a piece of property.

lamb behind worm fence

And here's a video that shows the process of creating one of these beauties:


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