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The Fence Post

Stone Fences Yesterday and Today

October 17, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

green grass near wall and trees

The gold city series 02

 

The First Fences

In exploring New England, one becomes aware of a continual presence during a hike or looking out a car window. Along the roadways, in forests, in front of homes, farms, and even office parks, stone fences speak silently of earlier times. The immutable evidence of a history of necessity; a result of farming and working the land, now juxtaposed with modernity recalls us to a fledgling nation. 

Frost heaves and Farming

17th century settlers created field after field; pulling tree after tree out until the land was 70% deforested. This allowed rocks to become unearthed from a combination of erosion and frost heaves, resulting in piles of rocks hauled to the edges of fields. They were, over the following centuries, laboriously fashioned into the stone fences we see today. This created a distinct line of forest to field. Of similar origins to the field stones of the British Isles, these familiar rocks suited the settlers in New England. Some surmise that the earliest stone fence in New England dates to 1607, most likely it was previous to this date. Ultimately some 240,000 miles of stone fences were erected, peaking in the mid 19th century, when industrialization altered the practice. 

A Habitat

Stone fences are hives of activity for many types of wildlife--small creatures take refuge in the crevices, spaces, and tunnels. The evidence or tracks of mice, squirrels, chipmunks, minks and weasels may be noticed in and around. The walls may serve as a system of trails by larger animals or foxes may deposit scat on or around the walls to alert others. As temperatures climb, spiders, worms, and insects use the stonewalls for shelter while tree frogs and snakes take refuge as well--hibernating beneath during the winter months. 

Here are some examples of more current stone fence building:

 

Another early fence of note and particular to the practice of the early settlers is the worm 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 (also known as Virginia Worm fence) has been used in America since the 1600's. 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 from the previous one, giving the appearance of a worm or snake.

worm fence at Gettysburg

 

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Topics: fence, fence building, worm fence

Cross Fence

March 22, 2018 | by Debbie Page

What exactly is a cross fence?

Cross fences are built inside a large fenced-in area dedicated to either grazing livestock or growing forage. These fence lines divide the large area, already enclosed with a perimeter fence, into smaller pastures. A cross fence can be electric, permanent, or a combination of the two. The electric fence, using either one or two strands of wire, is easier and less expensive to build. Less bracing is required.

Separating Cattle

A permanent fence, which is usually made with three or four strands of barbed wire, requires bracing to maintain proper tension. The type of fence chosen depends on the livestock it will contain. If the fence needs to separate cattle, a permanent fence is recommended. An electric fence is appropriate for sheep, calves or yearlings.

Q: What is the purpose of a cross fence?

A: To separate areas contained within a perimeter fence.

Q: When is a cross fence used?

A: Most often in grazing areas for rotating livestock to prevent over-grazing or uneven grazing. 

Q: What are the benefits and advantages of using a cross fence?

A: Protecting paddocks: bald or over-grazed areas can become subject to weeds and noxious plants, while excessive growth in under-grazed areas become less palatable and less nutritious.

Q: What are some other uses?

A: Separating livestock by sex, age, and breeding status or for other reasons. Keeping livestock away from crops or treatment of areas, such as the application of fertilizers.

Brown Cow on Grass Field

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Topics: fence

Our Favorite How to Fix Your Fence Video

March 24, 2017 | by Debbie Page

Effective for all Styles of Woven Wire Fence...

This is our favorite video for figuring out how to stretch your fence tight.

This video shows you how to make and use a homemade fence stretcher you can use to pull your fence tight. In the video, 2" x 4" galvanized welded wire mesh is being installed. But this type of stretcher can be used for all styles of woven wire fence as well. Steel stretcher bars are also available to buy, if you don't want to make your own.

It is important to have a level pull uniformly across the height of the fence to avoid distorting the mesh. The amount of tension is determined by the type of mesh. Welded wire fencing material cannot be tightened as much as woven wire meshes, such as field fence, horse fence, deer and wildlife fence.

Don't forget to bring along a helper like Little Bit!

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Topics: fence, GAW, GBW

How to Repair Your Broken Fence

April 13, 2016 | by Debbie Page

old weathered fence in paddock

Your fence needs some attention...

Spring is a great time to prepare your fence for the warmer months. Winter can be tough on fences. Trees fall down. Branches take out fence sections. The land freezes and defrosts, making your fence unstable. By the time spring rolls around, your fence can end up rusty, misshapen or even on the ground.

Inspection

Now is the time to inspect your fence. To begin an inspection, walk the perimeter of the fence and inspect it from bottom to top. You will want to pay special attention to where the fence meets the ground. Have any animals burrowed underneath your fence?

Plus you will want to make sure there is no rust. Fences that are constantly touching the ground tend to rust at a higher rate. Over time, you may notice that an entire section has rusted away at ground level.

An inspection should also involve shaking the fence. Is it securely in the ground? Have any of the fence posts become damaged or loose in the ground. If your fence is coated in vinyl, check to see if the vinyl is peeling.

In addition to making any notes for yourself about damage, rust or peeling, you will want to pull off any vegetation that may have grown on your fence. Although some people find ivy and other plants appealing when it is growing on fences, vegetation speeds up the decay of your fence.

Things to note during your fence inspection may include:

  • Lack of sturdiness
  • Fence post stability
  • Weld strength
  • Rust
  • Vinyl peeling
  • Vegetation
  • Holes under the fence

You will want to fix or address any and all of the items on this list in preparation for warmer months.

Types of damage and some fixes--

Rust

broken-fence.png

Rust is the number one enemy of metal fences. Once rust sets in, you can never restore your fence 100% but you can maintain it for a long life. To repair your fence from rusting:

  1. Brush off rust with a steel brush.
  2. Spray area with your favorite metal protective spray paint/coating.
  3. Monitor fence area for any additional rust.

Peeling Vinyl Coated Mesh

tiger behind peeling green vinyl coated fence

Vinyl coating helps to prolong the life of your fence but over time the vinyl starts to peel. To maintain a vinyl coated fence:

  1. Trim away excessive peeling vinyl.
  2. Use 60 grit sandpaper to sand away the small piece and create a smooth finish.
  3. Spray area with your favorite metal protective spray paint/coating.
  4. Monitor fence area for any additional peeling and rust.

Fence Section Smashed by a Fallen Tree or Tree Branch

Fence crushed by hurricane Sandy

Winter can be tough on trees and anything around your fence that can fall on it and damage the fence. To address a section of fence that has been destroyed we recommend:

  1. Replacing the section with a panel of the same or a similar type of fencing.
  2. Using strand wire to thread together the broken sections.
  3. Replacing or upgrading the fence.

A Fence Maintenance Supply List

 

Open notebook and pen

We also recommend creating a fence maintenance supply list when you are first building a fence and annually give your fence a check-up. For the supply list, we recommend:

  1. Strand wire, fence staples, and hog rings.
  2. Purchasing an extra 20% of fence so you can some on hand for repairs.
  3. Reviewing warranties.
  4. Including all your fencing needs in one order.

Louis E. Page is your single source for all your wire mesh requirements. We have strand wire, fence staples, hog rings and more in our catalog. It is up to you as to how many supplies you want to keep on hand to maintain a strong, sturdy fence. Some of our suppliers offer warranties, for example, Cavatorta, has an excellent product warranty.

At Louis E. Page, we pride ourselves on our customer service and being able to meet your needs. Including all your fencing needs in one order can save you time and ensure you have everything you need when you need it. For example, you might already know that you need welded wire mesh for your animals but what about the crops you plan on planting?

Your plants need support and we have Hortonova - Crop Support Netting. This netting is rot and rust proof, resistant to UV rays and chemical agents. It is ideal for vertical and horizontal growing techniques. You can keep your animals where you want them, plus easily cultivate plants when you combine your ordering needs.

Place an order today by calling 1-800-225-0508 or emailing sales@louispage.com.

Download our Catalogue >

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Topics: fence, hog rings, repair, Fencing Tips

How to Tighten a Fence with Nothing but Pliers

April 17, 2013 | by Duncan Page

Pliers and a Little Elbow Grease                                        

You've worked hard to put up your fence. Everything looks great. The wire mesh is tight and straight. But over time, something may happen that causes the tension in the wire to slacken. Do not despair! What can you do fix the problem? Watch this video and learn how to tighten up your fence using a pair of pliers.

 

You can use this simple technique to tighten many types of fencing materials: welded wire fence mesh, woven wire fence, lawn and garden fence, single strand wire, field fence, etc. Keep your fence looking tight and secure!

Do you know of any other different ways to tighten a fence?

Get your free catalog now!

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Topics: fence, how to

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