Building a Cedar Fence

What You'll Need
Several feet of 4x4 cedar fence posts (depending on length of fence)
Cedar plank fencing (depending on length of fence)
Cedar 2x4s (depending on the length of fence)
Tape measure
Quick drying cement
Carpenters Level
Galvanized Nails
Nail gun and nails (optional)
Spar or Exterior Varnish
Mineral spirits
Paint brush
Sand paper (various grits from 100 to 220)

Building a Cedar Fence can be accomplished in a weekend. The two main considerations are sinking and securing the main fence posts, and insuring that the cedar fence boards are level and evenly spaced. This project can be accomplished single-handedly with a simple hammer and nails, but a neighbor and a nail gun will definitely contribute in making the work go faster and easier.

Step 1, Cost Estimate

Using a tape measure, carefully measure the height and width of the total fence that is to be built. Allow for 4x4 posts to be placed every six to eight feet and to be sunk into the ground an approximate depth of one to two feet. Consider using one bag of quick drying cement for each 4x4 post. Each board will need to have four nails nailed into it, two at the bottom and two at the top. The cedar 2x4s will be stretched between the 4x4 posts twelve inches from the top and bottom of each post.

Step 2, Dig Post Foundations

Begin at the extreme end of the fence and dig the first hole for the first 4x4 foundation post. The hole should be approximately one to two feet deep, but no wider than twelve inches. Place a 4x4 post, cut to appropriate fence height, and shore it up with small rocks or gravel. Mix the quick drying cement and pour it into the hole, insuring the post remains level and straight. Continue digging post holes and placing the posts in the same manner.

Step 3, Attach 2x4 Stringers

When the quick drying concrete has dried and the 4x4 posts are level and straight, attach the 2x4 stringers twelve inches from the top and bottom of each post. The stringers need to be toe-nailed into the posts. Do this with the hammer and galvanized nails. Carefully measure each stringer to insure they fit snugly, even tightly, between the 4x4 posts, but do not move the posts off their level and straight angles.

Step 4, Attach Cedar Fencing to Stringers

Attach a strip of scrap wood to each post. Tie a piece of string and pull it tightly between each post to insure a straight line. Align each of the cedar fence planks to this string and nail into place. The nail gun will make this part of the job go much faster than the hammer and nail method. Place a thin spacer between each board to insure uniformity of the cedar fencing planks.

Step 5, Finish the Fencing

Using a mechanical sander and 100 grit sandpaper, rough sand the cedar planking. Apply a diluted solution of mineral spirits and either exterior or spar varnish to the cedar planks. Sand once more with the 220 grit sandpaper and apply a full solution of varnish as the final coat.