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junkpole fence: freaky cheap chicken/deer fence made from wood typically thrown away

 
steward
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Nicole Alderman
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Jen Tuuli posted some awesome pictures of some more junkpoll gates in her bootcamp thread!

roundwood gate with triangle teepee design
I love that the tipi's gate has a tipi on it!


roundwood gate made from logs diamond pattern
the ant village one looks epic, too!


roundwood carved latch
at look at that nicely carved latch!
 
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A junkpole fence will probably be one of the first projects I'll do on the lab next spring. Trimming the branches from the trees will provide material for the insulating umbrella for a wofati, and I'll want to keep deer away when planting a living hedge from seed.

Rather than use large posts either set in holes or held by rock jacks, I was thinking that each section could have 2-3 small junk poles lashed to the top cross piece, and those could swing out to make a leg that would hold the panel at an angle, leaning out to minimize shade on the nearby seedlings, and providing a bit of a 3-D barrier to deer. It would add an additional 2 small poles to each section, but no digging or jack building needed, and the fence sections could then be moved around. Not sure if it would also make it too easy for a strong wind to move it around or blow it over though.

Perhaps 3 junk pole pieces lashed together into a triangle, and that is then lashed to each fence section cross piece so a leg extends to the ground both inside and out, would make a stable upright fence without the need for larger posts?
 
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If you ask for closed captioning in that Swedish video you get an english translation. What perfect timing! I need fencing badly and have too little funds to build traditionally. Plus, this is quite attractive and I'd rather work quietly with friendly materials rather than with barbed wire and metal posts. Thanks to whomever put this out today!
 
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paul wheaton wrote:
People were tempted to put the junkpoles in where the fat end alternates every other pole, but I think it is important to always keep the fat end down.   This makes a strong barrier along the bottom to keep the chickens contained, and a "good enough" barrier at the top to keep flying chickens in and jumping deer out.  Plus, it allows more light to pass down to the growies.



I'm a bit curious about this. When I was building a section of junkpole fence at WL during the SKIP event, we were told to alternate the poles so that the large end is facing down every other pole. I think it required a few more junkpoles than putting just the large ends down, but it did make a tighter fence. Does anyone have opinions on the pros/cons for this? Considering Paul wrote this 6 years ago and they've built many junkpole fences since then, the meta may have changed.
 
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If they have shifted to that method then I expect it is either based on improved design, or experiment in progress.

I can imagine that narrow side down might break and shift as the wood weathers and deteriorates. Though that might be true in either configuration.
 
pollinator
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paul wheaton wrote:

This is at basecamp where we have to use rockjacks because we cannot get a regular fencepost in the ground:



What is a rock jack? I live on a shale shelf and have no idea how to fence my garden, short of drilling into the shale and using anchors and fence post brackets which are mad expensive and labor intensive.
 
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M Wilcox wrote:What is a rock jack?



https://permies.com/t/39351/permaculture-projects/rock-jack

 
M Wilcox
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paul wheaton wrote:

M Wilcox wrote:What is a rock jack?



https://permies.com/t/39351/permaculture-projects/rock-jack



Thanks, Paul!
 
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After way too long, I just had a realization.  Couldn't you make junk pole fences using sawmill slab wood for the vertical pieces?  Use junk poles for the horizontals but stand slabs up for the body of the fence...  

In my area you can get a big pickup load of sawmill slabs for $50 or less.  I'm guessing you could surround an acre with two loads that size.  

Thoughts?
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:After way too long, I just had a realization.  Couldn't you make junk pole fences using sawmill slab wood for the vertical pieces?  Use junk poles for the horizontals but stand slabs up for the body of the fence...  

In my area you can get a big pickup load of sawmill slabs for $50 or less.  I'm guessing you could surround an acre with two loads that size.  Thoughts?


Three things I'd consider: 1. Will you know what sort of wood it will be? Some woods will last longer than others. If it's a mix and you can ID the short-lived/longer-lasting ones for different sections of fencing, I'd put the longer-lasting ones in areas which will be harder to replace, and the short-lived ones where fixing will be easier. Will the bark be on or off? Bark off will last longer according to my neighbor (bugs love to hide between bark and inner wood.)
2. Do you have a use for the wood when it's half-rotted and needs replacing? We had a fence fall down and I've used a bunch of the boards for paths in garden areas that I need reliable footing in, as an example. Alternatively, turn the rotten stuff into a hugel.
3. You're dealing with "1/2 moon" shaped bits (sort of - I'm sure there's a technical name for that shape). You may need to decide if you're better putting "all the flat sides" in one direction, or alternating. You may need to experiment, but we know you're good at that!
 
Mike Haasl
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Yeah, I think "it depends" a lot.  In my area you can get lots of pine slab wood and some hardwood.  Hardwood might be pricier, pine may be free.

The half moon is really just a shallow cut off the side of the log but it does have a flat side and a bark side.  They almost always have the bark on but I'm guessing it would fall off after a year.  Which might loosen up the fence :(

I'd set them up with the smooth side all one way (pretty side) but maybe alternating them would make for a more solid fence.  Then they'd overlap a bit at the fat end.

 
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Mike Haasl wrote:After way too long, I just had a realization.  Couldn't you make junk pole fences using sawmill slab wood for the vertical pieces?  Use junk poles for the horizontals but stand slabs up for the body of the fence...  

In my area you can get a big pickup load of sawmill slabs for $50 or less.  I'm guessing you could surround an acre with two loads that size.  

Thoughts?



That's an excellent idea.  You can get truck loads of hardwood here like that for $50 or so.  Some people use it for firewood, but it's not ideal.  The large amount of bark makes a smokey inefficient fire, but would make a great fence.  You can get it delivered pretty cheaply here by the semi load as well.
 
pollinator
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My mill guy calls those half-moons "log jackets".

They definitely make fine fences straight from the mill, but they are a bit on the heavy side, and you get more distance out of them if you rip them into skinny pieces. The bark falls off some pieces but not others.

I pushed about 11 miles of those things through the table saw to make my fence. I would have preferred to use junk poles, but they weren't available, so mill scraps it was.

P1030983.JPG
mill scrap fence 1
mill scrap fence 1
P1030984.JPG
mill scrap fence 2
mill scrap fence 2
 
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You can find lots of great photos of the junkpole fence, as well as the Boots working on creating new fence/repairing old fence in Dez's Bootcamp Experience thread. Here is a link to some of Dez's photos with the junkpole fence.

permies.com/p/1387113

If you're curious about the bootcamp you can check out this thread:

permies.com/t/bootcamp

 
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Alder Burns wrote:In climates amenable to it, bamboo comes to mind as another excellent material for such a fence.  It grows in large invasive patches in much of the South and other warm moist climates and is often to be had for the asking.....



This is what I'm wanting to do and started collecting bamboo I can obtain but keep finding alternative uses for it...and folks love trading bamboo trellis for seed.    

We discovered it while watching Liziqi. Her videos are peaceful and inspiring and kids and I have watched them all a few times now over the years.    This is her video over bamboo fencing.

 
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In NM it is called a coyote fence.  We literally have 100s of 1000s of miles of this stuff.  The fence poles are called latillas, pronounced like tortillas, with the double ll silent.  We use the same poles, only bigger in diameter, as posts.  We never use screws or nails, except occasionally.  We rarely bury the ends in trenches.  Posts are juniper or cedar and set in the ground.  Beware if you are tempted to use treated timbers, they succumb rather quickly to dry rot.  We use Juniperus monosperma, a species of juniper native to western North America, in the United States in Arizona, New Mexico, southern Colorado, western Oklahoma, and western Texas, and in Mexico in the extreme north of Chihuahua.  This is a high rot resistant juniper that is practically an invasive species, but not all the time.  We also use doug fir and white fir as latillas.  It is so dry out here that things rot really, really, really slowly.  We alternate fat and skinny ends when installing them.  They are all tied with twisted pair bailing wire, (waaaay cheaper than screws).  Put a steel concrete pin in the ground, use a new roll of tying wire, (300 feet long), unroll the tying wire, go once around the pin to double the wire, put an hook into a drill, attach the loose ends of the wire to the drill and spin away.  You now have a twisted pair for tying the fence a bit shy of 150 ft. long.  Two people, one on either side of the fence can tie up a lot of fence in a couple of hours. 6 ft. is the typical height. 8 ft. starts becoming a mite cumbersome.  It keeps the chooks in and the coyotes out, hence the name, coyote fence, so no surprise it works on a pig.  It is a fantastic privacy fence and is pretty good at keeping the 2 legged coyote types out as well.  It has been used historically for 100s of years in NM and Mexico as corral material for ALL manner of critters, from horses to chickens, sheep and goats, moo moos, dogs and cats.  Yup, that's right, cats.  Although a cat can get up on the fence, they would rather walk around it.  The only time I've seen them on the fence is to get away from a stupid dog.
 
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Malek Beitinjan wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:
People were tempted to put the junkpoles in where the fat end alternates every other pole, but I think it is important to always keep the fat end down.   This makes a strong barrier along the bottom to keep the chickens contained, and a "good enough" barrier at the top to keep flying chickens in and jumping deer out.  Plus, it allows more light to pass down to the growies.



I'm a bit curious about this. When I was building a section of junkpole fence at WL during the SKIP event, we were told to alternate the poles so that the large end is facing down every other pole. I think it required a few more junkpoles than putting just the large ends down, but it did make a tighter fence. Does anyone have opinions on the pros/cons for this? Considering Paul wrote this 6 years ago and they've built many junkpole fences since then, the meta may have changed.



Alternate them, always alternate them.  Aesthetically and practically it is better to alternate them.  It does not require any extra poles, or latillas.  Always count 4 poles per foot and you can come up with a pretty tight estimate of how many you may need.  Check out my other post on this subject that I just posted and good luck and have lots of fun.
 
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Honey Rowland wrote:

Alder Burns wrote:In climates amenable to it, bamboo comes to mind as another excellent material for such a fence.  It grows in large invasive patches in much of the South and other warm moist climates and is often to be had for the asking.....



This is what I'm wanting to do and started collecting bamboo I can obtain but keep finding alternative uses for it...and folks love trading bamboo trellis for seed.    

We discovered it while watching Liziqi. Her videos are peaceful and inspiring and kids and I have watched them all a few times now over the years.    This is her video over bamboo fencing.



Who is this girl?!?!  Amazing, just amazing.  I haven't seen any woman do this much work since my grandmother and mother.
 
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I wouldn't call them "junk poles".  They are too useful.  In my book, if its useful then it ain't junk.  This coming from a guy whose parents were born in the depression; therefore, whose grandparents never threw anything away especially old wire, nails, boards, screws, etc.  Back in the day, things were so well made they could be used over and over.  That's much easier than saying repurposed and repurposed.....just saying.  The grand master is definitely onto something here with this thread.  
 
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I am not sure what latillas actually means though when I asked Mr. Google, he gave me this meaning:

a peeled branch or piece of wood laid between beams of a ceiling or above the vigas for decoration.



https://www.dictionary.com/browse/latilla

That is what we use in Texas to use yucca flower stalks and branches from the Ocotillo plant.

Ocotillos are one of the easiest plants to identify because they look barren until it rains then the ocotillos bloom. So pretty with those red blooms.
 
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