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Cedar boards splitting when fastened...

 
gardener
Posts: 2834
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
271
forest garden trees urban
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Circumstance has made my fence building a priority.
So I have sturdy frame completed, and I am ready to skin the whole thing in the irregular 1/2" x 4" cedar boards we purchased for the purpose.
But, when I use screws without predrilling, the ends split, despite being 3-4" from the end of the board.
Predrilling each one seems like madness,given how many I have to do.
I am looking for affordable solutions, but obviously saving labor is important.

I'm considering TEK screws, which are self drilling( for metal), but not as pricey as SPAX and GRK.

I could ditch the cedar, but the wife really likes it, and its paid for. It did not seem as fragile when I used it last fall on a different stretch of fence. Could wetting the cedar help prevent splitting?

If predrilling is a must, I might build it on the ground as panels. This would mean an easier time predrilling, because I would not need to switch back and forth between bit and driver. I might even be able to get help from the wife and minions!

I am even considering a version of the Junkpole fence. I would need two 2" x ?" x 10' for each 10' section. A screw at each end of the 2"x ?" boards about 5/8" off the existing top and bottom rails.Slide in the cedar pickets, maybe run a screw in between the picketsinstead of through them. HMM, that last bit makes me think I could use screws and washers, and catch the edges of the pickets...

So those are my crazy ideas! I would loe to hear from anyone, but especially builders with experience in dealling with similar problems.
 
gardener
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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Wetting the boards seems like a decent idea. Predrilling is not that time consuming if set up with a quick way to change between bits.
 
William Bronson
gardener
Posts: 2834
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
271
forest garden trees urban
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As a father's day treat to myself I tried three things in the fence today.
First I set a bunch of cedar planks to soak in a bucket
Next I tried using some TEK screws I had in hand. They worked like a charm, no splitting at all.
Then I tried the junk pole inspired scheme.This was best of all.
I used more screws than a junk pole fence, but less than any other method I am aware of and mostly for peace of mind.
Instead of 2"x?"x 10' lumber,I used two of the 8' pickets and made up the difference with off cuts.
 
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