Junkpole fences are nifty ways of turning a forest fire fuel material into a fence to keep critters in or out of an area. If built with some creativity they can be made with minimal fasteners. Before we build a new one, let's repair an existing fence to get the hang of it.
Sometimes some of the sticks in a fence rotted and need to be replaced. Sometimes a nail needs to be replaced. Sometimes the green junkpoles dries and shrunk a bit, so a few more junkpoles should be added. Sometimes several loose junkpoles have bunched up to one side, making a bit of a gap at the top that is too big - so adding a few sticks as spacers or a few upside down junkpoles will help. Sometimes there is too much gap between the horizontal poles because there are some junkpoles that are really fat - either shave down the fat junkpoles or replace them. Maybe add some rocks near the bottom of the fence to discourage baby chicks from getting through. Sometimes a fence post is loose or a rock jack needs some love - mend. Some of the older junkpole fences were built in a way that is not "the new way" - taking them apart and rebuilding them goes pretty quick. Overall, make sure that the fence is chicken and deer tight and ready to stand for years of solid service!
Today I helped out on Robbie's plot rebuilding junk pole fences.
First picture is of the fence section. Yellow lines indicate the 24 foot section I worked on.
Second picture is partially repaired.
Third is fully repaired.
Fourth picture is of a new spruce branch weave to support one section of cross braces. The 2-3 year old spruce branches were holding strong in most places. All my repairs were done without nails, string, wire, etc. That section had been done without man-made fasteners and I wanted to keep it that way.
Part A:during our morning walk today, Paul mentioned this section of fence could be repaired, so I pulled out the loose junkpoles and reattached the horizontal that had pulled loose with a longer screw, then worked the junkpoles back in the vertical spaces. I also used some shorter pieces of wood plus loose rocks down low to plug a gap or two to keep shorter critters in/out.
Part B:Wednesday at Robbie’s plot, I also worked on the junkpole fence... and learned several lessons.
First, I liked weaving my poles between the bottom, middle, top cross poles. Less need for store bought fasteners like screws. Maybe use one long screw at the top, or some cord to lash the tops together, then I found using a piece/pieces to set the heights of my middle cross bar was helpful. Once I set it there and added maybe 3-4 vertical poles, I no longer needed the support and could remove it/reuse it.
Second, weaving my way down the line towards the next support post would have been easier if I had greener wood. Also, more consistent lengths/diameter. I liked the end result best when using about 9-11 foot poles. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time that day to really go build up a pile of the sizes I preferred. Some of the materials I had for working with was 4”+ at the base and 20+ feet long!
Overall, if I was building and had more time than money, I think at this point I would do this fence woven style again, on my land. If money wasn’t an issue, I could see using more screws, and it would also be a different aesthetic.
IMPORTANT NOTE: on attaching two roundwood pole according to Paul... I originally had fixed the junkpole fence by the Fisher Price with a long deck/wood screw. Discussing it afterwards, Paul said that wood screws would last less than a year with the wind rocking the two round wood pieces and would eventually snap the screw.
So, I went back and toe nailed the attachment points and pulled the wood screw from earlier. An alternate way would be to use a draw knife to shave the touching surfaces flat and THEN using a screw would be just fine.
I worked on another section of junkpole fence this morning at the 2019 PEP1 event. It's right outside the back door of the Fisher Price house so at least no one will be seeing my mistakes The main issue was that the gate was not chicken proof. Additionally there were three areas with loose junkpoles.
I gathered about 20 fir branches from a tree I cut earlier in the week. I sliced off the side branches with a sharp hatchet and wove them into the existing door. Since they were green, they flexed well and as they dry they should hold it together nicely.
For the loose spots in the fence I fitted in new poles to fill the gaps. Some had to go in upside down since most of the existing poles are right side up and their tapers compound.
No fasteners were used in the repair of this section. It runs from the haybox cooker on the left to the first big fence pole to the right of the gate a ways. It's a bit over 24' long.
Thanks, Josiah for taking the video and cutting it, too!
This new section is part of a new run of fence along the upper leg of the driveway to the fisher-price house. The rock jacks were already in place, as were all the materials; and so the fence went very quickly!
I have decided to post some pictures of my junkpole fence, despite of the fact, that it does not follow "the oryginal recipe". Two differences are:
- I have used existing trees as main vertical posts (so far I have managed to put up the fence between five trees, I will continue during the winter months)
- I have used leftover pieces of hay bailing twine to join all parts together (no single nail or screw)
Thanks Paul, that was my goal - to show a different approach. The reason I have used it is that I plan to replace this fence with dense hedge asap, and establishing it wouldn't be possible without protection. With that in mind, cutting trees was not an option, as well as drilling in them. I will be surely making "a proper" junkpole fence in other parts of my homestead anyway, so I will post more pics.
Gert in the making
I promise I will be the best, most loyal friend ever! All for this tiny ad: