Building a picket fence from scratch can be a fantastic way to add old school curb appeal to any home. Best of all, building a picket fence from scratch is economical. It’s also a great way to showcase your artistic talent and create a unique, one-of-a-kind picket fence. Simple, fun and economical fencing! Who would have thought?
Building a picket fence from scratch starts with the right materials. A good selection of cheap lumber is needed, all should be pressure treated. 2×4’s (ripped in half) for stringers and 1×4’s cut to your design specs are the most common materials; 4×4’s are used as the posts. Pickets can be any predetermined width, but to keep this tutorial simple, 1×4’s will be used. 1×6, 1×8 and up can be used for pickets; just remember the price goes up the wider the material.
Draw a scale blueprint of your design for a single picket, and also draw a scale design for each section of a fence (between posts). Most sections of picket fencing are 4-6 feet in width, and an even measurement of around 4-6 inches between pickets. The way to layout a picket on the stringers is to start from the center and work your way to the ends. This way you will always have an even gap between pickets, so long as your gap between pickets is divisible by the width of your fencing sections. Once your layout is complete, you can take a linear measurement of your fence and estimate the required materials. Always round up to the next fence section and add a few extra pickets for bad materials and mistakes.
A band saw, jigsaw or other thin bladed tight-radius saw will work perfect for cutting out your artistic and creative design for your unique fence picket. A cardboard-cutout jig is the way to mass produce the hundreds of 1×4’s fast and efficiently. Stack as many 1x4s together, binding them with painters tape in several places. Attach the cardboard-cutout jig with painters tape and cut them with the band saw, jigsaw, scroll saw or if you’re talented, you can use a reciprocating saw. Cut the rest and you’re done! With the pickets at least…
Now all that is left is to rip cut and cut the stringers to length. Layout the center of each stringer and attach pickets using a block of wood cut to the length of the picket gap to add more speed to the production line. Cutting stringers and having a helper assemble them greatly increases efficiency and makes the assembly line productive.
The last thing to do is to set fence sections to fence posts. Learning the wood fence basics can help you get started in the right direction.