I set my combination square to mark
rail layout—again, it’s more accurate
than measuring every time.
post bottom, and then set the
posts plumb along my string line.
Post Detailing. Even though
this was a zero-clearance installation, I could bore my footing
holes using Toro’s sub-compact
loader—what a time saver. And,
before setting the posts I poured
gravel into each hole to facilitate
water movement around the bottom of the post, extending the
posts’ in-ground service life.
Pre-drilling pocket holes with my
countersink and pre-setting
screws makes installing the rails
on layout faster and easier. I like
screwing rather than nailing in
this case because screws sock
the materials up tight with one
Even though I use guide blocks for locating the top rail, I double check
periodically with a level.
Clement Carpentry Trick: Once
you have the bottom rail set
level, use cleats (aka guide
blocks) for the rest of your layout.
They’re faster and more accurate
For this fence, I trimmed the
rails on the miter saw then pre-stained the ends.
Laying Out a Graded Site. This
grade pitches down. To get a
stepped effect I treated the
posts as pairs, using the uphill
post as the control point for positioning the bottom rail— 8 inches
from grade to the rail bottom.
Marking Posts. I set my combination square to uniformly
mark all rail locations 2-1/2 inches in from the exterior post face,
without measuring each one.
Next, I mark the next four posts.
This shows how the rails are
stepping up, and I can ensure
they look right and minimize compounding errors if something
Installation. Pocket holes and
pre-set screws in the rail ends