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Should corner and end posts for a cedar split rail fence be set first? I have a gently rolling backyard, and I see that the fence cedar rails butt inside the fence posts rather than overlap. After I mark my corner post locations and run my line, is it easier to install the posts as we go, and not set the corner post until we get to the corner, hopefully preventing any long/short distance issues? Most everything I have read says to set the corner posts first, but I really see no need to do that if you stake the locations and run the line. Especially if you have some slope in the fence run, as that will alter shorten the final horizontal length.

Applicable Products:
Wood Fence/ Split Rail Fence

Standard Procedure for Installing Split Rail Fences:
Some 'how to build fence' books available do not give accurate, or practical information on building fences. Having professionally built fences for over 15 years, working for a fence business which has been in business over 30 years allows me some credibility with this statement. Many 'How-To-Build Fence' books recommend setting corner posts first. They most likely do this simply to define the starting, turning, and stopping point of a fence. Most professional fence contractors will start the fence installation and simply work their way around using guide string to the finish point. We recommend this procedure with split rail, or any fixed width fence style. Dig the fence post holes using a guide string, set fence post in empty hole, attach section fence (rails) and tamp last. You should easily be able to drill 5-6 holes at a time, set posts, assemble fence, and tamp last. If you try to drill much more than this, or a whole fence line of many more holes, you risk losing your proper fence post spacing. Plus, you will occasionally meet challenges while drilling such as roots or rocks which may force you to move a post slightly or even shorten rails to dodge such obstacles. We've found installing a number of sections at a time and doing so completely to be the best practice. Also, with this procedure - what you see is what you get so there is very little chance to error.


Related Products:
Wood Fence and Accessories:

Western Red Cedar Split Rail:

Fence Post Tamping Tools:

Updated 10/16/09