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Old 01-09-2016, 03:36 PM
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Default Pipe Fence Build --long with pics

Last summer, I helped my neighbor build a fence. He wanted the posts and top rail out of pipe, and 4 runs of 3/8 cable. It was about 1300 feet in length with three gate openings. About 400 ft. on one side of the main entrance and 900 ft. on the other side. Neither one of us had built a fence like this before but figured what the hell, so here's the story.

He bought some bundles of 2-7/8 OD well pipe. So, how to cut the pipe? I was thinking OA torch or abrasive cut off saw, but the neighbor down the road is a pipeline welder, and was telling him how great those Dewalt DW872 14" carbide tipped blade cut-off saws were, so the neighbor bought one.

Now, how to maneuver those heavy lengths of pipe?
We took his gooseneck trailer and ran some of those 12 inch wide warehouse rollers down the right side of the trailer, then 4X4 lumber across to the other side. On the rear of the trailer, pallets and plywood were stacked to bring the saw table to the right height. A bundle of pipe was placed on the 4X4's, and of course some 2X4 in the stake pockets to keep the pipe from rolling off the trailer on that side.
A pipe was rolled off the bundle, across the 4X4's, and onto the warehouse rollers. All the pipe had couplers on one end, and the length varied from 29' to 31-1/2 feet. We would then measure the pipe and mark off four equal lengths. Those rollers made it very easy to pull the pipe so the soapstone mark was under the blade. We cut 32 lengths of pipe to make 128 posts, which we stacked on two pallets with 64 posts on each. It took two of those expensive carbide blades to do the job.


Starting the fence.
A string was pulled tight along the fence line, and all the 10 foot fence post spacings, and the three 20 foot gate openings were measured and marked with paint. A Bobcat with an auger attachment was used to drll the holes to a depth of 30 inches. The string was then restretched. I drove down the fence line with my forklift and we laid out all the posts. Using two of those magnetic torpedo levels, we plumbed the posts to the string line, shoveled in a little dirt and then tamped it to hold the posts firmly. I made a tamper using some 1-1/4 hot rolled and cut a 1/2 thick banana shaped foot and welded it to one end of the 5 foot long rod. You could fine tune the post to the string with that tamper. Now we had all the posts standing, plumbed, and in line. Whew!

He ordered the concrete, and the next day we filled all the holes, then rechecked the posts with the levels and the string line. We gave the concrete a couple days to set. With a borrowed Spectra-Physics Laser, the posts were marked to put the top rail around 55 inches above the grade. The top rail would be level even though the ground was not in some places, so some of the posts ended up being longer. So with all the pipes marked it was time to start coping.

When we started this job, I knew I was going to be the one to do the coping with my OA torch. I printed out a template from an online program, transferred it to some cardboard and chalked up a piece of scrap pipe. I couldn't follow a chark mark freehand to save my butt. I had to build a torch guide.

Building the torch guide.
I found a piece of 3-1/2 inch pipe that had a wall thickness of about .275 that would slip over the 2-7/8 OD well pipe. I cut that 6 inches long, then I took a piece of four inch pipe, cut it 2-1/2 inch long, slit it so it would slide over the 3-1/2 inch pipe and welded it. The second pipe would give the extra thickness needed for the torch tip to ride against and allow it to be the proper length away from the cut. I put the pipe in the mill vise, and using a boring head, the guide was cut. The diameter of the finished cut . was the 2-7/8 plus half the end of the torch tip diameter, plus a little more. This should give the cope a good fit to the top rail. While I had the pipe in the vise I milled a flat in it so I could use it to rotate the pipe 90 degrees using a square, because I needed to mill another flat for the 24 inch straightedge that will be welded to the guide. Then I drilled and tapped a hole for a bolt to lock the guide in position on the fence post. I then stood the guide up and milled those notches on the sides.

Coping the fence posts.
The torch guide worked really well. A string with a bungee cord on each end, that would span about 10 fenceposts, was stretched about the height that the torch guide would sit. The bottom of the cope on the guide was lined up with the soapstone mark on the post and the straight edge on the guide was lined up with the string so the cope would be in line with the posts. After the cut was made the guide was lowered on the post and the cut was ground so any slag would not prevent the guide to be removed from the post. After every cut, we placed the short drop on the cope as we went. You could look thru all those drops like it was a rifle barrel. I guess we got pretty lucky getting the posts plumbed and the laser made it easy to get all the copes on the level.

The top rail.
We loaded the rest of the pipe on the trailer. He drove down the fence line while I rolled the pipe off. Unfortunately, not all the couplings were on the same side of the pipe in the bundle, so some had to be turned. I think they were about 3-1/2 pounds per foot, making a full length not easy for old guys to handle. We came up a little short on the end and had to splice a few smaller pieces of pipe together to make that last span. After the pipes were all on the ground and in the right orientation, they needed to be lifted and set on the posts. I had an I-beam from a mobile home tongue that I torched a hole on each end so we could hang a heavy duty J-hook from. The beam was chained to his tractor bucket. We set the first two rails on the posts and I had a chain strap wrench that I used to screw the pipe together while he was loading another pipe on the fence. After all the top rail was screwed together we were pretty much finished until the pipeline welder neighbor got home the next week from a job he was at. He was the one that was going to weld all the top rail to the posts.

The cable.
4 times 128, that makes 512 cable clips to be welded on the posts. A jig was built to hold the four cable clips at their proper location on the fence post, so they could be tack welded, then the jig removed to weld the clips complete. A Ranger 8 portable welder was rented. After the clips we were ready for the 3/8 cable. The guy he bought the cable from also builds these fences for a living and he told the neighbor about these springs that he uses. So the neighbor also bought some springs. We used the forklift and clamped a pipe on the forks for the cable spool to rotate on. Even with grease on the pipe that was some hard pulling on that cable. We were sure glad to see that last cable clamp installed.
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  #2  
Old 01-09-2016, 03:40 PM
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Here are more pictures.
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Old 01-09-2016, 03:49 PM
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And more pictures.
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  #4  
Old 01-09-2016, 03:52 PM
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Last of the Pictures.
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:30 PM
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Very good job! It always helps to have the right tools. Probably one of those jobs you hate to start but when it's done it was well worth it. I would say if you need a new occupation you have found it.
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:56 PM
kbs2244 kbs2244 is offline
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What are you fencing in (or out)?
It looks pretty barren.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:16 PM
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I can tell you thought about this project awhile before you started on it. Because you managed to make a big project as painless as possible. I really like the jig for coping the posts. I could have used one of those when my son and I built the railing for his Eagle Scout project.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:00 PM
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You made that look easy. Didn't even break a sweat.

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Old 01-09-2016, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokinDodge View Post
You made that look easy. Didn't even break a sweat.

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I almost broke a sweat reading about it.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:52 PM
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Nice jigen Good job!!
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