Split Rail Fencing

Split rail fences are very simple in their construction, and can be assembled with a handful of tools even on hard or rocky ground. They also can be built without using any nails or other hardware. A split-rail fence and log fence is a type of fence built out of timber logs, usually split lengthwise into “rails” and typically used for agricultural or decorative fencing. Such fences require much more timber than other types of fences, and so are not common in areas where wood is scarce or expensive.

Split rail fences were made of easy to split, rot resistant wood. Currently, most split rails are made from Wester Red Cedar. Whether of chestnut or cedar, these logs were cut to a length of 10 to 12 feet and split down the length of the log. Each half was then split into quarters, then eighths and so on until the rails were of a usable size. Depending on the diameter of the log, you could get 4 rails from an 8 inch log to over a dozen from larger logs. The pieces, called “rails,” were stacked on top of one another. Most split rail fences had the rails stacked in an interlocking zig-zag fashion that is self-supporting, easy to create, easy to repair, and easy to disassemble.

Some wood fences had the rails stacked directly on top of each other and secured them with double fence posts (one on either side of the rails). This made a more permanent and compact fence but remained easy to repair.

The length of a zig zag fence was such that the distance between either the zigs or the zags was 16½ feet or one rod. A landowner could then count the zigs or the zags along the side and end of his field and determine the number of square rods in a field which in turn told him how many acres the field contained. One hundred sixty square rods is one acre, so a field ten rods times sixteen rods was an acre.

Looking for a split rail fence in Austin? Austin Wood Fence is your source for all your fencing needs.