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Cemetery fence howto/help me

3377 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Lagrousome
This is an example of what I hope to bring and how I am looking for help. This is one of the projects that I am organizing in my mind. As with most projects, they are influenced by others (for we are higher by standing on the shoulders of the giants before us). This one had been influenced by Juggernaut/Moonlit Project. Please add any comments/corrections/questions including if this is not in the right section. If anything described below doesn't makes sense, please let me know so that I can correct it and produce a final howto. This has not been attempted or started, so pictures are not available

Building a Cemetery Fence

1) To build a realistic wrought iron cemetery fence that can be utilized as fence post/pillars evolve. Fence is to be attached by L brackets.

2) The fence should have the ability to be broken apart for easy storage

Lacking knowledge of the proper terms, horizontal members are called rails, vertical members are called posts. Please don't confuse with the posts that the fence will be attached to.


Material limits the rails to 8'; the length of ¼ inch plywood, post can be up to 8', but current design is 5'.

Dimension as described: 8' x 5'
Appearance will be 10 ¾" x ¾" x 5' posts in two 1" x 1 ¼" x 8' rails (one rail 1' from bottom of post and other one 4' from the bottom of the post).

1 Sheet of ¾" plywood. Really only need 5' x 1 ½'
1 Sheet of ¼" of plywood (or 4 pieces of ¼" x 1" x 8')
Scrap piece of full sized plywood, 4x8 folding table…
Nice Table Saw, band saw

1) First step, rip the ¾" at the width of the wood. Require 10 posts. Cut the full 8', the posts will be trimmed to length.

2) Rip a two more 8' lengths at 1". This will be used as spacers. Need about 14'-15' of length

3) Without moving the guard, rip 4 pieces of the ¼" wood. These will be used as the faces for the rails.

The intention is to have complete symmetry and the post become interchangeable. This will be unlikely, especially when securing the post. The plan here is to have 10 posts, 9" apart at center (so 8 ¼" gaps).

1) Draw a line the full length of the scrap plywood. Draw another one 3' parallel to the line. Double check the lines.

2) Using method of your choice (I will use two 1" clamps) secure one of the rail faces to one of the lines. This will be your guide for one of the other rails. Line up two of the other ¼" rail faces and mark where the posts will go. For the dimensions I have designed, center lines will go at 7.5, 16.5, 25.5, 34.5… 79.5, 88.5. Be sure to also mark the outside guide lines (3/8" from center).

3) After the guide lines are made, mark the center lines: A-L, 1-10, colors,… Secure the other rail faces to the other line and move one of the marked pieces to it. Triple check that the center lines line up.

4) Cut the posts to length (5'), mark 1 foot from bottom. You can also secure a guide piece 1' from the bottom of the guide line.

5) Lay the first post on the rail faces, starting at one end. If everything has gone right, you should need to cut 2 pieces of the 1" x ¾" at length of 7 1/8". Apply wood glue to the rail faces and place the spacers. Do this neatly as you do not want to get glue on the post or the touching rail faces.

6) Repeat for the next post. Length of the spacer should be 8 ¼". Repeat 9 times and finally do the last one. You should have about 2 feet of scrap left over. Check the posts and make sure that they are not glued.

7) Allow glue to dry a little while. Slide out the other rail faces; apply glue to the spacers, secure with brad from staple gun. Flip over fence/rails and apply brads to the other side. When every thing is dry and the posts are marked to match the rails, remove the posts.

8) With the rails created, drill holes into the rails so that the rails can be attached to fence posts. 3/8" Should be the maximum size holes.

9) Apply a coat of wood fill to the top of the rails. No one will see the bottom and it will be dark so that detail is not necessary (unless your job was sloppy). Sand the rails smooth so that the seams will not be visible. Any rounding would probably be easiest now.

10) Place the posts back in the rails. Drill a tiny centered hole in the rails and posts. Place a fine finishing nail or brad into the hole to hold the post in place. This way, by removing the pin on November 1, the fence can be disassembled.

Black base paint, maybe some rust colored paint, usual distressing. Glue some pieces of tin foil before painting to give the appearance of rust bubbles. Any other ideas?

This is where I need help. Fence tops. Where is a good place to get fence tops/spear tops. What are good options? I'm sure that if I wanted skulls, a package of lighted skulls would be at Wal-Mart in September (then there is the issue of extending the wires, cutting wire channels), but I am aiming for a realistic look.
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