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How To Build A Strong, Cheap Fence
When Rick Cleveland inherited his dad’s farm near Terrell, Texas, he needed to fence in a pasture. He didn’t like the look of barbed wire and couldn’t justify the cost of pipe-type corral panels. So he started looking for ways to make a strong fence out of 16-ft. wire mesh panels.
  “They’re flimsy so even if you have a lot of posts, they’re going to sag or stretch. That’s when I got the idea for a simple top rail,” says Cleveland.
  What he did was buy a bunch of fence pipe normally used to put up chain link fence. He cut some of the pipe up into 3-in. long pieces and drilled a 5/16-in. hole through each of them, 3/4 in. from one end.
  The pipe is the perfect size to fit tightly over the top of a T-post. So he drove T-posts in every 10 ft. and then slipped one of the 3-in. pieces of pipe over the top of each post. A jig attached to each short piece of pipe holds a horizontal piece of fence pipe running from post to post. The bolt through the short piece of pipe rests on top of the post holding the rail solidly in place.
  Once the top rail was in place, he used chain link fence hangers to hang the 52-in. high mesh cattle panels, wiring them together end-to-end and to the T-posts.
  “The top rail makes the fence solid. I weigh 250 lbs. but I can hit the fence running and hop over without damaging the fence at all. It looks great and is strong,” says Cleveland.
  “I flattened the ends of the horizontal pipes and lag bolted them to the corner posts. I also bolted the ends together where they meet along the fenceline.”
  Cleveland says the cost of the fence, which has already been copied by others who’ve seen it, is about $3.75 per foot. “I’ve discovered cows can’t push it over or lift it. Fastening all the components together gives it strength, kind of like what auto makers do with unibody construction.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rick Cleveland, Terrell, Texas (rtkcleve@sbcglobal.net).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #2