Best way to cut vertical slots through round posts?

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A friend wants to build a fence using round, 6" diam cedar posts and 1" x 6" pine or spruce boards.
He wants to cut slots through the center of the posts (3 slots) that are just large enough to slide the boards through. There are going to be lots of posts - maybe 100 or more.
How would you go about forming these slots? What sort of tool?
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Oh My! That is a LOT of fence.
Need a little more detail on how the fence is going to be built. It almost sounds like the 1x6's are being put into the slotted holes. Is this a solid panel privacy fence or a post and rail fence?
RonB
Ron
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RonB wrote:

Yes.
The posts are going to be 8, or maybe 10 feet long, set 3 or 4 feet into the ground (where the frost line is in this area). This would put the top of the posts about 5 or 6 feet above ground. Posts would be set 8 or 10 feet apart.
The three 6" boards would be spaced out, probably starting 2 feet above ground, with 1 or 1.5 feet between boards.
The purpose of the fence is to contain a few horses within a certain area. Presumably horses rarely attempt to jump over fences that are 5 to 6 feet in height.
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There is no way a 1x ANYTHING is going to contain a horse. You'll end up with broken rails and injured horses.
This is a VERY BAD IDEA. I shudder to think about the kind of injuries those animals are going to suffer.
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Your kidding right? a good Dresage horse wouldn't find it a challenge at all, and short of using a hot wire on the fence wouldn't discourage many a horse from eating their way through them.
Lee
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chain mortiser?
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Well, you could get all tooled up with a hollow chisel mortiser, or all burly with a mallet and a mortising chisel, but if you are more into getting the job done fisrly fast and not buying fancy tools, a good sized router with a carbide bit and a jig should get the job done, albeit with rounded ends on the holes. Have to go in from both sides.
Pay attention to drainage or you'll have rotted boards in short order.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

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On Aug 11, 9:08am, Ecnerwal

This router approach is kinda what I had in mind when I asked my question. I suspected it was a rail-type of fence. You probably wouldn't have to go all the way through...just a couple of inches to allow the boards to be inserted and fastened. At 10' lengths, you should have some flexibility in the rails. You might try a couple of lengths, even in the shop, before you commit to the entire job.
With hand-mortising 100 posts, the horses would be dead before I finished the fence.
BTW: On 10' centers, are 1x 6 boards rigid enough to hold horses? Might be with the ends fastened.
RonB
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RonB wrote:

I should have thought of that. No need to go all the way through the posts, except that it means the slots are automatically aligned properly.
I have a floor-standing drill press with a cross-slide vice, I also have a relatively large router - but no router table. It would be more of a hassle to set the router up to do these posts vs the drill press.
I suppose I could use a router bit on the drill press.
There are also drills that cut side-ways (don't know what they're called exactly). If these are cedar posts, I suppose it's soft enough to try one of those drills instead of a 1" diam x 2" deep router bit.

I've had some good experience with using PL-Premium adhesive on exposed, outdoor wood. Seems to hold up well under intermittent water exposure, and winter/summer temperature swings. I'm thinking that using liberal amounts of that glue to hold the boards in the slots (and sealing up the slots in the process) might be the way to go. Yes?
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These guys are staring to sound like the offspring of Narm Abrams and Rube Goldberg. This is a fence we're talking about, not shaker furniture. :-)
All you need is a guy proficient with a chainsaw. I don't mean a neighbor with a rusty saw who uses it once a year. I mean a guy who earns a living with it (or used to). You're up north, so you might be able to hire a logger or tree trimming guy who's an artist with the saw.
That kind of guy could cut those after the posts are sunk in the ground. He could do three slots in a post in about 30 seconds and they'd be as straight as if they were cut at a factory.
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But, if you use a router, make a jig from plywood or similar material that can be set on the post and direct the shape of the slot. Not freehand.
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I'm kind of wondering about the validity of putting boards in slots for a fence. Unless you're fencing land that has a perfectly straight fenceline and no variations in elevation (highly unlikely), then you'll have to allow for this in your slots. I thinking making the slots in the shop will lead to a frustrating, if not impossible, fitting experience in the field.
Bob
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Wood Guy wrote:

...
This is a bad idea on several fronts--see swingman's posting.
Iterating some of his points--
First, 1x cedar isn't _nearly_ enough beef in the fence unless the posts are going to be on 3-ft centers or less; they'll get pushed thru and broken within months if not weeks or days.
Second, the idea of the inserted slats is a poor one also--first, it is as noted labor-intensive in the making by hand; second, it'll be a pita to build because if the pockets don't go through you have to insert one end, then hold the post in place while setting it on the other end to insert them, repeat..._BIG_PITA_!!! :(
Then even if it's done, any movement of posts can (and will) end up w/ boards falling out when a post gets moved (and they _will_ move unless are set to such a depth and w/ such backfilling as to again make the building and expense absurd over time).
And, besides that, as swingman notes, repair of the aforementioned broken rails is going to be another royal pita if the posts _haven't_ moved (so your damned if they do and damned if they don't :) ).
And, as if all that weren't enough, the pocket is simply a water-collection point to promote early failure of the post and rail ends--they rest of the rail will be fine for years; the end inside the pocket will rot and weaken in a much shorter time--perhaps as short as a few years in really damp locales.
All in all, look at how typical fences in the Bluegrass horse country are built for functionality as well as appearance and learn... :)
--
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Use a drill of the right size drill as many holes as you need [OOOO] then square of the hole with a chisel.

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A router is going to be about the fastest. Drilling will take way to long. Just make a u shaped channel that you can drop the posts into on top of a table. Plunge and route. You can use a small level to draw a line across one end of the post, then it is easy to rotate it 180 degrees and do the cuts from eaither side. Just mark the channel where you want the cuts. You could even build stops for real accuracy.

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On Tue, 11 Aug 2009 10:09:55 -0700 (PDT), "SonomaProducts.com"

...I'd set up my PC box-lock mortiser and knock 'em out pretty quickly...but only *after* the posts are in the ground! Trying to pre-bore or pre cut fence posts is a potential disaster...get 'em in the ground, run some strings and cut 'em all to height at once...then make a jig or two and you're in business.
cg
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I may be missing something here, and I agree with you about the potential disaster, but after getting them in the ground how are you going to put the boards in place. As I see it you will have to bow the boards out to get them to clear the edge of the post and fit in the mortise. Just my thoughts.
Al
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On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 15:46:48 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@flash.net wrote:

...oops, you're right there, pardner! Maybe set every *other* post, then you'd have a good shot at assembling and setting!
cg
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Charlie,
You will need a generator to run your router or a long extension cord. I think that a better alternative would be to either overlap the boards or put one on each side of the fence and bolt them in place. A lot more forgiving pattern, but doesn't look as classy.
Al
AL-
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On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 23:40:00 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@flash.net wrote:

...well, I'm with you, Al...I wouldn't go to all that trouble to build a sturdy fence to contain livestock anyhow! Just trying to solve an interesting problem...hardware works!
cg
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