I am in the process of building a picket fence. I have set my posts
and I am moving onto the next part, attaching the stringers. I would
like to cut a grove across(Left to right or horizontal)into the 4 x 4
posts that I have set, to set the 2x4 stringer into. What is the
easiest and safest way to do this? Using a router or using a Circular
saw w/dado or regular blad & chisel? Or what would be recommended? Or
forget the groove and get some brackets. Just curious to what other
people have done in the past. This is for a small fence only 3ft tall
to keep small dogs in a yard.
Thank you for all your help.
Forget the groove as you will esentially be reducing the post strength to a
2x4. Measure each lower stringer to fit between each post at the location
that it will end up at. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Try to
cut the on the slightly long side of the measurement. I usually use 3
total. If you dread toe nailing, you can predrill from the end of the board
through to the outer side. Start you nails before placing the stringer and
you should be set. A framing nail gun will speed this greatly.
Incorrect on the strenght part. It's still (almost) twice the width of a
2x4. Taking a dado cut out of the face of it will reduce its strength
somewhat, but certainly not to that of a 2x4. A well cut dado that nicely
fits the 2x4 stringer will result in an increase in strenght resulting in a
finished product near the same strength the 4x4 started out with. Not that
you need the strength of a 4x4 for a 3 foot fence for small dogs. The OP
should be just fine insetting the stringers in the poles.
As to how to do it? I generally do this type of cut with my circular saw.
Be precise with your outside cuts and err to the side of tight. You can
always trim a little more to get that perfect fit. I don't try to get all
of the waste out with the saw - I make most of my cuts about double the kerf
apart so that the waste that remains is about a kerf think, and that stuff
will usually knock out easily with a hammer. Touch up the resulting cut
with a chisel if you need and move on. I would suggest grabbing your speed
square (isn't that a swear word in a woodworking group???) and using that as
a saw guide for your outside cuts.
Umm a 4x4, 3.5" square, is the same width of a 2x4 . Cutting out 1.5
inches to allow a flush fit leaves 2 inches of the post to carry the weight.
A well cut dado that nicely
I confess that I did not read that this was going to be a 3' fence. I build
lots of 6.5" tall fences and had that frame of mind when indicating the
weakening of the post. A good wind often will break an older 4x4 fence when
the fence is 6.5' tall.
No, because the dado severs wood fibers running the length of the post. That's
what weakens it.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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If you pushed against the post from the side the dado was cut, the post
would me more prone to break at the dado than a post with out a dado.
Now if you poly glued the joint the joint would be stronger until the wood
began to naturally shrink in the outside elements.
I didn't know speed square is a swear word, I have three of them (they get
misplaced, borrowed, replaced, and then found).
I suppose I'll have to trash them now and just use my Starrett combination
square. I hate that because the Starrett makes a terrible skil saw cross
cutting guide. Oh well . . . .
The Starrett doesn't get borrowed.
I dado fence posts the same way you do. if I'm concerned about the strength
of the post, I might cut a 3/4" deep dado and half-lap the stringers. A
cross cut with the skil saw and a Disston rip saw takes care of the half
laps. they're not furniture.
For the young guys in the group, during my generation's puppy hood, all
refrigerators were frigidaires, reciprocating saws were bayonet saws, and
portable circular saws were skil saws. :-)
My daddy had an 8" Porter Cable (1960's vintage) that was affectionately
known as "the saw mill". Unfortunately, it grew legs and walked out my
garage (along with his Rockwell trim saw) :-(
It was used to cut the end of roof decking to a straight line. In those
days, roofs were decked with 1X8 ship lap lumber instead of plywood.
My first choice would be a Radial Arm Saw with a dado blade. Next would be a
sliding sled on a Table Saw with a dado blade (you said the fence would only be
3' high, so I'm figuring a pretty short 4x4). Then I'd go with a Router and a
straight cutting bit, and I'd gang cut them with a straight edge. Probably my
last choice would be a circular saw/chisel, but only because it would leave a
somewhat messier housing and would take longer - not because of safety concerns.
All of the above have the potential to be dangerous, but I wouldn't say overly
so if you use the proper safety precautions.
Wouldn't trying to move the radial arm saw to each post be quite a pita?
Trying to hold the tablesaw w/sliding table on its side and at the proper
height to make the cut would be even worse. :=)
Notice the OP had ALREADY SET the posts.
I would say a circular saw and multiple passes, clean up with a chisel
but, why not just nail the rails to the posts?
A 2X4 is a pretty big stringer/rail for a 3 ft high fence. I have a 6
ft high fence (pre-made panels) and the rails actual size is something
like 1 1/4 X 3.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Lawrence Wasserman) wrote in message
Thank you everyone for your input. I am going to try the circular saw
and clamp a straight piece to the post as a guide. I have about an
extra foot and a half on the post height so I will make a trial cut to
see if I want to go this route. This is actually just going to be
picket fence. Yes, I could just nail the stringers to the posts but
that would take all the fun out of it:) Then the wife would just give
me another job to do if I get it done real quick:)
Once again thank you for your imput it is greatly appreciated.
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