Wood Expansion: Fence Boards


How much expansion should I allow for when putting cedar 1 by 6 boards next to each other on a fence panel. I know W.R. cedar is considered a fairly stable wood but would an inch clearance over a span of 66 inches be enough? I'm going for a "solid" fill pattern look. Thx.
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Do they feel wet? Or cool to the touch as if they may be a tad damp? If so, butt them right up against each other as they'll shrink and small gaps will open up.
Most, if not all, cedar fencing I've run into is quite damp and shrinks rather than is dry and expands.
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Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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wrote:

I agree with this, having put several hundred feet of 1x4 cedar fencing around my house a couple of times. It comes from the store (Home Depot, my most recent time) pretty wet.
Matter of fact, I've kicked myself that I didn't have the patience the last time of leaning the new boards up against the old fence and letting them dry out for a week or three before tearing down the old and putting up the new. Those 1/4's shrink (roughly) a quarter inch each. And, after a period of heavy rains (been some time now in the Dallas/Fort Worth area!) that gap doesn't appear to shrink. I had wondered if dry boards might GROW by a quarter inch each, causing the fence to "explode." One section, about 80-90 feet continuous lenght, would have quite a problem if the boards absorbed as much as they lost.
Jim Stuyck
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Thanks everybody for the advice. Yes it appears that the board start to shrink after the first day being in the sun. My main concern was the "exploding" fence scenario when the wet weather comes. I'm leaving them a "little" loose when I'm building them and using a finishing/hide strip on the left and right hand sides to allowing for the expansion/contraction to go unnoticed.
wrote:

fairly
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Alan Smithee wrote:

I've built several fences over the years and I've never seen them do anything other than shrink. And I've never seen a fence that looked like the boards had swelled for any reason. I think you'll have a hard time drying the boards enough so that when assembled they will look solid. If you want to try to pre-dry them I don't know how much luck you'll have. I've used both cedar and redwood and both like to warp if left to dry. At least that's what's happened to extras I've had that I left in a stack.
Bruce
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