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Title: Fences, Gates and Bridges - A Practical Manual
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fences, Gates and Bridges - A Practical Manual" ***

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[The transcribers’ notes follow the text.]

                             FENCES, GATES



                          A PRACTICAL MANUAL.

                               EDITED BY
                           GEORGE A. MARTIN.



                               NEW YORK:

    Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887, by the

                             O. JUDD CO.,

      In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


It is authoritatively stated that the building and maintenance of the
farm fences in the United States have cost more than the construction
of the farm buildings. Be this as it may, while large numbers of works
have been written upon rural architecture we believe this is the first
publication specially devoted to Fences, Gates and Bridges. It aims to
be a practical work, showing the “evolution” of the fence from the road
barrier of logs, brush or sods to the latest improved forms of barbed
wire. The numerous illustrations are mainly representations of fences,
gates, etc., in actual use. The chapter on fence law is necessarily
condensed. The various judicial decisions upon the subject alone would
fill a large volume.

This little work, the first and only one of its character, is given to
the public in the confident hope that it will prove specially useful to
farmers and village residents.



 Rail and other Primitive Fences                                  7-17

Virginia Rail Fence; Laying a Rail Fence; Staking and Wiring; A Fence
of Stakes and Riders; A Pole Fence; Fences for Soil Liable to Heave;
Other Primitive Fences.


 Stone and Sod Fences                                            18-23

How a Stone Wall Should be Built; Building a Stone Fence; Truck for
Moving Stones; Re-inforcing a Stone Wall; A Composite Fence; A Prairie
Sod Fence.


 Board Fences                                                    24-30

Building Board Fences; Fences for Land Subject to Overflow; A
Fence-Board Holder; Re-inforcing a Board Fence.


 Picket Fences                                                   31-42

A Good Garden Fence; A Southern Picket Fence; Fences of Split Pickets;
Ornamental Picket Fences; Rustic Picket Fences; Light Picket Fences;
Hand-made Wire and Picket Fences; Fence of Wire and Pickets.


 Barb-Wire Fence                                                 43-61

Statistics and Forms of Barb Wire; How to Set Barb Wire Fence;
Unreeling and Stretching Barb Wire; Wire-Stretchers; Building Wire
Fence on Uneven Ground.


 Fences of Barb Wire and Boards                                  62-67

Combined Wire and Board Fence; A Bracketed Fence; Dog-Proof Fence.


 Hedges                                                          67-75

The Best Hedge Plants; Planting and Care of Osage Hedges; Hedges for
the South; Ornamental Hedges and Screens.


 Portable Fences and Hurdles                                     75-85

Portable Board Fences; Portable Fences of Poles and Wire; Portable
Fences for Windbreaks; Portable Poultry Fences; Portable Folding Fence;
Temporary Wire and Iron Fences.


 Fences for Streams and Gullies                                  85-95

Flood Fences; Portable Wire Fence; Watering Place in a Creek.


 Making and Setting Posts                                       95-117

Making Fence Posts; A Post Holder; Driving Fence Posts by Hand; To
Drive Posts Without Splitting; A Powerful Post Driver; Setting a
Gate Post; Live Posts; Mending a Split Post; Hook for Wiring Posts;
Drawing Fence Posts; Lifting Posts by Hand; Splicing Fence Posts;
Application of Wood Preservatives; Iron Fence Posts.


 Gates and Fastenings                                          117-164

Wooden Gates; A Very Substantial Farm Gate; A Strong and Neat Gate;
Light Iron Gates; Self-closing Gates; Gate for a Village Lot; A
Chinese Door or Gate Spring; Lifting Gates; Rustic Gates; Balance
Gates; Gate for Snowy Weather; West India Farm Gates; Gate Hinges
of Wood; Double Gates; Double Latched Gates; Improved Slide Gate; A
Combined Hinge and Sliding Gate; Gates of Wood and Wire; A Good and
Cheap Farm Gate; An Improved Wire Gate; Taking up the Sag in Gates;
Good Gate Latches; Top Hinge of Farm Gate; Gateways in Wire Fence.


 Wickets and Stiles                                            164-170

Iron Wickets; Wooden Wickets; Stiles for Wire Fences.


 Fence Law                                                     170-176

Fencing Out or Fencing In; Division Fences; Highway Fences; What is a
Legal Fence? Railroad Fences.


 Country Bridges and Culverts                                  176-188

Strength of Bridges; Braces and Trusses; Abutments, Piers and
Railings; Bridges for Gullies; Road Culverts.





The zigzag rail fence was almost universally adopted by the settlers in
the heavily timbered portions of the country, and countless thousands
of miles of it still exist, though the increasing scarcity of timber
has brought other styles of fencing largely into use. Properly built,
of good material, on a clear, solid bed, kept free from bushes and
other growth to shade it and cause it to rot, the rail fence is as
cheap as any, and as effective and durable as can reasonably be
desired. Good chestnut, oak, cedar, or juniper rails, or original
growth heart pine, will last from fifty to a hundred years, so that
material of this sort, once in hand, will serve one or two generations.
This fence, ten rails high, and propped with two rails at each corner,
requires twelve rails to the panel. If the fence bed is five feet
wide, and the rails are eleven feet long, and are lapped about a foot
at the locks, one panel will extend about eight feet in direct line.
This takes seven thousand nine hundred and twenty rails, or about eight
thousand rails to the mile. For a temporary fence, one that can be put
up and taken down in a short time, for making stock pens and division
fences, not intended to remain long in place, nothing is cheaper or
better. The bed for a fence of this kind should not be less than five
feet across, to enable it to stand before the wind. The rails are best
cut eleven feet long, as this makes a lock neither too long nor too
short; and the forward end of each rail should come under the next one
that is laid. The corners, or locks, as they are called, should also be
well propped with strong, whole rails, not with pieces of rails, as is
often done. The props should be set firmly on the ground about two feet
from the panel, and crossed at the lock so as to hold each other, and
the top course of the fence firmly in place. They thus act as braces
to the fence, supporting it against the wind. Both sides of the fence
should be propped. The top course of rails should be the strongest and
heaviest of any, for the double purpose of weighting the fence down,
and to prevent breaking of rails by persons getting upon it. The four
courses of rails nearest the ground should be of the smallest pieces,
to prevent making the cracks, or spaces between the rails, too large.
They should also be straight, and of nearly even sizes at both ends.
This last precaution is only necessary where small pigs have to be
fenced out or in, as the case may be. The fence, after it is finished,
will have the appearance of figure 1, will be six rails high, two props
at each lock, and the worm will be crooked enough to stand any wind,
that will not prostrate crops, fruit trees, etc. A straighter worm than
this will be easy to blow down or push over. The stability of this sort
of fence depends very largely on the manner of placing the props, both
as to the distance of the foot of the prop rail from the fence panel,
and the way it is locked at the corner.



[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

[Illustration: Fig. 3.—THE FENCE BEGUN.]

It is much better, both for good looks and economy, to have the corners
of a rail fence on each side in line with each other. This may be
accomplished by means of a very simple implement, shown in figure 2.
It consists of a small pole, eight feet long, sharpened at the lower
end. A horizontal arm of a length equal to half the width of the fence
from extreme outside of corners, is fastened to the long pole at right
angles, near the lower end. Sometimes a sapling may be found with a
limb growing nearly at right angles, which will serve the purpose.
Before beginning the fence, stakes are set at intervals along the
middle of the line it is to occupy. To begin, the gauge, as shown in
figure 2, is set in line with the stakes, and the horizontal arm is
swung outwardly at right angles to the line of fence. A stone or block
to support the first corner is laid directly under the end of the
horizontal arm, and the first rail laid with one end resting on the
support. In the same way the next corner and all others are laid, the
gauge being moved from corner to corner, set in the line of fence, and
the arm swung alternately to the right and left.


[Illustration: Fig. 4.—STAKES IN “LOCK.”]

[Illustration: Fig. 5.—STAKES IN ANGLES.]

A neater and more substantial method of securing the corners of a worm
fence is by vertical stakes and wires, as shown in the accompanying
illustrations. When the lower three rails are laid, the stakes are
driven in the angles close to the rails, and secured by a band of
annealed wire. The work of laying the rails proceeds, and when within
one rail of the top, a second wire band is put in place. Or the upper
wire may be put on above the top rail. Annealed wire is plentiful and


[Illustration: Fig. 6.—A STAKE AND RIDER FENCE.]

A very common method with the “worm” or “Virginia” rail fence is to
drive slanting stakes over the corner in saw-horse style, and lay the
top rail into the angle thus formed. The stakes, resting on the rails
and standing at angle, brace the fence firmly. But the feet of the
stakes extending beyond the jagged corners formed by the ends of the
rail are objectionable. This is remedied in part by putting the stakes
over the middle of the panel—at considerable distance apart—and laying
in them long poles horizontally. In this case the stakes should be set
at such an angle as to prevent their moving sidewise along the top
rail, which should be a strong one. These stakes and long riders are
frequently used to raise the height of low stone walls. Figure 6 shows
a fence nearly all composed of stakes and riders, which is straight
and requires fewer rails than a worm fence. First, crotched stakes,
formed by the forks of a branching tree limb, a foot or more long, are
driven a foot or so into the ground at a distance apart corresponding
to the length of poles used. The bottom poles are laid into these, and
two stakes, split or round poles, are driven over these and the next
poles laid in. Then two more stakes and another pole, and so on as high
as the fence is required. This will answer for larger animals, and be
strong and not expensive. For swine, and other small livestock, the
crotch stakes may be replaced by blocks or stones, and the lower poles
be small and begin close to the ground.

[Illustration: Fig. 7.—A POLE FENCE.]


[Illustration: Fig. 8.—WITHE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 9.—WITHE IN PLACE.]

A fence which is cheaply constructed in a timbered region, and calls
for no outlay whatever, besides labor, is illustrated at figure 7. The
posts are set in a straight line, having previously been bored with an
inch augur to receive the pins. When they are set, the pins are driven
diagonally into the posts, and the poles laid in place. It would add
much to its strength, if the poles were laid so as to “break joints.” A
modification of this fence is sometimes made by using withes instead of
pins to hold the poles in place. The withe is made of a young sapling
or slender limb of beech, iron-wood, or similar tough fibrous wood,
with the twigs left on. This is twisted upon itself, a strong loop made
at the top, through which the butt is slipped. When in place, the butt
end is tucked under the body of the withe.


[Illustration: Fig. 10.—END VIEW OF FENCE.]

The main point in such a fence is either to set the posts and place
a pin through them near the bottom, so that the frost may not throw
them out, or to so attach the boards that the posts may be re-driven,
without splitting them, or removing the rails from the fence. The
latter is, perhaps, the best plan, and may be accomplished in several
ways, the most desirable of which is shown in figures 10 and 11. The
post, _h_, is driven in the usual manner, when a strip of board, _g_,
is fastened to it by three or four spikes, depending upon the hight of
the fence. A space just sufficient to insert the ends of boards _a_,
_e_, figure 11, is left between the post and outside strip, the ends
of the boards resting upon the spikes. Many miles of this fence are
in use. It looks neat; besides any portion is easily removed, making
a passage to and from the field. A new post is easily put in when
required, and any may be re-driven when heaved by the frost.

[Illustration: Fig. 11.—SIDE VIEW OF FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 12.—FENCE WITH IRON HOOKS.]

Where iron is cheap, a rod about three-eighths of an inch in diameter
is cut in lengths of about seven and a half inches; one end is
sharpened, while the opposite end, for three inches, is bent at right
angles. After the boards are placed in position, the hooks should be
driven in so that they will firmly grasp the boards and hold them in
place. The general appearance of the finished fence is shown in figure
12, and is one adapted to almost any locality.

[Illustration: Fig. 13.—HORIZONTAL SECTION.]

A much better method is to fasten the boards temporarily in place, and
then bore a half inch hole through both boards and the post, into which
a common screw bolt is then inserted and the nut screwed on firmly. The
two ends should, however, be put on opposite sides of the post. One
bolt thus holds the ends of both boards firmly to the post, as shown in
figure 13. With this style of fence, old rails or round poles may be
used instead of boards.


In the heavily timbered parts of the country, where the settlers a few
years ago were making farms by felling and burning the huge pine trees,
a fence was constructed like the one shown in figure 14. Sections of
trees, about four and a half feet long and often as thick, were placed
in line and morticed to receive from three to five rails. This style
of fence could be used by the landscape gardener with fine effect for
enclosing a park or shrubbery.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.—LOG POSTS.]

In the same regions, when a farmer has pulled all the stumps from a
pasture that slopes toward the highway, the stumps may be placed in
line along the road with the top ends inside of the field. The gaps
between where the stumps cannot be rolled close together, are filled
with brushwood. A portion of this fence is shown in figure 15.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.—STUMP FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 16.—WICKER FENCE.]

Where other material is costly, or not to be obtained, the wicker
fence, constructed of stakes and willows, is much used. In the far West
it is to be seen in every town, generally built on a small embankment
of earth from one to two feet deep. In this climate, with occasional
repairs, it lasts from ten to fifteen years. Figure 16 shows the style
of construction.

[Illustration: Fig. 17.—BRUSH FENCE.]

Throughout the forest regions is found the staked and ridered brush
growing on the line where the fence is constructed. Figure 17
illustrates a few rods of brush fence—such fencing being met with in
our Southern States.





[Illustration: Fig. 18.—WELL LAID WALL.]

To build a stone wall, some skill is required. The foundation should be
dug out a foot deep, and the earth thrown upon each side, which serves
to turn water from the wall. Large stones are bedded in the trench,
and long stones placed crosswise upon them. As many whole stones as
possible should be used in this place. The stones are then arranged as
shown in the engraving, breaking joints, and distributing the weight
equally. Any small spaces should be filled with chips broken off in
dressing the larger stones, so as to make them fit snugly. As it is a
work that will last a century, it is worth doing well.


[Illustration: Fig. 19.—LAYING UP A STONE FENCE.]

A permanent stone fence should be built from four to five feet high,
two feet wide at the base and one foot at the top, if the kind of
stones available allow this construction. If a higher fence is
desired, the width should be correspondingly increased. The surface
of the soil along the line of the fence should be made smooth and as
nearly level as possible. The hight will depend upon the situation, the
animals, the smoothness of the wall (whether sheep can get foot-holds
to climb over), and the character of the ground along each side. If
the earth foundation be rounded up previously, sloping off to an open
depression or gully, less hight will be needed. Such an elevation will
furnish a dry base not heaved by frost like a wet one. Without this, or
a drain alongside or under the wall, to keep the soil always dry, the
base must be sunk deeply enough to be proof against heavy frosts, which
will tilt and loosen the best laid wall on wet soil. The foundation
stones should be the largest; smaller stones packed between them are
necessary to firmness. The mistake is sometimes made of placing all the
larger stones on the outside of the wall, filling the center with small
ones. Long bind-stones placed at frequent intervals through the wall
add greatly to its strength. The top of the fence is most secure when
covered with larger close-fitting, flat stones. The engraving shows a
wooden frame and cords used as a guide in building a substantial stone
fence. Two men can work together with mutual advantage on opposite
sides of the stone wall.


[Illustration: Fig. 20.—TRUCK FOR STONE.]

The small truck (figure 20) is not expensive, and may be made to save
a great amount of hard lifting in building a stone wall. It is a low
barrow, the side bars forming the handles like a wheel-barrow. It rests
upon four low iron wheels. A broad plank, or two narrow ones, are laid
with one end against the wall and the other resting on the ground. A
groove is cut at the upper end for the wheels to rest in. The stone is
loaded on the truck, moved to the place, and pushed up the plank until
the wheels fall into the groove; when, by lifting on the handles, the
stone is unloaded.


A stone wall which affords ample protection against sheep and hogs, may
be quite insufficient for horses and cattle. The deficiency is cheaply
supplied in the manner indicated by the illustration, figure 21. Round
poles or rails are used, and if the work is properly performed, the
fence is very effective.

[Illustration: Fig. 21.—STONE WALL REINFORCED.]


[Illustration: Fig. 22.—COMPOSITE FENCE.]

The fence illustrated at figure 22 is quite common in some parts of
New England. A ridge is thrown up by back-furrowing with a plow, and
both that and the ditches finished by hand with a shovel. Light posts
are easily driven through the soft earth, and a board fence, only
three boards high, made in the usual manner. Then the stones, as they
are picked up in the field, are hauled to the fence and thrown upon
the ridge. This clears the field, strengthens the ridge, prevents the
growth of weeds, and assists in packing the earth firmly around the
bottom of the posts.


[Illustration: Fig. 23.—SOD CUTTER.]

A sod fence, beside its other value, is a double barrier against the
prairie fires which are so sweeping and destructive to new settlers, if
unobstructed, for a wide strip is cleared of sods, the fence standing
in the middle of it. A very convenient implement for cutting the
sod is shown at figure 23. It is made of planks and scantling, the
method of construction being clearly shown. The cutting disks are four
wheel-coulters from common breaking plows, all attached to an iron
shaft sixteen inches apart. They are set to cut three or four inches
deep. This is run three times along the line of the fence, making nine
cuts, the cutters being held down by a man riding on the rear of the
apparatus. Then with a breaking plow one furrow is turned directly in
the line of the fence, completely inverting the sod, the team turned to
the right, and a second or back-furrow is inverted on top of the first.
Additional furrows are cut, diminishing in width to five or six inches
on the outer side, as shown in the diagram, figure 24. After the two
inner sods are turned, the rest are carried by hand, wheel-barrow or a
truck, (figure 20), and laid on the sod wall, care being used to “break
joints” and to taper gradually to the top. If a more substantial fence
is wanted, a strip thirty-two inches wide may be left as a part for the
fence, the first two furrows inverted upon the uncut portion, so that
their edges just touch. The sod fence is then continued to the summit
just twice as thick as it would be by the process just described. After
the fence is laid, a deep furrow should be run on each side, throwing
the earth against the base of the fence. A very effective and cheap
fence is made by laying up a sod “dyke,” as above described, three feet
high, then driving light stakes along the summit, and stringing two
strands of barbed wire to them.

[Illustration: Fig. 24.—THE SOD CUT.]





In building a board fence, always start right, and it will be little
trouble to continue in the same way. Much of the board fencing erected
is put together very carelessly, and the result is a very insecure
protection to the field or crops. A fence-post should be set two and
a half or three feet in the ground, and the earth should be packed
around it as firmly as possible. For packing the soil there is nothing
better than a piece of oak, about three inches square on the lower
end, and about six feet long, rounded off on the upper part to fit the
hands easily. Properly used, this instrument will pack the soil around
a post as it was before the hole was dug. In putting on fence boards,
most builders use two nails on the ends of each board, and one in the
middle. Each board should have at least _three_ nails at the ends,
and _two_ in the middle, and these nails should never be less than
ten-pennys. Smaller nails will hold the boards in place for awhile,
but when they begin to warp, the nails are drawn out or loosened, and
the boards drop off. This will rarely be the case where large nails
are used, and a much stiffer fence is secured. Many fence builders
do not cut off the tops of the posts evenly, but this should always
be done, not only for the improvement that it makes in the looks of
the fence; but also for the reason that there should always be a cap
put on, and to do this, the posts must be evened. The joints should
always be “broken,” as is shown in the engraving, figure 25, so that
in a four-board fence but two joints should come on each post. By this
means more firmness and durability is secured, there being always
two unbroken boards on each post to hold it in place, preventing
sagging. On the face of the post immediately over where the rails have
been nailed on, nail a flat piece of board the width of the post and
extending from the upper part of the top rail to the ground.

[Illustration: Fig. 26.—A DURABLE BOARD FENCE.]

Figure 26 shows a slight modification, which consists in setting the
posts on alternate sides of the boards, securing additional stability.
The posts are seven feet long, of well seasoned red cedar, white oak,
chestnut, or black locust, preference being accorded to order named.
The boards are sixteen feet long, fastened with ten-penny steel fence
nails. The posts for a space of two and a half feet from the lower end
are given a good coat of boiled linseed oil and pulverized charcoal,
mixed to the consistency of ordinary paint, which is allowed to dry
before they are set. When the materials are all ready, stretch a line
eighteen inches above the ground, where it is proposed to build the
fence. Dig the post holes, eight feet apart from centers, on alternate
sides of the line. The posts are set with the faces inward, each half
an inch from the line, to allow space for the boards. Having set the
posts, the boards of the lower course are nailed on. Then, for the
first length, the second board from the bottom and the top board are
only eight feet long, reaching to the first post. For all the rest the
boards are of the full length, sixteen feet. By this means they “break
joints.” After the boards are nailed on, the top of the posts are sawed
off slanting, capped, if desired, and the whole thing painted. A good
coat of crude petroleum, applied before painting, will help preserve
the fence, and save more than its cost in the paint needed.

[Illustration: Fig. 27.—A NEAT FARM FENCE.]

We see another style of board fence now and then that is rather
preferable to the ordinary one; it looks better than the old straight
fence. It saves one board to each length; and by nailing on the two
upper boards, as shown in the illustration, figure 27, great extra
strength is given. These boards not only act as braces, but ties also,
and a fence built on well set posts, and thoroughly nailed, will never
sag or get out of line until the posts rot off.


[Illustration: Fig. 28.—PANEL.]

[Illustration: Fig. 29.]

[Illustration: Fig. 30.]

[Illustration: Fig. 31.]

The fence illustrated in figures 28, 29 and 30 has posts the usual
distance apart, which are hewed on the front side, and on this are
nailed three blocks, three by four inches thick and six inches long;
the first one, with its top just level with the ground, the second
one, ten inches in the clear above, and the third one, four inches less
than the desired height of the fence, measuring from the top of the
first block. After the panel is put in place, the rounded ends resting
on the bottom blocks, nail a piece of board one and one-half by six
inches on the blocks, as shown in the illustrations. This board must
project four inches above the upper block, forming with it the rest and
catch for the top framing piece of the panel. The panel is made of a
top and bottom piece of three by four scantling, on which are nailed
palings. The top piece is left square, and projects three inches on
each side, but on the bottom piece the projections are cut round, so as
to turn in the slot. The water will raise the panel up out of the upper
catch, allowing it to fall down, as seen at figure 30, so as to offer
no obstruction to the water, nor will it catch drift, as fences hung
from the top do. Figures 31 to 35 represent a fence made somewhat like
the trestle used for drying clothes. The posts are the usual distance
apart, but only extend a few inches out of the ground, just sufficient
to nail a hinge upon. They must, however, be wide enough to admit of
nailing two hinges on each post. The fence consists of two parts—_E_ in
figure 31 represents a cross-section of the fence proper, two panels
of which are seen in figure 34; _D_ represents the back part of the
fence, a section of which is shown in figure 35; _a_ in figure 31 is
the post and _b b_ the hinges. The panel, _E_, should always slope
with the current of the stream, that the water rushing against it will
place it in the position shown by figure 33, lying flat on the ground,
and out of the way of both water and drift. The hinges may be ordinary
strap kind, which can be bought very cheap by the dozen, or they may be
made of heavy iron hoop doubled, as shown at figure 32, which can be
made in any blacksmith shop.

[Illustration: Fig. 32.]

[Illustration: Fig. 33.]

[Illustration: Fig. 34.]

[Illustration: Fig. 35.]


[Illustration: Fig. 36.]

[Illustration: Fig. 37.—FENCE BOARD HOLDER.]

Figure 36 shows a contrivance for holding fence boards against the
posts, at the right distances apart when nailing. A two and a half
by two and a half inch piece of the desired length is taken for the
upright, _a_. About its center is hinged the brace, _c_. A strap-hinge,
_b_, or a stout piece of leather for a hinge, will answer. Blocks
or stops, _d_, _d_, _d_, _d_, are nailed on the upright _a_, at the
required distances, according to the space between the boards on the
fence. The bottom boards of the fence are nailed on first. The bottom
block of the board holder rests upon the bottom board, and is held in
position by the brace _c_. The boards can be placed in the holder like
putting up bars, and are guided to their places on the post by the
blocks, _d_, _d_. The boards can now be nailed on the posts, and the
holding devices moved for another length. When the boards are too long,
they can be pulled forward a little, and the end sawed, and pushed back
to place. One man using the contrivance, can nail on nearly as many
boards in a day, as two persons with one to hold the boards in the old
way. Figure 37 shows the manner of using the fence board holders.


[Illustration: Fig. 38.—STRENGTHENING A BOARD FENCE.]

The old method of topping out a low board fence is shown at figure 38.
Since barbed wire has become plenty, it is more usual to increase the
height of the fence by stringing one or two strands of that on vertical
slats nailed to the tops of the posts. Yet, in cases where there are
plenty of sound rails left from some old fence, or plenty of straight
saplings, the old method is still a very cheap and convenient one.




[Illustration: Fig. 39.—A LATH AND PICKET FENCE.]

The engraving, figure 39, represents a good, substantial garden fence,
that, while somewhat more serviceable than the ordinary kind, may be
constructed at less cost. It does not materially differ from the common
picket fence, further than that the pickets are put five inches apart,
with strips of lath nailed between. The pickets give the necessary
strength, while the lath, as a shield against poultry, or rabbits and
other vermin, is equally as good at one-sixth the cost. An old picket
fence surrounding a garden or yard, may be “lathed” in the manner here
indicated at little expense.


[Illustration: Fig. 40.—SOUTHERN PICKET FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 41.—BENCH FOR SAWING PICKETS.]

The picket fence in very general use in the Southern States, is
shown in figure 40. It will be observed that the pickets, instead of
terminating in an equal-sided point, have but one slanting side, while
the other is straight. Such a fence looks quite as well as one with the
other style of points, and is exceedingly neat and serviceable along
the line of the street, or to mark the boundary between two estates. To
facilitate the sawing of the pickets, the bench or horse represented in
figure 41 is employed. This has a stop at one end, while near the other
end are two upright pieces to serve as guides in sawing. The edge of
one of these is far enough in the rear of the other to give the desired
slope. In sawing, the saw rests against these guides, as shown by the
dotted lines. In a picket fence, the point where decay commences, is
where the pickets cross the string pieces. Water enters between the
two, and decay takes place which is unsuspected until the breaking of a
picket reveals the state of affairs. The string pieces and the pickets,
at least upon one side, should be painted before putting them together,
and nailed while the paint is fresh.


[Illustration: Fig. 42.—A FENCE OF SPLIT STUFF.]

In localities where sawed timber is expensive, and split timber is
readily obtained, a very neat picket fence may be made with very little
outlay, by using round posts, split stringers, and rived pickets, as
shown in the engraving, figure 42. The stringers are eight to twelve
feet in length, and usually one of the flat sides is sufficiently
smooth for receiving the pickets. Let the stringers project a few
inches beyond each post, adding strength to the fence, and should
the posts decay, new ones may be driven in on either side, and the
stringers readily attached by heavy nails or spikes. With timber that
splits freely, a man can rive out five or six hundred pickets in a day.
The construction of the fence is plainly shown in the above engraving.

[Illustration: Fig. 43.—CHEAP FENCE OF SPLIT TIMBER.]

Figure 43 represents a fence made entirely of split timber, the only
cash outlay being for nails. This may be made so as to turn, not only
all kinds of stock, but rabbits, etc. The pickets are sharpened, and
driven six or eight inches into the ground, and firmly nailed to a
strong string-piece at top.

[Illustration: Fig. 44.—COMMON PICKET FENCE.]

Another good substantial fence is represented by figure 44, which,
though somewhat expensive, is especially adapted for yard, orchard and
vineyard enclosure. This needs no explanation. The posts should not be
set further than eight feet apart; two by four-inch scantlings should
be used to nail to, and split palings should be nailed on with annealed
steel nails.


The fence shown in figure 45 may be constructed with flat pickets,
three inches wide and three feet five inches long. The notches in
the pickets are easily made with a compass saw, or a foot-power
scroll-saw. The top and bottom pieces between the pickets may be
painted some other color than the fence, if so desired. Any carpenter
should be able to construct it at a small advance over a fence made
from plain pickets, making the pattern as in figure 46.

[Illustration: Fig. 45.—ORNAMENTAL PICKET FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 46.]

[Illustration: Fig. 47.—A PLAINER PICKET FENCE.]

A plainer, but still very neat form of picket fence is illustrated at
figure 47. The intermediate pieces are notched at one end and square at
the other.


[Illustration: Fig. 48.—RUSTIC SAPLING FENCE.]

When the farmers on the prairies prevent the spreading of the prairie
fires, young oak and hickory saplings spring up as if by magic near all
the wooded streams. These saplings come from huge roots whose tops have
yearly been destroyed by fire. In that section farmers often construct
a very neat rustic fence from two or three year old saplings, having
the appearance of figure 48. The rustic pickets are trimmed so as to
leave the branches projecting about two inches, and are nailed on with
four-penny nails. A fence of this kind would not last long, unless the
pickets, posts, and rails were free of bark, or saturated with crude

[Illustration: Fig. 49.—RUSTIC PICKET FENCE.]

A very neat and picturesque fence for a garden or a lawn is shown at
figure 49. It is made of round poles, with the bark on, the posts being
of similar material. Three horizontal bars are nailed to the posts
at equal intervals, the slats or pickets woven into them and then
nailed in place. One or two coats of crude petroleum, applied to this
and other rustic work at first, and renewed every year, adds to its
appearance and greatly increases its durability.


[Illustration: Fig. 50.—PANEL OF PICKET FENCE.]

For enclosing poultry yards, garden and grounds, a cheap fence with
pickets of lath often serves a good purpose. If not very durable, the
cost of repair or renewal is light. Figure 50 shows one of this kind,
which is sufficiently high for the Asiatic and other heavy and quiet
fowls. The panels are sixteen feet long, and are composed of two pieces
of ordinary six-inch fencing, for top and bottom rails, with lath
nailed across two and a half inches apart; the top ends of the lath
extending ten inches above the upper edge of the top rail. Posts, three
or four inches through at the top end, are large enough, and, after
sharpening well, can be driven into the ground by first thrusting a
crow-bar down and wrenching it back and forth. A post is necessary at
the middle of each panel. Both rails of the panel should be well nailed
to the posts. These panels may be neatly and rapidly made in a frame,
constructed for that purpose. This frame, shown in figure 51, consists
simply of three cross-pieces of six by six, four feet long, upon which
are spiked two planks one foot wide and three feet apart, from outside
to outside. Four inches from the inner edge of each plank is nailed a
straight strip of inch stuff, to keep the rails of the panel in place
while the lath are being nailed on. Against the projecting ends of the
cross-pieces, spike two by six posts twelve inches long; on the inside
of these posts nail a piece of six-inch fencing, to serve as a stop,
for the top ends of the laths to touch, when nailing them to the rails.
These panels can be made in the shop or on the barn floor at odd times,
and piled away for future use. Nail a wide bottom board around on the
inside of the enclosure after the fence is in position.

[Illustration: Fig. 51.—FRAME FOR MAKING FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 52.]

[Illustration: Fig. 53.]

Figures 52 and 53 show lath fences high enough for all kinds of
poultry. The posts in figure 52 are eight feet apart. A horizontal
bar is nailed to the posts six inches above the ground, a second one
eighteen inches, and a third four and a half feet. To two lower strips
nail laths that have been cut to half length, first driving the lower
part of the laths two inches into the ground. One advantage of this
fence is, that the two strips near the bottom, being so close together,
sustain pressure from dogs or outside intruders better than any other
fence constructed of lath, and dispenses with a foot-wide board, so
generally used.

The cheapest lath fence is made with the posts four feet apart, first
sawing them in two lengthwise at a sawmill, and nailing the lath
directly to the posts without the use of strips. The two upper laths
have short vertical pieces fastened to them with cleat nails, and
present points to prevent fowls alighting on the fence. Such a fence
(figure 53) will cost, for four feet, one-half post, three cents;
twenty laths, eight cents; and the nails, three cents, per running
foot, six feet high, or one-half cent per square foot.


[Illustration: Fig. 54.—SIDE VIEW OF BENCH.]

[Illustration: Fig. 55.—TOP VIEW OF BENCH.]

[Illustration: Fig. 56.—PORTION OF THE FENCE.]

A very desirable and popular fence is made of pickets or slats woven
into horizontal strands of plain wire. Several machines have been
invented and patented for doing this work, but it can be done by hand
with the aid of the bench illustrated herewith. The wire should be
a little larger than that used on harvesting machines, and annealed
like it. The bench, of which figure 54 is a side view, and figure 55 a
top view, should be about sixteen feet long and have a screw at each
corner for raising and lowering the holding bars. For the screws at
the ends of the frame one-half to three-fourth-inch iron rod will
answer. The wire is twisted close and tight to the slats, and given
two or three twists between them. If the slats are of green stuff,
fasten the wire to them with small staples, to prevent their slipping
when they shrink. The fence is fastened to the post with common fence
staples. When this style of fence is used on one side of a pasture or
highway, its effectiveness may be increased by a single strand of
barbed wire stapled to the posts above the pickets, and a strand of
plain wire strung along the bottom to stiffen it. The fence will then
be as in figure 56. Such a fence will last many years, and for most
sections of the country is the best and cheapest combined cattle and
hog fence that can be made. For a garden fence it is equal to the best
picket, and at one third of the cost. By having the slats sawed about
one-half inch thick, two inches wide, and five to six feet long, it
makes an excellent fence for a chicken yard, as it can be readily taken
down, moved, and put up again without injuring it in the least. For
situations where appearances are secondary importance, round slats are
equally as good as pickets. A farmer in Wisconsin planted a few white
willow trees the year that he made some fences of this kind. When the
fence began to need repairs, the willows had attained such a growth
that their trimmings furnished all the material needed then and each
year thereafter.


[Illustration: Fig. 57.—FENCE OF WIRE AND PICKETS.]

The fence shown in figure 57 has been introduced in some sections, and
is becoming more popular every year. The posts are set ten feet apart,
and are so placed that they will come on the right and left side of
the fence, alternately. The pickets are split from oak, or any other
hard wood, and are four or five feet long, and an inch and a half or
two inches wide. When the posts are set, brace the one at the end of
the line, and fasten the ends of two number nine, unannealed wires to
it. Stretch the wires along to the other end of the line, and a few
feet beyond the last post. One pair is to be stretched near the top of
the posts and one near the ground. When the wires are stretched taut,
fasten them to some posts or other weight that will drag on the ground;
the upper and lower wires should be fastened to separate weights, and
these should be heavy enough to keep the wires at a great tension.
Having done this, you are ready to commence building the fence. One
man spreads the strands, while another places the picket between them;
the other end of the picket is then raised up and placed between the
upper wires, and then driven up with an axe or mallet. In inserting
the pickets, the wires are to be crossed alternately, as shown in the
engraving. The pickets should be dry and should be about three inches
apart. It takes two persons to build this fence successfully, but
it can be built more rapidly by three; one to spread the wires, one
to place the picket in position, and one to drive it home. This is
especially adapted, for a line or other fence which is not required
to be often moved. It is fastened to the post by nailing one of the
pickets to it with common fencing nails. Fences of this kind are also
made with straight, round limbs of willow or other trees in place of
the split pickets. Several different machines have been patented for
making this style of fence.



The invention of barb wire was the most important event in the solution
of the fence problem. The question of providing fencing material had
become serious, even in the timbered portions of the country, while
the great prairie region was almost wholly without resource, save the
slow and expensive process of hedging. At this juncture came barb wire,
which was at once seen to make a cheap, effective, and durable fence,
rapidly built and easily moved. The original patent for barb wire
was taken out in 1868, but it was not until six years later that an
attempt was made to introduce it into general use, and more than ten
years elapsed before the industry attained any considerable magnitude.
The rapidity and extent of its subsequent growth will be seen by the
following table, showing the estimated amount of barb wire manufactured
and in use during the years named, the estimated length being in miles
of single strand:

  YEAR.       TONS.       MILES.
  1874            5           10
  1875          300          600
  1876        1,500        3,000
  1877        7,000       14,000
  1878       13,000       26,000
  1879       25,000       50,000
  1880       40,000       80,000
  1881       60,000      120,000
  1882       80,000      160,000
  1883      100,000      200,000
  1884      125,000      250,000
  1885      130,000      260,000
  1886      135,000      270,000
            -------    ---------
    TOTALS  716,805    1,433,610

There are now fifty establishments engaged in the manufacture, and the
output for 1887 is estimated at 140,000 tons.

Barb wire is not without its drawbacks as a fencing material, the most
common one being the liability of serious injury to valuable domestic
animals coming in contact with the sharp barbs. Many means have been
devised for overcoming this evil. Some of them are illustrated in the
next chapter. The direct advantages of barb wire are: First—economy,
not only in the comparative cheapness of its first cost, but also
in the small amount of land covered by it. Second—effectiveness as
a barrier against all kinds of stock, and a protection against dogs
and wild beasts. Third—rapidity of construction and ease of moving.
Fourth—freedom from harboring weeds, and creating snow drifts.

[Illustration: Fig. 58.—THE KELLY BARB WIRE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 59.—HORSE-NAIL BARB.]

Barb wire, like the harvester, the sowing machine, and most other
valuable inventions, has attained its present form from very crude
beginnings. The original barb wire consisted of double-pointed metallic
discs, strung loosely upon plain wire. The next step was to twist this
with another wire, as shown in figure 58.

[Illustration: Fig. 60.—CRANDALL BARB WIRE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 61.—STERLING BARB WIRE.]

Another crude beginning was the “horse-nail barb,” which consisted
of a common horseshoe nail bent around a plain wire, and the whole
wrapped spirally with a smaller wire, as shown in figure 59. Various
forms of two-pointed and four-pointed barb wire are manufactured, the
principal difference being the shape of the barbs and the manner of
coiling them around one or both of the strands. A few of the leading
styles are illustrated herewith. Figures 60 and 61 show two varieties
of two-pointed barb wire.

[Illustration: Fig. 62.—QUADRATED BARB WIRE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 63.—IOWA FOUR-POINTED BARB WIRE.]

Of the numerous styles of four-pointed wire, three typical forms are
illustrated in figures 62, 63, and 64.

[Illustration: Fig. 64.—LYMAN BARB WIRE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 65.—GLIDDEN PATENT STEEL TWO-POINT.]

[Illustration: Fig. 66.—GLIDDEN PATENT STEEL “THICK SET.”]

The Glidden patent steel barb wire is made in three styles, as shown
in figures 65, 66, and 67. Figure 65 shows the two-point wire, in
which, like the others, the barb is twisted around only one of the
wires. Figure 66 shows the “thick-set” which has barbs like the other,
but set closer together for such purposes as sheep folds, gardens, or
other places, which require extra protection. The four-point barb wire,
figure 67, has barbs of the same form as the two other styles, that
is a sharply pricking barb attached to one of the wires of the fence
strand, upon which the other wire is twisted, holding the barb firmly
in place. The barb is at right angles to the wire, and does not form
a hook, but a straight short steel thorn. A sharp point which inflict
an instantaneous prick repels an animal more safely than a longer and
duller barb.

[Illustration: Fig. 67.—GLIDDEN PATENT FOUR-POINT.]

Barb wire of nearly, if not quite all the popular kinds, is shipped
from the factory on strong spools, each holding one hundred pounds
in weight, or eighty rods in length. These spools are bored through
the center to admit a stick or bar, which can be used as an axle in
unreeling the wire. The following table shows the weight of wire
required for fencing the respective areas named:

            |            |   WEIGHT OF WIRE.    |
            | LENGTH OF  +----------+-----------+
    AREA.   | BOUNDARY.  |  Strand. | 3 Strand. |
            |            |   Lbs.   |   Lbs.    |
    1 Acre  |   60 Rods. |       67 |       202 |
    5 Acres |  3/8 Mile. |      167 |       400 |
   10 Acres |  1/2 Mile. |      183 |       548 |
   20 Acres |  3/4 Mile. |      273 |       820 |
   40 Acres |    1 Mile. |      365 |      1095 |
   80 Acres |1-1/2 Mile. |      547 |      1642 |
  160 Acres |   2 Miles. |      730 |      2190 |

It will be observed that the larger the area enclosed, the smaller is
the amount of fence required per acre. The cost of fence complete can
be estimated by adding to the amount of wire indicated in the last
column, the cost of sixty posts, and three and three-quarter pounds of
staples, for every sixty rods. To ascertain the weight of wire required
for any desired number of strands, multiply the figures of the first
column of “weight of wire” by the number of strands proposed to be used.


[Illustration: Fig. 69.—ALLIS PATENT BARB.]


There is a kind of barb fencing in which flat steel straps are employed
instead of wire. In the form shown in figure 68, the barbs are bent
around a plain strap and the whole is then galvanized, which firmly
fixes the barb. Another form shown at figure 69 consists of a solid
piece of steel, ribbed through the middle, and with barbs cut on both
edges. These and similar forms are more expensive than wire, and are
employed only in limited quantities for enclosing lawns, paddocks, etc.
Still another form is like that shown in figure 70, without barbs, and
twisted. This is much used to enclose lawns and ornamental grounds. It
is light, neat and strong, does not harbor weeds or make snow drifts,
but is comparatively expensive, as five or six strands are required to
make an effective fence.


Still another form of unarmed fencing is shown in figure 71. It
is simply the ordinary wire without barbs, and is used in limited
quantities for fencing ornamental grounds, barnyards, etc.


[Illustration: Fig. 72.—1-1/4-INCH STAPLE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 73.—1-3/4-INCH STAPLE.]


For fastening barb-wires to the post nothing has been found so
satisfactory as staples made for the purpose from No. 9 steel wire.
They are cut with sharp points to drive easily into the posts, and
are of different lengths, from one inch and a quarter to one and
three-quarters. Figures 72 and 73 show the usual staples for wire, and
figure 74 a staple made specially for strap fencing.


[Illustration: Fig. 75.—WELL-BRACED BARB-WIRE FENCE.]

The timber for posts should be cut when the sap is dormant. Midwinter
or August is a good time to cut post timber. They should be split
and the bark taken off as soon as possible after cutting the timber.
For end posts, select some of the best trees, about sixteen inches
in diameter, from which take cuts eight and a half feet in length,
splitting them in quarters for brace posts. They should be set three
feet in the ground, which is easily done with a post-hole digger. When
setting the brace posts, take a stone eighteen inches to two feet long,
twelve inches wide, and six inches thick, which is put down against the
post edgewise, on the opposite side to the brace, as seen in figure 75,
putting it down about even with the surface of the ground. This holds
the post solid against the brace. A heart-rail, ten feet in length
makes a good brace. Put one of the long posts every sixteen or twenty
rods along the line of fence, as they help to strengthen it, and set
lighter and shorter posts along the line about sixteen feet apart.
After the posts are set, two or three furrows should be turned against
them on each side, as it helps to keep stock from the wire. Such a
fence should be built of a good height. It is better to buy an extra
wire than have stock injured. There is no pulling over end-posts or
sagging wire.

[Illustration: Fig. 76.—A WIRE FENCE WELL BRACED.]

To make an extra solid wire fence, brace the posts, as shown in figure
76, on both sides, in order to resist the tension in either direction.
Every eighth post should be thus braced, and it makes a mark for
measuring the length of the fence, for eight posts set one rod apart,
make eight rods, or a fortieth of a mile for each braced post. The
braces are notched into the top of the posts, just below the top wire,
and a spike is driven through both the brace and the post. The braces
abut upon large stones which give them great firmness.


The general introduction of barb wire fencing has brought out a great
variety of devices for handling the wire. One of these is shown in the
illustrations. Two pieces of scantling are attached to the rear end
of a wagon from which the box has been removed, as shown in figure
77. A slot near the end of each admits the round stick thrust through
the reel of barb wire, to serve as an axle. The end of the barb wire
is fastened to the fence post, the team in front of the wagon started
up, and some three yards of wire unreeled. Then the hind axle of the
wagon is made fast by a chain or rope to the nearest fence-post, the
hind wheel nearest the fence lifted from the ground and held there by a
wagon-jack or piece of board. One turn is then made in the barb wire,
as shown at _A_, figure 78, to which is attached one end of a piece of
smooth wire, some ten feet long. The other end is placed between two
screws, _b_ _b_, in the end of the hub, as shown in the illustration.
The wire thus fastened is coiled around the hub, and the operator can
tighten it and the barb wire to which it is attached, by employing the
leverage of the spokes and felloes.

[Illustration: Fig. 77.—DEVICE FOR UNROLLING WIRE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 78.—FASTENING THE WIRE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 79.—A SULKY WIRE-HOLDER.]

A lighter form of reel holder is shown at figure 79. It is made of two
pieces of two by four scantlings fastened to the axle of a sulky corn
plow. They must be placed far enough apart to allow the reel or spool
to run between them. Make a square axle, figure 80, of some hard tough
wood, rounding it where it runs in the slots of the scantling; drive it
through the hole in the spool, and attach the crank. In moving fence,
place the spool on the frame; remove one end of the wire from the post,
fasten it to the spool, and while one man holds the pole and steers and
steadies the sulky—he will have to pull back a little—another turns
the spool and winds up the wire. When a corner is reached, the wire is
loosened, the sulky turned, and the winding continued. When the end of
the wire is reached, it is carefully loosened from the post, and firmly
fastened to the spool.

[Illustration: Fig. 80.—THE AXLE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 81.—A SLED WIRE-HOLDER.]

[Illustration: Fig. 82.—ANOTHER SLED FOR WIRE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 83.—TIGHTENING THE WIRE.]

It is best to have a separate spool for each wire, especially if they
are of great length. The same contrivance may be used for unreeling the
wire. Attach a gentle horse to the sulky, fasten the pole securely to
the hames, and have a boy lead him slowly along the fence line. Once in
fifty yards stop the horse, grasp the handle, move forward very slowly,
and draw the wire straight and taut. If no sulky plow is at hand, a
light “double-ended” sled, shown in figure 81, may be used. A man holds
the short pole extending from one end, steadying and pushing a little,
while the other winds the reel. The sled is drawn forward by the wire
as it is wound on the reel. To unreel, attach a slow horse to a chain
or rope fastened to the opposite end of the sled. A man must walk
behind the horse and hold the pole to steady the sled. Managed in this
way, the removal of a barbed wire fence is not at all the formidable
operation that has been supposed; it can be taken down and set up
again, easily, safely, and quite rapidly. Figure 82 shows another form
of home-made sled, which is very useful for carrying rolls of wire for
making a fence. The roll is supported on a rod, which has round ends to
fit into the uprights, and which turns in the slots. When the wire is
run out, the end is fastened to the clevis on the centre beam, and a
notched stake, figure 83, being put under the wire, the sled is drawn
up to tighten the wire, which is then stapled. This sled is useful for
many other purposes, and is large enough to carry five rolls of the
wire, so that by going back and forth, the whole of the fence can be
put up very quickly. It is drawn by one horse, the draft chain being
fastened to the front beam.


[Illustration: Fig. 84.—THE CLARK STRETCHER.]

For stretching barb wire there are various implements in the market,
and other quite simple and effective devices can be made on the farm.
Figure 84 shows the Clark stretcher and the manner of using it. Another
stretcher, called the “Come Along” stretcher, figure 85, is used not
only for tightening the wires, but also for handling it, in building or
moving fences.

[Illustration: Fig. 85.—THE “COME ALONG” STRETCHER.]

[Illustration: Fig. 86.—HOME-MADE WIRE-STRETCHERS.]

The useful wire-stretcher, figure 86, consists of a mowing machine
knife-guard, bolted to a stout stick; one curved, as shown in the lower
engraving, is preferable to a straight one, as it will not turn in the
hand. When using it, the wire is held firmly in the slot, and may be
easily stretched by applying the stick as a lever. Another kind of a
wire-stretcher may be made of hard wood or of iron or steel bars. It
consists of three pieces, two arms and a splicer, fastened together
in the manner shown in figure 87, leaving a slot near one end to hold
the wire. The longer arm is made immovable upon the splice by means
of two or more heavy bolts, while the shorter arm is pivoted by one
bolt. This allows the slot to be opened to receive the wire. The short
arm is sharpened so that it may be stuck into a post, or the side of a
building, if convenient. By placing this lever behind a post, one man
can stretch thoroughly a long string of wire. When one man is doing the
work alone, he can stretch the wire, fasten the lever back by means of
a stick driven into the ground before it, and then go back and drive
the staples. The short end of the lever should be about twelve inches
long, and the long arm three or four feet, or even longer.

[Illustration: Fig. 87.]

[Illustration: Fig. 88.—STRETCHER AND GAUGE.]

The stretcher shown in figure 88 is made of hard tough wood or iron.
The wire is passed through the slot, the barbs preventing it from
slipping. The arm at right angles to the lever is used to measure the
distance of the strands. When the lever is set against the post, the
arm rests on the strand below. By sliding it up or down, the distance
between the strands is regulated.

Figure 89 shows another stretcher, that can be made by any blacksmith.
The toothed cam holds the wire so that it will not slip. A block and
tackle are often found useful to draw the wires with. The rolls of wire
are paid out of a wagon body, and when the wire is to be drawn up, the
grip is put on at any point, the tackle is attached, and one horse
draws it as tight as it needs be.

A wire fence needs frequent drawing up or it sags and becomes useless.
The alternate contraction and expansion caused by change of temperature
soon stretch the wire, to say nothing of other causes. The cheap and
effective method employed by telegraph companies is illustrated in
figure 90. It consists of a pair of grip tongs and a set of small
tackle-blocks. The tongs may be made by any blacksmith, and the blocks
are sold at all hardware and tool stores. An iron hook is used to
couple the tongs to the block, and as the wire is drawn up, the free
end of the rope may be given a turn around the same post, to hold it
while the staple is tightened to hold the wire.

[Illustration: Fig. 89.—GRIP FOR FENCE WIRE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 90.]


[Illustration: Figs. 91 and 92.—THE SPLICER.]

[Illustration: Fig. 93.—MAKING THE SPLICE.]

The accompanying engravings show an iron implement for splicing wire
and the manner of using it. To make this splicer take a bar of half
inch round iron, nine inches long. Heat about three inches of one end
and hammer it flat until it is one inch wide. With a cold chisel cut
a one-fourth inch slot a quarter of an inch from the right side and an
inch deep, as seen in figure 91. Bend the part marked _d_, so that it
will be a quarter inch from the flat part, as shown in figure 92. The
lower part of the slot _c_ should be about a half inch from the bend at
_d_. Smooth with a file. To use it let _e_ and _f_, figure 93 represent
two wires to be joined. Bend the ends so they are nearly at right
angles. Hold them with pincers at _g_; place the hook of the splicer on
the wire, _f_, while the wire _e_ falls into the slot. Twist the pieces
around the wire _f_, when one half of the splice is made. Repeat the
operation for the other end. Use about four or five inches of each wire
to twist around the other. Another form of splicer, shown in figure
94, is made of cast iron, and is used in the same manner as the first.
Figure 95 shows the manner of holding the wire with nippers made for
the purpose, and the finished splice.

[Illustration: Fig. 94.]

[Illustration: Fig. 95.]


[Illustration: Fig. 96.—FENCE ON UNEVEN GROUND.]

One of the great perplexities about building wire fences on rolling
ground, is how to make the posts in the hollows remain firm, for the
pull of the wire in wet weather, or when the frost is coming out, lifts
them and causes the wire to sag, and they cease to be an effective
barrier. Posts should not be used in the lowest depressions, but in
their place at the lowest spots a heavy stone should be partially sunk
into the ground, about which a smooth fence wire has been wrapped, as
seen in figure 96. When the fence is built, the fence wires are brought
down to their place and the wire about the stone is twisted first about
the lower wire, then the next, and so on to the top. This prevents the
wire from raising, and does away with all trouble of the posts being
pulled out by the wires. In fencing across small streams the same plan
is successful.




[Illustration: Fig. 97.—MANNER OF BRACING END-POST.]

A very cheap fence is made of two boards below and three strands of
barb wire. To make the fence pig-proof without the boards, five strands
of wire, three inches apart, would be required at the bottom. Two
common fencing boards will occupy the same space, when placed three
inches apart, and cost less. But for the upper part of the fence, wire
is much cheaper than boards. The most considerable item in this greater
economy is the saving of posts. The wire requires a post every sixteen
feet; hence half the posts are saved. A stout stake, driven midway
between the posts, holds the center of the boards in place. These
stakes need extend only eighteen inches above ground. Posts that have
rotted off in the ground will be long enough for these stakes. Some
say that the posts can be set thirty feet apart, but sixteen feet is
better. The posts should be at least thirty inches in the ground and
well tamped. It is easy to stretch the wire. Its durability depends
upon the quality of the wire and posts, and the proper setting of them.
Nail on the two boards, three inches apart; the first strand is six
inches above the top board, the second strand is twelve inches above
the first, and the third sixteen inches above the second. When banked
up, as hereafter described, this fence will turn all farm stock. An
important point is the bracing of the end-posts. If this be neglected
or improperly done, the fence will be a failure. Figure 97 shows how
the end-post should be braced. It should be a large post and set at
least three feet in the ground. The short post which holds the lower
end of the brace, should also be well set. Wrap the wire around the
end-post several times, and drive staples to hold it on all sides. If
the line of fence is more than forty rods long, at least two posts
at each end should be braced. After the posts are set, and before
attaching the boards or wire, plow a deep furrow along each side,
throwing the earth inward. This makes a bank along the line, allowing
the fence to be several inches higher; and the furrow drains the water
away from the posts, and also restrains an animal that may be tempted
to jump the fence. A section of the completed fence is shown in figure
98. Do not hang pieces of tin, etc., upon the top strands of wire, as
often recommended, that the animals may see the fence, and be able to
avoid it, because it is never necessary.

[Illustration: Fig. 98.—SECTION OF FENCE COMPLETED.]

[Illustration: Fig. 99.—A CHEAP AND GOOD FENCE.]

A modification of this combined fence is shown in figure 99. It is made
of one rail along the top, and three wires below. After setting the
posts plow a furrow two feet from the posts on each side, throwing the
furrow slice towards the fence, and forming up the ridge neatly with a
spade; then stretch the three wires, and nail a two by four scantling
edgewise. To prevent an unpleasant sagging of the rails, the posts
should be eight feet apart, and the rails sixteen feet long. For common
fencing, good straight poles will answer well.


The features shown in figure 100 are: first, in having two six-inch
boards at the bottom. Second, in placing the wires very close together.
It being necessary to have barbs only on one side of each space between
the wires, plain galvanised wire may be used for every alternate
strand, thus greatly lessening the expense. Third, by the use of
strips and short stakes, the posts may be placed sixteen feet apart,
and the fence remain as perfect as if there were posts every eight
feet. Fourth, to make the fence man-proof, make use of a bracket of
three-eighth-inch iron, or of one by two-inch wooden strips. The form
of the brackets is shown in figures 101, 102 and 103. A barb-wire is
attached to the short arm of the brackets, which are fastened to the
posts in such a manner as to stretch two wires on the same horizontal
plane, and fifteen inches apart. The material required for each panel
of the fence shown in figure 100, are: Two posts, three barb-wires, two
plain wires of No. 12 galvanized iron, two six-inch boards, sixteen
feet long, three stakes about three feet long, and sharpened at one
end, four strips, four feet long and one and one-half inch square. To
build the fence: Lay off the ground by setting small pegs eight feet
apart, then dig the holes, and set the posts at every fourth peg.
Drive the sharpened stakes into the ground at the three pegs between
the posts, so that the top of the stakes will be nineteen inches above
the ground. Nail the boards on the first stake near the ground, and
the second one three inches above the first. Then mark off the place
for each wire on the first post, fasten the bottom wire, and put up
as far as the first stretching post; then add the other wires, using
first a barb-wire, and then a smooth one. The wires should be fastened
to the posts with long staples. The strips are to go in the middle of
the eight foot spaces; they should not quite touch the ground; fasten
them to the boards with nails and to the wire with short staples. These
strips can be made of poles or saplings, and the stakes of short or
crooked pieces from the posts. To attach the man-proof part: If the
brackets are of wood, nail them to the posts, sawing off the horizontal
arm to fifteen inches from the top wire, as in figure 103; stretch
the wire and fasten to the end. If the brackets are of iron, figure
102, spike the horizontal arm to the top of the post, then put up the
barb-wire loose under the oblique arm, and stretch it. Then spike the
foot of the oblique arm to the post, and slip the wire into the angle,
and close the bracket by closing the arms on the wire. Figure 102 shows
the method of attaching the iron bracket to the post.

[Illustration: Fig. 100.—ONE PANEL OF IMPROVED WIRE FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 101.—IRON BRACKET.]

[Illustration: Fig. 102.—ATTACHED BRACKET.]

[Illustration: Fig. 103.—WOODEN BRACKET.]


[Illustration: Fig. 104.—A FENCE AGAINST DOGS.]

Figure 104 shows a sheep-yard fence, built of wire and boards, as a
safeguard against vicious dogs. It consists of ordinary posts, and
three lengths of boards, with an equal number of barb-wires for the
upper portion, and a single strand placed near the ground. The sheep
are in no danger of injuring themselves with such a fence, and it is an
effective barrier to blood-thirsty dogs.

[Illustration: Fig. 105.—A CHEAPER FENCE.]

Figure 105 shows a cheaper fence for the same purpose. It has one
strand of barb wire below the boards, which prevents attempts of dogs
to dig under it. For fencing sheep against dogs, the “thick-set” barb
wire is the most effective of any.




The first emigrants from England to the American shores brought with
them memories of green hedge-rows, like those which still adorn the
motherland. But they found the country whither they had come covered
with a dense growth of timber, which furnished abundant material
for fences. Hedges were almost unknown in this country until after
civilization had reached the treeless prairies. Then, the want of
fencing material turned attention to hedges, and they became so popular
that many miles of them were planted, not only in the prairie region,
but also in the more eastern States, where cheaper fencing material
was plenty. Now the invention of barbed wire supplies a material so
cheap and easily put in place, that hedges have ceased to be regarded
as economical for general farm purposes. But they have by no means
gone wholly out of use. As a boundary fence, especially upon the
roadside, there is much to be said in favor of the hedge. Nothing gives
a neighborhood such a finished rural aspect, as to have the roads
bordered by hedges. The grounds around the summer cottages on the New
Jersey coast, and other popular summer resorts, are largely enclosed
with hedges. For interior divisions, as they cannot be removed, they
are not to be commended. An orchard, the most permanent of all the
plantations upon the farm, may be appropriately enclosed by a live
fence. Hedges are either protective barriers, really live fences, or
merely ornamental. In properly regulated communities, where cattle are
not allowed to run at large, the roadside hedge may be ornamental,
while one around an orchard should be able to keep out animals and
other intruders. After many experiments and failures, the Osage Orange
(_Maclura aurantiaca_), has been found to make the best hedges. Being a
native of Arkansas, it has been found to be hardy much farther North,
and may be regarded as the most useful hedge plant in all localities
where the winter is not severe. Where the Osage Orange is not hardy,
Buckthorn, Japan Quince and Honey Locust are the best substitutes.
Honey Locust is a most useful hedge plant, as it is readily raised from
seed, grows rapidly, bears cutting well, and in a few years will make a
barrier that will turn the most violent animal.


[Illustration: Fig. 106.—BADLY PLOWED GROUND.]

[Illustration: Fig. 107.—HEDGE PLANT ON HARD RIDGE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 108.—PROPERLY PLOWED GROUND.]

[Illustration: Fig. 109.—HEDGE PLANT IN MELLOW SOIL.]

The first requisite for a hedge of any kind is to secure thrifty
plants of uniform size. Osage Orange plants are raised from seeds by
nurserymen, and when of the right size, should be taken up in autumn
and “heeled in.” The ground, which it is proposed to occupy by the
hedge, should be broken up in autumn and then replowed in spring,
unless it is a raw prairie sod, which should be broken a year before
the hedge is planted. It is a very usual, but very bad practice, to
plow a ridge with a back-furrow, as shown in figure 106. This leaves
an unplowed strip of hard soil directly under the line upon which the
hedge is to stand. When harrowed, it appears very fair on the surface,
but it is useless to expect young plants to thrive on such a bed of
hard soil, and its result will be as seen in figure 107. The first
growth is feeble, irregular, and many vacant spots appear. The land
should be plowed as in figure 108. When the sod is rotted, the land
should be harrowed lengthwise of the furrows, and the dead furrow left
in the first plowing closed by twice turning back the ridge. There
is then a deep, mellow, well-drained bed for the plants in which the
roots have room to grow and gather ample nutrition. Figure 109 shows
the effect of this kind of cultivation. As a barrier against stock, or
a windbreak, it is best to plant in double rows, each row being set
opposite the spaces in the other, thus:

    *   *   *   *   *
  *   *   *   *   *

It is highly desirable that the hedge should be in true, uniform rows,
either straight or in regular curves. This can be done only by setting
closely to a line. Osage Orange plants may be raised from seed, but as
this is a difficult operation, it is usually best to buy young plants
from a reliable nurseryman. They are best cut down to about six inches
high, and the roots partially trimmed. It is an advantage to “puddle”
the roots, which is done by dipping them in a mixture composed of
one-half earth and half fresh manure from the cow stable, wet to the
consistency of a thin paste. There are various methods of setting the
plants. Some use a trowel with a blade about ten inches long; others
a dibble, and a larger number than either of the others, a spade. For
setting long lines, in situations where appearances are of secondary
importance, young Osage plants are set very rapidly by running a furrow
where the rows are to stand, laying the plants with their roots spread
on the mellow soil, one side of the furrow. A furrow is next turned
upon the roots, and the plants which may have been disarranged are
restored by hand. A tread of the foot will consolidate the earth around
each plant. Unless the subsoil is naturally very porous, the ground
must be thoroughly underdrained. A line of tiles should be laid six
or eight feet from the line of the hedge. The ground for four or five
feet on either side of the hedge, should be kept thoroughly cultivated
the first three or four years after planting. This cultivation is to
be done early each season and cease the first of July, to give the
new wood a chance to ripen. The plants should be permitted to grow
the first year undisturbed. The following spring, the hedge should
be cut off close to the ground with a scythe or mowing machine, and
all vacancies where plants have died out or been thrown out by frost,
should be filled. The ground on both sides of the ridge is to be kept
well cultivated. Figure 110 shows the difference in root growth in
cultivated and uncultivated ground.

[Illustration: Fig. 110.—EFFECT OF CULTIVATION.]

A thick growth of young shoots will appear, and these are to be cut
back to four inches high, the middle of summer and again in September.
The object is to obtain a dense growth close to the ground. The third
year the pruning is to be repeated, only the shoots must be left four
to six inches above the last previous cutting. The lateral shoots which
are near the ground, are to be left undisturbed. The trimming should be
such as to leave the hedge broad at the base, with a regular slope to
the summit like a double-span roof.

[Illustration: Fig. 111.—HEDGE “PLASHED.”]

Another method is to permit the hedge to grow untrimmed for four or
five years. It is then plashed, or laid over sidewise. This is done by
cutting the plants about half through on one side with a sharp axe, and
bending them over as shown in figure 111. The hedge is first headed
back and trimmed up to reduce the top. In a short time new shoots will
spring from the stubs and stems, making a dense growth of interlacing
stems and branches. Another method of laying a hedge, is to dig away
a few inches of earth on one side of each plant to loosen the roots,
then lay the plant over to the desired angle and fasten it there. The
earth is then replaced around the roots, and tread down firmly. We
believe that a patent is claimed for this process, but its validity is
seriously questioned.

It is essential that hedges, whether planted for ornament or utility,
shall be kept in shape by trimming every year. It is less labor to trim
a hedge three times during the year, when the branches are small and
soft, than once when the branches have made a full season’s growth. If
the hedge is trimmed once in June and again in August, it will be kept
in good shape, and the labor will be less than if the trimming was put
off until spring. In August the branches can be cut with shears or a
sharp corn knife. The foliage on them will aid in their burning, when
they have dried a few days in the sun. The thorns are not so hard as in
the spring. The brush will be less, and on account of their pliability
and greater weight, will pack into the heap much better. If trimmed
in August, the hedge will not make any considerable growth during the
fall. August trimming does not injure the hedge, rather helps it, as
it tends to ripen the wood, preventing a late Autumn growth to be
injured by the winter. The loss of sap is less than when the trimming
is done in the early spring, as then the wounds are larger, and do not
heal before the sap flows. Do not neglect to burn the brush as soon
as it has dried sufficiently. If allowed to remain on the ground, it
will harbor mice and other vermin. Trim the hedge in August and burn
the brush. The trimming should be done in such a manner as to expose
the greater amount of foliage to the direct action of the light, air,
rain and dew. This is attained by keeping the sides at every trimming
in the form of sloping walls from the broad base to the summit like a
double-span roof. They are sometimes trimmed with vertical sides and
broad, flat top, but this is not a favorable plan for permanency. The
lower leaves and stems die out, leaving an unsightly open bottom of
naked stems, with a broad roof of foliage above. Such trimming and its
results have done much to bring hedges into disrepute.


[Illustration: Fig. 112.—CACTUS HEDGE.]

The Osage Orange is a native of the Southwestern States, and flourishes
on good soil anywhere in the South. Yet there are certain succulent
plants which grow so rapidly in the South, and require so little care,
that they are very successfully employed for hedges in the Gulf States.
One of these is the _Yucca gloriosa_, or Spanish Bayonet. Its natural
habit of growth is to produce a dense mass of leaves on a long stem.
But by cutting back the growth of the stiff, armed leaves is produced
low down, and a hedge of this soon becomes an impassable barrier. Large
panicles of beautiful white blossoms are produced at the summit, making
such a hedge very ornamental during the flowering season. Various
species of cactus are also employed in the Southwest for hedges. In
some of the Middle-Western States may be seen a hedge like figure 112.
At some distance from the highway, a field had been enclosed with the
tree cactus, which there grows only from four to ten feet high. The
plants that were in the line of the fence were left growing, and those
cleared from the field were woven into a formidable barrier to anything
larger than a rabbit. While no two rods in this fence are alike, its
general appearance is like that shown in the engraving.


[Illustration: Fig. 113.—BRANCH OF JAPAN QUINCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 114.—FRUIT AND FLOWER.]

Hedges and screens for ornamental purposes alone, do not come strictly
within the scope of this work, but we will briefly mention a few
desirable plants for the purpose. The Japan Quince, _Cydonia Japonica_,
of which figures 113 and 114 show a branch, flower and fruit, is one
of the best deciduous plants for an ornamental hedge. It will grow in
almost any soil; if left to itself it forms a dense, strong bush, but
it may be clipped or trained into any desired form. Its leaves are of
dark glossy green, they come early in spring and remain until late
in Autumn. This is one of the earliest shrubs to bloom in spring;
its flowers are generally intense scarlet, though there are varieties
with white, rose-colored, or salmon-colored flowers. A hedge of this
plant is not only highly ornamental, but its abundant thorns make a
good barrier. Privet, _Ligustrum vulgare_, makes a very neat screen,
but will not bear severe cutting back, and is therefore suitable only
for grounds of sufficient extent to admit of its being allowed to make
unrestrained growth. The common Barberry, _Berberis vulgaris_, also
makes an exceedingly pretty screen in time, but it is of slow growth.
The Buffalo Berry, _Sheperdia argentea_, has been tried for hedges, but
for some reason it has never attained any popularity. In the Southern
States, the Cherokee Rose has been found quite successful for the
purpose, and nothing in the shape of a hedge can exceed, in striking
effect, one of these in full bloom. For evergreen screens nothing
is better than the Hemlock, _Tsuga Canadensis_. The Norway Spruce
is of rapid growth and bears cutting well. The Arbor Vitæ, _Thuja
occidentalis_, is also very successfully employed for the purpose.




[Illustration: Fig. 115.—THE POSTS.]

[Illustration: Fig. 116.—“HORSES” FOR MAKING THE FENCE.]

Figure 118 shows a very strong and secure board fence, composed
entirely of ordinary fence boards. The triangular frames, which serve
as posts, are each of two pieces of inch boards, crossed and braced as
shown in figure 115. The panels, figure 117, are sixteen feet long,
each composed of four boards, six inches wide. The space between the
lower two boards is two and a half inches, second space three and a
half inches. A convenient way of making the panels is to use three
horses, like that shown in figure 116, the length of each being equal
to the total width of the panel, and the three short upright strips
marking the respective spaces between the boards. The top is covered
with iron to clinch the nails used in putting the panel together. The
boards are laid on these horses, and the upright cross-pieces nailed
on. The second board from the top of each panel is notched at both
ends, as shown in figure 117. A good way to make the triangular frames
alike, is to cut the pieces by a uniform pattern. Then make one frame
of the size and form desired, and at each of the three places where
they are nailed together, fasten a plate of iron, thick enough to
prevent the penetration of a common wrought nail driven against it. Now
lay this pattern frame on the floor with the iron bolts uppermost.
Then lay three pieces on this in exactly the right position, drive
wrought nails through the two pieces and against the iron plates, which
will clinch the nails firmly as fast as they are driven. This will
enable the man to nail the frames together quite rapidly. In setting
up the fence, each triangular frame supports the ends of two panels.
The upper and lower boards of each panel interlock with the frame, as
shown in figure 118, making a very strong fence. On open prairie or
other wind-swept situations, it may be necessary to stake down some
of the frames, to prevent their blowing over. This is quickly done by
sharpening pieces of inch boards, twelve inches long, and one inch
wide, and driving one beside the foot of the triangle, where it rests
on the ground, and putting an eight-penny nail through both.

[Illustration: Fig. 117.—A SINGLE PANEL.]

[Illustration: Fig. 118.—THE FENCE IN POSITION.]


Figures 119 and 120 show styles of portable fences, which are used to
some extent in the territories. The base of each is the half of a
small log, split through the center. For the fence shown in figure 119,
two augur holes are bored a few inches apart, and small poles driven
to serve as posts. Rails or round poles of the usual length are laid
to the desired height, and the top of the posts tied together with
wire. In situations where timber is less plentiful, a single stake is
set into the base, as in figure 120, braced, and barbed or plain wire
attached by staples. Besides the advantage of being easily moved, these
fences can be prepared in winter, when there is little else to do, and
rapidly set in place at any time when the ground is clear of snow.

[Illustration: Fig. 119.—PORTABLE POLE FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 120.—PORTABLE WIRE FENCE.]

Figure 121 is a fence made of either sawed stuff, or of rails or
poles, having their ends flattened and bored. An iron rod, or piece of
gas-pipe, anywhere from half an inch to an inch in diameter, is run
through the holes, and through a base block into the ground as far
as necessary. A round stick of tough durable wood, an inch or more
in diameter, will answer. The size of this rod and its strength will
depend upon the amount of zigzag that is given to the lengths. If the
corners are one foot on each side of a central line, the fence firmly
held together by the rods, will in effect stand on a two feet wide
base. Less than this would perhaps sometimes answer, and there are no
sharp corners, or deep recesses for weeds and rubbish.

[Illustration: Fig. 121.—PORTABLE FENCE OF POLES OR RAILS.]


[Illustration: Fig. 122.—PORTABLE FENCE.]

A fence that can be easily moved and quickly set up is shown in figure
122. It consists of panels made of strips eight or ten feet long,
nailed to two by four posts, which are beveled to a sharp corner at
the lower end. These panels are supported by posts, placed as shown in
the engraving, and pinned to the fence posts by wooden pins, driven in
by a light mallet. The panels are light and can be loaded upon a wagon
from which the sides and ends of the box are removed. A box of pins and
the mallet are all the tools required to set up the fence. This fence
is not easily overthrown by the wind, which holds it down firmly when
blowing on the face of it. For this reason in windy localities, the
fence should be set facing the windy quarter.

[Illustration: Fig. 123.—RAILROAD WINDBREAK.]

Another good form of movable fence is seen in figure 123. It is made
of common fence-boards, securely nailed on very light posts or on the
edge of narrow boards and braced as shown in the engraving. This style
of panel is largely employed by railroads as windbreaks in winter to
keep the tracks from becoming covered with drifted snow. It is equally
convenient on the farm, when a temporary inclosure is needed.


It is often very convenient when poultry are inclosed during the
growing season, to have a fence for the henyard which can be readily
moved from place to place. The illustration, figure 124, shows one of
these. Cut the posts the same length as the pickets, and to the inner
side of each attach two strong iron hoops bent into a semi-circle, one
near the bottom and the other half way up. Through these hoops drive
stakes fitted to fill them closely, with sharpened points for easily
entering the ground. When removing the fence the posts can be slipped

[Illustration: Fig. 124.—PORTABLE POULTRY FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 125.—MOVABLE FENCE FOR TURKEYS.]

[Illustration: Fig. 126.—CROSS-SECTION OF MOVABLE FENCE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 127.—CROSS-BLOCK FOR FENCE.]

Turkeys, even when they have attained a considerable size, should be
shut up until after the dew is off the grass, and other fowls must
be confined in limited runs, while the young are small. It is quite
an advantage if these runs can be changed easily, and this can be
accomplished only when they are enclosed in a light movable fence.
Such a fence is shown in figure 125, on preceding page. It is made in
twelve or sixteen feet sections by nailing laths to light pieces of the
proper length. The upper end of the laths is sharpened; the end ones
are of double thickness. The sections are placed with the end-laths
intercrossing at the top, and about six inches apart at the bottom, as
in cross-section, figure 126. They are held apart by blocks, figure
127, which rest on the upper edges of the cross-pieces and against the
laths. They are held together, and to the ground, by stakes driven
against the outer side of the end laths. As these stakes have the same
angle as the laths, they hold the sections together, and also the fence
in its place and down to the ground. The triangular space where the
sections join is closed by a lath driven in the ground or tacked to the
block between the cross-pieces. Corners must be formed of two sections
inclined inward, and in the same way that sections are joined. The
stakes are readily withdrawn, and the sections are so light that they
are easily handled.


[Illustration: Fig. 128.—FENCE IN POSITION.]

[Illustration: Fig. 129.—FENCE FOLDED.]

[Illustration: Fig. 130.—AS A SIDE HILL FENCE.]

A very convenient form of portable fence or hurdle is illustrated
in figures 128, 129 and 130, which was brought out some five or six
years ago. It may be constructed with two or three upright pieces of
two-by-four-inch scantling, and four bars, figure 128, held together
by carriage bolts in such a manner, that each panel can be closed when
desired, as a parallel ruler is folded together. As the bars are on
alternate sides, the panel, when closed, takes up the space of two bars
only, figure 129. The fence may easily be removed, and fits itself to
rolling ground or side-hill, as shown in figure 130. When in position
it may be supported by stakes of the same thickness as the upright
bars, and driven close beside them.


[Illustration: Fig. 131.—TEMPORARY WIRE FENCE.]

Several kinds of wire and iron fences are used in France to make
temporary enclosures for exhibition purposes. Two forms are illustrated
herewith. Figure 131 is made of plain iron wire with cast or wrought
iron posts. Each post has a plate on its lower end, which is set
eighteen inches below the surface of the ground, and the earth filled
in compactly about it. The front of the engraving shows the holes
in section, with the plates. The top strand is a wire rope made by
twisting several strands together. The fence seen at figure 132 is made
of narrow strips of sheet iron attached to iron posts driven into the
ground. The gate, like that of the other form, is provided with small
wheels, which run on a track. The two fences may be modified by using
wooden posts sharpened at the lower end, and driven into the ground,
then fastening to them with suitable staples strips of rather broad
hoop-iron at the top, with plain wire below.

[Illustration: Fig. 132.—TEMPORARY IRON FENCE.]




[Illustration: Fig. 133.—STRONG FLOOD-GATE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 134.—A CHEAPER FLOOD-GATE.]

In a situation where a line of fence crosses a stream or a gully
liable to be flooded, it is necessary to make special provision for
it. A fence extending down near the surface and sufficiently rigid to
withstand the current, would arrest the driftwood and other objects
floated down on the flood, and soon become a dam. The right kind of a
fence must therefore yield to the force of the flood, and renew its
position, or be easily replaced after it has subsided. Figure 133
is a very effectual flood-gate for a running stream. The posts, _B_,
_B_, are firmly set on the bank, and a stick of timber, _A_, mortised
on the top of them. The three uprights, _C_, _C_, _C_, are hinged to
the cross-timber, and the boards, _F_, fastened in place by ten-penny
steel fence nails. The gate easily swings with the current, _D_. Figure
134 shows a form which operates in a similar manner like the other. It
consists of two stout posts, five feet high, bearing a heavy cross-bar,
rounded at each end, and fitted into sockets, in which the bar with
gate attached can swing. The construction of the gate is easily seen
from the engraving.

[Illustration: Fig. 135.—FENCE FOR A FOREST STREAM.]

The above forms are self-acting, and swing back to their places as the
water subsides. For larger streams, it is necessary to construct fences
that give way before the flood, and can be brought into position again
when it is over. One of these, for a stream which is liable to bring
down much driftwood, is shown in figure 135. The logs are the trunks
of straight trees, about eighteen inches in diameter, which are hewed
on two sides; posts are mortised in each of these logs, and on them
planks are firmly nailed. The logs are then linked together with inch
iron rods, and the first one connected by means of a long link to a
tree or post firmly set in the ground upon the banks of the stream.
The links must all work freely. When high water occurs, the fence
is washed around and left on the bank; after the water has subsided
sufficiently, the logs may be dragged back to their places, as shown
in the engraving, by means of a horse, hitched to a staple in the end
of the log. Figure 136 shows a lighter fence made of poles or rails,
held by interlinking staples to the posts on the side of the stream. As
the floods come down, the rails are washed from the center, and float
freely at either side of the stream. They can be laid up in place again
when the water subsides.

[Illustration: Fig. 136.—FENCE OF MOVABLE RAILS.]

[Illustration: Fig. 137.—AN EXTEMPORISED FLOOD-FENCE.]

The fence shown in figure 137, though rather rude and primitive, has
the advantage of being cheaply constructed and permanent. Two strong
posts are driven into the banks on the margin of the stream, to which
a log, a foot or more in diameter, is fastened by pins, spikes or
withes, about twenty inches above low water mark. Then fence rails are
sharpened at one end, driven into the stream above the log, upon which
the other ends rest, projecting about a foot. They are then securely
spiked or pinned to the log, and the work is done. The pointed ends of
the rails are up the stream, and in case of flood, the water pours over
the obstruction, carrying with it brush, driftwood, etc.

[Illustration: Fig. 138.—AUTOMATIC FLOOD-GATE.]

The flood-gate, figure 138, is designed to prevent small stock from
passing from one field to another through a water-course under a
fence where there is low water, while in time of high water the gate
will rise sufficiently to allow the floating trash to pass through,
but not higher, as it is self-fastening. The invention consists of
a gate constructed of perpendicular slats hinged above, and moving.
This hangs across a stream or ditch. On the down-stream side of the
gate a swing paddle is fixed, which hangs in the water. This, marked
_a_ in the illustration, is attached to an angular bar, _b_, which is
moved when the flow of water presses with force against the paddle.
Two notched pieces, _c c_, attached to the gate, rest upon the angular
bar, _b_, at low water; when both the paddle and the gate hang at
rest, perpendicularly, these notched pieces, _c c_, hold the gate
firmly shut; when, however, the water rises and the paddle is moved
sufficiently to disengage the notches, the gate will be moved by the
force of the water, and if sticks or rubbish of any kind float down
against it they will be swept under it by the water. When the water
subsides, the paddle swings back, the pieces, _c c_, catch and keep the
gate closed at any height it may fall to. Let the cross-piece, _d_,
that is halved into the posts, be about one foot above the banks of the
ditch. The pieces, _f f f f_, represent the fence above the ditch, the
small posts, _g g_, with the pieces nailed to them, are to prevent the
stock from passing when the gate is partly closed, at the same time
bracing the posts, _e e_; the holes at _h_ are to raise and lower the
paddle _a_; if small, a cleat on one of the arms upon which the piece
_B_ is hung, prevents the paddle from swinging towards the gate.

[Illustration: Fig. 139.—A MISSOURI FLOOD-FENCE.]

Figure 139 shows a kind of fence used in Missouri to put across
sloughs. It is in effect two panels of portable fence. The posts are
set three to four feet deep, with the tops about one foot above ground;
the other posts, to which the planks are nailed, are bolted to the
top of the inserted posts. The ends of the panel that connect with the
post on the bank are slightly nailed with cross-strips near the top,
so as to be easily broken loose when the flood comes. There are also
temporary braces bearing upstream, put in to prevent the fence from
falling, but are easily washed out, when the fence falls down stream,
and logs and other obstructions pass by readily. As soon as the flood
goes down, the fence is easily raised, a panel at a time, to a proper

[Illustration: Fig. 140.—FRESHET FENCE.]

Figure 140 shows a cheap and effective form of flood fence. The
material used are square-hewn timbers, seven or eight inches for sills,
stone pillars, split rails about ten feet long. The rails are driven in
the ground about two feet deep; the upper ends project above the sill
two or three feet, and are spiked down to the sill with large spikes;
when the freshet comes, logs and driftwood are carried over, and the
fence will be left in as good order as before the high water.

[Illustration: Fig. 141.—CALIFORNIA GULCH FENCE.]

Figure 141 represents a gulch fence or gate which is in common use in
some parts of the Pacific Slope. It is particularly adapted to the
gulches of the foot hills and the irrigating ditches of the plains. The
whole gate swings freely by the upper pole, the ends of which rest
in large holes in posts on either bank, or in the cross of stakes.
The upright pieces may be of split pickets or sawed lumber, as may be
the most convenient. If the stream is likely to carry floating brush,
logs, etc., the slats should be of heavier material than is necessary
when this is not the case. When constructed properly the gate will
give, allowing rubbish and freshets to pass, and then resume its proper
position. The principal advantage claimed for this gate is that it is
not apt to gather the passing debris.

[Illustration: Fig. 142.—FENCE FOR A DRY GULLY.]

A gully is sometimes difficult to fence properly, but by hanging a
frame over it, as is seen in figure 142, the object may be quickly
accomplished. The frame can be spiked together in a short time, or
framed together if a more elaborate one is desired. To make it serve
its purpose completely, the rails must be closer together near the
bottom than at the top of the frame, in order to prevent small animals
from going through it.

A modification of this last named device, seen at figure 143, gives
greater space for the passage of brushwood or other large objects,
which may be swept down on the flood. The width, strength and size of
the bases supporting the side posts, and of the braces, will depend
upon the width and depth of the channel. The base pieces can be firmly
anchored by stakes driven slanting over the ends and outsides, or by
stones piled on. For wide, shallow streams, three or even more braced
uprights can be anchored eight or ten feet apart in the bed with heavy
stones, with two or more swinging sections. If small trees or long
timbers are likely to float down, the swinging gate may be twelve or
fifteen feet wide. For smaller streams, with strong high banks, five or
six feet will suffice.

[Illustration: Fig. 143.—A FRESHET FENCE.]


[Illustration: Fig. 144.—SECTION OF A TIDE FENCE.]

Figure 144 represents a fence for tide-creeks. It is made usually of
pine, the larger pieces, those which lie on the ground and parallel
with the run of the fence, are three by four-inch pieces, hemlock
or pine, and connected by three cross-bars, of three by four-inch
pieces, mortised in three feet apart. Into the middle of these three
cross-pieces, the upright or posts are securely mortised, while two
common boards are nailed underneath the long pieces, to afford a better
rest for the structure, when floating on the water or resting on the
ground. Barbed or plain wires are stretched along the posts, which are
four feet high.


[Illustration: Fig. 145.—A CLEAN WATERING PLACE.]

Cattle naturally select a certain place in a water-course to drink
at, where the bank is not precipitous. During a good part of the year
this bank is muddy, on account of its moisture and trampling of the
animals. As a result, the horses get the scratches, the cows come to
the milking pen with muddy udders, and frequently animals are injured
by the crowding in the mud. Hogs are often seriously injured, because
the mud becomes so deep and tough, that they are well nigh helpless in
it. Another objection is that the animals wade to the middle of the
creek, and soon make its bottom as muddy as the bank, and the water
becomes unfit for drinking. The arrangement shown in our illustration,
which may be built of heavy plank, brick, or flat stones, prevents all
this. It is constructed by first making an incline to a level platform
for the animals to stand on while drinking. This plane terminates in
an abrupt descent, forming a trough for the water to flow through. The
trough should not be more than two feet wide, that the animals may
easily get across it. The level floor permits the animals to drink at
their ease, often a matter of importance. Such a drinking place should
be made at the upper end of the creek, where it passes through a field
to prevent the animals from soiling the water by standing in it above
where they drink.




There is quite an art in splitting logs into posts. Every post should
have some heart wood, which lasts the longer, for two reasons: That
there may be durable wood into which to drive the nails, and without
it some of the posts, composed entirely of sap-wood, will rot off long
before others, making the most annoying of all repairing necessary. If
the log is of a size to make twelve posts, split along the lines of
figure 146, which will give each post a share of heart wood. This will
make a cross section of the posts triangular, the curved base being
somewhat more than half of either side. This is a fairly well shaped
post, and much better than a square one having little or no heart wood.
Although the log may be large enough to make sixteen or eighteen posts,
it is better to split it the same way. It should first be cut into
halves, then quarters, then twelfths. If it is attempted to split one
post off the side of a half, the wood will “draw out,” making the post
larger at one end than the other—not a good shape, for there will be
little heart wood at the small end. When the log is too large to admit
of it being split in that way, each post may nevertheless be given
enough heart wood by splitting along the lines, shown in figure 147.
First cut the logs into halves, then quarters, then eighths. Then split
off the edge of each eighth, enough for a post—about one-fourth only
of the wood, as it is all heart wood, and then halve the balance. A
good post can be taken off the edge, and yet enough heart wood for the
remaining two posts remain.

[Illustration: Fig. 146.]

[Illustration: Fig. 147.]


[Illustration: Fig. 148.—A POST HOLDER.]

A simple arrangement for holding a post while it is being bored or
mortised, is shown in figure 148. It consists of two long pieces of
round or square timber, lying parallel upon the ground, and two shorter
sticks resting upon them at right angles. The upper pieces have
saddles cut out for the posts to fit into. A staple with a large iron
hook or “dog,” is fastened into one end of each cross-piece, as shown
in the engraving. When the post is laid in position, the hooks are
driven into it holding it firmly.


[Illustration: Fig. 149.—DRIVING FENCE POSTS.]

Where the soil is soft, loose, and free from stone, posts may be driven
more easily and firmly than if set in holes dug for the purpose. An
easy method of driving is shown in figure 149. A wagon is loaded with
posts and furnished with a stage in the rear end of the box, upon which
a person can stand to give the posts the first start. Another man holds
the posts upright while they are driven. When one post is driven to
its place, the wagon is moved to the next place, and this operation

[Illustration: Fig. 150.—MAUL FOR DRIVING POSTS.]

To drive posts, a wooden maul should be used. This is made of a section
of an elm trunk or branch, eight or nine inches in diameter, figure
150. An iron ring is driven on each end, and wedged all around, the
wood at the edge being beaten down over the rings with a hammer or the
poll of an axe. To prevent the posts from splitting or being battered
too much, the ends of the maul should be hollowed a little, and never
rounded out, and the ends of the posts should be beveled all around.
The hole in the maul for the handle should be made larger on one side,
and lengthwise of the maul, and the handle spread by two wedges driven
in such a way as not to split the maul.


[Illustration: Fig. 151.]

[Illustration: Fig. 152.]

[Illustration: Fig. 153.]


Posts are very liable to split in driving, unless some precaution is
used. This damage and loss can be avoided in a great measure by proper
preparation of the posts before they are driven. The tops of sawed
posts should have the sides cut off, as in figure 151, or simply cut
off each corner, as in figure 153, while a round post should be shaped
as in figure 152. The part of the post removed need not be more than
half an inch in thickness, but when the corners only are cut away, the
chip should be thicker. In driving, it is very important to strike
the post squarely on the top, and not at one corner or side. In most
soils at the North, the frosts heave posts more or less each season,
and they need to be driven down to the usual depth. To do this with
little injury to the post, the device shown in figure 154 may be used.
It is a piece of tough hard wood scantling, _e_, eighteen inches in
length, with tapering ends. It is provided with a handle, _h_, three
feet in length, of quite small size, and if possible, of green timber.
In using it, let one person (a boy will do) lay the bit of scantling on
top of the post to be re-driven, when, with the beetle or sledge, the
scantling, instead of the post is struck, thus preventing the splitting
of the post. When the top of a fence is surmounted by a stringer, as
in the engraving, the effect of the blow is distributed over a large
space, and both stringer and post escape injury. The attendant should
keep hold of the handle, _h_, while the posts are being driven, and
move the scantling from post to post as required.


[Illustration: Fig. 155.—THE POST-DRIVER.]

For a farmer who has a large number of posts to set, a special
apparatus for driving them will be found useful. The accompanying
illustrations show a machine of this kind. An axle, _a_, figure 155,
of hard wood, eight and one-half feet long; a hickory sapling will do.
It has spindles shaved to fit the hind wheels of a wagon, which are
fastened by linch-pins, leaving about six feet space between the hubs.
A coupling-pole, _b_, thirteen feet long, is framed in and strongly
braced at right angles with the axle, and connects in front with the
forward axle of a common wagon. The main sill, _d_, figure 156, is one
stick of timber, six by eight inches, by fourteen feet long and has
a cross-piece, _e_, framed in the end. Two side-pieces, _f_, two by
four inches by five feet long, are pinned or bolted to the main sill
at _g_, and cross-pieces framed into them, as shown in figure 156,
so framed that the lower edges of the side-pieces will be two inches
from the axle, when the main sill rests on the axle. The side-pieces,
_f_, should be twenty-two inches apart at the ends. The front end of
the main sill rests on the front axle, in place of a bolster, and the
“king-bolt” passes through it at _h_; the upright guides, _i_, are two
by four inches by fourteen feet long, bolted to the side-pieces, _f_,
with a space of fourteen inches between; a cap, _j_, two by three by
twenty-six inches long, is framed on top. Two braces, _k_, two by four
inches by sixteen feet long, are bolted to the upright guides, two feet
below the cap, and connect at the bottom with a cross-piece, _l_, two
by eight by twenty-two inches long, between the braces. It has rounded
ends passing through two-inch holes in the braces, and fastened by a
pin outside, to form a loose joint. This cross-piece, _l_, is held down
on the main sill by a strip, _m_, and steadied by cleats; it is free to
slide back or forward, and is held in place by a short pin. By moving
this cross-piece, the upright guides, _i_, are kept perpendicular when
going up or down hill. A small windlass, _o_, figure 155, is placed
under the axle, _a_, between hangers framed into the axle, close to the
hubs. Two brace-ropes, or wires, _p_, are fastened to this windlass
at the extreme ends, and wound around it a turn or two in opposite
directions, drawn tight and fastened to the main braces near the top.
By turning the windlass, _o_, slightly, by means of a short bar, the
machine may lean to either side, to conform to sliding ground, thus
being adjustable in all directions. The maul, _r_, figure 157, of
tough oak, fourteen by eighteen inches, by two feet long, weighs about
two hundred pounds, is grooved to fit smoothly between the guides; the
follower, _s_, is more plainly shown in the engraving, also the simple
latch, by which the follower and maul are connected and disconnected.
The square clevis, _t_, is of three-quarter inch iron, suspended from
the same iron pin, _u_, on which the pulley, _v_, is placed. It is
partly imbedded in the wooden casing, _w_, which is eight by eighteen
inches; this casing serves to inclose the pulley, _v_, and also to trip
the latch when brought together; the clevis, _t_, is caught under the
hook fastened in the maul, is pressed into place by a small hickory
spring, _y_, acting on a small iron pin, _z_; when it reaches the top,
the crotch, 1, suspended from the top, comes in contact with the pin,
2, and the clevis, _t_, is pressed back, and releases the hook, _x_,
when the maul drops. The windlass, 3, figure 155, has two cranks, and
a ratchet for convenience. The rope passes from the windlass over
the pulley at the top, down and under the pulley, _v_, then up, and
is fastened at 7, on the cap, _j_, wire braces at 8. By releasing
the cranks and ratchet, the follower will run down the guides, and,
striking the maul, will “click” the latch into place, ready for another
hoist. For two men it is easy work, and can be handled quite rapidly.
Drive astride the proposed line of fence; lay a measuring-pole on the
ground to mark the spot for the next post; drive forward with the post
driver, having the maul partly raised, set up a post, and proceed to
drive it.

[Illustration: Fig. 156.—BOTTOM OF DRIVER.]

[Illustration: Fig. 157.—TOP OF UPRIGHT.]


[Illustration: Fig. 158.—A GATE POST SET IN CEMENT.]

No matter how strong or how well braced a gate may be, it will soon
begin to sag and catch on the ground, if the gate post is not firmly
planted. Sometimes, owing to the soft nature of the ground, it is
almost impossible to plant the post firmly, but in such cases the work
can generally be done satisfactorily by packing medium-sized stones
around the post, in the hole, as shown in figure 158. If it is thought
that this will not insure sufficient firmness, add good cement. Place
in a layer of stones, then cement enough to imbed the next layer of
stones, and so on, until the hole is full and the post planted. Do not
cover up the stones with earth or disturb the post for a few days,
until the cement has “set.” Remember that the post must be set plumb
while the work is going on, as it can never be straightened after the
cement has “set.” Only durable posts should be used, and this method of
setting should only be followed with gate posts which are supposed to
be permanent, and not with posts liable to be changed.

[Illustration: Fig. 159.—GATE POST BRACED WITH STONES.]

A still better method is shown in figure 159. Before the post is set
into the hole, a flat stone is laid edgewise in the bottom, on the side
which is to receive the greatest pressure from the foot of the post.
When the post is set, and the hole half filled with earth, a second
stone is placed against the post on the side to which it will be drawn
by the weight of the gate. The stones receive the pressure and hold the
post firmly in position.


Low meadow and other marsh land is subject to heaving by the frost,
and much difficulty is experienced in securing firm fences upon such
ground, as the posts are drawn up by the freezing of the surface. To
avoid this, much may be done in the way of selecting posts that are
larger at one end than the other. It will help very much to put a
strong, durable pin through the bottom end of the post, or to notch it
at each side, as in figure 160, and to brace the bottom with a flat
stone, driven well into the side of the hole with the rammer. When the
soil is very soft and mucky, it is best to drive the posts and to make
them hold well in the ground, to spike wedge-shaped pieces to them on
either side, by which they are held firmly in their places.



[Illustration: Fig. 161.]

[Illustration: Fig. 162.]

A living tree which stands in the right place, makes a very durable
and substantial fence-post. In the great treeless regions of the
Mississippi Valley, where it is difficult to obtain timber for posts,
it is not an unusual practice to plant trees for the purpose on street
boundaries, and other places where the fence is to be permanent. White
willow is well adapted for the purpose on suitable soils, as it grows
rapidly and bears close pruning. In situations where the soil is even
moderately damp, white willow posts, four inches in diameter, cut green
and set in spring, will take root and grow. The new branches soon
form a bushy head, which may be cut back from time to time. It is not
advisable to nail boards or drive staples directly into the tree. With
a board fence, the swaying of the tree loosens the nails, and if barbed
wire is stapled to the tree, the bark and wood will in time grow over
them as in figure 161. To obviate this, a stick is nailed to the tree
as in figure 162, and to this the fence is attached. A still better
method is to secure the strip of wood to the tree by two or three
pairs of interlocking staples.


[Illustration: Fig. 163.—MENDING A SPLIT POST.]

Fence posts split from a variety of causes, and when they are in this
condition they make a very insecure fence. The usual way is to merely
nail an old horseshoe or two across the split part, just below the
holes in the posts. This answers fairly well, but does not draw the
cleft together, and horseshoes are not always on hand. A better method
of doing this is shown in figure 163. A short, stout chain is put
around the top of the post, just tight enough to admit of a strong
lever. The parts of the posts are then brought together by a heavy
downward pressure of the lever and held there, while a strip of good
tin, such as can be cut from the bodies of tin cans, is put around
and securely nailed. If the post is a heavy one and the cleft large,
it is well to take the entire body of a can and double it, to give it
additional strength before nailing it on. The dotted lines show where
the tin is nailed.



Figure 164 shows a modified cant-hook for drawing together the upper
extremities of fence stakes that are to be wired, as in the engraving.
The half-moon shaped iron, _a_, is riveted fast to the top end of the
lever, and is to prevent the end of the lever from slipping off the
stake when in use. The second iron from the top, _b_, is twenty-five
inches long, with two hooks at the end, though one will do; this is
to catch the stake on the opposite side of the fence. This iron is
fastened in the lever by a bolt in a long mortise, in the same way,
as the hook in an ordinary cant-hook. The iron rod, _c_, has a hole
in one end, and is drawn out to a point at the other—this is fastened
to the lever by a bolt in a long mortise, and serves to catch in the
stake or rail, and hold the stakes together, while the man adjusts the
iron around the stakes. When the stakes are drawn tightly to the fence,
this rod is drawn up until it strikes the stake or one of the rails,
when the man can let go of the “drawer,” and it holds itself. The lever
is four feet and three inches long, and two inches square, with the
corners taken off part of the way down, the lower end being rounded for
a handle, as shown in the engraving.


[Illustration: Fig. 165.—DRAWING FENCE POSTS.]

Figure 165 shows a practicable method of drawing out fence posts by the
aid of an ox team. A stout piece of timber with a large flat “foot” is
placed under the chain to change the direction of the draft. Two men
and a steady yoke of oxen can extract fence posts very quickly and
easily by this method. A good steady team of horses will do quite as
well as oxen.


[Illustration: Fig. 166.—A CONVENIENT POST LIFTER.]

A convenient and sensible implement, for taking up fence posts without
the aid of a team, is shown at figure 166. It consists of a stout pole
of the size and shape of a wagon tongue. The thicker part of this pole,
for about fifteen inches from the end, is shaped into a wedge. This is
sheathed with a frame made of iron, half an inch thick and two and a
half inches wide, and securely fastened with screws or bolts. The end
should be pointed and slightly bent upwards. The manner of using this
convenient implement is shown in the illustration.

Frequently a farmer has occasion to lift posts, and has not time to
wait for the construction of an iron-shod lever. Figure 167 shows a
very simple, inexpensive contrivance for such cases. A spadeful of
earth is taken from each side of the post, and a short, strong chain
loosely fastened around the lower end of the post, as far down as it
can be placed. A strong lever—a stout rail will answer the purpose—is
passed through the chain, as shown in the engraving, until the end of
the rail catches firm soil. By lifting at the other end of the lever
the post is raised several inches, when both chain and lever are pushed
down again for a second hold, which generally brings the post out. The
chain is furnished with a stout hook at one end, made to fit the links,
so that it can be quickly adjusted to any ordinary post.

[Illustration: Fig. 167.—LIFTING A POST.]


There are places, as crossing over gullies, etc., where unusually
long posts are desirable, though not always easy to obtain. In such
cases properly spliced posts are almost as durable as entire ones. The
engraving of the front and side views, figure 168, shows how the splice
may be made to secure strength and durability. The splices should be
made with a shoulder at the lower end, and well nailed together, after
which one or two bands of hoop-iron may be passed around the splice
and securely fastened. The hoop-iron band is one of the most important
points in a splice of this kind.

[Illustration: Fig. 168.—SPLICING FENCE POSTS.]


To prevent decay at the center, as well as of all that part of the
post placed below ground, by use of wood preserving solutions, the
following system is both novel and valuable: It is to have a hole in
the center of the post, from the bottom upward, to a point that shall
be above the ground when the post is in position. Then bore another
hole in the side of the post with a slight inclination downward, making
an opening in the center hole, as shown in figure 169. A wooden plug,
two or three inches long, should be driven snugly into the hole at the
bottom of the post, in order to prevent the escape of any liquid that
may be used in the operation. When the posts are set in an upright
position, a preservative solution may be introduced into the hole
in the side and the centre one filled with it, after which a cork
plug of some kind should be inserted in the side hole, to prevent
evaporation, as well as to keep out dust and insects. The solutions
thus introduced will gradually be absorbed by the surrounding wood,
until all parts along the entire length of the central cavity must
become completely saturated. When the solutions used have been taken up
by the surrounding wood, it will only be necessary to withdraw the cork
or plug, and apply more, if it is thought desirable. A common watering
pot with a slender spout will be a handy vessel to use in distributing
the solutions.

[Illustration: Fig. 169.—SECTIONAL VIEW OF BORED POST.]

Petroleum, creosote, corrosive sublimate, or any other of the well
known wood preservatives may be used in this way. Telegraph posts might
be prepared in the same way, and if the central reservoirs were kept
filled with petroleum, they would last a hundred years or more. Where a
large number of posts or poles are to be prepared, it would be cheaper
to have the holes bored by steam or horse power than by hand. With very
open and porous wood it is quite probable that a hole bored in the
side of the post and above the ground, and deep enough to hold a half
pint or more of creosote or some other similar solution, would answer,
but a central cavity reaching to the bottom, would perhaps, be best.


[Illustration: Fig. 170.—POST.]

[Illustration: Fig. 171.—DISC.]

The advent of wire fences was followed by a call for posts in the
prairie regions, where timber is scarce. Several forms of iron posts
have been devised, of which the leading ones are illustrated herewith.
Figure 170 is of iron, one-quarter of an inch thick and two and a half
inches wide, rolled to a curve and pierced at the proper intervals
for the staples, which are to be clinched on the concave side. The
disc, figure 171, is swedged out of one fourth inch iron. It is sunken
a little below the ground, and the post driven through the curved
opening, into which it fits closely. Figure 172 is a flat iron bar,
with slots cut diagonally into one side to receive the wire. The post
is supported by two tiles with holes to fit the post, which is thrust
through them.

[Illustration: Fig. 172.—POST WITH TILES.]

[Illustration: Fig. 173.]

Figure 173 is made of angle iron braced at the surface of the ground,
with an angular iron plate rolled for the purpose, and driven to its
place. Figure 174 shows an iron post, with the ground-piece and driving
tube to the left of it. The post is a round iron bar or tube, with
notches for the wires, which are held in place with short pieces of
binding-wire, wound around the post. The ground-piece, which is shown
in the middle of the engraving, is of cast iron, eleven inches long,
and five inches across the top, with two loops for inserting the iron
post. This is driven into the ground, and the iron post driven through
it. At the left of the engraving is shown the device for driving the
post. It is a piece of common gas-pipe, just large enough to slip
easily over the top of the post, and provided on the top with an iron
cap to receive the blow of the large hammer or maul used in driving.
Figure 175 shows a cast iron ground piece, and at the right is the
lower end of a post resting in one of them. The three flanges are
cast in one solid piece, with a hole through the centre of any desired
form and size. The wings or flanges are three inch plates, running to
sharp edges on the bottom, so that they can easily be driven into the
ground. They may be of any desired size, larger sizes being required
for a light yielding soil than for a stiff one. Figure 176 is an iron
post on a wooden base, for situations where the ground is soft and wet.
The base is preferably of cedar, three to four feet long, four inches
thick, and four to six inches wide. It is to be sunken in the ground
crosswise with the line of fence. The post is of iron, set and stapled
into the end-piece, as shown in the engraving. Before being put in
place, the whole is saturated with hot coal tar, as a preservative.
There is less call for iron posts than was anticipated when wire fences
first came into general use. It is found that wooden posts can be
delivered in any location reached by railway at less cost than iron

[Illustration: Fig. 174.—POST WITH IRON GROUND PIECE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 175.—CAST-IRON GROUND-PIECE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 176.]




[Illustration: Fig. 177.]

[Illustration: Fig. 178.]

[Illustration: Fig. 179.]

[Illustration: Fig. 180.]

As board and picket fences have gradually replaced rail and other
primitive fences, useful but inconvenient “bars” have begun to
disappear, and tidy gates are seen. The saving in time required to take
down and put up bars, rather than open and close gates, amounts to a
good deal. A good wooden gate will last a long time. Gateways should
be at least fourteen feet wide. All the wood used in the construction
of the gate should be well seasoned. It is best to plane all the
wood-work, though this is not absolutely necessary. Cover each tenon
with thick paint before it is placed in its mortise. Fasten the brace
to the cross-piece with small bolts or wrought nails well clinched.
Mortise the ends of the boards into the end-posts, and secure them
in place with wooden pins wedged at both ends, or iron bolts. The
best are made of pine fence-boards six inches wide; the ends should
be four by twenty-four inch scantling, although the one at the latch
may be lighter. Five cross-pieces are enough. The lighter the gate
in proportion to strength, the better it is. There is but one right
way to brace a gate, and many wrong ones. The object of bracing is to
strengthen the gate, and also to prevent its sagging. Gates sag in two
ways; by the moving to the one side of the posts upon which the gates
are hung, and the settling of the gates themselves. Unless braced the
only thing to hold the gate square is the perfect rigidity of the
tenons in the mortises; but the weight of the gate will loosen these,
and allow the end of the gate opposite the hinges to sag. It is plain
that a brace placed like that shown in figure 177 will not prevent this
settling down. The only opposition it can give is the resistance of the
nails, and these will draw loose in the holes as readily as the tenons
in the mortises. A brace set as shown at figure 178 is not much better,
as the resistance must depend upon the rigidity of the upright piece
in the middle, and the bolts or nails holding it will give way enough
to allow the gate to sag. The method shown in figure 179 is fully as
faulty, while the form shown in figure 180 is even worse. It seems
strange that any one should brace a gate in these ways, but it is quite
frequently seen attempted. The only right way to brace a gate is shown
in figure 181. The gate may be further strengthened as shown in figure
182. Before the gate can sag, the brace must be shortened; for as the
gate settles, the points _a_ and _b_ must come closer together, and
this the brace effectually prevents.

[Illustration: Fig. 181.]

[Illustration: Fig. 182.]

[Illustration: Fig. 183.]

[Illustration: Fig. 184.]

The posts should be set in such a way that they will not be pulled to
one side and allow the gate to sag. The post should be put below the
line of frost, or else it will be heaved out of position; three feet in
the ground is none too deep. Have a large post and make a big hole for
it. Be careful to set the post plumb and stamp the earth firmly in the
hole—it cannot be stamped too hard. While stamping, keep walking around
the post, so that the earth will be firmed on all sides. Blocks may be
arranged as shown in figure 183; but this is not really necessary, when
the posts have been rightly set, although it may be advisable to take
this further precaution.

[Illustration: Fig. 185.]

[Illustration: Fig. 186.]

[Illustration: Fig. 187.]

[Illustration: Fig. 188.]

To remove the pulling weight of the gate when closed, the swinging end
may rest upon a block; or a pin inserted in the end-piece of the gate
may rest in a slot sawed in the post, or on a shoulder of the post.
Figure 184 shows one end of a combination of two plans—the iron rod
from near the top of the high post holds the gate while the strain
upon the post is lessened by the opposite end of the closed gate being
supported on the other post.

For hanging the gate the best hinges are doubtless those shown in
figure 185. One part passes through the end-piece of the gate, and is
secured by a nut on the end. The other piece is heated and driven into
the post, following the path of a small augur-hole. Next to this comes
the strap hinge, which should be fastened with bolts or screws. Three
easy, cheap ways of supporting the gate are shown in figures 186, 187,
and 188. In figure 186, a stout band of wood, or one of iron, may be
used in place of the chain. And in place of the stool for the reception
of the lower end of the end-piece, a block resting on the ground, or
a shoulder on the post, may be substituted. The mode shown in figure
187 is common in the West. Its construction needs no explanation. By
sliding the gate back until it almost balances it may be carried around
with ease. In figure 188, the fastening, or latch, must be so arranged
as to hold the lower part of the gate in position. The box of stone
renders it easier to move the gate. A heavy block of wood serves the
same purpose.


Figure 189 shows a gate which combines great durability with much
rustic beauty. The cedar posts, _A A_, should be four feet in the
ground, and at least ten feet out of the ground. _B_ represents a piece
of 2 by 6 hard pine, into which the posts are mortised. _C_ is a 4 by
4 clear pine, turned at both ends and mortised as shown in figure 191.
_D E F_ are 1 by 4 pine strips. _G_ is a 1 by 6 pine strip, a sectional
view being given in figure 190. It is best to use one piece each of
_D_ and _E_, letting _F_ come between them, as it gives more stiffness
to the gate. _H_ is a block of cedar with a hole bored or dug large
enough to receive the post, _C_, and to make it more lasting, a small
hole should be bored through the block, so as to let whatever water
collects in it pass away; the block should not be less than eighteen
inches long—four inches above ground. _I_ shows wire fence connected.
_J_ is a strong wire carried and secured to the bottom of the first
fence-post. _K K_ are cleats attached to posts to keep them more firmly
in the ground. _L_ are stones for posts, _A A_, to stand on. _M_ shows
the hinge, made so as to take up the sag after the gate settles, and as
the wood wears out.

[Illustration: Fig. 189.—A SUBSTANTIAL GATE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 190.]

[Illustration: Fig. 191.]


The posts, _a_, _a_, figure 192, of oak or other durable wood, are
eight inches square, and stand five and one-half feet above the
ground. The posts, _b_, _b_, three and one third inches thick, four
and three-quarter feet long, are mortised to receive the slats, _c_,
_c_, which are of inch stuff, three inches wide and ten feet four and
three-quarter inches long. They are let into posts, _b_, _b_, at the
distance marked in the engraving. The slats, _d_, are three inches
wide, and one inch thick, and are placed opposite each other on front
and back of the gate as braces; _e_, _e_, are simply battens to make
a straight surface for the hinges, _f_, _f_; all except the upper and
lower ones are very short and carried back to the post. The hinges,
made by a blacksmith from an old wagon tire, are one and one-half inch
wide, three-sixteenth inch thick, and are fastened by light iron bolts
through the battens at _e_, and to the rear post.

[Illustration: Fig. 192.—A WELL-MADE GATE.]

The above describes a cheap, light, durable gate, which in over
twenty-three years’ use has never sagged, though standing in the
thoroughfare of three farms, and also, for years past, used for access
to a sawmill. It is made of the best pine. The hinge is an important
point. It is not only cheap and easily made, but acts as a brace for
the gate at every point, and thus permits the gate to be lightly made.
With this hinge sagging is impossible. A gate of this kind will rot
down first.


The gate shown in figure 193 may be made of wrought iron an inch and
a half wide and half an inch thick, or preferably of iron gas-pipe
of any diameter from half an inch to an inch. In the vicinity of the
oil-regions, pipe can be bought very cheaply, which is in condition
good enough for this purpose. For guarding against hogs, it should be
hung near the ground, and have one or two more horizontal pipes near
the bottom.

[Illustration: Fig. 193.—A LIGHT IRON GATE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 194.—A WROUGHT IRON GATE.]

Figure 194 shows the construction of a gate intended for situations
much exposed to trespassers. It is made of upright strips of flat iron,
pointed at the top, and fastened by rivets to a stout frame-work of
iron. The “pickets” are placed two to three inches apart, as desired,
for the appearance of the gate, or according to the size of the poultry
or animals to be kept from passing.


Every self-closing gate should be provided with a drop or spring catch,
a suitable bevel for it to strike against and notch to hold it. Gates
opening into the garden or out upon the street, should be so hung that
they will swing either way. Figure 195 shows a hinge and slide for such
a gate. In opening the gate from either side, the arm of the upper
hinge slides upon the iron bar, raising the gate a little as it swings
around. When loosed, it slides down without help, and closes by its own
weight. Figure 196 shows another form of the iron slide, suitable for a
wide gate post, and more ornamental than the plain slide in figure 195.

[Illustration: Fig. 195.—HINGE AND SLIDE FOR GATE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 196.]

Figure 197 shows a very good and common hanging. The upper hinge
consists of a hook in the post and a corresponding eye in the
hinge-stile of the gate. The lower hinge is made of two semi-circular
pieces of iron, each with a shank, one of which is shown above the
gate in the engraving. They are made to play one into the other. This
style of hanging may be used on any ordinary kind of gate, but is
specially useful for a small street gate opening into a door-yard.

[Illustration: Fig. 197.]

[Illustration: Fig. 198.—SELF-CLOSING FARM GATE.]

There is a style of gate for foot-paths, which is not uncommon, that
keeps itself always closed and latched, by means of a single upper and
double lower hinge, which are to be obtained at most hardware stores.
The lower hinge has two “thumbs,” which are embraced by two open
sockets. When the gate is opened, it swings upon one socket and its
thumb, and being thrown off the center, the weight of the gate draws
it back, and swinging too, it latches. A farm gate, entirely home-made,
may be constructed, of which figures 198 and 199 show the gate and the
hinge. The gate is braced and supported by a stay-strip, extending to
the top of the upright, which forms the upper hinge, _f_ being attached
to the top of the gate-post, by an oak board with a smooth hole in
it. The lower hinge is separately shown at figure 199. It consists of
an oak board, _c_, an inch and a half thick, into which the upright,
_e_, is mortised. In this, two sockets are cut, a foot from center to
center. The sockets in this case are three inches in diameter, and when
the gate is in place and shut, they fit against two stakes of hard
wood (locust), two and a half inches in diameter, _d_, which being
curved, are nailed to the gate-post, _a_. A smooth stone, laid across
in front of these stakes, takes the weight of the gate, and relieves
in a measure the pressure on the top of the post. The hinges must be
kept well greased, and it is well to black-lead them also, to prevent

[Illustration: Fig. 199.—LOWER HINGE OF GATE.]


Figure 200 shows a light, strong gate made of wood and wire. The top
wire is barbed to prevent stock from pressing against it, and beaux
and belles from hanging over it. The bottom wires are also barbed to
prevent cats, dogs, and fowls from creeping under. This gate is cheap,
may be easily constructed, and is suitable for either front or back

[Illustration: Fig. 200.—CONVENIENT GATE.]


Figure 201 shows the manner in which the Chinese use a bow as a spring
for closing the light doors and gates. The bow is fastened to the gate
by a cord or chain. Another cord or chain is attached to the middle of
the bow-string by one end, and the other end is made fast to the gate
post, in such a manner that when the gate is opened, the bow will be
drawn, and its elasticity will serve to shut the gate when released.
Our artist has shown the Chinese invention attached to a gate of Yankee

[Illustration: Fig. 201.—CHINESE DOOR OR GATE SPRING.]


[Illustration: Fig. 202.—GATE SHUT.]

There are various forms of gates not hung on hinges at all, but either
suspended from above to lift, and provided with counterweights, or made
in the form of movable panels. Figure 202 represents a gate for general
use, which is peculiarly well adapted to a region visited by deep
snows in winter. The post, firmly set, extends a little higher than
the length of the gate. In front of this and firmly fastened to it at
bottom and top, is a board at sufficient distance from the post for the
gate to move easily between them. An iron bolt through the large post
and the lower end of the tall, upright gate bar, serves as a balance
for the gate to turn on. A rope attached to the bottom of the gate runs
over the pulley and has a weight of iron or stone that nearly balances
the gate. The opened gate is shown in figure 203.

[Illustration: Fig. 203.—GATE OPEN.]

Figure 204 shows a gate balanced in a similar manner, and arranged so
it can be opened by a person desiring to drive through, without leaving
the vehicle. It is suspended by ropes which pass over pulleys near the
top of long posts, and counterpoised by weights upon the other ends
of the ropes. Small wheels are placed in the ends of the gate to move
along the inside of the posts, and thus reduce the friction. The gate
is raised by means of ropes attached to the center of the upper side
of the gate, from which they pass up to pulleys in the center of the
archway, and then out along horizontal arms at right angles to the bars
which connect the tops of the posts. By pulling on the rope, the gate,
which is but a trifle heavier than the balancing weights, is raised,
and after the vehicle has passed, the gate falls of itself. In passing
in the opposite direction, another rope is pulled, when the gate is
raised as before.

[Illustration: Fig. 204.—A “SELF-OPENING” GATE.]

Figures 206 and 207 show a gate specially designed for snowy regions.
The latch-post, figure 205, is fixed in the ground and connected with
the fence. It is an ordinary square fence-post, to the side of which
a strip of board is nailed, with a space of an inch between the board
and the post. At the opposite extremity of the gate a heel-post is set
slanting, as shown in figures 206 and 207. The gate is made by laying
the five horizontal bars on a barn floor or other level place, with one
of the sloping cross-bars under them and the other above them. Half
inch holes are bored through the three thicknesses, carriage bolts
inserted from below, and the nuts screwed on. The gate, thus secured at
one end, is carried to the place where it is to remain and the other
ends of the horizontal bars secured to the heel-post by similar bolts.
These should work freely in the holes. The lower bar is four feet long
and the upper bar seven feet. To the heel of the upper bar is hung a
weight nearly heavy enough to balance the gate, so that it may easily
be swung up, as shown in figure 206, and the weight will keep it raised.

[Illustration: Fig. 205.—LATCH-POST.]

[Illustration: Fig. 206.—THE GATE OPEN.]

[Illustration: Fig. 207.—THE GATE CLOSED.]

[Illustration: Fig. 208.—THE GATE IN POSITION.]

[Illustration: Fig. 209.—THE GATE OPEN.]

Figures 208 and 209 illustrate a very cheap way of making a hole
through a picket fence in a place where there is not sufficiently
frequent occasion for passing, to call for a more elaborate gate.
Strips of inch board, as wide as the rails of the fence, and five or
six feet long, are nailed to the upper side of the rails and three
pickets are nailed to the strips. The pieces are then sawed off,
beveling, and the pickets detached from the fence-bars by drawing or
cutting the nails. The gate can be lifted up and set at one side,
but cannot be pushed in or pulled out. No rope or other fastening
is required, besides it is almost invisible, which is many times an
advantage. The gate, as lifted out of the fence and set on one side, is
shown in figure 209.

[Illustration: Fig. 210.—A SMALL GATE IN A PICKET FENCE.]

Figure 210 shows an improved form of this gate without posts. In this
case the small board strips are cut only as long as the gate is to be
made wide, and a diagonal cross-brace running between them, as shown in
the engraving. The hinges are fastened to the horizontal bars of the
fence by wooden pins shown at _a_ and _b_. A piece of rope or a short
wire passing over the ends of two of the pickets serves to keep the
gate securely fastened. These openings are not designed for a regular
gate, and could not be used for the passage of any vehicle, as the
horizontal bars would be in the way. For a back gate to the garden such
an opening would frequently be found convenient and save many steps.

[Illustration: Fig. 211.—MOVABLE PANEL.]

Figure 211 shows a lifting-gate, or rather, a movable panel, wide
enough to permit the passage of a team and vehicle. This might be
useful in places where it was not desired to pass frequently.

[Illustration: Fig. 212.—A GATE NOT CLOGGED WITH SNOW.]

Figure 212 shows another very convenient form of gate for use in a
country where the snow is deep. It is fitted in a strong frame, and is
balanced by weights, so that it can be easily raised. The engraving
sufficiently explains how this very useful gate is made and hung in the


A picturesque rustic gate is shown in figure 213. The fence and posts
are made to correspond. Its manner of construction is clearly shown in
the illustration. The vases on the top of the posts may be omitted,
unless time can be taken to keep them properly watered.

[Illustration: Fig. 213.—ORNAMENTAL GATE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 214.—LIGHT RUSTIC GATE.]

A very neat, cheap, and strong rustic gate is shown in figure 214.
The large post and the two uprights of the gate are of red cedar. The
horizontal bars may be of the same or other wood. The longer upright
is five and a half feet long, the shorter one four and a half feet.
The ends of the former are cut down to serve as hinges, as shown in the
engraving. Five holes are bored through each of the upright pieces,
two inches in diameter, into which the ends of the horizontal bars are
inserted and wedged securely. For the upper hinge a piece of plank is
bored to receive the gate, and the other end reduced and driven into
a hole in the post, or nailed securely to its top. A cedar block, into
which a two-inch hole has been bored, is partially sunk in the ground
to receive the lower end of the upright piece. A wooden latch is in
better keeping with the gate than an iron one.


Figure 215 is a modernized form of a gate which has for generations
been popular in New England and the Middle States. In the primitive
method of construction, the top bar consisted of the smoothly trimmed
trunk of a straight young tree, with the butt end projecting like a
“heel” beyond the post upon which it turned. Upon its extremity a heavy
boulder, or box of smaller stones, served as a counterweight. In the
gate represented herewith the top stick is of sawn timber, upon the
heel of which the large stone is held by an iron dowel. The other end
of the top bar rests, when the gate is closed, upon an iron pin, driven
diagonally into the post, as shown in the illustration. A smaller iron
pin is pushed into the post immediately above the end of the top bar,
to secure the gate against being opened by unruly animals, which may
attempt to get in.

[Illustration: Fig. 215.—BALANCE GATE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 216.—CAROLINA BALANCE GATE.]

Figure 216 shows a balance gate which is used in some parts of North
Carolina. It is a picket gate framed into the lower side of a long
pole, which is hung near its middle to a pivot driven into the top of
the gate-post.

[Illustration: Fig. 217.—A TIDY BALANCE GATE.]

Figure 217 shows a more elegant form, the “heel” of the gate remaining
on a level with the top line of the fence.


The gate shown in figure 218 is suitable for all weather, but
especially useful when there is a deep snow; for it is easily lifted
up above the snow, and kept in place by putting a pin through holes in
the hinge-bar, which is firmly fastened to the gate post. The hinge-bar
should be of good, tough wood, and made round and smooth, so that the
gate can swing and slide easily. Boards can be used in place of pickets
if preferable. The latch-post to the right, has a long slot for the
latch to work in, instead of a hasp, so that it can be fastened when
the gate is at any height.

[Illustration: Fig. 218.—GATE FOR SNOWY WEATHER.]


[Illustration: Fig. 219.—WIDE FARM GATE.]

The illustrations, figures 219 and 220, show two forms of gates used
on the island of Jamaica. These gates are twenty-one feet long, each,
and cannot possibly sag, even if any number of small boys swing on
them. In gate figure 220 the main post is nine by six inches; the
bars—marked 2, 3, 5 and 7—are let in the wood three inches on the upper
side and one and a half inches on the lower. The tenons, indicated
by the dotted lines, go entirely through the posts, and are fastened
with pins. Brace 6 is attached to the upper bar eighteen inches beyond
the center, _F_; _D_ is a stout fence wire fastened by a screw nut at
_E_; the wire, _B_, is held tightly by the screw hook, _A_; the iron
band, 9, is an inch thick and is bolted to the post. It works on a
pivot one and a quarter inches in diameter, and which turns on a flat
piece of iron at the bottom of a piece of a one and a half inch iron
pipe, which is soldered with molten lead in the stone, 10. Only hard
wood is used in the construction. In the gate shown in figure 219, the
construction differs from the one just described in that it has a light
chain fastened in the shackle, _C_, and is screwed firmly at _A_. It is
attached to the post, _H_, by a pivot, as seen in our illustration.

[Illustration: Fig. 220.—ANOTHER WIDE FARM GATE.]


It is often convenient and economical, especially in newly settled
regions, where blacksmiths and hardware stores are not at hand, to
supply hinges for gates, to make them of wood. The simplest and most
primitive form is shown in figure 221. A post is selected having a
large limb standing out nearly at right angles. A perpendicular hole
in this secures the top of the rear gate standard. The foot rests in
a stout short post, set against the main post. A small gimlet hole
should extend outward and downward from the lowest side or point in
the hole in the short post, to act as a drain, or the water collecting
in it would be likely to soon rot both the standard and the short post
itself. Another form is to hold the top by a strong wooden withe.
A third form is illustrated in figure 222, in which the top of the
standard passes through a short piece of sawed or split plank, spiked
or pinned upon the top of the post.

[Illustration: Fig. 221.]

[Illustration: Fig. 222.]

The form shown at figure 223 is made of a stout lithe sapling or limb
of beech, hickory or other tough hard wood or, if it is attainable, a
piece of iron rod.

[Illustration: Fig. 223.—A WITHE HINGE.]

A gate can be made without hinges by having the hanging stile somewhat
longer than the front stile, and making both ends rounded. The lower
one is to work in a hole in the end of a short post raised so that the
soil will not readily get in, and the upper one works in a hole made in
an oak piece attached to the top of the gate post. Gates of this kind
can be made and hung with but little more expense than bars, and will
be found far more convenient and saving of time than the latter.

[Illustration: Fig. 224.—GATE WITHOUT HINGES.]

[Illustration: Fig. 225.—SOCKET HINGES.]

Figure 225 represents a small hand-gate hung upon an iron pin driven
into a hole bored in the bottom of the hinge-post, and one of similar
size and material bent to a sharp angle, and fitted in the top. The
lower pin rests in the sill and the upper one extends through the post
to which the gate is hung.


[Illustration: Fig. 226.—A DOUBLE GATE.]

Figure 226 shows a substantial method of hanging two gates to the same
post. The post may be of masonry and the hinge bolts pass through the
post, thus preventing any sagging. It is frequently convenient to have
gates in the barnyard hung in this manner, then yards may be shut off
one way or the other by simply swinging the gates.

[Illustration: Fig. 227.—DOUBLE BALANCE GATE.]


Figure 227 represents a balanced gate for a double driveway. The total
length is thirty feet—sixteen feet on one side of the supporting post
and fourteen feet on the other. The horizontal top-piece may be of
sawn timber, or better still, of a round pole cut from a straight
young tree, the larger end being on the short side, its additional
thickness serving to counterbalance the longer extremity of the gate.
The vertical strips of the original gate, from which the sketch was
made, were lag-sticks from an old tread horse-power, and the chain was
a part of the remains of a worn-out chain pump. It is held in place by
staples driven into the vertical pieces, as shown in the illustration.
A pin pushed into the post at either end of the large top bar fastens
it securely when closed.

Figure 228 is a gate which combines some of the features of the
preceding two. The stone pillar is round, three feet across and four
and a half feet high. A post is placed in the center, upon the end of
which the bar rests, bearing the two gates. The fence is arranged in a
sweeping curve, so that only one passageway can be open at once.

[Illustration: Fig. 229.—THE GATE LATCH.]

[Illustration: Fig. 230.—A DOUBLE HINGELESS GATE.]

Figure 230 shows a style of double gate, which has been found very
useful on large stock farms, where it is necessary to drive herds of
cattle through it. Two high posts are set in the ground about twenty
feet apart, and a scantling is put on, which extends from the top of
one post to that of the other. A two-inch hole is bored in the center
of this scantling, and a similar hole in a block of wood, planted
firmly in the ground in the center of the gateway. The middle post of
the gate-frame is rounded at each end to fit these holes, and this post
is the pivot on which the gate turns. With this gate one cow cannot
block the passage, besides there is no sagging of gate posts, as the
weight of the gate is wholly upon the block in the center. To make the
latch, figure 229, a bar of iron one and a half inch wide and eighteen
inches long is bolted to one of the end uprights of the gate, and a
similar bar to one of the posts of the gateway. For a catch, a rod of
three-eighth inch iron passes through a half-inch hole near the end of
the bar upon the gateway. This rod is bent in the form shown in the
engraving, and welded. It will be seen that the lifting of this bent
rod will allow the two bars to come together, and when dropped it will
hold them firmly.


[Illustration: Fig. 231.—A DOUBLE-LATCHED FARM GATE.]

Figure 231 represents a substantial farm gate with two latches.
This is a very useful precaution against the wiles of such cattle
as have learned to unfasten ordinary gate-latches. The latches work
independently of each other, the wires, _b_, _b_, being fastened to the
hand lever _a_, and then to the latches _e_, _e_. A roguish animal
will sometimes open a gate by raising the latch with its nose, but
if one attempt it with this, it can only raise one latch at a time,
always the upper one, while the lower one remains fastened. As soon as
the animal lets go, the latch springs back and catches again. A hog
cannot get through, for the lower latch prevents the gate from opening
sufficiently to allow it to pass. A cow will find it difficult to open
the gate, because she cannot raise the gate high enough to unlatch it.
The latches _e_, _e_, work up and down in the slides _c_, _c_, and when
the gate is fastened they are about half-way between the top and bottom
of the slides.

[Illustration: Fig. 232.—A GATE FOR ALL LIVESTOCK.]

Figure 232 shows another form of double latches, which are closed by
absolute motion, instead of depending upon their own weight. There are
two latches fastened to a jointed lever, so that when the upper end or
handle is pushed backward or forward, the latches both move in the same
direction. The construction of the gate, and the form and arrangement
of the latches and lever, are plainly shown.


The old style slide gate is an unwieldly contrivance, and the only
excuse for its use is its simplicity and cheapness. Numerous devices
have been invented and patented to make it slide easier and swing
easier, but their cost has prevented them from coming into general use,
and the old gate still requires the same amount of tugging and heaving
to open and close it.

[Illustration: Fig. 233.]

Figure 233 shows the attachment. The blocks at top and bottom are hard
wood, one inch and a quarter thick. The two boards should also be of
hard wood. Between the boards are one or two small iron or hard wood
wheels, turning upon half inch bolts, which pass through both boards.
The bars of the gate run on these wheels. The gate complete, with
attachment, is shown in figure 234, the gate being closed. To open
the gate, run it back nearly to the middle bar, then swing open. As
the attachment turns with the gate, the lower pivot should be greased
occasionally. It is well to fasten a barbed wire along the upper edge
of the top bar, to prevent stock from reaching over and bearing down on
the gate. Where hogs are enclosed, it is advisable to fasten a barbed
wire along the lower edge of the bottom bar, as it keeps small pigs
from passing under, and prevents large ones from lifting the gate up,
or trying to root under.

[Illustration: Fig. 234.—THE GATE COMPLETE.]


[Illustration: Fig. 235.—THE GATE OPEN.]

[Illustration: Fig. 236.—THE GATE CLOSED.]

The illustrations, figures 235 and 236, show a gate very handy for
barnyards. It is fourteen feet wide for ordinary use, and has three
short posts. The middle one is movable. A box of two-inch boards made
to fit the post is planted in the ground; in this the post is set, and
can be removed at pleasure. This post is placed three feet from the
outside one. The hinge is made of hard wood, with a wheel six inches
in diameter, as shown in the engraving. It should be so constructed
that the gate will move freely, but not too loosely. It is supported
at the top by a cap, placed diagonally across, and at the bottom by
a block of locust or cedar under it. The middle uprights of the gate
should be placed a little to one side of the center, so that the gate
can be balanced under the roller. Wooden catches are placed in the
middle post, upon which the gate rests. To open the gate, push it back
to the middle post, elevate the gate slightly, and it will roll down to
the center, where it can be readily opened. Figure 235 shows the gate
open, and in figure 236 it is seen closed. This gate has no latch.
A barnyard gate is not usually opened wide. A space large enough to
admit a man or horse is all that is necessary in most cases. It is more
easily opened than the ordinary gate, and it will stay where it is
placed. By cutting a notch in the third board, and elevating it to the
upper catch on the middle post, a passage is made for hogs and sheep,
excluding larger animals.


[Illustration: Fig. 237.—A NEAT GATE OF SCANTLING AND WIRE.]

One of the cheapest and most popular styles of farm gate is made of
plain or barbed wire, supported by wooden frames. Figure 237 shows a
very neat form of combination gate. To make it, obtain three uprights,
three inches by one and a half inches, five and a half feet long, and
four strips, three inches by one inch, eleven feet long. Cut shoulders
in the ends of the strips, and saw out corresponding notches in the
uprights; make these one and a half inch, or half the width of the
strips. The bottom notch is two and a half inches from the end of the
upright, and the upper one nine and a half inches from the top end. Fit
the strips into the notches. There is then a space of one inch between
the strips, into which put inch strips, so as to make all solid, and
fasten together with carriage bolts. Braces three by one and a half
inches are inserted, and held in place by bolts or wrought nails. Bore
as many holes in the end-pieces for one-quarter inch eye-bolts, as
it is desired to have wires. Twist the wire firmly into the bolts on
one upright, and secure the other end to the corresponding bolts on
the upright at the opposite end. In stretching the wires, pass them
alternately on opposite sides of the center piece, and fasten in place
by staples. This will, in a measure, prevent warping. By screwing down
the bolts with a wrench, the wires may be drawn as tightly as desired.
The hinges are to be put on with bolts, and any sort of fastening may
be used that is most convenient. Barbed or smooth wire may be used.


Figure 238 shows a gate of common fence boards and wire, which can be
made by any farmer. The longer upright piece, seven feet long, may be
made of a round stick, flattened a little on one side. The horizontal
bars are of common fence boards cut to the desired length, and the
shorter, vertical piece may be made of scantling, two by four inches.
Three wires, either plain or barbed, are stretched at equal intervals
between the upper and lower bar. A double length of wire is extended
from the top of the long upright to the opposite lower corner of
the gate. A stout stick is inserted between the two strands of this
diagonal brace, by which it is twisted until it is sufficiently taut.
If the gate should at any time begin to sag, a few turns brings it back.

[Illustration: Fig. 238.—GOOD AND CHEAP FARM GATE.]


[Illustration: Fig. 239.—IMPROVED WIRE GATE.]

Figure 239 shows an improved form of wire farm gate, in which the wires
can be made tight at pleasure. Instead of attaching the wires to both
of the end standards of the gate, a sliding standard is put on near
the end, to which the wires are fastened. This is secured to the main
standard by two long screw bolts, leaving a space between the two of
five or six inches. The wires are tightened by turning up the nuts.

A plainer but very effective gate is shown in figure 240. The uprights
are three and one-quarter by two inches, the horizontals twelve or
thirteen feet long, by three and a half by two inches, all of pine.
The horizontals are mortised into the uprights, the bolts of the
hinges strengthening the joints. The barbed wires prevent animals from
reaching over and through the gate. To put in and tighten the wires,
bore a three-eighth inch hole in the upright, pass the wires through,
one or two inches projecting, plug up tightly with a wooden pin, and
bend down the ends of the wire. Measure the distance to the other
upright, and cut the wire two inches longer. Pass the wire through the
whole and tighten with pincers. When the wire is stretched, plug up
with a wooden pin, and then bend down the wire. If the wire stretches,
it can be tightened very easily.

[Illustration: Fig. 240.—GATE OF WOOD AND WIRE.]

Figure 241 represents a light gate, that a child can handle, which does
not sag or get out of repair, and is cattle proof. The materials are
two boards, twelve or fourteen feet long, three uprights, the end-piece
three and one-half feet and the center four and one-half feet, two
strands of barbed wire, one between the boards, and the other at the
top of the uprights. It is hung the same as the common form of gate.

[Illustration: Fig. 241.—BARBED WIRE IN A GATE.]


[Illustration: Fig. 242.—REMEDY FOR A SAGGING GATE.]

Various means have been devised for overcoming the sagging of gates.
In figure 242 the hinge-post of the gate-frame extends somewhat above
the upper bar of the gate. A board is fastened to the top of this
post, _a_, which runs downward to _b_, near the middle of the upper
cross-bar, and then connects with a short double band—one on each side
of the long board—which is provided with a bolt fitting into notches,
_c_, cut in the under side of the upper bar of the gate. The form of
the double-latch piece, with its bolts, and its attachment to the board
is shown at _d_.

Figure 243 represents an arrangement which not only provides for taking
up the sag, but also for raising the gate above encumbering snow. The
gate is made of ordinary inch boards put together with carriage bolts,
upon which the joints play freely. The end of the gate, _a_, is made of
two boards, and the post, _b_, is four by six inches. One board of the
end, _a_, is notched. The diagonal piece, _c_, is fastened at _d_, by
means of a bolt through it and the lower board. The end, _a_, of the
diagonal piece, is shaped to fit the notches, by means of which the
gate can be raised and lowered. It can also be used as a passage for
pigs between fields, by simply raising the gate sufficiently to let
them go through. A board, not shown in the engraving, is tacked to the
notched board, to prevent the diagonal piece from slipping out of its

[Illustration: Fig. 243.—A LIFT-BAR FOR A GATE.]

A much firmer gate is shown in figure 244. The hinge-post is about
twice the height of the gate, and has a cap-piece, _a_, near the top.
This cap is of 2 by 6 hard wood, strengthened by two bolts, _e_, _e_,
and held in place by two wooden pins, driven just above it and through
the tenon end of the post. Wedges _c_ and _d_ are driven in the cap
on each side of the post. Should the gate sag, the wedge, _d_, may be
loosened, and _c_ driven further down. The lower end of the gate turns
in a hole bored in a hard wood block placed in the ground near the foot
of the post.

[Illustration: Fig. 244.—A REMEDY FOR A SAGGING GATE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 245.]

Figure 245 shows a gate similarly hung on pivots driven into the ends
of the hinge-bar. These play in eye-bolts which extend through the
post to which the gate is hung, and are fastened by nuts on the other
side. As the gate sags, the nut on the upper bolt is turned up, drawing
the upper end of the hinge-bar toward the post, and lifting the gate
back to a horizontal position.


Some cows become so expert, they can lift almost any gate latch. To
circumvent this troublesome habit, latches made as shown in figure 246
will fill this bill exactly. It is a piece of iron bar, drawn down at
one end, and cut with a thread to screw into the gate post. A stirrup,
or crooked staple, made as shown, is fitted by a screw bolt and nut to
the bar. A small bolt must be driven in to keep the stirrup from being
thrown over. A projecting slat on the gate, when it is shut, lifts the
stirrup and holds the gate. This latch is too much for breechy cows,
and they are never able to get “the hang of it.”

[Illustration: Fig. 246.—GATE LATCH.]

[Illustration: Fig. 247.—SPRING GATE CATCH.]

A simple catch for a gate may easily be made from a piece of seasoned
hickory, or other elastic wood, cut in the shape as shown at _a_ in
figure 247. This is fastened strongly to the side of the gate, with the
pin, _c_, working through the top loosely, so that it will play easily.
The catch, _b_, is fastened to the wall or post, as the case may be.
The operation will be easily understood from the illustration, and it
will be found a serviceable, sure, and durable contrivance. The gate
cannot be swung to without catching, and it may swing both ways.

[Illustration: Fig. 248.—LATCH IN POSITION.]

[Illustration: Fig. 250.]

[Illustration: Fig. 249.]

A very simple and convenient style of fastening is illustrated in
figures 248 to 251. It can be made of old buggy springs, or any flat
steel, and should be one inch broad by three six-tenth inch thick, and
about eighteen inches long, at the distance of four inches from the
lower end. The lever is slightly bent, and has two screw or bolt holes
for fastening, figure 249. Eight inches of the top portion is rounded
and bent at right angles. The upper part passes through a narrow
mortise in the head-post of the gate figure 248. A flat staple, large
enough to go over the spring holds it in place. An iron hook, figure
250, driven into the post, holds the latch. A wooden lever, bolted to
the top board of the gate, figure 251, enables a person on horseback
to open or close the gate. This latch can be applied to any kind of a
gate, and is especially desirable in yards or gardens, when, by the
addition of a chain and weight, one may always feel that the gate is
securely closed. The latch does not cost more than fifty cents, and if
properly made and put on will last as long as the gate.

[Illustration: Fig. 251.—LATCH WITH TOP LEVER.]

[Illustration: Fig. 252.—GATE LATCH.]

In figure 252 is represented a style of gate latch in use in some
Southern States. It possesses marked advantages, for certain
purposes, over others. It holds to an absolute certainty, under all
circumstances, and by allowing the latch pin to rest on the bottom of
the slot in the post, it relieves the hinges and post from all strain.
The latch may be formed by a common strap-hinge, made to work very
easily, and the pin should be either a strong oak one or an iron bolt
or “lag screw.”

[Illustration: Fig. 253.—LATCH AND PIN.]

[Illustration: Fig. 254.—GATE LATCH.]

Figure 253 shows a latch which cannot be opened by the most ingenious
cow or other animal. The latch of wood slides in two iron or wood bands
screwed to the gate. It is moved by a knob between the bands, which
also prevents it from going too far. The outer end is sloping and
furnished with a notch. It slides through a mortise in the gate post,
indicated by dotted lines. When the gate is closed, the latch is slid
through the mortise, and the drop-pin, which plays vertically in two
iron bands, is lifted by the slope on the latch, and drops into the
notch. It can be opened only by lifting the drop-pin, and sliding back
the latch at the same time.

Figure 254 shows a very ingenious and reliable form of latch. The
curved tail must be thin enough and sufficiently soft to admit of
bending, either by a pair of large pincers or a hammer, just so as to
adapt it to the passage of the pin bolted through the front stile of
the gate. As the gate closes, the latch lifts out and the tail-piece
advances. The catch-pin cannot possibly move out, unless the whole end
of the gate moves up and forward.


[Illustration: Fig. 255.—TOP HINGE OF FARM GATE.]

Continual use, more or less slamming, and the action of the weather,
make the gate settle somewhat, but the illustration, figure 255, shows
a hinge which obviates this trouble. The upper hinge is made of a
half-inch rod, about sixteen inches long, with an eye on one end, and
a long screw-thread cut upon the other. This thread works in a nut,
which nut has a bolt shank and nut, whereby it is firmly attached to
the top bar of the gate. If the gate sags at all, it must be simply
lifted off the thumbs, and the hinge given a turn or two in the nut;
and the same is to be done in case of subsequent sagging. The hinge
bolt must, of course, have some opportunity to move in the stile, and
must be set long enough at first to allow the slack to be taken up
whenever found necessary.


[Illustration: Fig. 256.—GATEWAY IN A WIRE FENCE.]

[Illustration: Figs. 257 and 258.—BUCKLE AND SNAP HOOK FOR CHAIN GATE.]

Regular posts and bars at a passageway through a wire fence are
inconvenient and unsightly. A good substitute for a gate is illustrated
in figure 256. Light galvanized iron chains have a “swivel” near the
end, by which they may be loosened or tightened, so as to be of just
the right length, and a snap-hook at the other. These are both shown
of larger size in figures 257 and 258. The chains are attached by
screw-eyes to the posts, and should correspond in number, as well as
in position, with the wires. Thus they appear to be a continuation of
the same, and as they are larger, they appear to the animals to be
stronger, and even more dangerous than barbed wire—hence are avoided. A
short rod of iron may be made to connect them at the hook-ends, and so
in opening and closing the way, they may all be moved at once.

[Illustration: Fig. 259.—THE GATE CLOSED.]

A cheaper and simpler form of wire gate is shown in figures 259 and
260. It consists of the same number of strands as in the adjoining
fence, attached to a post in the ordinary way at one end, while the
other wire ends are secured to an iron rod. This rod is pointed at the
lower end, and when the gate is closed, as seen in figure 259, this end
passes down through a loop, and the upper end is secured to a hook. In
opening the gate, the rod is loosened and swings out, when the sharp
end is thrust into the earth, or a hole in a wooden block set in the
ground at the proper place to receive it.

[Illustration: Fig. 260.—THE GATE OPEN.]

[Illustration: Fig. 261.—A WIRE GATE.]

Figure 261 shows a somewhat similar arrangement. The gate wires are
fastened to one post with staples, and attach the loose ends to a
five-foot pole. To shut the gate, take this pole or gate-head and put
the lower end back of the lower pin, and spring the upper end behind
the one above. If the wires are all of the right length, they will be
taut and firm. Two slats fastened to the gate wires will keep them from
tangling. A short post set at one side of the gateway may be found
convenient to hold the gate when open.




Wickets and stiles are convenient passageways through or over fences
crossing foot-paths. The bow wicket has the advantage of providing a
gate “always open and always shut,” and not apt to get out of repair. A
wrought iron bow wicket, with short vertical bars, is shown in figure
262. Figure 263 has the bars horizontal, and folds in the middle for
a wheel-barrow or small animals to pass. To go through it, a person
simply steps into the bow, swings the gate away from him, and swings
it back in passing out. There is no latch to fasten, and no fear of
the entry of livestock. Similar wickets may be constructed of wood for
board fences.

[Illustration: Fig. 262.—WICKET WITH HINGE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 263.—WICKET WITH UPRIGHT BARS.]


Figure 264 shows a wicket gate common in England, where it is much used
in foot-paths across fields, etc. It is an ordinary small gate, which
swings between two posts, set far enough apart to permit the passage
of a person. These two posts are the two ends of a V-shaped end
in the fence. The engraving shows the construction of the end of the
fence, with the two posts, between which the gate swings.

[Illustration: Fig. 264.—A GATE FOR FOOT-PATH.]

[Illustration: Figs. 265 and 266.—COMMON AND IMPROVED WICKETS.]

[Illustration: Fig. 267.—A CONVENIENT STILE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 268.—A GATE STILE.]

Figure 265 is another form of gate, which consists of a V-shaped
panel, filling the opening in the fence—the open ends of the V
being fixed to posts equally distant from and in a line with one of
the posts in the fence, and at right angles to it. This is improved
by using bent wheel-rims, figure 266, instead of the straight pieces
forming the V-shaped panel. Kept well painted, the hickory rims
will bear the exposure to the weather perfectly. The palings should be
of oak, an inch wide and half an inch thick, fastened on with screws.
The opening in these stiles must be sufficient to allow a corpulent
person to pass easily, even if a frisky bull is in uncomfortable
proximity, and for this figure 266 is really the most convenient form.
The objection to both of these stiles is, that there is no actual
closing of the passage. Calves, sheep and pigs, not to mention dogs,
work their way through. To prevent this, the gate-stile, figure 267,
was invented. It has a small gate swinging on the middle post, but
stopped in its movement by the end-posts of the V. A person
can pass by stepping well into the V and moving the gate by
him, where he has free exit. This form is efficient, but inconvenient.
A fourth form, the best of all, is the swinging A-stile,
figures 268 and 269. In this there are two light gates, made upon
the same hinge-post, spreading like the letter A, and braced
with a cross-piece between the rails of each side, like the center
part of the A. This gate is set to swing on each side of the
center-post, as shown. It is so much narrower than the V-stiles,
that it is almost impossible for small animals to pass, but it is
easily hung so that it will always remain closed, and so offer no
temptation to animals on the outside. At night, or when not in use, a
wire ring or withe-hoop thrown over the top of the post and the upright
part of the gate-frame, will securely fasten it. To make the gate swing
shut, all that is necessary is to set the eye of the lower hinge of
the gate well out towards the outside. In figure 270 we give a neat
A-gate, made of pine or any strong and light wood.

[Illustration: Fig. 269—SWINGING STILE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 270.—A NEAT GATE.]


The extensive use of wire-fences calls for a farm convenience,
heretofore but little known in this country—the stile. The manner
of constructing one suitable for barb-wire fence is shown so plainly
in the engraving, figure 271, that no description is necessary. The
cross-piece, upon which one passes from one flight of steps to the
other, may be of any desired width.

[Illustration: Fig. 271.—STILE FOR BARB WIRE FENCE.]

Stiles of convenient forms for wire fences are shown in figures 272 and
273. The one seen in figure 272 takes less space on each side of the
fence, but it is not so simple as that shown in figure 273.

[Illustration: Fig. 272.—FENCE STILE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 273.—ANOTHER STILE.]

Figure 274 shows a passageway in a wire fence, which requires no
climbing, and while it presents an effectual barrier to large animals,
is readily passed by any but very corpulent persons. It originated and
was patented in England, but we believe there is no restriction on its
construction and use in this country.

[Illustration: Fig. 274.—WIRE FENCE PASSAGE.]




The common law of England, which to a large extent became the law of
the original States, bound no one to fence his land at all. Every
person is bound under that law to fence his own cattle in, but not
bound to fence other cattle out. Every owner of domestic animals is
liable for injury committed by them on the lands of others, even though
the land was wholly unfenced. But this feature of the English common
law was not suited to the conditions which surrounded the early
settlers in any part of this country. So long as any region is sparsely
settled, the amount of unoccupied land is so much greater than the
occupied, that it is cheaper to fence stock out, than to fence it in.
Hence the English common law in regard to fencing has been superseded
by statute in many of the States. In others it has always remained
in force, or has been revived by later statutes. There is such great
diversity on this point in the statutes of the several States, that,
to quote from Henry A. Haigh’s excellent “Manual of Farm Law,” “every
one having occasion to look up any point of law, should ascertain the
statutory provisions concerning it from some official source. Do not
depend upon this book or any other book for them, because they are
liable to change, and do change from year to year; but go to your town
clerk or justice of the peace, and examine the statutes themselves.”


The legal obligations of adjoining owners to build and maintain
division fences, rests entirely upon the statutes of the respective
States, save in cases where long usage has created prescriptive
rights, or special agreement exists. Such fences are to be built on
the boundary line, the expense to be borne equally by the parties,
or each one shall make and maintain half the fence. If they cannot
agree, or either refuses or neglects to do his share, the statutes
provide methods by which the matter may be determined. In some of the
States, two or more public officers, called fence-viewers, are elected
annually in each township, whose duties, as prescribed by statute, are,
when called upon, to hear and decide questions relating to fences in
their respective towns. In other States, these duties are performed by
overseers of highways or selectmen, _ex-officio_. Whenever any owner
or occupant of land refuses to build or maintain half the division
fence, or cannot agree with his adjoining neighbor as to which portion
they shall respectively maintain, the fence-viewer may be called.
Upon being so called, the fence-viewer shall upon reasonable notice,
and after viewing the premises, determine and assign the respective
portions of the fence to be maintained by each. The assignment when
so made and recorded by the proper officer, becomes binding upon the
present and all subsequent owners of the land. (2 Wis. 14). When
by reason of a brook, water-course, or natural impediment, it is
impracticable or unreasonably expensive to build a fence on the true
line between adjacent lands, and the owners thereof disagree respecting
its position, the fence viewers may, upon application of either party,
determine on which side of the true line, or whether partly on one side
and partly on the other, and at what distances, the fence shall be
built and maintained, and what portions by either party, and if either
party refuses or neglects to build and maintain his part of the fence,
the other shall have the same remedy as if the fence were on the true
line. When a division fence shall be suddenly destroyed or prostrated
by fire, winds or floods, the person who ought to repair or rebuild the
same should do so in ten days after being notified for that purpose,
and in the meantime he will be liable for damages done by estrays.

There is no legal obligation in any of the States, upon any proprietor
of uncultivated, unimproved and unoccupied land, to keep up division
fences. When a proprietor improves his land, or encloses land already
improved, the land adjoining being unimproved, he must make the whole
division fence, and if the adjoining proprietor afterward improves his
land, he is required to pay for one half the division fence, according
to the value thereof at that time. The laws of the respective States
are not uniform touching the obligations to maintain one half a
division fence after the owner of the land ceases to improve it. In
Rhode Island and some other States, the proprietors are required to
maintain these respective proportions, whether they continue to improve
their land or not. In Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and several other
States, it is provided that if one party lays his lands common, and
determines not to improve them, he may, upon giving due notice, cease
to support such fences. But in most of the States, he must not take
away any part of the division fence belonging to him and adjoining the
next enclosure, provided the other party will allow and pay for his
part of such fence. If the parties cannot agree as to its value, it may
be decided by two or more fence-viewers. Where adjacent land is owned
in severalty and occupied in common, and either party desires to occupy
his in severalty, and the parties disagree, either party may have the
line divided by the fence-viewers, as in other cases.

Owners of adjoining lands may agree between themselves as to the
building and maintenance of division fences, and such agreements are
valid, whether they are in accordance with the law or not. In some
States such an agreement, if in writing, and filed with the clerk of
the township, becomes binding upon all subsequent holders of the land.
If not in writing, however, such an agreement may be terminated by
either of the parties at pleasure.


Under the common law, the land owner is under no obligation to fence
his land along a public highway. But in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois,
Oregon, and some other Western and Southern States, the common law rule
has been modified by statutes depriving the land-holder of his action
for trespass, unless he maintains sufficient fences around his land.
In these States, the owner of land must enclose it with sufficient
fences if he would cultivate it. Even where there is no such statutory
provisions, it is practically necessary to maintain highway fences, as
a protection against cattle which are driven along the highway. The
use of barb wire for fencing along the public roads has given rise to
questions for which there were no precedents. A case was decided in
the United States Circuit Court, at Watertown, New York, December 17,
1885. The action was brought by a horse breeder to recover damages
from his neighbor for injuries sustained by the plaintiff’s horse from
a barbed wire fence, stretched along the roadside in front of the
defendant’s premises. A non-suit was granted on the ground that the
animal received the injuries through the contributory negligence of its
owner. Among the rulings of the court was one permitting the plaintiff
to be questioned, to show the fact that he had on his own farm a
similar fence, but of sharper form of barb. The court further held that
it might be a question whether it would not be competent testimony to
show the common employment of barb wire fence in that region, and held
that for the purpose of this case, a barbed wire fence, if properly
constructed upon the highway, must be deemed a legal fence.

It may be said in a general way, that though there is no legal
obligation resting on the land-holder to maintain fences along the
public highway, he neglects to do so at his own risk and peril.


What shall be necessary to constitute a legal and sufficient fence is
specifically defined by the statutes of the several States, but there
is no uniform rule among all. In Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts
and many other States, it is provided that all fences four feet high,
and in good repair, consisting of rails, timber, boards, or stone wall,
and all brooks, rivers, ponds, creeks, ditches, hedges, and other
things deemed by the fence viewers to be equivalent thereto, shall
be accounted legal and sufficient fences. In Vermont, Connecticut,
Michigan, and some other States, a legal fence must be four and a half
feet high. In Missouri post fences must be four and one half feet high,
hedges four feet high, turf fences four feet high, with ditches on each
side three feet deep in the middle and three feet wide; worm fences
must be five and one-half feet high to the top of the rider, or if
not ridered, five feet to the top of the top rail, and must be rocked
with strong rails, poles or stakes; stone or brick fences must be four
and one-half feet high. In New York the electors of each town may, by
vote, decide for themselves how fences shall be made, and what shall be
deemed sufficient. No part of the fence law is so definitely regulated
by the statutes of the respective States as the requirements of a legal
fence. In all cases where practical questions arise involving this
point, it is best to consult the statutes, which will be found in the
office of the township clerk.


In nearly every State, railroad companies are required by statute to
construct and maintain legal and sufficient fences on both sides of
their roads, except at crossings of public highways, in front of mills,
depots, and other places where the public convenience requires that
they shall be left open. The legal obligations of railroad companies to
fence their roads rest wholly upon such statutes. In New Hampshire it
is provided that if any railroad company shall neglect to maintain such
fences, the owner of adjoining land may build them, and recover double
the cost thereof of the company. It is generally held by the courts
in all the States that, in the absence of such fences the railroad
company is liable for all resulting damage to livestock, and no proof
of contributory negligence on the part of the owner of livestock is
allowed as a plea in defence, the statute requiring such fences being
a police regulation. When the railroad company has built a sufficient
fence on both sides of its road, it is not liable for injuries which
may occur without negligence on its part. If the fence is overthrown by
wind or storms, the company is entitled to reasonable time in which to
repair it, and if cattle enter and are injured, without fault on the
company’s part, it is not liable. If cattle stray upon the track at a
crossing of a public road, and are killed, the owners cannot recover
damages, unless the railroad company is guilty of gross negligence
or intentional wrong. A law in Alabama making railroad companies
absolutely liable for all stock killed on the tracks, was held to be




Bridge building is a profession of itself, and some of the great
bridges of the world are justly regarded as among the highest
achievements of mechanical science and skill. But it is proposed to
speak in this work only of the cheap and simple structures for spanning
small streams. The measure of the strength of a bridge is that of its
weakest part. Hence, the strength of a plain wooden bridge resting upon
timber stringers or chords, is equivalent to the sustaining power
of the timbers in the middle of the span. The longer the span, other
things being equal, the less its strength. The following table shows
the sustaining power of sound spruce timber, of the dimensions given,
at a point midway between the supports:

          |               WIDTH AND THICKNESS OF TIMBER.
   LENGTH |--------------+--------------+---------------+---------------
  OF SPAN.|6 by 8 inches.|6 by 9 inches.|6 by 10 inches.|6 by 12 inches.
    Feet. |   Pounds.    |   Pounds.    |     Pounds.   |    Pounds.
     10   |    2,800     |    2,692     |      4,500    |     6,480
     12   |    2,400     |    3,042     |      3,750    |     5,400
     14   |    2,058     |    2,604     |      3,216    |     4,632
     16   |    1,800     |    2,280     |      2,808    |     4,050

A stick of timber twenty feet between supports, will bear a load in its
center only one half as great as a timber of the same dimensions, ten
feet between supports. Thus four timbers six by twelve inches, in a
span of sixteen feet, would bear a load of eight tons; in a twelve foot
span, the same timbers would support a weight of nearly twelve tons.


The above is the initial strength of the timbers which support the
weight of the superstructure, and any load that it may have to sustain.
But in bridge building these timbers are reinforced by trusses or
braces, which add greatly to the sustaining power of the bridge.

[Illustration: Fig. 275.—A SIMPLE FORM OF BRIDGE SPAN.]

[Illustration: Fig. 276.—A STRONGER SPAN.]

[Illustration: Fig. 277.—A SHORT BRIDGE.]

Figure 275 shows the simplest form of a self-supporting bridge, which
will answer for spans of from ten to fifteen feet in length. The
braces, _c_, _c_, reach from near the end of the sill to about four
feet above the center. The truss rod, _d_, is one inch in diameter
for short bridges up to two inches for longer spans; it is provided
with an iron washer at the top. The rod passes through the sill, and
a cross-sill, _e_, which passes under the main sills, thus adding
firmness to the whole structure. Logs, _f_, _f_, are placed against
the ends of the sills to keep them in place, and where the wheels will
first strike them instead of the floor plank, thus greatly equalizing
the pressure. Figure 276 represents a modification of the above. The
two truss-rods and braces give the structure greater strength and
solidity, adapting it for spans eighteen feet in length. For the latter
length, sills should be of good material, ten inches wide and fourteen
inches deep, with three middle sills of about the same size.

[Illustration: Fig. 278.—A BOLT TRUSS.]

[Illustration: Fig. 279.—BRIDGE BRACED FROM BELOW.]

Figure 277 is a more improved style of bridge, the truss serving both
to support the structure, and as a parapet. The top railing is of the
same width as the sill, about one foot. The lower side may be cut away,
giving the bridge a more finished appearance. The railing at the center
is six inches thick, and three inches at the ends. The tie, _h_, is
full width and four inches thick. A bridge of this kind will answer for
heavy traffic, even if twenty feet in length. The bolt truss, in figure
278, is adapted for a span of twenty-five feet. This makes a bridge of
great firmness. Each set of truss-rods support a cross-sill. The road
planks are laid crosswise of the bridge. The middle sills are sometimes
half an inch lower than those along the sides, and should be four or
five in number. The ends of the planks fit closely against the inside
of the truss sills, thereby keeping the planks securely in place.

A common method of bracing is from below as shown in figure 279. This
is not usually a good practice, as the braces are liable to be carried
away by ice or floods.


[Illustration: Fig. 280.—END OF A BRIDGE.]

If the sills of a bridge are laid directly upon the dry walls of
an abutment, or upon a heavy plank, the jar of passing teams soon
displaces some of the stones, and brings undue strain upon certain
portions of the wall. To avoid this, abutments are best made of cut
stones, and laid in cement. A wooden bent for the support of the ends
of the bridge may be made as shown in figure 280. The whole should
be constructed of heavy timber, pinned together. A coat of white
lead should cover the interior surface of all joints. The number and
position of the posts of the wooden abutment are seen in the engraving.
A log should be laid upon the wall at _m_, to relieve the bridge
from the shock of the passing wagons. A center pier should be avoided
as much as possible, as it offers serious obstruction in floods, and
ice, drift wood and other floating matter become piled against it,
seriously imperiling the entire structure. But in cases where the
length of the bridge is so great as to require one or more piers, they
may be constructed on the plan shown in figure 281, or in case the
bottom is so soft as to render the mudsill insecure, a line of piles
supporting a cross-timber, as in figure 282. A strong, reliable parapet
or railing should always be provided. The want of one may be the cause
of fatal accidents to persons and horses. Figure 283 gives a side view
of a good railing, and figure 284 shows the manner of bracing the posts
to the ends of the cross-beams. They should be thus braced at every
alternate post of the railing. The floor should be double, as shown
in figure 285, the lower planks laid diagonally, and the upper layer

[Illustration: Fig. 281.—FRAMED PIER.]

[Illustration: Fig. 282.—BRIDGE SUPPORTED BY PILES.]

[Illustration: Fig. 283. RAILING OF BRIDGE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 284. RAILING OF BRIDGE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 285.—PLANK FLOOR OF BRIDGE.]


For small gullies which cross roadways or lanes in farms, and are not
the beds of constant streams, but are occasionally filled with surface
water, a very simple bridge is sufficient. One like that shown in
figure 286 is as good as any. The sills, _a_, _a_, are sunk in a trench
dug against the bank and at least to the level of the bed of the creek.
The cross-sills, _b_, _b_, are not mortised into them, but simply laid
between them. The pressure is all from the outside, hence it will
force _a_, _a_, tighter against the ends _b_, _b_, which must be sunk
a little into the bed of the creek at its lowest point. The posts are
mortised into the sills, _a_, _a_, and plates, _c_, _c_, and _d_, _d_,
upon which the planks are laid. Props may be put against the lower
sides of the posts to hold the bridge against the stream.

[Illustration: Fig. 286.—FRAME FOR BRIDGE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 287.—CONVENIENT FARM BRIDGE.]

A cheap but practicable bridge is shown in figure 287. Two logs are
laid across the gully, their ends resting on the banks, and to them
puncheons or planks are spiked to form the bridge. Stout posts, well
propped and reaching above the highest water mark, are placed against
the lower side of the logs. If the creek rises, the bridge, being
free, will be raised on the surface of the water, while the posts will
prevent its being carried away. Should it not rise with the water, it
opposes so little surface to the current that the posts will hold it


[Illustration: Fig. 288.—RUSTIC BRIDGE.]

[Illustration: Fig. 289.—A BRIDGE OF ROCKS.]

No feature adds more to the appearance of ornamental grounds than
tasteful bridges. A stream or narrow channel connecting two parts of
a small sheet of water, affords an opportunity for the introduction
of a bridge. In the absence of such features a bridge may be thrown
across a dry ravine. Whatever style may be adopted, should harmonize
with the general character of the surroundings. An elaborate bridge of
wood or masonry would be as much out of place on grounds unadorned by
other structures, as a rude rustic one would be near highly finished
summer-houses and other architectural features. On most grounds a neat
rustic bridge, something like the one shown in figure 288, would be in
good keeping with its environments. Such bridges may be made of red
cedar logs and branches, resting upon stone abutments. Where boulders
are abundant, a stone bridge, something like figure 289, may be built
at very little cost, and will last for generations. The pleasing effect
of rustic or other ornamental bridges is enhanced by training Virginia
creeper or other climbing plants upon them.


A culvert under a road is, in effect, a short bridge. The simplest form
of plank culvert, resting upon stone abutments, is shown in figure 290.
Such a structure is cheaply built, and serves a good purpose while the
wood-work remains sound. But the planks wear out and the timbers decay,
requiring frequent renewing. Where stone is abundant it is much cheaper
in the end to build wholly of stone, as in figure 291. After the
abutments are built, a course of flat stone, along each side, projects
inward from six to ten inches, as at _a_, _a_, which are covered with
a broad stone, _b_. Where the stream to be crossed is so narrow that a
row of single stones is sufficient to cover the opening, a culvert like
that seen in figure 292 is cheaply made. Such structures will remain
serviceable for a generation, if the foundations are not undermined by
the action of the water.

[Illustration: Fig. 290.—CULVERT WITH PLANK FLOOR.]

[Illustration: Fig. 291.—STONE CULVERT.]

[Illustration: Fig. 292.—CHEAPER STONE CULVERT.]

[Illustration: Fig. 293.—ARCHED CONCRETE CULVERT.]

[Illustration: Fig. 294.—ANGULAR CONCRETE CULVERT.]

Where flat stones enough cannot be easily procured, culverts may be
built of concrete. The abutments are first made, as in other cases;
then empty barrels or sugar hogsheads, according to the capacity of
the opening, are fitted in, or better still, a temporary arch is made
of rough, narrow boards. The concrete of cement, sand and gravel, is
then prepared and poured in, temporary supports of lumber having been
fixed across each end of the culvert to keep the concrete in place
until it hardens. Small stones may be mixed with the concrete as it
is poured into place, and the whole topped off with a row of them.
This protection of stones on the top is valuable, in case the covering
of earth is worn or wasted away at any time while it is in use. For a
longer culvert a flattened arch is made of concrete, as shown in figure
293. Light timbers are laid across, the ends resting lightly on the
abutments. Across the middle of these a round log is placed to support
the crown of the arch. Elastic split poles are sprung over all, and
upon these are nailed thin narrow boards, extending lengthwise of the
culvert. The ends being temporarily protected, the concrete is mixed
and poured on, as before. As soon as the concrete has become thoroughly
well “set,” the light cross-sticks are cut in two and the temporary
work removed. A cross-section, showing another form of concrete
culvert, and the method of construction, are shown in figure 294. Such
a culvert is more easily built than the last, but is not as strong. The
best and most durable culvert is of stone, with a regular half-round
arch. Such work can only be done properly by a regular mason, but in
the end it is cheaper, where the stone can be obtained, than any kind
of make-shift.


Transcribers’ Notes

Italics are rendered between underscores (low line characters)
e.g. _italics_.

Small caps are rendered as ALL CAPS.

The term ‘barb wire’ appears 26 times. The term ‘barb-wire’ appears
11 times. Both variants have been have been left as printed. Other
hyphenation inconsistencies and various other errors have been
corrected as listed on the following table.

  |       Transcribers’ Changes        |
  |Page|  As printed   |  Changed to   |
  |  5 |Wire Stretchers|Wire-Stretchers|
  |  6 |169            |170            |
  | 10 |to-the         |to the         |
  | 11 |hight          |height         |
  | 12 |live-stock     |livestock      |
  | 16 |can not        |cannot         |
  | 20 |wheelbarrow    |wheel-barrow   |
  | 23 |back furrow    |back-furrow    |
  | 23 |wheelbarrow    |wheel-barrow   |
  | 29 |strap hinge    |strap-hinge    |
  | 34 |four inch      |four-inch      |
  | 41 |half-inch      |half inch      |
  | 45 |horse-shoe     |horseshoe      |
  | 48 |three quarter  |three-quarter  |
  | 49 |live stock     |livestock      |
  | 50 |injured        |injured.       |
  | 50 |end posts      |end-posts      |
  | 52 |fence post     |fence-post     |
  | 53 |once           |Once           |
  | 58 |hard-wood      |hard wood      |
  | 65 |iron           |iron,          |
  | 68 |hedge-plant    |hedge plant    |
  | 73 |if             |is             |
  | 78 |any where      |anywhere       |
  | 80 |Figure         |figure         |
  | 85 |drift wood     |driftwood      |
  | 85 |hoop iron      |hoop-iron      |
  | 86 |tenpenny       |ten-penny      |
  | 87 |drift wood     |driftwood      |
  | 90 |crosspiece     |cross-piece    |
  | 91 |drift-wood     |driftwood      |
  | 92 |brush wood     |brushwood      |
  |103 |post-          |post           |
  |108 |extremeties    |extremities    |
  |114 |one quarter    |one-quarter    |
  |116 |ground piece   |ground-piece   |
  |117 |cross-wise     |crosswise      |
  |117 |Gate-ways      |Gateways       |
  |118 |end posts      |end-posts      |
  |120 |end piece      |end-piece      |
  |122 |fence post     |fence-post     |
  |122 |three quarter  |three-quarter  |
  |122 |one half       |one-half       |
  |133 |can not        |cannot         |
  |146 |gate frame     |gate-frame     |
  |149 |two inch       |two-inch       |
  |153 |one quarter    |one-quarter    |
  |153 |240            |240.           |
  |153 |end piece      |end-piece      |
  |156 |hard-wood      |hard wood      |
  |162 |passage-way    |passageway     |
  |165 |wheelbarrow    |wheel-barrow   |
  |165 |live stock     |livestock      |
  |167 |end posts      |end-posts      |
  |168 |gate frame     |gate-frame     |
  |169 |cross piece    |cross-piece    |
  |172 |watercourse    |water-course   |
  |174 |land holder    |land-holder    |
  |176 |live stock     |livestock      |
  |178 |cross sill     |cross-sill     |
  |179 |279            |279.           |
  |179 |truss rods     |truss-rods     |

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fences, Gates and Bridges - A Practical Manual" ***

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