Repairing the Split-Rail Fence at the Mountain Cabin

2 Materials
4 Hours
As I’ve mentioned on here before, my in-laws have a property at beautiful Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. This lake is the headquarters of the United Methodist conference for the Western Piedmont region and as my father-in-law is a Methodist minister, it made sense that they wanted to put down roots there, as they travel up there for meetings and events periodically throughout the year. A few months ago, we realized that the split-rail fence that borders the front of the property was rotting and falling apart in a few places. Here are a few pictures of the process that we took to repair it.
First, we sourced all-new lumber. While we could have done a patchwork job and simply made minor repairs here and there as needed, we knew we wanted this new fence to last for a long time. So, we all went as an extended family to the hardware store to pick out the lumber. We kept it basic and loaded up the cart. This was when it was helpful to have so many family members on board to help out with the heavy lifting!
From there, my husband and his paternal grandfather went to work doing the manual labor required to actually rebuild the fence. They’re used to working together and actually owned a plumbing repair businesses back home together for about 12 years, so working on this project in tandem came as second nature to them. What would have taken the rest of us a few days at least, they were able to knock out in a few hours.
It’s kind of difficult to see here, but they left a gap in the front middle of the fence to allow for a little stream and foot bridge. It’s a natural and charming part of the property and they wanted to allow access to it to continue. They were also careful to build the new fence around the established azaleas and knockout rose bushes that border the front yard.
This picture was taken during the middle of the re-do. They’d taken some of the original beams out and were considering how to approach the installation of the new fence. My husband said they also considered adding a third horizontal beam at the bottom, but opted to leave it open to allow the shrubbery to grow.
After they filled the main post-holes, they were finished. Though they considered staining the lumber a dark cherry tone, in the end, they decided to leave it raw, and simply coat it with a clear, weather-resistant layer. We’ve been up to the house a few times since, and the weather has given the wood a quaint and rustic patina, but the structure itself looks great and we know it will hold up for years to come. There is no real functional purpose to the front fence, but it does add a ton of curb appeal and serves a stylistic function. I know our family loves driving up to it, signaling the start of a weekend full of adventure.
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Brooke Bowman
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