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How to Repair Fence Rails

Use this quick, inexpensive fix to reinforce a chewed-through fence rails.

You'll Need:

  • Length of board the same width and thickness, but at least 1' longer than the damaged area to be repaired. (We used a 1" x 6" board.)
  • Skill saw
  • Electric drill/screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • 1 1/4" deck screws
  • Wood clamps or a helper
    ┬ęPractical Horseman. All Rights Reserved.

    Tired of looking at that chewed up fence board--but no time to tear down and replace the entire rail? Here's a quick-and-easy solution that will reinforce the chewed area in the meantime. Simply cut a length of rail board that's slightly longer than the chewed area, and screw it in place.
    (Fix-it tip: This patch job will also strengthen cracked or fractured fence rails.)

    1. Leave it to beaver: The chewed rail board not only looks bad, but also is weak and prone to breaking.

    2. The solution: Measure the length of the chewed area; add 1' or more to your measurement, so the patch board will extend at least 6" on either side of the damaged portion if possible. This will ensure that you have solid board into which to seat the screws. It'll also add strength to the repaired area. Measure and cut the patch board.

    3. Place the length of board over the chewed spot, aligning its top and bottom edges. Use clamps or your helper to hold it in place. Secure it with deck screws, screwing them in at a slight angle to avoid sharp tips protruding through the other side.

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    4. Be sure to use enough deck screws that the patch is held firmly in place. We used 4 screws--2 at each end of the patch board, placing one high, and one low. If your repair site is longer than the one shown here, you could add additional screws as needed for reinforcement.

    5. Not only is it easier on the eyes, but it's also a safer fence for your horses. If the site you're repairing is a favorite chew spot for your equine beaver, consider applying an anti-chew solution to the board to prevent further damage.

    Dave Archer built and ran boarding and training facilities in Canada and Michigan before migrating to Richmond, Texas. Dave now builds barns for such notable trainers as Pete Kyle, as well as for private horse owners. He also rides, shows and breeds reiners with his son, trainer Steve Archer.

    This article first appeared in the April 1998 issue of Horse & Rider magazine.

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