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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the best way to attach a 2x4 rail between my fence posts? I was planning to cut the 2x4's between posts vs. running them through...just like the look better. Planning on a shadow-box fence 6' high. I've looked at fence brackets...but their an eye sore. Only thing I can come up is a toe-nail (using screws). This is a very cold climate so frost heave could be an issue. Thanks in advance.
 

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If you're doing 6 foot sections of cedar, the toenailing will be fine.
If you're doing 8 foot sections of treated, I'd use a bracket.
Shadowbox fences have more weight because there are more pickets, so you might think about a third cross rail.
If you don't like the look of the joist hanger style brackets, maybe just use the "L" bracket style to support the bottom edge of each rail. They will help hold up the load, but are barely visible if you hide the vertical part of the "L" between the post and the end of the rail.
And remember to not "toe-screw" in from the top of the rail; that'll create a nice little pocket for water to collect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. I'm going 8' between posts with treated lumber and 3 rails. May not be a good idea, but plan on using composite pickets at 5 lbs each (23 per section). Haven't thought much about the weight issue, but maybe I should. Rather than toe-screws, thought about using 5" torx through the post and into the ends of the rail .... then off-set every other rail for screw access. They would be hidden that way and less exposure to moisture. I would appreciate any information. It's my own house, but I still don't want to screw it up to bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I like the L-bracket idea and reversing them ... hadn't thought of that. Will check on those. What size would you use?
 

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Thanks for the replies. I'm going 8' between posts with treated lumber and 3 rails. May not be a good idea, but plan on using composite pickets at 5 lbs each (23 per section). Haven't thought much about the weight issue, but maybe I should. Rather than toe-screws, thought about using 5" torx through the post and into the ends of the rail .... then off-set every other rail for screw access. They would be hidden that way and less exposure to moisture. I would appreciate any information. It's my own house, but I still don't want to screw it up to bad.
If I were you I would run 16' rails on the face and alternate the middle rail differently than the top and bottom so all of the cut ends do not end up on the same post. This will help the posts stand a bit straighter.

The rails can help the posts stay straighter when fastened to the face rather than between posts.

With the heavy composite boards you may want to step up to a 2x6 rail somewhere in the mix. It could look good as a top and bottom or maybe just in the middle?

TimberTech makes fence boards,.... should be way lighter if you had planned on using deck boards for pickets.
 

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Why do dowel the rails and drill a 2" hole on the post to accept the dowel. You won't really be able to see it since you have boards on both sides, and if you need someone to dowel the rails find a local fence supply. (not HomeDepot)
 

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Not with composite hanging from it.... it's not TOO much work, a little added time and you won't have to worry about the wind and the dead weight pulling the screws loose.
 

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Not with composite hanging from it.... it's not TOO much work, a little added time and you won't have to worry about the wind and the dead weight pulling the screws loose.

You must use a different ring shank galvy than me, once mine are in they are staying. If dead weight pulling the nails is occuring, the problem lies in using too small of a runner for such a heavy material not the fastener.

Wind load is going to be close to the same no matter how heavy the section is and I would imagine using a heavier material would calm down the flex that a lighter material would have thus reducing the pulling of fasteners.
 

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I understand it'll work, but I just personally like the added strength of mortise and tenon, or a dowel and hole. Plus a fence supply shop will usually have the ability to dowel them, and drill the post for a reasonable fee. At least the company that I've been running their wood shop for the last 10 years does. Just my opinion, I know there are plenty of options and ways of doing it. I'm sure whatever way he does it, it'll work fine.
 

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took me a while to figure out ya'll were talkin' about fence rails, not deck handrails. Kreg, pocket screws, dowels? for a fence?

Like Curapa says, those connections are completely hidden. No need to get fancy, just make 'em rock solid and cover 'em w/ a fence board. I predrill and run 3" screws in (too tough for me to keep the rail where I need it when using a nail gun - gun tip wants to push rail out of position)

Quick question, not knocking anyone's technique, but do you guys actually use the Kreg set up or dowels for fence rails? Not just offering it as an internet option, but actually do it on your projects? Any pics?

Mac
 

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Yes all our wood fence products are dowelled ends,

In the process of being paint

Racked setup on a hill

Stepped Height panels, but shows the dowel and hole well.


We rack all our panels, no stepping them down a hill. We as well as the customer like this method much more, however if we run into a customer who wants it stepped, we drill them as end post and drill the other side on site, or preplan how much each step is.

Now reason I say have a fence company dowel and drill for you, because we, like most fence businesses, have a machine that can drill the post laying down with a sliding table and air driving drill. Along with a 12' long dowelling machine that clamps the rail and pushes it into a dowelling head. I can drill a post in under 1 minute and dowel a rail in 30 second with these machines.
 
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Sweet! Thanks for the pics - I was envisioning something completely different when you were talking about doweling.
Nice looking fences, guy -

Mac
 
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