• How to Fit Feather Edge Boards

    | by Holly Wood

    If you’ve decided to embark on a feather edge fence project, you’re in for a rewarding experience. However, if you’re new to this type of construction, you may need some guidance to get started. This comprehensive guide covers not only the materials you’ll need but also the step-by-step process of fitting feather edge boards to create a professional-looking and long-lasting fence.

    Let’s begin.

    Essential Materials for Your Feather Edge Fence

    Before diving into the construction process, ensure you have the following materials and tools ready:

    Essential Items

    1. Fence Posts – There are a number of fence post sizes available and selection depends on budget, style, height required and regional preferences. For example, for a shorter fence, one might choose 75 x 75mm fence posts. All should be pressure treated.
    2. Arris Rails (3 lengths per section – top, middle, and bottom) – it is possible to use standard section timber such as 3×2 or 3×1 1/2.
    3. Gravel Boards.
    4. Feather Edge Boards.
    5. Nails (2.5″ Annular ring nails for the structure).
    6. Nails (1.5″ Annular ring nails for the Feather Edge boards).
    7. Postcrete (1 bag per post) – Common practice is 1.5 bags of Postcrete per hole, but again it depends on the depth of the hole, which is determined by the height of the fence. A taller fence = a deeper hole.
    8. Sawn end treatment (for extra protection of cut timber).

    Optional Items

    1. Counter Rails (25mm x 50mm) – needed if you plan to finish your fence with a capping rail.
    2. Capping Rail (for capping your fence).
    3. Screws (Passivated 4×30 and 4×50).

    Green Timber Considerations

    Green timber refers to wood that has been freshly cut from a tree and has not undergone any drying or seasoning process. It contains a high moisture content, often exceeding 30% or more. Green timber is typically in its natural state, with the moisture content that it had while still part of the living tree.

    When working with green timber for fencing, timing matters. Avoid installing freshly sawn timber during warm months, as it’s prone to excessive shrinkage, warping, and splitting when exposed to hot, dry weather.

    The best time for green timber cladding installation is during autumn or winter when cooler, moister conditions support a more stable drying process, ensuring a durable and visually appealing end result.

    1. Planning and Ordering Materials

    Before you start your feather edge fence project, it’s crucial to calculate and order the correct quantities of materials. Here’s a breakdown:

    A) Fence Posts:

    • For a 6′ high fence, use 8′ posts, with 2′ in the ground. Although this is standard, in an area of high wind, it would be advisable to increase the depth of the foundation. The same would apply to weak ground.
    • Determine the number of posts: Measure your fencing run in meters and divide by 3 (or the length of your rails) to get the number of posts needed. 3m is the maximum recommended distance from the centre of the post to the centre of the next post. Standard centres range from 1800mm to 3000mm. You should select the appropriate detail for the location and application, considering various factors such as the fence’s height, wind conditions, and the desired level of durability for the specific location and purpose.

    B) Arris Rails:

    • Typically 3m in length.
    • You’ll need three per section (top, middle, and bottom).

    C) Gravel Boards:

    • Normally in 3m lengths, you’ll need one gravel board per fence section.

    D) Feather Edge Boards:

    • Common width is 5″ (125mm). Although width can vary from 100mm to 150mm – depending on supplier.
    • Recommended board overlap is 25mm.

    E) Nails:

    • The appropriate amount of nails and screws should be used to secure the fence structure and the boards. Feather edge boards typically feature 3 down one side and another 3 on the overlap with the next board.

    G) Postcrete:

    • 1 to 1.5 bags per hole, depending on your digging method.

    Optional Items:

    H) Counter Rails:

    • One length per fence section.

    J) Capping Rails:

    • One length per fence section.

    2. Clearing the Path for the Fence

    Prepare your fencing area by clearing any obstructions and ensuring a level path. Feather edge fencing is adaptable to sloping gardens, making it a suitable choice for custom designs.

    3. Setting the First Post

    Dig the first hole to a depth of 650mm (consider using a post hole auger for efficiency). Set the first post, ensuring it’s vertical and using Postcrete to secure it. Use a string line or laser line to maintain level alignment across posts.

    4. Digging Holes and Setting Posts

    Set the remaining posts along the fence line, keeping them level and spaced according to your measurements. Use a string line to maintain accurate positioning.

    5. Attaching Arris Rails and Gravel Boards

    Nail the gravel boards to the left of the first post using 65mm nails, ensuring they are level. Nail the Arris rails, aligning them with the tops of the gravel boards and treating any cut ends.

    6. Fitting Feather Edge Boards

    • Start by placing the first Feather Edge board on the gravel board, aligning the thick edge with the left face of the first post. Use a spirit level on the first board, and then every few boards after that to ensure a plumb line is maintained.
    • Secure it in position using 40mm nails, placed approximately 20mm in from the left side and one at the center of the three Arris rails.
    • To maintain consistent spacing, consider using a tool like TidyFence feather edge board spacer for a professional finish.

    7. Attaching Counter and Capping Rails

    For added stability and a polished look, install counter rails flush with the top of the fence, securing them with 4x30mm screws.

    Then, fit the capping rail on top, overlapping both sides of the fence, and secure it using 4x50mm screws.


    By understanding the intricacies of how to fit feather edge boards, from proper spacing to seasonal considerations, you can create a new fence that not only complements your property’s aesthetics but also provides reliable security and privacy.

    So, whether you’re embarking on a new fencing project or looking to revitalise an existing one, embracing the timeless elegance of feather edge boards is a choice that harmonises traditional style with contemporary needs.

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