Garden Planter box Made From Fence Palings

How Many Things Can You Make From A Fence Paling?

We love fence palings.

Fence palings rock. So many of the jobs we do involve fence palings: Tool Boxes; Raised Gardens; Planter Boxes, Shoe Scrapers, Kindling / Wood Boxes and of course – fences.

Some of the reasons we use fence palings are:

  1. Easy to get: We know we can get them from Bunnings, Mitre 10, Placemakers or just about any other wood supply store.
  2. Standardised sizes: No matter our supplier we know that we will be working with a standard sized bit of wood. True, you do get some rough cut batches but on the whole its a no brainer.  Other wood comes in all sorts of sizes and thne you have to figur eout if that’s true size, cut size, dressed size … Fence palings are bog standard across the board – they have to be.
  3. Inexpensive- Fence palings are inexpensive. Currently a 1.8 metre long, 25mm thick, 150mm wide paling costs $4.68. If you are building a two layer high, 1800 x 900 garden, then you will only need 6 palings, costing you $28.08, plus a bit of pocket change for the nails and joining wood. Call it $30.00  If use 19mm thick palings the cost goes down to $3.32 per paling or $19.92 per layer, plus a couple of dollars for nails etc.
  4. Weather Proof – Fence palings are H3.2 treated which means they can stand up to the weather. H3.2 should not touch the ground, so using them as a garden is not ideal, but the reality is they will last for years. The downside is that H means hazardous – we have an article about that here.  when working with h treated wood you do need to be aware of the implications and protect yourself.

Types Of Paling:

  • Height: Fence palings generally come in either 1.8m (1800mm) or 1.2m (1200mm) lengths. These are the two common sizes for most fences seen around houses. The 1.2m fence is a bit above waist high while the 1.8 will be slightly above head height (on an average person). 1.5m (1500mm) is also available regularly but not as common as the 1.8m or 1.2m
  • Width:We prefer the 150mm wide paling but you can also get 100mm wide.
  • Thickness: Palings come in three standard thickness’s, 25mm, 19mm and 12mm. Wood is normally priced by volume so a 1.2m long 25mm thick paling will be almost twice as expensive as a 1.2m long 12mm paling.  for most of the work we do we prefer 19mm or 25mm thick wood. Fence plaings are prone to warping (as they are cut wet and often stored wet) and 12mm palings are the worst. Trying to keep a fence from warping with 12mm wood is a tough task.
  • Cut: As mentioned above palings are normally wet cut. this means they are not dried (kiln or air) completely before cutting. Green wood (wood with a higher water content) will warp as it dries. This is for two reasons:
    1. One side gets more sun, wind or warmth than the other. The warmer  / drier side dries more quickly than the colder / shaded side. As wood dries it contracts – so wet wood will bend towards the sunny side. This is true no matter if it is stacked flat or nailed to a fence.
    2. Different density of wood. Sap wood is less dense than heart wood. Knots are harder than surrounding wood. Some years a tree grows more quickly than others, growing seasons will be warmer or colder, dryer or wetter. All these things affect wood’s hardness or density. Softwood dries quicker than hard wood. Softwood will get pulled towards hard wood when it is drying as it is not as strong. This means your paling will bend or deform. It is possible to see palings bend sideways as a knot has deformed the wood towards itself.
  • Treatment: Most fence palings are H3.2 treated. This means they are rated for outdoor use where they don’t touch the ground or are not buried in the ground.
  • Dressing: Most palings are undressed, rough cut pine. You can get dressed (smoothed) palings but that is normally a high end paling, not your bog standard fence paling. Palings may also come cut with a tongue and groove edge. Again this is a more expensive higher end paling. Standard palings are square cut. It is worth noting that standard palings can have significant differences in thickness, length and width as they are not cut with the same precision as furniture timber (or even most framing timber)

Cost:

At the time of writing the following prices we current on palings:

1800mm x 150mm x 25mm $4.68
1800mm x 150mm x 19mm $3.32
1200mm x 150mm x 19mm $2.42

 

Projects:

Over the years we have either purchased new fence palings or pulled old fences to pieces to supply timber for projects. Take a gander at the gallery below and feel free to click on links to the project pages. If you use fence palings for projects we would love to hear from you and see how you use them.

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