How To Timber - Feather Edge Fence/ Close Board Fencing

  1. Prepare your site (see SITE PREP guide).
  2. If it's possible erect a string line to mark the final height of the fence and the position of the face side of the fence, If this is not possible, move on to the next step, then complete this step using the posts erected in step 3 before moving onto step 4.
  3. Dig your first hole and erect the first post (check its height by holding a feather edge and gravel board in position against the post, the post should be flush with the top of the feather edge)..
  4. Layout the arris rails on the ground (1 per gap) from the first post (Overlap the first rail with the first post) , mark the positions where the rails butt up against each other, these are the positions of the posts.
  5. Dig a hole for each post.
  6. Erect the next post and attach a gravel board between them using a block between the board and each post made from a cut section of arris rail to adjust the distance of the board from the post.
  7. Now attach three rails to the front face of the posts. The gaps between the rails will depend on your fence height.
    The top rail will run flush with the top of the fence, this will later be used to attach the capping strip if you are not using a capping strip then this rail can be attached up to 10cm (4") below the top of the post (allows for some error in post erection).
    The bottom rail will run approximately 10cm (4") from the top of the gravel board.
    The middle rail will run half way between the top and bottom rail.
  8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 along the whole fence line.
  9. Now that your frame is erected you can nail the feather edge boards to the rails, to do this start at one end, hold the board with the thick edge at one end of the fence line and its base flat on the gravel board, nail through the board into each of the three rails approximately 2.5cm (1") from the thick edge of the board. Now take your second board and overlap it with the first board by about 2.5cm (1"), again nailing near the thick edge of the feather edge (note that these nails are now also holding the first board).
  10. Repeat until you reach the end of the fence, the last feather edge should be turned around so that the thick edge is at the end of the fence line and the thin edge is overlapping the previous feather edge. Nail this on with 3 nails both on the left and right side of the feather edge (6 nails in total).
  11. Now cut the Capping strip to fit each gap and attach (pre drill and screw) it to the top arris rail, slightly overhanging the feather edge boards.



If your fence line is on sloping ground you will not be erecting the posts at a horizontal level with each other, but instead they will gradually rise / fall in steps. The gravel boards may need to be dug in at one end of each section to avoid gaps under the fence line at the lower post. You should therefore set the height of the gravel boards and arris rails from the lower posts, allowing the fence line to step up.

If you are erecting a fence over the line of an old fence, you may want to stagger the post positions to avoid any old concrete remaining in the ground, you may need to insert an additional post to achieve this.

As a rule of thumb fence posts should be 1/3rd under ground and 2/3rds above ground, however it is generally acceptable to use 2.4m (8') posts for a 1.8m (6') fence

We recommend using 10cm (4") square posts for most projects, they are only a few pounds more expensive than 7.5cm (3") posts but are much stronger and will last longer.

Remember the post is being held in place by the ground, not the post mix, In problem soils you need to go deeper not wider to make the post firmer. 

Most of the rot of a post occurs at its base where it meets the soil is continually being made wet / dry. This is the layer in which micro organisms are most abundant and speed up the rotting process, to reduce this add post fixing material all the way to just above ground level and slope it away from the post. Unfortunately this is not a very aesthetically appealing finish, so it is common to pour the mix to approx 1cm below ground then cover lightly with soil, grass should be able to grow (providing you have kept your base narrow) while the water holding capacity of the soil is reduced to a minimum and so reducing the rotting process.

Many different post and arris rail systems are available and will have an impact on the construction method, if the arris rails are designed to be fixed between the posts rather than on the face or into nothces in the post, you won't need to use a block behind the gravel boards to adjust the position.

Capping strips are mainly decorative and do not substantially extend the life of a fence, you can leave these off if you prefer



  • Spades - A narrow long handled digging spade and long handled post hole clearing spade are a good combination, the clearing spade has two handles which work to open and close two scopes (similar to giant salad tongs) once the soil has been loosened with the digging spade you can lift it out with the clearing spade. You can hire a petrol post hole borer to make light work of the job, however unless you have an easy sandy soil avoid low powered one man borers
  • Spirit level
  • Drill / Screw driver
  • Hammer
  • String Line




  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Arris rails
  • Feather edge
  • Gravel boards
  • Fence posts
  • Capping strips (optional)
  • Post fix material - Specialist pre mixed post fix materials are available, these products set in around 10 minutes and avoid the need to prop up posts while drying providing great time & stress savings.