nail or two ?

Postby onlyme4 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:24 pm

I keep getting conflicting advice on installing closeboard fencing.

Some say to only put one nail in across the width of the featheredge plank, thereby trapping the thin edge or the underlying plank to allow for expansion and contraction. While others say nail through the wide edge of the feather edge plank and then through the thin edge of the underlying plank to trap both. (as per the guidance on the project page of this site).

From a brief look around my local area about 60% of the fences have been nailed through both planks, with the rest using the trapping method (nailing only one plank). Also couple of builder friends recommended nailing both planks same as the project recommendation on this site.

I am using a 30-40% overlap on 6" plank (want a strong fence) and nailing through both planks at the moment, but I am worried about reports of splitting from some of those using this method and I just can't find any reliable guidance about which method is best. I am also using two nails per aris rail (6 nails per plank) for a very strong fix and using 50m oval nails to minimise splitting.

Any guidance appreciated.
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Simply Build It

Postby onlyme4 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:25 pm

Think I just answered my own question. I looked up the British Standard on closeboard fencing and it's pretty clear, that only one nail should be pierce each feather board.

Moderators; you might want to change the project guidance on this site to reflect the British Standard as your guidance does not look like it is correct (nailing through two boards).

Here is the British Standard Guidance:

Close Board Fencing to British Standard 1722 Part 5
Feather edged boards will be 100mm wide tapering from 13mm to 6mm provided at not less than 12 per metre. They will be lapped approximately 18mm when fixed. They will rest on top of a gravel board if fitted and be nailed to each aris rail with 50mm x 2.65mm galvanised nails. Each nail shall pierce one board only.
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Postby TheDoctor4 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:32 pm


British Standards are great things and if all feather edge timber was cut and shaped to them, life would be wonderful.

However, timber suppliers cut timber in the most profitable way and builders merchants store them in the most cost effective manner. This usually means that the timbers differ slightly in dimensions and are generally half wet, half dry.

When fixed with one nail, the boards can bow as the thicker edge dries out more slowly than the thinner edge.

We are willing to gamble our wages that no person who wrote a construction based British Standard every actually put up a fence, whereas we have put up approximately 400 miles of it in 20 years. It’s your call

Kind Regards

The Doc
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Postby onlyme4 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:01 am

I heard a few stories about splitting where the nail pierces two boards. As the boards shrink or expand with the weather they don't have room to move and the feathered edge splits off.

Can I ask where you nail; ie; where does the nail pierce the underlying feather edge or board, 1,2,3cm from the edge ?

Also, I can't understand why there is not a standardized approach to fitting these boards, as there's a split between those who pierce two boards and those that pierce one board.
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