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How to Build a Jack Fence

Melissa Webb

Jack fences are simple in design and rustic in appearance. This type of fence is often selected when building over marshy or rocky ground because they do not require post holes. The rails for jack fences are held up with X shaped uprights. Bark-on or peeled posts are used as railing. Three rails are fastened on the front side and a single rub rail on the back side. Jack fences are easy to build and repair.

  1. Measure and record each face of the jack fence at exactly where it will be built. Draw a schematic map that represents the fence on a piece of paper using the measurements.

  2. Visit your local fencing store that sells the correct posts and nails for jack fences. Ask a sales associate to create a materials list from your schematic map. Pay for the materials and arrange for a delivery.

  3. Draw a string line between stakes to represent exactly where the jack fence will be built. This will be used as a guide to ensure the fence is built straight.

  4. Measure and cut each 10-foot pole exactly in half. This creates two 5-foot posts for each upright.

  5. Measure down 18 inches and 22-inches from the top of both newly cut 5-foot posts. Using a chainsaw, cut two shallow, diagonal notches. Remove the diagonally cut kerfs with a hammer.

  6. Hold both posts together so they are joined at each notch. Fasten these two posts at the notch with a 50 penny nail. Repeat this process for each upright.

  7. Position each upright every 13 feet directly centered over the string line. This creates the spacing and supports for the railings.

  8. Fasten the top railing on top of each upright, where the two posts meet, with a 50 penny nail.

  9. Fasten the second railing on the front side of each upright, 2- to 3-inches below where the two posts meet, with a 50 penny nail.

  10. Fasten a bottom railing on both sides of each upright, 18-inches up from the ground, with a 50 penny nail.