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How to Build a Crossbuck

Henri Bauholz

A crossbuck has several definitions that all involve an X-shaped pair of boards or logs. Painted railroad crossing signs are known as crossbucks, as are the rustic type of fence, which features a log support spanned by long poles or rails. On a similar note, the fancy, white, horse fences with the crossing X pattern are also known as crossbuck fences. Perhaps most useful to the homeowner or farmer are the simple crossbucks that hold a log several feet off the ground while someone lops off the log end with a chain or hand saw.

Railroad crossing signs are one of several items known as a crossbuck.
  1. Cut the 2-by-4s into four-foot lengths. Use the tape measure to mark the length, and use the speed square and pencil to scribe the cut across the face of the 2-by-4. Do all the cutting on the sawhorses while using safety goggles.

  2. Select four of the four-foot pieces of 2-by-4 and mark each one at 32 inches with the tape measure. Then extend this mark across the face of the 2-by-4, but do not cut the 2-by-4. These marks are only necessary for aligning the cross pieces.

  3. Set one of the marked 2-by-4s on top of another to form a X shape. The pencil marks should line up to form a V. That is to say the bottom point of each mark should visually meet at one point to form a large X with the two pieces of wood.

  4. Nail the two pieces of 2-by-4 together with 12-penny galvanized nails. Drive the nails from both the top and bottom side of the pair of 2-by-4s. Do this for both pair of crosses.

  5. Set the crosses in an upright position so the short ends are above the long ends. Then make a pencil mark 1 1/2 inches up from the V-shaped notch. Do this on all four upright boards.

  6. Nail the remaining pair of four-foot 2-by-4s to the upright members. Use the inch-and-a-half marks as the starting point when setting the four-foot boards in place. These two boards should run horizontally, connecting one X-shaped support to the other.

  7. Run the 1-by-4 diagonally from one support leg to the other. Ideally, this brace should be about six inches off the ground. Nail the brace in place with the 6-penny galvanized nails and lop the ends off with the crosscut saw.