Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scratch-built Board Fences - Part 1

In Progress

I'm queuing up my buildings for a primer coat right now.  In the meanwhile I've been generating several side projects; one of which are board fences.  I like creating bunches of linear terrain because it allows me to create slow spots with cover for my minis games which prevents ranged weapons from dominating play.


The board fences I've created are a bit crude but there's nothing to prevent a careful craftsman to add more precision in the cutting and assembly of the parts.  What you'll need are at least the following supplies:

  • Square-milled wood about 0.25" thick.  I used square-shafted chopsticks.  These are for the fence posts.
  • 0.25" coffee stirring sticks. These are for the boards.  You'll need lots and the kind I purchased are here in the image at the right; they are 7.50" long and there 500 per box.
  • 0.75" discs like for bingo chips.  I used table spacers, but you could also use metal washers.
  • The standard tools I use are; X-acto knife, wire-cutters, glue-gun, glue cartridges for the glue-gun. Steel ruler with metric enumerations.

What to do

  1. Cut your fence posts.  Each post will be cut from the squared wood a be 50 MM long.  You could go for 40 MM but I wanted a specific look to my final product.  You'll need about 13 of these for each set of fences.
  2. Glue the posts standing upright upon the discs.
  3. Next cut your boards; I use wire-cutters for quick work.  The fences are built in sections, each comprised of two posts and two sets of 8 boards.  These boards should be 40 MM tall.  Each coffee stir stick can produce 4 boards.  I prefer the assembly-line process and so I mark all of my sticks first before cutting them.  Cut out 50 boards.
  4. Lay out 8 boards with one side flush; leave the other side ragged as this will add character to the fence which is essential for dystopic genres such a Lovecraftian horror or pulp.
  5. Using new stir stick cut in thirds (or so); glue these down to the boards about 0.25" from the flush edge.  This is the first of two cross-boards. It will be expedient to create large batches of such sets.
  6. After the glue has hardened, flip over each set of 8 boards and glue another cut piece of stir stick at at about 0.25" from the ragged edge.
  7. For each set of fences, trim the excess wood from those cross-boards.
  8. Take two of the mounted fence posts and two sets of boards.  Glue the first set of fence boards between two posts but ensure the visible cross-board is at the bottom.
  9. Glue the second set of fence boards to the right-most post and ensure that the visible cross-board is at the top. This completes one fence section which should pretty much be like this; post + 8 boards + post + 8 boards.
  10. Complete the remainder of the fence sections.  You'll need a minimum of  3 fence sections for a nice yard compartment abutted to a small house.  I decided to create two sets of 6 to give me more flexibility as to how I'd use them.

 Gate Sections

  1. If you want a gate section you'll need to get a matchstick and cut it to 40 MM long; mount this against one of the posts.  You'll need a total of 3 posts.  
  2. There will need to be 3 different fence boards groups of size 4, 4, and 5. Build them as before but instead of using 8 boards, use 4, 4, and then 5.
  3. The door is built using a set of 5 boards.  One face should have two parallel cross-boards, and the other face should have a bottom cross-board and a diagonal one leading out to the top of the door.
  4. Glue the door between two posts; one of the posts should have the matchstick and the door needs to touch that matchstick.
  5. Glue the remainder fence board sets and posts to the right or left of the door posts.  You can see the photos below near the bottom for examples.

Stir sticks become fence boards each 40 MM long.

Chop-sticks become fence posts each 50 MM long.

Each set of 8 boards is laid flush on one edge and
affixed with cross-boards.  Glue the set of fences to two
posts.  Notice how the cross-boards alternate position.

This is an example of a gate section.
It is 4 + 5 + 5 boards and 3 posts plus a match-stick.
The swivel brackets are triangles cut from card-stock.

This is my second gate but showing the reverse side.
I've got two sets of 6 fence sections.  Two of those
sections are actually gate sections.

I've got enough to create two large yard compartments
or one really big one.


  1. You make this look too easy! Where did you get teh coffee sticks? A craft store?

  2. Looking good Robert! Very effective technique.
    I'm waiting to see some paint on some of this stuff!

  3. @styx; I remember getting the box from a former work-place. I looked on-line and found many deals for the same box for about $5.00 US such as here;

    @aggro84; Thanks. Painting is a big effort in comparison to crafting and I'll do that soon.