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Topic: Using Materials - Wattle Fencling  (Read 2294 times)
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« on: May 16, 2010 08:20:42 PM »

Exercises in using materials on hand - Part One

Wattle Fencling

That's right.  Fencling.  It's just a little fence.

A few weeks ago, before the trees budded out, I trimmed all the saplings along the south fence line.  I was left with a rather large (and somewhat shameful) brush pile.  (Yes, it had been a while since I'd properly cared for the fence line.)

The saplings in question are mostly white ash.  They were, in some cases, quite large.  Small trees, really.  It's just to save face that I call them saplings at all.  I sawed them down by hand, and the following day, I was so sick of sawing that I opted to complete another project rather than finish the fence line.  (It did get done, though, two weeks later.)

The distraction was to create a little flower bed around my mailbox.  In addition to copious amounts of white ash "sapling", the south fence also had a ridiculous heap of day lilies in need of dividing, and I thought a totally reasonable heap of day lilies by the mailbox would be lovely.  So I set about turning the earth around the mailbox, and trying to think of what kind of little edging I wanted.  And I was pestered by the thought of throwing away all the saplings in the brush pile, because I thought surely they could be used for something.  Dig, dig, wonder, worry, dig...

Ta Da!  Wattle Fencling!

Now, wattle fence is not uncommon, although it usually uses willow, hazel or, if I'm not mistaken, grape vine for more decorative, less functional fences...  And some of it is really quite stunning.  It's also, in it's simplest form, very, very easy.  I took some of the heavier pieces (1" in diameter or so) and cut poles of them, then pounded those into the ground at the edges of my bed, marking out the sides and corners.  Then I sorted out saplings and branches that were smaller and fairly ductile, and a few inches longer than a side.  Starting on one side, then doing the opposite, then the other two sides, rather like building with Lincoln Logs, I added "rows" of woven branches.  Each "row" is two branches, one woven out-in-out-in-out, and the other woven in-out-in-out-in.  I built it up about 7 rows high.  

In the pic, I haven't added lilies yet, nor have I bound off the tops of each corner post to help stabilize the whole mess, but that having been done, it's really quite a solid little fencling.  The upright poles are as deep in the ground as they are tall above it (or in other words, half of each pole is buried).  Now that it's full of green, it looks really especially nice.  This is probably a little more "country" than I usually prefer, as far as my personal style is concerned, but well, using materials I have on hand rather than throwing them away, making things on my own, and getting something slick into the bargain... that definitely IS my style!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010 08:24:44 PM by Lothruin » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2010 12:13:37 AM »

I am DEFINITELY stealing this idea.  I've been frustrated and frankly disgusted at the cost of most of the non-craptastic garden edging out there, and have been looking for something like this.  I bet it looks beautiful all filled in.

And pffft... it looks organic, not country, to me.  Wink

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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2010 07:11:34 AM »

A few years ago I made a large wattle fence for my garden, but never finished it.  I used juniper branches, which proved to be too heavy and eventually the fence toppled over.  It was about 5 feet tall.  So I recommend either keeping wattle fencing small, or making it from lightweight wood such as willow.  Also, large wattle fences take forever to build and you might get discouraged and never finish it, as I did.  So good on the "fencling"!


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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2010 08:11:52 AM »

Thanks, guys!

Yeah, if I had willow, I'd probably use willow. Cheesy 

(I want one of these:  http://www.underwoodsman.co.uk/continuous.JPG.  Totally drool-worthy.)

But yeah, the white ash was really perfect for this application.  It's a common basket-weaving material, and the green saplings, used right after cutting, were perfect.  They're curing nice and hard.

AND, I harvested off a bunch of VERY small branches and will be seeing about making a basket.  My daughter will help.  (She helped with the fence too.)  I just can't decide whether to strip the bark off or not.

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