Steel vs. steal

For no particular reason, I wanted to make the small, 6-by-9-foot bay in our carport a little more impregnable. Again, I’m not saying that I have anything in that little bay I need to keep safe. But if I did, I would want to keep it better protected than with a chain, which is what some thieving jackass enterprising freelance salesman cut through like butter last time.

I looked at sections of custom wrought iron. But, as regular readers will know, I am a cheap bastard. And even though it looks fun as all get-out, I don’t weld, for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The need for tanks of scary chemicals.
  • The need to store tanks of scary chemicals.
  • The danger of accidentally igniting our house, which is essentially built of fat lighter.

So a DIY iron fence was out of the question in this case. Or was it?

At some point it occurred to me that the entire fence wouldn’t have to be made of metal. It would just have to be built sturdily enough to keep someone with a crowbar at bay for enough time to make them abandon the idea of a snatch-and-grab. (A snatch-and-grab of nothing specific, mind you. Because having another scooter would be stupid, of course.) And rebar is inexpensive.

It didn’t take long for me to formulate a plan for a wood-framed fence with rebar pickets and sketch it out:

wood frame fence with rebar slat by theDew Abidesplan profile view-800

Rebar, of course, is designed to be used as reinforcement in the middle of concrete. And it’s clearly not designed not to rust:

Rebar will rust

I toyed with having the bars powder coated, but this would’ve doubled the cost of the job, and my local powder-coater man told me, “You gotta put a hole in the end of each once, so I can hang ’em.” I don’t have a drill press and can’t imagine how long it would take me to drill holes through the ends of 64 pieces of rebar. So I just went with Rust-oleum metal spray paint.

The basic construction concept is that I would drill holes for the rebar into — but not through — the bottom 2x4s. I drilled 1/8-inch holes all the way through the wood, to let any water that gets in there weep out. Originally I was going to do the same thing on the top (minus the weep holes), but decided for added security to build an entire 2×4 frame for the fence sections, then cover the top with a 2×6 apron. This allowed me to drill the top board’s rebar holes all the way through and drop the bars in from the top before pinning them in with the apron.

I also added a vertical brace midway down the stretch, since 9 feet is a long section of heavy fence. This is one case where it’s easy to prevent gravity from always winning.

The gate’s concept is similar to the sketch above, but with 2×6 framing. The boards are turned on end so I would have enough structure to add a gate-latch style double bolt for added security, for whatever I may want to lock up in there.

Wood and rebar fence and gate by The Dew Abides



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