Cedar Fence from Scratch

It all started with a dead cedar tree and a need for a 42 foot long privacy fence.

I cut down a cedar tree that had recently died and cut it into eight foot long logs. I used the tractor to move the logs to the mill.

I cut eight 8 foot long 4 x 4 posts, fourteen 6 foot long 2 x 4’s, fourteen 5 foot long spacers and two hundred and seventeen 6 foot long 1.5 x 2 laths.

One of the logs about to be milled

Cut 2 x 4’s

Cutting the lath

Some of the finished lath

For finishing and preserving the posts, 2 x 4 cross pieces and 1 x 1 spacers I decided to try a Japanese woodworking technique called shou sugi ban. I used a torch to scorch the outer surface of the wood – just enough that the wood developed an alligator skin like texture.

The charred wood is wire brushed and then treated the wood with boiled linseed oil.

As the fence is for privacy I decided to go with a lighter build and make the fence with a ‘woven’ lath design. I made seven sections just over 6 feet in length.

The finished fence


New Door

For years now I had planned to repair the door to my workshop but I came to realize that the poor old door was too far gone to save. It had fallen victim to a momma bear that was very intent on getting into the workshop and the freezer we used to keep there. In the process she destroyed the octagonal window and removed the bottom panel of the door. Just before Christmas I built the new door and restored the old hardware.

Pieces of the new door with the old door in the background


The new door

The restored door knob

Catio (Cat Patio) – the Start

Mocha the cat’s catio is now under way.


This is the first time I have had an indoor cat. With eleven acres of forest it seems a shame to keep a cat indoors but it has now become a necessity with the increase of predators. The birds and squirrels will be pleased with the arrangement though! Mocha doesn’t show a tremendous interest in going outside but I think a bit of fresh air and grass between her toes will do her good.

The ‘room’ will be covered with wire mesh and have elevated cat walks, a tree trunk, platforms and a sleeping box if she is feeling adventuresome. Access will be through the living room window.

More later.


Completed Shed

Well, the storage shed is finished. It was an interesting first project using my own milled lumber – a bit of a learning process I must say. Like any homemade project it is hard to put a price on it. The money I put out for the plywood roof and floor along with the metal roofing came to about $500. A pretty good price for an 8′ x 12′ building. Adding the time factor of milling the lumber adds to the equation and if a dollar value is put on my time then perhaps not quite the bargain. However, time is what I have and it was extremely satisfying using our own windfall trees (brought down in windstorms) and turning out a pretty fine looking building.


Building Project

Over the past ten days I have been building a small (8 x 12 foot) storage shed from the first lumber cut on our mill. It has been a great project and very satisfying knowing most of the material was free and salvaged from our forest. I did use plywood for the sub-roof and floor and I will install a metal roof. Once all the exterior walls are boarded I will put 2 inch battens over the board joints.





Composter Experiment

One of the secrets of good composting is to turn your pile in order to add oxygen to encourage the composting process. We have some snap together poly composters that are awkward to work with and we never seem to get around to the stirring up process so our compost is usually less than satisfactory.

A while back I saw the idea of a rotating composter (Family Handyman.com/Garden Composter). I looked around the shop and found four casters that someone had given me. I had one 55 gallon (208 l) barrel left over from my rain water collection system that I just completed and, of course, lots of lumber from my milling. I spent the past couple of days putting it together a composter based loosely on the mentioned plans. One of those great projects using scrounged materials where all it cost me was my time.

Composter 06_watermarked

The completed composter sitting on a sturdy rough cedar base.

Composter 01_watermarked

An old plastic squared pipe cut diagonally and bolted inside acts as stirring baffles.

An old plastic square pipe cut diagonally and bolted inside acts as stirring baffles.

Composter 04_watermarked

Handles are spaced evenly around the exterior to make turning easier

The wheelbarrow fits underneath to allow convenient emptying

The wheelbarrow fits underneath to allow convenient emptying. 

Milling Progress

Learning how to mill is going quite well. This red cedar is my largest piece that started out 6 feet long and 21″ in diameter. It is close to the maximum diameter the mill can handle although I can cut 10 foot long trees. The poor old tractor wasn’t too happy lugging this chunk around. I milled it down to 13.5″ x 13.5″ and then took off 2″ layers.




The larger 2″ x 13.5″ pieces are on the left. They can be ripped into 2″ x 4″, 2″ x 6″, 2″ x 8″ etc. as needed. Some beautiful patterns coming out.


The ‘before’ picture!