Friday, August 1, 2014

Building an Indoor Fence

Why would you need an indoor fence you may ask? Well I have two words for you... toddler & dogs. Both need their own space where they can go to escape the other and in our case we wanted that space to be in the same room... the sun room. The space is plenty long enough to house all our little ones (plus an office space) but we wanted to divide it up without putting up walls. That's where the fence idea came from. Really it's more like a couple of pretty railings but since it is meant for corralling, fence seemed like the more appropriate term.

We decided to keep the design pretty simple but it still took a bit of planning to get all the spacing right and to make sure it would be sturdy (in case any toddlers decided they just had to climb it). We started with a 2x4 and a couple of 2" dowels. We cut 2" holes in the ends of the 2x4 for the dowels to sit in.

We used a screw to indent the end of each dowel. This gave the glue a little better adhesion then if we kept the dowels smooth.

Nate added some glue around the grooves and then hammered the dowel into the whole. This was a pretty tight fit (by design) so we added screws on either side of the hole to prevent the wood from splitting.

We repeated the process on the other side to give the frame of the fence.

The dowels went all the way through the 2x4 and sat flush with the wood so that the 2x4 gave as much support as it could to any vertical movement. Once the frame was built it was time to move inside.

I missed getting a picture of the next step but Nate predrilled the 2x4 and then used bolts to secure the frame to the floor. While he was doing that I marked out 2 1x4's with the whole spacing for smaller dowels (2 7/8" spacing if you're wondering.... recommended spacing so toddlers can't stick their heads through the spacing). Both of the 1x4's slipped over the large dowels... one went down to the bottom to cover the 2x4 and provide the base support for the dowels and the other stayed at the top to provide support from the top.

At this point we could pop in our dowels... We decided to make the fence the height of a dowel cut exactly in half to make our lives easier.

And then it was time for the top 2x4.

We followed a similar procedure... glue

and then hammer. Nate used a scrap piece of wood to hammer onto so he wouldn't damage the actual fence.

The 1x4's were attached to the 2x4's using our nail gun.

And we repeated the whole thing on the other side.

We also added 1x4 end caps (you can see one installed above) which is where a door will attach. A lot of trimming needs to occur to call these done but this is the structural part. You may also notice that the fence floats in front of the window. We found out in this project that our two french doors aren't aligned with one another so we had to make a choice and this was the best option to give the play area as much space as we could while keeping the fence at a reasonable height. Since everything is so open it doesn't really bother us but it did beg the question of why the builder would have two sets of french doors off of one another by about 6 inches.... 

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