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  • Pipe Fence 101

    Looks like I am going to get a chance to bid on a pipe fence for a fellow. But I have never built a pipe fence. I'm not quite sure how to bid it, or what catches and snags you run into with one. The ground is fairly level, and looks like straight runs everywhere. Thanks in advance!
    MM 251
    Hypertherm 380
    Hobart Stickmate LX

    Bobcat 225 NT
    Miller Maxstar 150 S

  • #2
    Originally posted by HazMat55
    Looks like I am going to get a chance to bid on a pipe fence for a fellow. But I have never built a pipe fence. I'm not quite sure how to bid it, or what catches and snags you run into with one. The ground is fairly level, and looks like straight runs everywhere. Thanks in advance!
    Fab a couple of clamp on spacers that hold the runners in place and the proper distance apart . Weld almost all the way around but leave the bottom unwelded for a small space. Some people like the idea of a totaly sealed pipe but I believe that the pipe should be able to "breathe" some.
    My .02 YMMV
    Two turn tables and a microphone.

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    • #3
      Haz

      Originally posted by HazMat55
      Looks like I am going to get a chance to bid on a pipe fence for a fellow. But I have never built a pipe fence. I'm not quite sure how to bid it, or what catches and snags you run into with one. The ground is fairly level, and looks like straight runs everywhere. Thanks in advance!
      How bout a pic of where its going,,and what are you using welding l's.Bent pipe?Hope not gal.That would help,,and you would get alot of good ideas,Jack

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      • #4
        Yeah, give us all the info you can to feed our idea machines.

        Do you have or need a notcher? For fence work, the Williams Low-Buck notcher simply cannot be beat, in my book: http://www.lowbucktools.com/notcher.html

        I'm from the school of welding the pipe all the way around. I never needed pipe to breathe and would rather the air inside got as stale as possible. But it's more important to weld it the way the customer says to weld it, if he cares.

        If galvanized, there are several types of cold-galvanizing sprays and brush-on coatings for repairing the coating over your welded joints. If they don't care about appearance, the cheaper ones can still give you all the protection you need, but they are considerably darker and more matte than the rest of the pipe, so are very noticeable. But there are also some expensive ones that can match the existing finish very well.

        What size pipe?

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        • #5
          What kind of pipe? Seamed, 2 3/8 tubing, ???? I've only built a few fences but they speak for themselves. I like rifle straight top rails with no collars (I use oilfield tubing). Its one thing to be the low bidder but its another to explain why you don't want the low bidder to install a permenant fence. The main problem I see with a lot of fences is posts that aren't level and straight. You have to take the time to make sure all the tops line up while still being level in and out of the fence line. If your dead on with those two then the post can still be "adjusted" for level in the other axis after the cement sets up.

          Uneven ground and round arenas are a lot more forgiving. They present their own creative challenges.
          d.
          I don't care what size, just hand me a wrench I'm gonna use it as a hammer.

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          • #6
            Why would you not fully weld the pipes closed...so you can see rust stains running down the posts?
            Pro Mig 175
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            • #7
              MAC: Do those notchers shear "up" when you attach a lever to that tang? I can't figure out exactly how that works. They look like they would crush tubing, and not cut pipe. I'd love to have that package notcher, bender, clamp.

              I'll make a couple of those clamps up, but I'll design a slip-proof pivot nut-which looks like a weak point of their design. Then I'll use the same solution, whatever it is, on my DeWalt chop saw's vise!
              "Good Enough Never Is"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Hotfoot
                MAC: Do those notchers shear "up" when you attach a lever to that tang? I can't figure out exactly how that works. They look like they would crush tubing, and not cut pipe.
                Maybe this sentence from their description answers your question. Because a normal notch takes two bites to accomplish: "For 90° joints, take a full bite from each side of the tubing. For angles up to 30°, take a large bite from one side and a smaller bite from the other."

                The pipe goes in at a slight upward angle so that the shear clears the top of the pipe. Then it notches the bottom at a slight angle which actually gives you an ideal bevel for welding.

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                • #9
                  One thing is, the fellow bought the place, but the fence was unfinished. The posts look lise 3" and the rails look like 2". I have been playing phone tag with him, but when I get in touch with him I want to sound ready. It will be regula steel pipe, not galvanized. I would have more info if he and I could meet up at his place and get what he wants squared away.
                  MM 251
                  Hypertherm 380
                  Hobart Stickmate LX

                  Bobcat 225 NT
                  Miller Maxstar 150 S

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                  • #10
                    I've built miles of pipe fence. If your anywhere close to oil country it's probally oil field pipe. the hardest part is keeping post level and in line and getting top rail to "flow" with the ground elevation ( it takes alot of notching and renotching to keep high and low spots out of the top rail). If it's oil field pipe and sucker rod is used anywhere it's kind of hard to deal with. It's very hard steel and hard to weld where it will hold. We had problems with sucker rod ripping itself off the post on long runs because it would expand and contract because of temp. changes and it had no where to give. You would be suprised at how much longer the rod would be on a hot summer day. I've seen it sag (probally 2"-4" between post) in the summer and be so tight you could play a tune on it in the winter.

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                    • #11
                      In my younger days I built miles of pipe fence -- both cross country and working corrals.
                      If you haven't done it before, I would suggest finding somebody local you can work with who can help you bid it, otherwise do the job by the hour. Top rail is the most important, once you have it set (read m16ty's post) the rest of the fence builds itself. With multiple rails, i would build a couple inverted "J" shaped jigs out of 1/2" rod, coming out flat on the bottom to hold the lower rails while i weld.
                      With oilpipe, I doubt any pipe notchers would work -- too hard. I cut all my notches with a torch, you can make a wraparound template or do it freehand. Some guys I know used a chopsaw to cope the pipe -- depending on where you are, this can work good but also increase fire danger. I would usually not even use a grinder if there was dry grass around - the fire danger is so much greater from throwing sparks than from either cutting or welding. Any slag from my cuts I would just knock off with a baby sledge.
                      I will probably start another argument here, but i always had the best results welding oil pipe with 7018, downhand. It can be done, you have to take your time, be sure to fill the gap, ignore the slag falling down, concentrate on the weld metal. You can do it downhill with 1/8, the guys that insisted on doing it uphill had to use 3/32, which takes much longer. I never had a problem with strength, built working corrals for packing houses and some of the largest volume cattle operations in the area, never had a problem. I welded all around, some guys liked to leave the little bit on the bottom of the top rail unwelded, said it kept the rail straighter. With mild steel pipe, 6010 / 6011 works fine, up or down.
                      On long runs I would usually make expansion joints every 100-150 feet or so - cut a gap several inches in the rail and have either an internal or external slider, welded to one side only. With the temperature differences it can move over 2 inches, the gap has to be at least this big.
                      If you're using sucker rod, one guy I know has had good results sliding bits of pipe over the rod and welding the pipe to the posts -- the sucker rod is actually not welded at all -- allows it to float and it never breaks loose. I think he splices the ends together with the pipe also.
                      Again, the fire danger is the most important thing to remember. I would always have a couple water fire extinguishers as well as chemical -- the water works so much better on dry grass.
                      I remember now -- when setting the top line of the fence, I would pull a string across at the height i wanted, tie it off at both ends, then walk along with a tape measure and some visegrips to make adjustments up or down to follow the ground contour, trying to keep all the changes gradual.
                      Keep splicing the toprail ahead of where you're welding it to the posts -- helps keep kinks out of the pipe.
                      It's been a long time since I've done this, I could probably think of a hundred more things to write, but i think these are the main things i could suggest. If i remember correctly, I used to average an hour per section on a 4 or 5 rail fence, working alone, if the posts were set already, and no complications (crooked posts, too short posts, gates, etc.). If you haven't done it before, it will take longer.
                      *** Disclaimer ***

                      As I have no wish to toy with anybody's life, I suggest you take this and all other posts with a certain amount of skepticism. Carefully evaluate, and if necessary, research on your own any suggestions or advice you might pick up here, especially those from my posts, as I obviously haven't the skill and experience exhibited by some of the more illustrious and more successful members of this forum. I'm not responsible for anything I say, as I drank toxic water when young.

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                      • #12
                        Hi, I'm totally new to all this. Pretty much just an beginner with not a whole lot of welding experience. I just put in a pipe fence (32 foot, straight run) for a holding pen going into my tub and alley working facility. I used 3 1/2 in oil pipe for the posts and top rail, then blew holes in it and ran sucker rod through (4 strands).

                        I plan on putting this same thing up out side and it will be an L shape, so straight runs here as well, but they will be a lot longer 120-160 feet. read in the previous post about expansion joints. Is this for sure necessary? I live in MI so the weather is pretty up and down from fall to spring. Also I don't plan on putting the sucker rod through the pipe on this. I was going to hang it with metal clips welded to the pipe, just because everyone I've spoke with says its a pain to weld.

                        Thanks for any help and advise in advance!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Schunker83 View Post
                          Hi, I'm totally new to all this. Pretty much just an beginner with not a whole lot of welding experience. I just put in a pipe fence (32 foot, straight run) for a holding pen going into my tub and alley working facility. I used 3 1/2 in oil pipe for the posts and top rail, then blew holes in it and ran sucker rod through (4 strands).

                          I plan on putting this same thing up out side and it will be an L shape, so straight runs here as well, but they will be a lot longer 120-160 feet. read in the previous post about expansion joints. Is this for sure necessary? I live in MI so the weather is pretty up and down from fall to spring. Also I don't plan on putting the sucker rod through the pipe on this. I was going to hang it with metal clips welded to the pipe, just because everyone I've spoke with says its a pain to weld.

                          Thanks for any help and advise in advance!
                          You cannot stop the forces of expansion and contraction, so i would trust calweld's advice when he says expansion joints are necessary. Also, he is an experienced contractor who often singlehands large jobs successfully, which is another reason for trusting his advice.

                          If you use AC for welding, it will go a long way to eliminate problems associated with arc blow from the magnetized pipe. (7018 has an AC version).

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