Who isn’t compelled to pull over and snap a photo of an idyllic pastoral farm scene or national battlefield outlined by an ancient rustic fence? The knowing of the labor and time that it took to construct compels us to reflect on a simpler and pure existence that modern life so often seems to have forgotten. So much so that the authentic art of split rail fencing came close to vanishing into antiquity. Well, not with us. A number of men at Bark House experienced trying to impress our Grandfathers with our strength and prowess with a splitting maul. With those memories still burning, we were fueled by customer requests to offer our skill and labor again.
At Bark House®, we only produce authentic wood split rail fencing and posts. The traditional early method of splitting was accomplished with a mallet and locust wedges. American Chestnut and Black Locust were predominantly used due to their rot resistance and wide availability. By the mid 1900’s, the Chestnuts were gone and Black Locust firmly took its place. Steel sledgehammers and wedges replaced their wooden counterparts, but the back-breaking work and sweat was not greatly reduced. We now utilize a massive hydraulic ram to split logs into individual rails but they are still splinter-trimmed by hand with axes. Authenticity is still properly represented as there is no way to tell the difference between our production split rails and ones split the old way. That’s why our largest customers are the federal and state park services.
We have researched and compiled numerous construction methods employed throughout different times and regions. However, we do not offer the cheap modern “Box Store” alternatives. We are more than happy to share these traditional designs and techniques as well as providing you with an authentic quality driven fence material that will last for generations.
The black locust split rail fence and railing is 100% sourced and made in the US. Bark House® invests over 50% of its income directly back into our local Appalachian economy. See what makes us Authentically good…
Normally triangular in shape, but other configurations will occur.
There are two traditional styles of split rail fencing, Stacked Fence and Snake Fence. Both of these styles will affect the number of rails and posts needed for your fence. The Product Guides and Installation tab below provides detailed diagrams on both of these fence styles.
Bark House offers two lengths of Black Locust Split Rails, 10’ and 11’.
Bark House offers two grades of Black Locust Split Rails and Posts:
7′ Government (post)= 12” minimum circumference
7’ Standard (post)= 8” minimum circumference
10′ Government (rail)= 12” minimum circumference
10’ Standard (rail)= 8” minimum circumference
11′ Government (rail)= 12” minimum circumference
The max height of a stack fence is 5’ due to the posts needing to be buried 2’ in the ground. A snake fence can be as tall as you choose, accomplished by adding rails.
Follow our helpful guide under the PRODUCT GUIDES AND INSTALLATION TAB to calculate your needs.
For rail pick-up:
You will need to make an appointment with your Sales Representative.
If we are shipping to you:
Our Black Locust Split Rail Fencing products will ship via LTL or FTL freight.
In order for us to get an accurate freight quote, we will need the answers to the following questions:
What is the complete shipping address that is tractor trailer accessible?
Will the driver need an appointment or credentials to deliver?
You will be required to have and operate a fork lift at your site to unload the bundles.
If at any time in this process you need to contact us, please do so by emailing us at [email protected] for the fastest service or by calling (828) 765-9010.
If you’re ready to order, contact us today!
There are two traditional styles of split rail fencing: Stack Fence and Snake Fence. The style that you choose will determine the quantity of rails and posts needed for your project.
If you are using posts you will require:
If you are doing a two to a three-rail fence between 2-posts, you will also need:
If you are doing a snake-rail fence you will require:
For A Two-Post Fence
Plan to bury up to 2’ of the post for stability. The soil on your site can impact this. Your posts should be set into the ground and the soil then tamped back around them. If you cannot bury a post 2 feet due to rocks or other site issues that will not allow you to place the post deep enough, you may choose to use concrete to secure the posts in place. Space the posts approx. 6″ apart for both standard and government grade rails. The rails may have to be whittled on the ends to pass between the posts, but try to make them fit tightly as this strengthens the fence.
Hanging Rails Between Posts With Wire
We suggest you use 12 gauge or smaller galvanized or stainless steel wire cut in 12 to 16″ lengths. If you are using a lighter gauge wire, you may need to braid it for strength. Twist a loop on one end and fasten to one of the posts using a fencing staple. Pull the wire into position on the second post and twist another loop at a location on the post suitable for the second staple. Cut off any excess wire and repeat this at desired locations.
For A Snake-Rail Fence
Site-specific issues like rocks, soil conditions and lay of the land along with scarcity of nails and wire demanded that traditional builders of fences design alternative solutions. With wood and field stones in ample supply, the snake rail fence held the answer. If you require exacting methods, you may find this fence very frustrating as your angles may depend on the lay of your land, or your budget to maintain a traditional 90 degree intersection. But if you like being in contact with your land and adjusting to its ebb and flow, this fence is a great way to express a unique human-nature connection. For the traditional installation and to increase longevity of the rails, place a flat stone beneath each section of rail to elevate it off the ground. Crisscross your rails to create the degree of your choosing for the intersection, and allow a minimum overhang of 6” past center to stabilize each section. People have straightened the angle of intersection greatly to decrease the amount of rails required. They have added wire to hold rails in place. If you choose to do this, then plan for increased maintenance, stabilizing the fence over time as this is not a sturdy solution. For a sturdier fence, posts may be placed in an opposing vertical position leaning against the intersecting ends of the fence. See our photo gallery for examples.
Recycling Centers are available in every county in each state across the country. We’ll help you to identify the closest Recycling Center in your area that has Demolition and Construction Recycling Infrastructure. This decreases general landfill waste and improves the environment.
Simply mulch untreated BARK HOUSE® POPLAR PRODUCTS and allow them to add biological nutrients back in the soil.
Prominent customers include federal and state parks requiring historically accurate rails. We have researched and compiled numerous construction methods employed throughout different times and regions and showcase those in our photo gallery.
We offer split posts. They are 7’ long and 3-4 inches greater in circumference than the rails. Standard Grade is 12” minimum circumference and Government Grade is 15” minimum circumference. We do not currently supply posts with holes or rails with tapered ends.
We have Standard Grade Rails with a minimum circumference of 8″ and Government Grade Rails with a minimum circumference of 12″. When we split, we aim for the larger Government Grade. The by-product of that is the smaller Standard Grade and it is measured to be no less than 8” in circumference along the span of the rail. We do not supply rails with tapered ends.
Please see the above Product Guides and Installation tab for detailed information.
Please see the above Product Guides and Installation tab for detailed information.
Plan to bury up to 2’ for stability. The soil on your site can impact this answer.
Your posts should be set into the ground and the soil then tamped back around them. If you cannot bury a post due to rocks or other site issues that will not allow you to place the post deep enough, you may choose to use concrete to secure the posts in place.
The ancient Japanese method of is increasing in popularity in the US, and this question is starting to come up more. There are points on both sides of the argument for and against this practice. We can’t currently advise you on this method.
Rails are available in 10’ and 11’ lengths.
How much “taper” should I expect along the entire length of my rails and posts?
Many clients have experience purchasing rails that taper too thin. At Bark House, we establish a minimum circumference for each grade of rails and posts and we craft the rails to that minimum. Standard Grade Rails have a minimum circumference of 8″ and Government Grade Rails with a minimum circumference of 12″. Bark House rails and posts do not taper.
Black Locust is an excellent wood for heat. Many people in mountain regions still heat their homes this way. We donate all the by-product to support people on low fixed incomes in our community.
We source black locust in the Appalachian Mountain chain, close to our manufacturing facility. This way we can directly observe the impacts of tree removal on forests and monitor growth to removal ratios.
We do deliver. A full truckload hauls 900 pieces. We charge a per loaded mile rate and can provide a quote to you. To receive an order, your site must be tractor-trailer accessible and you will need a forklift onsite for unloading.
Bark House® Black Locust Split Rails are more popular than ever. Larger orders generally require a minimum 3-month wait-period. You can secure your place in production with a 50% down-payment and 100% before shipping.
“When a practitioner of Regenerative Development works in a project or community, the result should be increasing ableness for that community. People should become better able to evolve and pursue the aspirations they hold for healthy and meaningful lives. Water and air should be increasingly able to maintain their quality, and forests to support enlarged diversity of life. These are the indicators that real value has been delivered to stakeholders.” www.Regenerat.es
The single skilled craftsman encompassed the earliest form of making products. Training was personal and the tradesmen took pride in their work and the benefits it produced. A post-industrial world saw the use of machinery, increased scale and a trend toward practices that were Extractive to people and planet. Recognizing a need for change and making a choice to do better, manufacturers improved their processes and identified themselves as “GREEN companies”. With an aim to do “less bad”, and quantify what better should look like with agreed measurements, companies were certified through third-party groups as SUSTAINABLE. Companies with a REGENERATIVE aim were either founded with this mission, or made conscious choices to work to create new and fitting potential for the places they operate and the sectors they disrupt. Regenerative design opens a new level of exploration. It begins a process of wholistic, collaborative development. This occurs in tandem with the natural world and the inhabitants of the places they work.
“What if consumers became healers of the world?” – Chris McCurry speaks on environmental issues at the Leadership NC Conference in Asheville.
We offer a thirty-year track record with over 250 well placed publications sharing our regenerative philosophy that is now and has always been the core-business for this company. The co-founders designed the original products and processes, inspired by nature. The products you purchase reach their highest achievement when supporting your regenerative projects. Read more about the benefits below. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] to ask questions or share your project details with us.
Where is the wood sourced?
Bark House sources only Reclaimed Appalachian Wood Waste, (RAW™) from small 10-acre tracts owned and stewarded by local families over generations.
The Bark House manufacturing facility is located within the five states across the Appalachian region in which our raw materials are sourced. The co-founders were born here and understanding “Appalachia” as a place has been their life’s work. Because this is our neighborhood, we take our impacts very personally. The proximity means that our neighbors can let us know what we’re doing well and where we need to improve. The benefits we are most proud of is helping to keep family farms intact and providing right-fit, nature-based jobs in this economically distressed area. The legacy of US Forestry practices began in our back yard. We aim to honor the philosophy of those practices by exceeding them.
Whether select (most often) or clear-cutting, smaller tracts sparsely spaced throughout many Appalachian states means that the impact of harvesting is less disruptive to the living eco-system. Loggers provide materials from forty-five counties across five Appalachian states.
Smaller 2-3 person crews with lighter equipment disturbs the soil less, so regrowth occurs faster. Carefully felling and removing trees and following Forestry Best Management Practices protects the trees from scarring and invaders. These practices are less disruptive to the living eco-system.
You can read about all our engagements over thirty years in real-time accounts published in the EmBark Blog and over 250 acclaimed publications. Right now, we are working to support a Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge.
Solar panels replace our electricity as one important component in the total carbon equation to manufacture a low carbon product.
High efficiency kilns designed by co-founder Marty McCurry exclusively for the complex process of drying bark are the first and only kilns of their kind. They received the NC Governor’s Green Innovation Award and are one important component in the total carbon equation to manufacture a low carbon product.
Bark House veneer wall coverings may qualify for LEED points based on locally or regionally sourced product.
At a minimum, 50% of annual company income is invested directly in to the local community. As a comparison, big box stores invest 12% in the local communities where they operate. Products are 100% sourced and made in the Appalachians. We purchase wood-waste products from land owners that are not acceptable in the standardized industry because of figure, curl or massive size. Employees are paid a living wage as a starting point. Importantly, a new income stream for this economically challenged area means that family farms can remain intact.
Bark House supports cultural diversity, equity and inclusion. These attributes can be traced in Appalachian culture before European settlement began and as it occurred. Cultural diversity is inspired by the region’s vast bio-diversity of flora and fauna. One thing this culture of independent people agree on is an appreciation for nature. Bark House work supports people to retain this close relationship with nature. Our volunteer work and community contributions center on further developing this relationship.
Bark House believes in shared prosperity and we can back up our claim of social benefits with the certifications and awards that we’ve received:
Bark House views the development of a relationship that honors nature as critically important, especially in view of a disrupted climate. Our wall coverings go into the space where people spend most of their time (indoors) and provide a gentle invitation to remember those healing, invigorating moments outdoors – in a forest.
Projects with Bark House products have been featured in over 250 well-positioned media outlets as well as being featured in our blog. We want to celebrate the benefits your project is creating for people or the environment.
If you have further questions for us, please reach out to [email protected].
We look forward to working with you!
Awarded at the regenerative Business Summit led by Carol Sanford. Carol is on a mission to create a better world, and she believes that business can and will play a major role in accomplishing that.
Root Cause recognizes local businesses doing good in forestry that also support and strengthen communities in Western North Carolina.
"Quality is not a goal here… It’s a way of life."