Bark House

Wood Split Rail Fencing

Regenerative Product

Overview

Honoring History – Authentic Black Locust Split Rail Fence

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…

Product Applications And Dimensions

Species

  • Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

DIMENSIONS

Standard Lengths

  • Rails – 10’ and 11’
  • Fence Posts – 7’
  • Vineyard Posts – 8’

Grades

Government –

  • Minimum Rail Circumference – 12″
  • Minimum Post Circumference – 15″
  • Average Rail Weight – 50 lbs.
  • Average Post Weight – 45 lbs.

Standard –

  • Minimum Rail Circumference – 8″
  • Minimum Post Circumference – 12″
  • Average Rail Weight – 40 lbs.
  • Average Post Weight – 30 lbs.

Normally triangular in shape, but other configurations will occur.

Bark House Black Locust Rails: how to measure the circumference

Product Options to Choose From 1-2-3

#1: Choose the style of your Split Rail Fence

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.

#2: Choose the length of your Rails:

Bark House offers two lengths of Black Locust Split Rails, 10’ and 11’.

#3: Choose the Grade of your Rails and Posts:

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

#4: Choose the Height of your fence:

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.

#5: Decide how many Posts and Rails you need:

Follow our helpful guide under the PRODUCT GUIDES AND INSTALLATION TAB to calculate your needs.

#6 Plan to pick up your rails at our manufacturing site or have your shipping information ready. 

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.

#7 Contact us to place your order:

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!

Product Guides And Installation

Figuring the Number of Posts and Rails for Your Project: 

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.

  • For a straight run: measure the length of the area to be fenced, divide the total linear footage by the rail size you choose (10’ or 11’) to get the number of sections. You will need to figure your rails per section, plus a set of posts at the end, and 2 – 5 rails per section depending on whether you want a 2 rail or 5 rail fence.  Allow a minimum of a 1-foot lap at the post intersection from both ends of the rail.  11’ rails require posts set at 10’ on center and 10’rails require posts set at 9’ on center.

  • For a “snake fence”: you can use the same principles as above, but the variance of the degree you place for your rail intersection, will be a function of the look you are seeking and how your land lays.  These are variables we cannot account for.  The maximum intersection of your rails is 90 degrees

Tools and Supplies Necessary to Install

If you are using posts you will require:

  • a posthole digger or auger to drill the holes
  • a shovel to fill the holes and a tamping bar to compost the soil
  • a saw or ax may be helpful to trim the rails so they fit the space between the posts
  • concrete – 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.

If you are doing a two to a three-rail fence between 2-posts, you will also need:

  • 12 gauge or smaller galvanized or stainless wire cut in 12 to 16″ lengths
  • wire cutters
  • hammer
  • staples with a staple gun for larger projects.

If you are doing a snake-rail fence you will require:

  • flat rocks for a traditional installation.  You will place the first rail of each fencing section on the rock to avoid contact with the soil and increase your fence longevity.

Installation

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.

Expert Technical Assistance for Architects, Designers, and Contractors is available.

RECYCLING POPLAR BARK HOUSE® PRODUCTS

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.

BIOLOGICAL NUTRIENT

Simply mulch untreated BARK HOUSE® POPLAR PRODUCTS and allow them to add biological nutrients back in the soil.

Bark House Recycles

Bark House has a free 1 hour AIA CEU credit course in Architectural Record

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Black Locust Split Rail Fencing is new to me.  What do I need to know?

Why black locust wood?

  • Rot-resistant – Black Locust (Robinia Pseudoacacia) is the strongest and most rot-resistant wood indigenous to North America. It will remain beautiful and withstand years of outdoor exposure. 
  • No chemicals- Natural rot resistance means that no chemical pressure treatment is needed, and none will leach into surrounding soils.  This makes the material a great choice for organic orchards. 
  • Long-lasting- Rails laying atop the ground have lasted for over 100-years.  Posts set in the ground last about 20-years. 
  • Fast-growing and prolific – Black Locust is also a sound environmental choice. Black Locust is a very fast-growing hardwood tree.

Is the fencing functional as well as beautiful?

  • Strong- Black Locust has a Crushing Strength of 10,200 lbf/in2 (70.3 MPa)
  • Will hold large and medium animals with consideration to required heights and rail spacing.  Make sure your installer has built with this material in the past and understands the dynamics of your location and the needs of your livestock.  Small animals can be contained by adding the correct gauge wire.
  • Gates can be added to achieve the look and functionality that you need.    

Is the Bark House style historically accurate?

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.

How much do the rails weigh?

  • 7′ Government = 45 pounds each
  • 7’ Standard = 30 pounds each
  • 10′ Government = 50 pounds each
  • 10’ Standard = 40 pounds each
  • 11′ Government = 52 pounds each

What kind of posts can I choose from?

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. 

Why do you sell two grades of rails?

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.

What’s required for installation?

Please see the above Product Guides and Installation tab for detailed information.

How much fence will I need? 

Please see the above Product Guides and Installation tab for detailed information.

How much of the post should I bury in the ground for a 2-post fence?

Plan to bury up to 2’ for stability.  The soil on your site can impact this answer.

Do I need concrete or gravel to set the posts in?

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. 

Should I char the ends of my posts to increase longevity? 

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. 

What lengths are available for rails?

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.  

If you have minimum standards, what do you do with all the waste you produce?

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.               

Where is the black locust wood sourced from?

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.   

Do you deliver?

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. 

What do I need to know about ordering timeframes?

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.    

I am interested in regenerative manufacturing practices.  What benefits do Bark House processes create for Appalachian forests, families, and climate-change remediation?

How does Regenerative Development benefit communities?

“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

Podcast with The Carol Sanford Institute:  Regenerative Work

What is green, sustainable or regenerative manufacturing?

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.

What are the green or regenerative benefits I receive when purchasing from the “Original Manufacturer of Bark Wall Coverings”?

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.      

MATERIAL SOURCING

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.

What benefit do you create when you only source materials from the Appalachian region?

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.

What benefits are created from small-tract harvesting?

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.

What benefits do smaller eco-logging crews offer?

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.

How does the Bark House® process impact local watersheds?

  • The company’s material procurement model utilizes small logging crews, with less equipment on small tracts and has a lighter impact on the environment
  • Loggers are trained in water stewardship and have state governed logger certifications
  • No water is used in direct manufacturing
  • Bark House participates in water stewardship initiatives, stream bank restoration and stream protection initiatives to improve water quality in the Appalachian Region
  • We advocate for and educate about clean water
  • We monitor Government Reporting on watersheds where our materials are sourced

What else is Bark House involved in to improve Appalachian forests and impact climate change remediation?

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.

MANUFACTURING

How does your investment in Solar Panels impact your Carbon Footprint?

Solar panels replace our electricity as one important component in the total carbon equation to manufacture a low carbon product.

How does Bark House’s unique kilns impact your Carbon Footprint?

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.

Do poplar bark panel wall coverings qualify for LEED building practices?

Bark House veneer wall coverings may qualify for LEED points based on locally or regionally sourced product.

SOCIAL BENEFITS

What financial benefits does Bark House create for Appalachian families?

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.

How does Bark House support the culture of the Appalachian region?

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.

What verification can you offer that supports your social benefits?

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:

What social benefits do bark panels offer beyond the Appalachian region?

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.

Can Bark House help me to share the benefits that my project creates with others?

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.

Share your project with us

If you have further questions for us, please reach out to [email protected].

We look forward to working with you!

Schedule a Meeting

 

REGENERATIVE PRODUCT AWARD

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 AWARD

Root Cause recognizes local businesses doing good in forestry that also support and strengthen communities in Western North Carolina.

Black Locust is split by Bark House Expert Team for delivery to our national park system

COMMITTED TO OUR CUSTOMERS

Call, email, or visit our Customer Care Center
828-765-9010  ♦  [email protected]
534 Oak Avenue  ♦  Spruce Pine  ♦  NC 28777

COMMITTED TO REGENERATIVE PROCESS

Architectural Record and Regenerative Business AWARDS Verify Our Deep Commitment to Whole-Buildingbark-house-recycles-poplar-bark-products

"Quality is not a goal here… It’s a way of life."

Marty McCurry

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