Jan 22 How to weave a hazel fence, by Toby By Tracy

Woven hazel fences are fun and simple to make and are a strong, attractive alternative to mass-produced softwood fencing (boo)! Maybe one day they’ll become common in British gardens again giving a contemporary, valuable use for hazel coppice.
So get weaving.

Before starting – a safety caution- bent hazel rods hold a lot of tension and can really hurt when they go ‘ping’!!  Pull the rod towards you, that way it can only flick away, mind your eyes and anyone close by. Post knockers can come off the post and damage heads, try not to get excited or show off with big hits, let the tool work for you and take a break if you’re tired.

As a VERY rough guide you’ll need 20 beanpole size rods for every 16 square feet of fence, this depends on size, quality, waste etc. Don’t blame me if you’ve not cut enough.
Lay out the line of the fence, try to round off any corners, then knock stakes in at 2 foot intervals, chestnut is most durable. Make the posts overlong, knock in as far as possible, and then cut the tops off level afterwards.

Starting at one end with the thick end of a rod, start weaving, when that rod’s finished start another thick end on that post in the same pattern, then come back the other way and so on. Occasionally stand back, have a look and correct any height differences, a good excuse for a tea break.

The tension may push a post out of line, use a chunky short rod to crank it back, then correct any height differences.
When you’re at the top trim off any loose or poking out ends, cut the posts level, tidy up and admire your handy work.
With practice you could add gates, ‘windows’, arches, make stripes with split hazel or incorporate living plants.
Anything is possible.

Toby and Aly work in Herefordshire and offer practical help with woodland management and many fabulous woodland products.

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