There are a number of different types of common alteration to hand-packed brush fences, including raising and lowering fence heights, extending fence lengths, creating and relocating gates and openings and relocating existing fences.
The great thing about hand-packed brush is that all these improvements can be accommodated without too much trouble. It is generally not practical to raise the height of machine-packed panel fences, due to the proximity and size of wire staples and density of brushwork, although they can be easily relocated or lowered in height and panels can be easily removed for temporary openings.
Hand packed, steel posted fences can be raised in height up to about 450mm and the end result is seamless. Firstly the capping or roll top is removed and the post caps/plates removed and then the posts are extended by sleeving or butt welding to the desired height. If necessary, additional internal rails are fitted and either one or two runs of wire (depending on height extension). Brush is then fitted as a veneer to each side of the fence at the top and the core packed with brush to a uniform thickness over the full height of the fence prior to re-pinning (wire clips). Caps are fitted to the posts and the capping is then re-fitted (or a new brush roll top).
Lowering the height of a hand packed brush fence is sometimes undertaken to increase the visibility of the house from the street and vice versa. This is usually done to improve security, but also to improve the look of the house.
As a general rule, hand packed fences can be lowered by about 200mm (to about the line of the internal rail), although in some instances as in the case of the fence depicted below, it is possible to lower a brush fence by approximately 350mm. This usually depends on the condition of the fence and whether the internal rail is wired, welded or spigoted. It is usually not possible to go lower than this due to the thick entwined brush ends which cross in the middle of a hand packed brush fence and preclude refitting the internal rails.
The railing is refitted in the brushwork between the posts, (using a special technique to recover the tension in the wiring) and then the capping is refitted.
Setting out line to trim fence height to.
Marking posts at line to cut fence to.
Cutting brush fence to height using a power saw and hand cutters.
Fence cut to height and internal rail refitted. It can be quite difficult to refit capping due to thickess of a hand packed fence towards its cut middle and brush roll top is a better option.
Fences can be extended in length to marry with new gate openings or pillars, or to replace another fencing material. Depending on the gap to be filled, a new post is fitted or a frame welded to take the wiring and brushwork. The capping is then extended and a brush roll fitted to the post or frame.
Gates are often created or relocated in a brush fence to suit a new garden design or to meet a new requirement for access to a rear yard.
There is usually more work involved than meets the eye in this type of work.
It is not often that an existing fence post is in a convenient location with regard to the new opening and usually two new end fence posts must be fitted and if a non-brush style gate is to be fitted, then square section galvanised gate posts must also be fitted.
Firstly, the capping or brush roll top must be removed to allow the opening and the fence wiring cut and temporarily re-tied around the brushwork to prevent it from falling apart. Then the internal fence rail must be cut to suit the new opening and is usually left inside the brushwork. The fence at either side of the gateway, is then temporarily moved to one side and supported with struts while holes are dug and new end fence posts and gate posts are fitted.
The concrete base is then cut and a section removed to allow the posts holes to be bored. The two gate posts and two end fence posts are then concreted and the internal fence rails and wiring re-fitted to each side. The wiring is re-tensioned and brush post rolls are then fitted to cover the exposed wiring around the end fence posts on either side of the gateway. The capping is cut and re-fitted or in the case of a brush rolltop, brush roll repaired.
The opening is then measured for gate making purposes and when made the gate, hinges, latch and and handle are fitted.
In some cases it is necessary to relocate a fence and fence line due to boundary realignment or with internal fencing, changes in divider layouts. Although some contractors will indicate that it is not possible to relocate a hand packed brush fence, it is in fact in some situations a practical and cost effective procedure. Adelaide Brush has developed techniques over the years to completely re-instate hand packed brush fencing to a high standard although in the era of durable machine made panels, a new fence and panels are a better option.