Posted on

Wayne’s way – Diagonal Stay Assembly

In our new WIRED feature, NZFC committee member and competition judge Wayne Newdick shares his tips and tricks on the fundamentals of fence construction. First up, the Diagonal Stay Assembly.

This is probably the most important part of fence construction and this method might be a bit controversial but this is how I do it. I’ve fitted 90-odd of these in the past 2 weeks. 

What to use

  • 2.4 Rnd 125-135 being ideal for strainer assemblies
  • ¼ Rnd are suitable if selected for size. 125 plus face and check for knots.
  • 1.8 ¼ Rnds are fine for most angles 2.4 only for sharp angles.
  • Block half of a 1.8 No 1 half Rnd 200mm face is sufficient in most soil types 1200mm or so for softer ground don’t forget to ram behind the block.


  • Cut the stay standing in front of the stay, all cuts should be the same length 250 -300mm.
    I use a small block plane 200mm long to dress and remove most of the saw marks.


  • Put the stay in place, height being approx half way between the ground and the top of the strainer between the wires closer to the upper wire.
  • Scribe around the stay and mark the block with a spade at the same time.
  • I always allow 20 – 30mm to be cut off the end of the stay.
  • Remove stay and dig block trench, place block in then cut stay trench.


  • I always use a saw here. Simply cut below the top horizontal line and below the bottom line 20mm in.
  • I then use a thin chisel to cut the vertical lines and simply use the claw of my hammer to flick the wood out. Quick and easy and safe.








Fitting the stay to the block

  • Put the stay in the mortice and lay on the block, check for plumb, cut the end off the stay to the desired length, at the same time cut a small nick underneath the stay and small flat on top of the stay. (45deg)
  • At this stage I use the back of my spade driving it into the block just behind the stay and simply lever it into place. I don’t use a rammer.
  • This method is quick and powerful but does require a strong spade.







  • Don’t be afraid to use a good ¼ Round stay
  • Don’t be shy of using a saw on the horizontal cuts for the mortice
  • 1.8 post is fine for angles

Written by Wayne Newdick 

Wayne Newdick is a notable top fencer, widely recognised in the industry for his high standards and ingenuity.