Making Copper Sheet Fence Post Caps

Imagine this: You’re about to build yourself a nice fence that’s about twenty-five posts long and you decide to both decorate and protect it from natural rotting with some copper post caps. After all, you’ve seen what happening when you don’t protect the top of the fence post with a cap. However, when you go to the store, you realize that at twenty five bucks a cap, this project suddenly skyrockets in expense! Why not save yourself some money and create these easy-to-make copper sheet caps on your own?

To start, you’ll need a scrap piece of 4×4 fence post (or 6×6) about three feet long, a circular saw to create the form on the top of the scrap post, a wooden mallet (preferably hardwood with a 3 inch diameter) to hammer the sheet metal around the form, the copper sheet itself and a pair of metal cutters. The recommended copper sheet is a soft temper, .021 inch thick (also known as 24 gauge or 16oz copper sheet).

First, you will want to figure out what shape you want the post cap to be. A basic triangular tip is a good choice. So, using the circular saw, cut the form (your piece of scrap post) to the desired shape.

Second, you might have to experiment, but cut the copper to the correct size for your particular post cap design. I might recommend using some scrap metal to experiment instead of valuable copper sheet. But it’s your choice.

Once you have your cutout, you can anneal the copper sheet to make it more pliable. However, the annealing is completely optional and not entirely necessary due to the copper sheet already being quite soft. Nevertheless, annealing is simply heating the copper sheet for an extended period of time, usually until it is glowing, and then allowing it to cool slowly. This heating can be performed with a common blowtorch.

Next, no matter if you choose to anneal or not, use the mallet to bend the copper around the form. A good technique for working the copper sheet is to pound the mallet in the way you want the metal to bend. This will work best if you can draw the mallet directly towards yourself while hammering. This is when you will want to have your safety glasses firmly in place protecting your eyes. Also, you may want to consider putting hole in the cap for the securing nail.

Finally, to add a nice shine to the cap, apply some sealant to keep the it bright and corrosion free. Or, let the cap age and patina naturally for the that classic look (I think this looks awesome).

And…Viola! You now have a beautiful fence post cap! On a final note, be sure to wear eye protection and all the necessary safety equipment while operating any potentially dangerous tools. Hope you enjoy your new post caps!