Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fencing: season two

Fencing: season two is not the latest hit TV program. And despite its physical toll, it is not the latest fitness craze. Nope, it's just me, my post hole digger, and another section of the backyard fence that needs replacing. In truth, it all needs replacing, except the part that I replaced last summer, but I can only do so much at once.

This new section is a project about the same size and difficulty as last year's. It runs from the house to the garage, about 20' long, with a gate in the middle. Break out the post hole digger!

Like I said about the fencing I replaced last year: it might have looked good for the first few days after it was installed ~10 years ago. But it was cheap crap then, and it sure didn't last. Looks like the posts were only sunk about two feet into the ground. These had rotted all away; I pulled them easily with my own two hands. The pickets themselves were in close contact to the ground and had likewise rotted away. The gate could not be opened more than halfway, and then only by lifting and dragging it.

I am replacing them with steel posts, partially set in concrete, that are rated for 20 years. The wood that's attached to them may not last that long, but will be trivial to replace. For this 4' fence, only about 3-1/2' of post needs to be above grade. Last year I had used 7' steel posts and sunk about half into the ground. I ordered 7' posts again this year. My distributor ordered 7' posts. Master Halco sent 8' posts. Above, you can see one leftover post from last year's project set atop one from the order I received.

A part of me wouldn't mind so much: I got more product for the same cost. But sinking nearly 5' of steel into the ground for a light perimeter seems downright silly. What is more, I simply can't dig a hole that deep with my post hole diggers, nor would I want to even if I could.

Solution? Hack away. With the combination of dremel and hacksaw (which is missing about 1/3 of its teeth now), it's only a 5-10 minute job per post. A part of me was tempted to take them into work: the stockroom for our machine shop has a mighty nice metal cutting band saw that would have made quick work of these.

No comments: