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Author Topic: Fencing and posts  (Read 3336 times)

emilyJA

  • Joined Jul 2018
Fencing and posts
« on: November 06, 2018, 04:40:17 pm »
Evening all

We have recently purchased some land in Mid-Wales (22ac approx) and we need to replace a lot of the fencing and posts before we can move the sheep into the fields.  We are looking at 50mm posts and would like to know the best way of installing them.  The majority of the land is too steep so there is a slim chance of access for heavy machinery and tractors....have checked this with the local farmer already.  Is it a case of pre-drilling and then putting them in or would you drive them in without the pre-drill, or any other suggestions appreciated?  Many thanks!

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: despoiled in summer and villages left half-empty in winter.
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2018, 05:24:46 pm »
I'm not going to comment on whether 50mm posts are good for sheep-fencing (as I don't have sheep). 

As to driving posts manually:  providing that your ground is not overly stoney, I would say that 50mm posts are fairly easy to drive manually, but then it also depends on how many and how deep you wish to drive them !! 

For what it's worth:  my roe deer/rabbit exclusion fencing is a combo of metal posts (Clipex) with 50mm timber intermediates with the latter employed simply to avoid fence-line droop (caused by weight of wire netting) between the well-spaced clipex posts.  Because my land is stoney, pre-drilling with a 40mm earth auger avoided many fruitless post drives:  if the auger couldn't drill a pilot hole, I re-drilled until I could find a sweet-spot for manually driving either metal or timber posts.   
For reasons I won't bore you with, my next deer/rabbit fence will have 90mm timber intermediate props:  I have successfully tested driving them manually (and without a pilot hole), but I did only drive them to about 400-450mm as they are still only required as vertical props to prevent droop between the Clipex posts.
If you do pre-drill with an auger, I would suggest that auger-bit needs to be smaller than the posts you are using or very much larger:  trying to firm up a slightly sloppy bore/post fit would not be good.  An over-sized auger-bit should give hole-width sufficient to easily accommodate any rammer you have for compacting back-fill around the posts.  (A snug bore from the outset will, however, save much effort.) 

That's my take on the matter.  I don't doubt others will have other ideas!

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2018, 04:31:39 pm »
50mm posts?  What sort?  If timber then that wouldn't be strong enough to hold sheep.


I can recommend Clipex if access is tricky, esp with machinery.  Can do it all by hand, and use a hand held petrol driver if necessary.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: despoiled in summer and villages left half-empty in winter.
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2018, 06:30:15 pm »
50mm posts?  What sort?  If timber then that wouldn't be strong enough to hold sheep.
I can recommend Clipex if access is tricky, esp with machinery.  Can do it all by hand, and use a hand held petrol driver if necessary.

I was wondering about 50mm timber posts and sheep!

One other thing about small-diameter timber posts is that they can be quite "knotty":  they can have closely packed whorls of knots (where upper-most tree branching occurred) which very considerably weakens a small-diameter post.  Best to hand-select, but, if ordered remotely, be on-hand and be prepared to test anything that looks iffy and reject during delivery.  (Obviously best to advise delivery driver that you wish to test any doubtful posts before you give them a good kick!) 

Petrol-powered post drivers are v expensive unfortunately  :(
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 07:20:49 pm by arobwk »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2018, 10:55:37 pm »
50mm is very narrow indeed.  I’ve only seen that used as temporary fencing, where it’s moved every four to six weeks.

All the stock fencing I’ve seen uses 4” or 5” for the majority, and minimum 8” for strainers and where the direction changes.

The hand tools you need are :

- a digging bar, like a crowbar but very heavy.  Metal point, use this to open up the ground. 
- a rabbiting spade or trenching tool - narrow-bladed, long handled spade
- the inappropriately named ‘post hole borer’, which is not a borer at all but is used to remove the spoil you’ve loosened using the previous tools
- fencing maul, a flat-faced sledgehammer. Don’t use a regular sledgehammer, you’ll split the poles for sure.  You’ll still split some of them a bit even with a fencing maul.
- post rammer, a heavy metal two-handled tool which you repeatedly drop onto the pole to drive it in.  This is better than the maul as it doesn’t risk splitting the pole at all.  You don’t need to pull it down, the trick is to get one that’s the right weight for you, and let its weight and gravity do the work ;)

(Full disclosuse - the family business was hand tools. ;) )

If your ground is wet and not excessively stony, and the soil isn’t too shallow, get posts longer than you think you can possibly need (like 7’6”) and sink at least 30” into the ground.  But check soil depth first; we don’t have anything like that depth here in North Cornwall, sadly, so our fences flop quite quickly :(
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

emilyJA

  • Joined Jul 2018
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2018, 10:15:00 am »
Many thanks all. we are basically on slate, so not going to be hugely easy manually driving, but we will take all under advisement. we need to replace the bulk of the fencing in at least 3 fields, so had planned like for like (hence 50mm), will look for a better option.

thanks again.

 

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2018, 11:03:20 am »
Clipex do "rock posts", which have a section of rebar on the bottom, so you drill a pilot hole in the rock and resin in the post.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: despoiled in summer and villages left half-empty in winter.
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2018, 08:50:16 pm »
Further to, fencing spec’s are a funny ol’ thing I reckon:  there’s a “right” way (although that still varies depending on who’s telling you) and then there’s what some folk just do:  e.g. the old perimeter fencing that came with my land (previously used for sheep grazing and, in part, pigs) comprised largely 3-4” half-round posts and un-strained stock-mesh with un-strained barbed wire strand to top it off with very little corner bracing !!  Makes one wonder !?
 
As regards metal posts;  Clipex has been mentioned, but Staplelok is another versitile metal post option in the UK and Hampton Steel has substantially expanded the Staplelok ‘system’ since the time I was casting around for a relatively easy installation option.
(Personally;  I shall probably stick with Clipex as I have found ways of modifying the Clipex system to reduce my overall fencing costs - braced ends/corners in particular - but Staplelok is, IMHO, definitely now worth a look at also.)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 09:22:58 pm by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: despoiled in summer and villages left half-empty in winter.
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2018, 06:41:50 pm »
I never did get round to posting (on a previous thread) pics of my modified Clipex 'system' for a single-handed, no-dig (apart from timber gate posts), high tensile 4-wire fence to hang rabbit mesh + upper 50mm mesh for rabbit/deer exclusion.  Might not be of any use to anyone, but, just in case, here’s a few pics of bracing.
 
My high-tensile wire strain is per the generally recommended ‘standard’ (can’t remember what that is off the cuff) so I guess it could also take a strained stock-mesh + strained barbed top wire if desired.
There is no stock pressure on my fence (I don’t have live-stock to fence in), but it’s been up a couple of years now and hasn’t shown any sign of movement regardless of flood and drought conditions that have occurred in the interim.  (My soil is a sandy silt loam over a dense clay sub-soil.)
My floating braces are rock solid: I was dubious about the physics until I'd set up the 1st floating brace.  Brilliant minimal effort innovation!  (I think it came from New Zealand.)

Pro:  very do-able, single handedly if necessary, with posts driven manually.

Con:  Corners can be a bit fiddly especially when doing single-handedly.  Not best, I reckon, to strain the wires around a Clipex Beefy “corner” post where the corner angle is more than, say, 15 degrees:  I terminated each fence-line wire at each corner and then tensioned each corner-to-corner wire separately bit-by-bit in sequence around the fence to gradually build up an even full tension around the total fence !
 
I tried traditional wire strainer and traditional wire knotting at first, but soon bought a crimping tool/wire crimp-sleeves plus a Gripple Torq tool//Gripples – aahh, bliss!

So, the pics below:
 
1st pic  - end strainer using Clipex Beefy post + Clipex Beefy bracket + scaffolding components for a floating brace.  Using this for corners would, of course, require a 2nd Beefy post and replicated bracing components for the other fence line.  I did start out with a couple of doubled-up corners, but then adopted single bracing, for greater economy, as per 2nd pic below.  Pic 1 configuration (end or doubled-up corner) is cheaper than Clipex StayFast strainer/corner, but it will probably involve a bit more work/time than using a StayFast.
 
2nd pic - 90 degree corner with single floating brace. (Actually, this corner turned out to be less than 90 degrees [= more strain on post/brace] – oops! - so I wired up a great big buried boulder to the brace on this particular corner to, hopefully, offset any greater potential for pull-out).  I used a timber brace for single-brace corners because width of brace, relative to width of Beefy post, is not a problem with a split braced corner. Upside = economy;  down-side = a bit more fiddly = time.
 
3rd pic - sort of demonstrates fiddliness - this is a shallow angled 'corner' and I "mis-faced" the Beefy post into the corner (note the less-than-'square' angle on the mating of brace to post).  However, because it was a shallow corner, I thought I'd risk straining it up as it was - it's holding and not twisting! 
 
Not pictured - I have several Beefy posts without bracing taking the strain on changes of fence-line direction of 15 degrees or less without issue so far.

Edit:  I forgot to mention that, for single timber-braced corners, there is a 130mm bolt inserted into top of brace where it mates up with Beefy bracket.  The bracket has a hole; the bolt was inserted (pointing outwards) through the bracket before sliding and fixing the bracket onto the Beefy post; bolt then slotted into a hole drilled into upper end of brace.   

 

 

 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 01:28:21 pm by arobwk »

YorkshireLass

  • Joined Mar 2010
  • Just when I thought I'd settled down...!
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2018, 08:55:15 pm »
I'd say 50mm is far too small.
In your case /on your land I'd seriously look at clipex or equivalent, though I've never used it.
Can petrol post drivers be hired at all? Feels like the kind of tool that should be available like that.


Have you done fencing before?

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
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Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2018, 07:33:58 am »
If I was you  I would consider paying a fencer.
Linda

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Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2018, 12:37:49 pm »
We use a heavy long bar to open a hole, then post in, I can't remember whether ours are 3" or 4, but heavier straining posts on bends and level changes. Ok for relatively short lengths, but we got a contractor in to do the boundary fence., they know what they are doing and can tension the wire much better than us.
In spring the tenant fenced the dividing fence from his and 'mine' (I bought the materials), I should have checked during summer, what a mess, fence has sagged so much I can stride over it, lot of my money wasted. Tensioning is a big part of fencing!

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2018, 02:54:30 am »
A bar and a beetle and good strainer on either end and in the middles.  The rest of the posts are really just they to steady it if you cant drive them down the foot and a half required. As has been said - its the fence and the fact thats its tensionsed between your main posts is the key - you shouldnt even hammer your staples in to hould a fence on the posts inbetween just to guide them not take any strain.

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Fencing and posts
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2018, 02:57:56 am »
Its very useful to have lose staples - because in 5 years your probably be fencing it again because the posts have rotted and its easier to remove a semi rotten post than one thats snapped.

 

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