Some time ago I noticed the perimeter fence was down – a post had rotted at the base and 2 8ft attached panels fell with it.
I call them panels because you can buy them that way – 8 ft length with 3 horizontals and 17 attached panels for about $49. Or you can buy 3 2×4 8ft pieces for horizontals and 17 individual panels and nail them together. I prefer the latter – easier to transport and move and cheaper but will take much longer unless you have a nail gun, which I happen to have.
But before considering the panels I had to first figure how to replace the post. I confirmed its base was concreted into the ground and assumed the rot was because the fence is at the bottom of a hill and soil carried down by the rain covered the post for about 3 inches above the concrete base preventing quick evaporation of rainwater.
One option was to pull out the stump and the concrete base, which would be hard work, take some time and leave a big hole requiring a big plug of new concrete and rocks. Another concern was I would have to locate the post just right so that each panel could be attached to it. A post is about 3.5″ wide and since the panels touched each other when in place, each would have to extend across the post by 1.75″. Too finicky. Especially if the panels were no longer vertical.
So instead I decided to install a new post on either side of the concrete plug gripping the rotted post. Advantages: 1) save a lot of work pulling out the old post; 2) would be twice as strong; 3) much easier for attachment of panels since each panel would have its own post rather than sharing a common post.
I had 2 unused 8ft posts available – each sunk 2ft into the ground but not concreted. By pushing and pulling I could have loosened and wiggled them out but why risk the back when I have a farm jack. With a slip hook on a chain it hauled them out of the ground easily and quickly.
Installing the new posts was relatively easy – in addition to the clam shell post hole digger I used a long crow bar for breaking through hard patches and old saw for roots. And I made sure to concrete above ground level with a bevel to direct water away from the post. I bolted the panels to the replacement posts to better secure them. And it was done.
I didn’t mention my sudden motivation to repair the fence. The fence is an outer perimeter fence and there is an inner perimeter fence and 10ft inside the latter is one of my bee hive locations. It is shielded from the setting sun by an apple tree and from the north west wind by a glass window I purchased for a few dollars at the thrift store. Just recently I noticed the window had been shattered either by a catapult or bb gun or maybe .22 – I mention all 3 since in a couple of spots only one of the double windows was broken and in others the projectile penetrated both windows and the frame.
Made me think of the strategy of Giuliani, former mayor of New York City – if there are a few broken windows more will be broken. If they are all fixed likelihood of vandalism much reduced. So the 2 downed panels gave an aura of neglect and repair was necessary.