Wooden Fence Post Question... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-22-2012, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Wooden Fence Post Question...

What type of wood do you use for round fence posts that will last? Is their a particular kind I should get?

My mom got the bright idea after seeing what out neighbors have done to redo our fence. *sigh* (IE: my dad and I doing all the work)

Round wood posts and rope style electric fence. We will be starting fence remodeling next spring but I want to be prepared.

We are adding a leanto onto the barn right now. One of the wood posts that was in the way had to be removed, I took our tractor and expected a large battle with getting it out. One push and it fell right over. Broke off at ground level.

Now, im not going to do all this work next year to have these posts rot and collapse under a little bit of pressure after a few years.

Also, do you concrete all of these posts into the ground? Every other one? Just corner posts and where gates will be?

What distance should they be placed apart from other another. Im thinking 15 feet. But if I can stretch it further, that would be even better!
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-22-2012, 10:27 PM
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For fence posts, best kind is pressure treated preserved posts, they don't rot. I have some in the pasture that are close to 20 yrs old, no rot. We cement in corner and gate posts only.
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-22-2012, 10:34 PM
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I'm in PA and what is popular here is treated Southern Yellow Pine or Locust.
Cement the corners for sure and if you have the length to do so, drive the others below the frost line.
If you are hand digging or using an auger then you may want to cement all posts.
The spacing has much to do with the type of fencing and the tension on the fence. New Zealand or High Tensile needs wood posts every 30 feet or so with smaller line posts in between.
You can check the specs online for the type of fence you plan to put up.

My brother does some fencing in Virginia and advised painting the bottom end of the posts that will be below ground with Kreosote, however it isn't something I personally want in my ground, but he says it will extand the life of the posts.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-22-2012, 10:42 PM
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I agree, pressure treated posts. Also, I have found that the denser the wood, the longer they last. For example, my Dad built a roping arena a little over 30 years ago. He used both those posts that are round on 2 sides and flat on 2 sides and full round posts. The ones with the flat sides were naturally denser wood than the full round ones. When we finally tore out the last side of that fence about 2 years ago, the full round posts were slightly more rotted and had started to fall apart where they were separating between the rings of the wood. The ones with the 2 flat sides, however, were still almost new looking.

What we did to remove them was to use the bucket/hayfork on our tractor, attach a chain to that and then wrap it around the post and then pull the post straight up out of the ground. Saves from having to dig up a broken off post.

Plus, if you want the new post in the same spot, makes digging the hole a whole lot easier .

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post #5 of 18 Old 08-22-2012, 10:51 PM
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We try to use pressure treated fence posts (they have a light greenish colour to them) where possible for corral and pasture fences. If you`re using posts for a building project, most certainly use treated ones and of the right size and they will last alot longer.

We have used two methods for doing fence posts: 1) post pounder - line up post perpendicular in the machine and let it do its work; it`s an efficient way for doing a bunch of posts; please keep hands out of the way when it`s pounding. 2) handheld gas powered posthole auger - not as fast as the pounder but works fine for a few posts; since it digs a hole, you pretty much have to do some filling and tamping after the post is put in.

With regard to cementing in posts, we have not done any of ours. For the corners in the pasture fence, we used a standard bracing technique to keep the corner post in place. For our gates (the big ones that machinery can go through), we use stub posting to keep the gates level and prevent undo strain on the hinge posts. Stub posting is a short post of a foot or two snugged up against the latch post so that the bottom of the gate rests on it when its in its locked position. Cementing is probably a good idea but, as we`ve got a budget on both time and finances, the stub post is cheap and fast to do.

I`m not experienced with electric fencing so cannot offer a solid comment on the distance between posts. My instincts tell me you could do the wooden posts farther than 15 ft apart if you put a light weight support post or posts in between to keep sagging to a minimum. By light weight posts, I'm thinking of the fibre glass electric fence kind that you can push into the ground with your foot. I should like to hear what experienced electric fence folks have to say on that subject.

Good luck with your projects.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-23-2012, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the ideas everyone.

I believe I have a plan in my head.

Pressure treated posts for sure. I probably will be cementing the gates and corner posts. Concrete is cheap compared to what I'll be spending on the rope and posts for this new project.

Luckily we have a big tractor with an augar that goes 3-1/2 feet down. So that'll cut down on alot of work. I wouldn't even consider doing this if I didn't have we one. We do have thick clay so it takes awhile for even the tractor and augar to get through.

I'll try to look around online and see if I can find a suitable distance to put the posts up. I prefer not to have any tee posts or plastic push in posts inbetween the wood ones.

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post #7 of 18 Old 08-23-2012, 11:11 AM
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Use pressure treated posts. If your ground isnt too rocky or the clay layer isnt too shallow, you can use a post pounder. It is quick and easy. If you hit lots of rocks or clay, you may be better digging your holes or using an auger and adding some concrete. Use heavier (longer and thicker) posts to support your gates. Whether you use concrete or brace the corners depends upon the type of ground you have.

As far as spacing, posts every 16 feet should work. Check the board lengths that are available in case you might switch to board or pole fencing in the future and space your posts accordingly. Odd distances may mean lots of cutting later on. When you put up your electric rope, don't skimp on the insulators. Screw them in if you can, rather than nail them. They will be much more secure.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-23-2012, 11:32 AM
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I have 6 - 8" round posts, pressure treated, that we drove in with a post driver, just cementing in the corners. I have run 7 strands of high tensile on them, and we ran 20 feet between posts. You do not need spacers with high tensile if it's strung to the correct tension, even if you go 30 feet or more between posts.

My fence has been up for four years with minimal maintenence, and there are no sags in the fence. Occassionally we tighten or loosen a wire or pound in a staple, but that's about it.

Spacers or intermediate posts are used if your just running straight electric or electro braid with those kinds of distances between posts, just not necessary for high tensile.

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post #9 of 18 Old 08-23-2012, 02:30 PM
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The standard distance for polyrope is 30'.
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-23-2012, 02:43 PM
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Just a warning about using treated posts or wood of any kind around animals. We recently had a mare get a puncture wound on her neck. No sign of ANYTHING being in it, but it simply would NOT heal. Couple visits to the vet, lanced it, drained it, kept it clean, etc...no healing. She rubbed against something and all of a sudden, neck heals up, shoulder opens up a wound. This time we actually sedated her and cut it wide open....found a 6inch piece of treated wood. As soon as it was removed, she healed within days. This piece of wood came from a trainers round pen and he'd never had an issue with it before.

Also, being from NW Kansas, we have never cemented posts. And most of our corner posts are not even braced. IF you can tamp properly (my hubby can't LOL) you should be able to get your posts solid enough to not need anything. We do use way bigger posts (12' or better) for corners so that does make a difference.
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