Fence Posts in North AL

G. B.

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Howdy, folks. I'm looking to build (or have built) some horse fencing, in particular my wife wants about 350 feet of 5' non-climb woven wire and round wooden posts. Our soil is very high in clay. Most of the local "professionals" dig and cement the posts in place, and they generally claim to plant their posts 'at least 24" deep'. My own research leads me to believe that a 5' tall fence really needs to be closer to 30" deep, but I'm also intrigued by "pounded" or "driven" posts rather than auger/cement planted posts. Unfortunately Dr. Google has failed to find me any local resources when it comes to pounding in fence posts. In a "perfect world" I'd hire someone to pound my posts and then I'd finish the fence myself.

Do any of you have experience with pounded posts, particularly in clay soil or the north Alabama vicinity?

thanks,
GB
 

Latestarter

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Greetings @G. B. from the front range in Colorado :frow Welcome to BYH. I haven't done it myself, but watched a video describing all about it and it seemed pretty sweet. Saved a LOT of time and expense (concrete). They had a hydraulic ram on the back of a bucket loader/tractor and just went down the line one after another and pushed the poles in where they were marked to go. They weren't moving afterwards! That application they were doing high tensile wire fencing vice woven wire. They then electrified the HT wires alternating +/-. I think the HT smooth wire is a lot better if you have uneven land... You can also place the posts a lot further apart... like 40-50 feet. Woven is fine if the land is relatively flat, but you can't place the posts so far apart or you'd have to add T posts in between the large spaced wood posts. I wouldn't know who to recommend locally, sorry I can't help you there.
 

G. B.

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Thanks, Latestarter. In this case we're building a sort of horse arena (3 sides of 150'x100' rectangle, with one of the sides already fenced) so HT is out. The fence we're butting up against is also 5' non-climb woven wire, but imho it was installed poorly (4x4 posts and it's not tensioned). I'm hoping to do it "right", with round posts (so the horses don't break the wire when they rub against a post) and tensioned fabric. My wife is anti-t-post for this application, so I'm looking at wooden posts on 10' centers.

-GB
 

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Ahhhh.... Don't hope to do it right... PLAN to do it right! ;) Which I believe you do. You could always (re-)tension the existing fence when you do the newly installed sections. Good luck and please share some pics when you've finished!
 

Scooby308

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I've set more pots Than I care to remember. 36" is the minimum to set corner and gate posts (below frost line). If your soil is mostly clay, no need for concrete. Use a spud bar to pack every bit of the spillings back into the hole with post. If you tamp it right, you'll need more dirt to fill it than came out. Once the clay sets up it is just as solid as concrete. The post drivers are used with a tractor and are pretty sweet. You can rent them from some equipment rental places.
 

Mike CHS

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I'm not sure where you are but there are several companies that advertise in the Huntsville Craigslist that have pretty good reputations.
 

Baymule

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We bought 8 acres last year and have been in the midst of all kinds of projects since then. Fencing was priority #1. We used 4' horse wire. Our soil is sandy, but I am all too familiar with heavy clay. :he We used T-posts with wood H braces and wood corner posts. We used a T-post driver, basically a heavy wall pipe with a solid end and handles welded on each side and hand drove the posts in. We put the posts 10' apart, but should have gone 8' apart. The fence is solid, strong, but I wish we had placed the posts at 8'. We used the tractor to stretch the wire. I have a 6' piece of 5/8" rebar for a stretcher bar. We folded the wire over at the end of the roll and wove the rebar in and out of the wire. We wrapped a chain at one end, ran the chain to the other end of the rebar and wrapped it, then hooked the clevis hooks on the front end bucket, which was tilted forward. I slowly backed the tractor until the wire was tense, set the brake and tilted the bucket to tighten the wire "twang" tight.

For the wood posts, we used a hand held auger, bought at Harbor Freight with an additional 6" auger for $250. We did not cement the wood posts. We poured water in the hole, then using a broken hoe handle, tamped the dirt in around the post. We let it set for a couple of days before stringing wire to it. They are all solid and not moving.

In your clay, you probably should do this job before the summer dry heat turns your clay to concrete. A friend of mine used the bucket on his backhoe to drive T-posts one summer and the T-posts bent because the clay was dry and hard. We have clay under the sand, last spring I drove T-posts for a temporary fence, when I took it down it was dry. I like to never got those T-posts up! I used the tractor (28 horse), dug around the posts, added water and talked bad to them. It took me over an hour to get a particularly stuck post up. :barnie
 

Mike CHS

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A farm jack was one of the 1st new tools that we had to buy to accomodate the changes for where the fence should have been placed the 1st time.
 

G. B.

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Thanks, guys. I might be able to talk her into t-post line posts for the perimeter if I tried hard enough, but this is going to be her arena so she's pretty adamant about wooden posts. I'm hoping to do the job (or have it done) this spring, though if I do it myself it may end up leaking into summer... I've drawn it out so I can build it in 4 pieces of straight-line fence (little 4-foot people gates at each corner and a horse gate in the middle of the long side). I've been planning for 10 foot centers

Unfortunately I don't have a tractor (just a riding lawnmower that gets pressed into wagon hauling duty), so I'd have to hire out the pounding if we go that route.

Baymule, what purpose did pouring water in the hole serve?

Mike, I'm in Toney (just north of Huntsville) and contacted both the fencers I saw in craigslist for quotes. They both dig holes and concrete the posts though.

-GB
 

babsbag

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You can buy a hand held pneumatic T-post driver. Not cheap, but they work.
http://www.rohrermfg.com/post-drivers/98e-basic-t-post-driver/?gclid=CMOjr8Sbo8sCFQWUfgodl0kO7g

99% of the time though I use the hand one like Baymule described as I don't like dragging out the compressor and the generator. Our soil is clay or rock depending on the area and it is all about timing. Winter is the bomb, summer is the beast. I do set our corner posts in concrete only because if I happen to get a rocky spot the posts get loose. We have very hilly uneven ground with lots of trees and I will admit that I am not proud...I will use the trees as line posts whenever I can. They are oaks and they aren't dying or falling over in my lifetime.

Maybe you can talk her into t-posts with the protectors on top so the horse can't get hurt. Also a hot wire on the inside will keep the horse from rubbing on the fence and stretching it.
 
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