Stockade fence posts -- metal content indeed!

Awl --
So ahm lookin to put up 6' stockade fencing between me'n'my brain damaged neighbors, but I sure could do without the post digging, the concrete, and
the drama.
So's I made somewhat of a discovery:
I started pounding various cross sections of metal into the dirt -- first rebar, then a 1 1/4 plumbing pipe, then 2x2x16 ga sq tubing.
The rebar was so-so -- too thin, really, to be stable in dirt, but wow, the plumbing pipe is pretty strong and easy to bang in, and the 2x2 tubing just *slices* its way in, and seems VERY strong!
Fence installing made easy!? Has anyone done this? pro's/con's??
Now the Q is: how deep should I pound this 2x2 tubing into the dirt? I read somewhere recently that posts should be buried a depth = to the fence height?? That seems extreme..... Altho pounding 2x2x16 ga tubing 6 feet, extrapolating from the approx 2 feet I did, doesn't seem like it will be a biggie, assuming I don't hit rocks, etc.
I've also read depths of mebbe two feet with concrete, but that seems like there would be a crowbar effect, esp.in a good wind.
I'm debating various sizes: 2x2, 3x3, 4x4, and materials, alum vs. steel. The alum will be 1/8 wall, ergo more pounding to bury it, but still proly workable. And of course much more resistant to corrosion.
I've got a fair amount of 2x2x16 ga SS tubing, that I'll proly never use, but using it for fence posts would proly leave me unable to sleep at night, AND it will be a bitch to attach brackets to, etc, -- one of the advantages of alum.
Opinions, idears, experiences??
--
EA



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wrote:

The Outdoor Advertising Association used to print a nice guide on installing bill boards. I just tried to find it and failed, but you might have better luck. Anyway the problem is much the same. WInd loads on bill boards can be considerable and the best engineering is of course the least expensive.
What the OAA said was that resistance the ground presented to sideways force varies with the depth. So if you pound something into the ground and apply a sideways force, the bottom will stay pretty well fixed but the pant near the top will shove over. So they recommend collars of concrete from the ground level down a ways but not all the way to the bottom. Say you dig a hole three feet deep for a 4 inch diameter pole. The bottom 18 inches ought to be 4 inches in diameter and the top 18 inches maybe 7 inches in diameter. You put the pole in and add concrete. The concrete makes a collar around the top 18 inches of the pole and you are just as good for sideways stress as if you had dug the hole 7 inches in diameter all the way down and used twice as much concrete.
Now instead of adding a collar, you could add a plate that would greatly increase the resistance sideways. The plate should be obviously below ground but not too deep. So take a look at metal fence posts. See the plate.
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100000208
You do not need to drive the post as deep as the fence is high. You just need to drive it deep enough that it bends at ground level when pushed sideways. Actual depths depend on the soil. But I would think that 30 to 36 inches would be plenty for a six foot high fence if the fence posts have a plate attached.
Dan
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wrote:

The Outdoor Advertising Association used to print a nice guide on installing bill boards. I just tried to find it and failed, but you might have better luck. Anyway the problem is much the same. WInd loads on bill boards can be considerable and the best engineering is of course the least expensive.
What the OAA said was that resistance the ground presented to sideways force varies with the depth. So if you pound something into the ground and apply a sideways force, the bottom will stay pretty well fixed but the pant near the top will shove over. So they recommend collars of concrete from the ground level down a ways but not all the way to the bottom. Say you dig a hole three feet deep for a 4 inch diameter pole. The bottom 18 inches ought to be 4 inches in diameter and the top 18 inches maybe 7 inches in diameter. You put the pole in and add concrete. The concrete makes a collar around the top 18 inches of the pole and you are just as good for sideways stress as if you had dug the hole 7 inches in diameter all the way down and used twice as much concrete.
Now instead of adding a collar, you could add a plate that would greatly increase the resistance sideways. The plate should be obviously below ground but not too deep. So take a look at metal fence posts. See the plate.
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId 051&langId=-1&catalogId053&productId0000208
You do not need to drive the post as deep as the fence is high. You just need to drive it deep enough that it bends at ground level when pushed sideways. Actual depths depend on the soil. But I would think that 30 to 36 inches would be plenty for a six foot high fence if the fence posts have a plate attached.
Dan
===========================================================
I'm very proud to say I deduced that plate idea, from fooling around with the tubing/rebar I drove in. I have boucou pieces of plate, and in principle, they don't even have to be welded or attached to the post. I have 6x6's, 12x12's, mostly 1/8" steel, but also 1/4" alum. I'll put one on each side.
The flange on your link seems pretty minimal, not even 2x2 per tab, it seems. So a 6x6 should really do the job.
The only problem with pounding in tubing is hitting rocks. That will stop it dead. So it becomes more hit and miss, ito of where these posts will actually wind up. Formal hole digging gives more control.
I may have to put "fake posts" between the panels, for appearance, with the real work being done behind the panels.
I toyed with idea of guy wires/rods at the *top* of the fence to trees, the house, anything rigid, but the Wife is hitting the ceiling over that idea. But really, from a structural/torque pov, it solves all problems, but not the aesthetic ones, to some. After all, that's how they stabilize antennas, right? Heh, but not windmills, apparently.
--
EA



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Existential Angst wrote:

6' stockade fencing is common stuff. The normal way to install is a post between each 8' section. The posts are normally simple 4X4 treated posts dug in or driven in at least 4'. The reason for the deeper posts is the wind load. Those panels can generate a lot of force in a good wind.
I doubt I would use plain steel as it has a nasty rusting problem. Aluminum wouldn't be my choice because of cost and strength.
As for the digging go out and lay out where your posts will be. Then rent a post hole digger and dig them all and drop the posts in. Get a pal to help and you can do a LOT of holes fast. Will last longer and stay straight and require less work in the long run.
--
Steve W.
(\___/)
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What's that Lassie? You say that Existential Angst fell down the old rec.crafts.metalworking mine and will die if we don't mount a rescue by Sun, 18 Apr 2010 13:04:04 -0400:

I helped a friend put up some steel fencing out in Arizona.
We used drill pipe. The kind that has a male thread on one end and female on the other, about 30' long.
We cut up the 30' to fence height +3', then pounded them into the ground with a front end loader.
A top rail was added later and wire fencing stretched along the outside.
The 'dirt' was like hard packed silt out there, I think they call it calieche.
If your dirt is softer, weld some "fins" to your tubing to grab more dirt just below the surface. Look at "T" posts for what the fins might look like.
--

Dan H.
northshore MA.
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snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net (dan) wrote in

Caliche is an off-white clay that - when dry - is almost as hard as concrete and is often used for road surfacing.
One drawback to it is that - when wet - it can not only be quite slick but - when splashed onto surfaces - hard to remove after it dries.
Lots of South Texas' backroads are made from caliche.
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Existential Angst wrote:

About 15 years ago I was getting ready to sell my house. The property had a redwood fence on the south side. The posts were set in the dirt with no protection and had rotted off even with the ground. Wanting some kind of quick fix, I pounded plain old chain-link fence posts into the ground next to the redwood posts and strapped the two together with chain-link hardware and lag bolts. I visited the property last year and the fence was still holding up fine.
I used an off-the-shelf post driver and I think I went down about 2 feet.
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A post driver? Inneresting... some nice air-powered drivers:
http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&q=post+driver&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=EKTMS-OxL4Wdlgf2s9SLBg&sa=X&oi=product_result_group&ct=image&resnum=1&ved B4QzAMwAA
I myself will proly just use an 8# sledge, some wood on the top, and an extree pair of hands to hold/level/guide the post as I bang away.
As I mentioned, 16 ga 2x2 really slices nicely into the ground, rocks notwithstanding.
--
EA



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Existential Angst wrote:

http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&q=post+driver&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=EKTMS-OxL4Wdlgf2s9SLBg&sa=X&oi=product_result_group&ct=image&resnum=1&ved B4QzAMwAA
This is all you need. Works great and isn't that expensive...
http://www.maximmfg.com/NewFiles/fence-post-driver.html
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wrote:

Yes! This purely beats a sledge and it's easy to make if you can weld.
The professional approach would be to rent an auger post hole digger, drill holes, insert sonotube, plant posts, backfill with concrete. The holes need to go below frost line. That'd be 4 feet here, don't know about Yonkers.
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-snip-

jeez, yonkers, i wonder if you'd have to call that "buried utilities" number.
i always remember this story from fine homebuilding magazine, their funny back-pages "great moments in building history" column.
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/departments/great-moments/fire-in-the-hole.aspx?nterms 6878
i was going to scan the article but thank goodness they've now got a free online archive of "great moments in building history" articles very funny stuff (and thank goodness they had the "fire in the hole" article).
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/How-To/Great-Moments/106878.aspx?channel=3&cp=0
i scanned the illustration that went with the article though (it's not present in their online archive, the illustration adds a nice touch to the article.
http://www.frontiernet.net/~wwixon/fhfebmar1993.jpg
(exactly how i picture "existential angst" in my mind's eye.)
b.w.
Fire In the Hole Great moments in building history: Digging usually never leads to fire by Michael Brubaker Among the many skills that must be mastered by a jack-of-all-trades, digging a hole would seem to pose the fewest problems. But life's challenges are not always found in difficult jobs. As I have learned, they will sometimes spring up in the most innocent of tasks.
A few years ago I fashioned my career as a musician around various odd jobs, many of which were offered to me by my friend Jeff, a real-estate broker. Jeff always seemed to have a small job that fit both my schedule and his desire for cheap and quick labor.
Some of these jobs required inventiveness, like the time I painted the inside of one of his houses where the tenants had moved, but their dog's fleas remained. Plastic garbage bags slipped over my feet and taped above my knees worked reasonably well as a defense against the fleas, given the limited leaping ability of the tiny critters. But I ran out of ideas when confronted with painting the baseboards, and I had to resort to chemical weapons. Always ask about animals when taking a job.
When I delivered a new refrigerator to one of Jeff's rental houses, I introduced a new rule for my truck: always tie things down. I instituted this rule halfway in the delivery trip when in my rear-view mirror I watched a full-size fridge execute a perfect back-flip dive.
But perhaps the biggest challenge I've encountered was digging some holes for a fence I was building at Jeff's house. He had tired of tracking down his dog, a Samoyed of great wanderlust, and asked if I would build a fence around his waterfront home. The project seemed well suited to my tools and abilities at the time, so I agreed to start the next day. My survey, layout and construction progressed smoothly, though the sandy soil slipping through the post-hole digger presented a small challenge. Soon I had all the posts and the rails planted. Next came the gatepost, which I planned to install next to the house.
I began to dig, but after I got down maybe 2 ft., I was startled by a sudden, loud pop as a small flame sparked from the bottom of the hole. Having already dug two dozen holes that day, I recognized this as being abnormal hole activity. I saw nothing in the hole, so I continued and plunged the digger into it one more time. Again a loud pop with smoke and flame. This my poor brain was unable to digest, so I decided to get a second opinion.
My friend Kim, another musician-cum-handyman, was doing some interior painting that day. So I went inside to fetch him to witness this strange affair. I directed him to stand over the hole as I thrust the digger down. Again the hole spit fire and smoke. "I don't know what it is, Mike," he said as he jumped back. "But I sure wouldn't dig a hole there if I were you." As I stood there scratching my head wondering how to move a hole, Kim went inside. He returned a moment later and said his power tools and the household appliances no longer worked, which meant I had probably found...
Electricity, at least in my experience to that date, had always entered a house from overhead; buried lines seemed somehow unsafe. Suppose it rained, and the roads flooded? Kim and I went inside to scan the phone directory under Electricians, Goofball Repairs A Specialty, where we also discovered a free service for locating buried lines called, oddly enough, Mis Quik. So, good construction engineer that I was, I made a belated call to them and then knocked off for the day, leaving Jeff to cope with the electricity problem.
Jeff called the electric company that afternoon, but the repair crew did not arrive until 1 a.m. As Jeff showed the workers the hole and explained my problem with the gatepost, they obliged by putting a neat loop in the service wire around where the post should go and then filled in the hole. But they asked what had happened to the fellow that dug this; he severed a 220v service entrance line, and the humidity should have been just enough to make a good connection. Did he survive?
I still have the post-hole digger, with three quarter-sized bites taken off one blade. But the real shock that day wasn't where I was digging, but how. You see, to bind the loose, sandy soil as I dug, I had used the garden hose to water down the dirt in the holes. But at least I knew that when standing in soggy mud, if something strange spits fire at you from a hole in the ground, you don't reach in with a hand but poke it with a sharp stick instead.
-Michael Brubaker, Savannah, Ga.
From Fine Homebuilding 79, pp. 130
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http://www.finehomebuilding.com/departments/great-moments/fire-in-the-hole.aspx?nterms 6878
Heh, mebbe the urban version... :)
Or, mebbe the urbane version?? :) :) :) With less pointy elbows. And an ornery territorial cat instead of the cute dog.
NYC has instituted big fines for contractors that damage infrastucture. Hopefully, there's not a lot a stuff going on, underground. Electrics are overhead, and gas and water are elsewhere, so I should be OK.
I think our frost line is 36-42", altho I'm not really too worried about that. Esp. with gorebal warming. :)
--
EA





>
> b.w.
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William Wixon wrote:

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/departments/great-moments/fire-in-the-hole.aspx?nterms 6878
<http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/departments/great-moments/my-14000-lamp.aspx?nterms 6878> is a better fit to this group. ;-)
--
Anyone wanting to run for any political office in the US should have to
have a DD214, and a honorable discharge.
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What's that Lassie? You say that Existential Angst fell down the old rec.crafts.metalworking mine and will die if we don't mount a rescue by Mon, 19 Apr 2010 14:54:38 -0400:

Grab a length of rebar and probe your post locations for rocks. If you can change the locations of the posts you might find enough places to hit no rocks at all. If you flatten the end of the tubing, it will miss more rocks and compress the dirt as it goes in. Will be harder to drive though.
--

Dan H.
northshore MA.
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I was going to recommend this too. Some of the stockade panels are made for use with brackets with the crossbars cut flush with the ends of the panels, and don't have the extra ends to go into the holes, though if that's what you can find you can just cut the ends off, then bolt the panels to the posts adjacent to each other. It's a different look than with the posts between the panels, but still works. Also works for reusing used panels that other people can't use due to missing post ends.
I'd use the "corner" chainlink posts rather than the "line" posts, bigger/stiffer and because that's what size the brackets are premade for. Get the little diecast caps to keep the yellowjackets out of the poles, but don't use them to drive the poles, they'll shatter. Use a post driver or a sledge though you may have to trim off the top inch or two of pounded over pole to get the cap on. If you hit a large rock, you can put a post on either side of it, then make another simple brace/bracket to tie the panels together there instead, I'd not get to worried about getting the post spacing exact. Extra posts at likely stress points are simple to add, too.
You can cut down larger panels easily to fit odd spaces, or to make gates (add diagonals, or they'll sag) though you made need a 4x4 post to mount hinges, or figure out a way to make the chainlink hinges work with a wooden panel (might just be able to bolt them to the crossbraces, been meaning to try). Also, you can change the look of panels with additional boards (like if you salvage a bunch of panels with damaged tops/bottoms you could cut off the damage and add a 1x4 trim piece instead) which might also give you an additional way to tie the panels together, too.
I put up about 200' of chainlink in a weekend with just me and my dad, a sledgehammer, a come-along, and a strategically placed pickup. This was a "modified" chain style, using the usual bottom wire as a top wire instead of the nicer toprail, though we used pieces of it to brace the corner posts. Once you get the basic fabric up (link or panels) then you can fuss with the details here and there until you're happy. --Glenn Lyford
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