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The Cheapest and Best Posts

 
Posts: 21
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I am curious what is your best and cheapest post options? Wooden posts from the hardware store are far too much for me to afford, and luckily wire is not a problem in my situation, so I am curious of your creative and special ways at making, buying, or finding reliable posts for fencing. All that a post really is is just a tall sturdy beam meant to hold up something else... I am open to any ideas.
 
Posts: 85
Location: Franklinton, NC
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dog books homestead
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Best and cheapest would be to find something fast-growing and plant it where you want a post. You'll have to prune your fence, but it will be mighty sturdy. Patience is required. For example, here's a picture of a gazebo made by training ficus:
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/0a/68/e5/0a68e5d431bb02e479cb32e474589e8e.jpg
 
Posts: 96
Location: Southern Utah
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chicken building homestead
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I have been fortunate enough to use the trunks of existing Juniper trees in my yard for several fence posts, most I trimmed off everything above 6 feet but a few were left to grow after I cut everything that was 8 feet or lower.  But if you don't have the trees in place that is not an option.
If you are able to go out and cut firewood you could save the trunks on 6 to 8 inch trees to use as fence posts and use the branches for the fire, or sell the firewood for some extra cash if you don't have a wood stove.
Some areas allow people to cut fence posts, but that will vary by location.
 
Posts: 85
Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
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monies cooking building
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Hi, look around your area, wherever it is, and see what you can scrounge up. What are you fencing? how strong it needs to be? Junk yards have steel, your neighbor might need a tree taken down, try thinking out of the box.
 
Joshua Plymouth
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Arthur Angaran wrote:Hi, look around your area, wherever it is, and see what you can scrounge up. What are you fencing? how strong it needs to be? Junk yards have steel, your neighbor might need a tree taken down, try thinking out of the box.



I am building a fence for cattle. The fence in most parts just needs to be strong enough to hold up several strands of barb wire. I am rushed because I have only a few months to set this up before I lose this opportunity... To make a long and complicated story short, If you become someone who others can count on, even in death they will expect you to take up their burdens.

Luckily the property that I am working on already has existing barbed wire and woven wire fence from 30 years ago. the wooden posts are all rotted though. I have roughly 5,000 feet of fencing that needs posts. If our posts are separated by 12 feet, that will be roughly 420 posts in all. I will see if the recycling place nearby has any metal beams that they would be willing to part ways with. That would be amazing really, however I doubt it. I do however have access to a lot of free tires. Is there any way to make posts out of a stack of tires filled with dirt or water? I know people make water troughs out of them, but making a post out of them is a whole new story... The idea of cutting my own trees and using those is great, I do have access to many trees, a lot of walnut and oak trees. However it may take too long to work all of them. Any help would be much appreciated.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1682
Location: Victoria BC
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Consider much wider post spacing, with heavy bracing, and increase wire tension as required; crudely trimmed sticks secured to fence between posts can help with wire spacing and support some of the weight. A top wire that is thicker or in better shape can help support lower wires..

If you can scrounge old cable or heavy wire, you can run a top cable to hold up woven fence over long runs; I have a removable ~hundred foot run of 7ft plastic deer fencing supported by an old winch cable and tensioned with a 3300lb WLL ratchet strap... wire would be more demanding, but if the materials are free...
 
pollinator
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I've seen "fenceposts" that were actually wire mesh cylinders filled with rocks. They look handy for places where the ground is too solid to drive a post into. Just make sure to build them wide enough for the height you need, I've seen enough that tipped or sagged too much to be useful. But the ones with the right ratio looked like they could stand for 100 years!

Also, depending on your area, there's a way to make stone posts. I can't remember the name of the type of stone, and I can't find the article, but in one of the K states there's a type of stone that is so soft when first uncovered, you can cut it with a knife. But after it's exposed, it reacts with oxygen and turns solid as concrete. Pioneers used to carve up long pieces to use as fenceposts.
 
Arthur Angaran
Posts: 85
Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
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monies cooking building
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Hi,  UP here I would check with saw mills to see if they have anything and pricing, I might also check with a logging operation to see their pricing to cut my trees and limb them for me, and maybe trade off for giving them some trees for themselves. Thereby you get posts free and they get logs for the price of labor. You could have your posts inside of a week.

Tires with dirt and rocks might work as posts, If you find scrap metal, lumber to hold the tires in place while you fill them with maybe a backhoe. I couldn't be sure of this as posts as I have never tried it or seen it done. Ive seen photos of pens made from just tires with lumber bracing on top but then again not in operation.
 
Joshua Plymouth
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D Nikolls wrote:Consider much wider post spacing, with heavy bracing, and increase wire tension as required; crudely trimmed sticks secured to fence between posts can help with wire spacing and support some of the weight. A top wire that is thicker or in better shape can help support lower wires..

If you can scrounge old cable or heavy wire, you can run a top cable to hold up woven fence over long runs; I have a removable ~hundred foot run of 7ft plastic deer fencing supported by an old winch cable and tensioned with a 3300lb WLL ratchet strap... wire would be more demanding, but if the materials are free...



I am really curious to see this in action, what materials can you provide me with? All of my life I have always seen cattle fencing with posts every 8-12 feet. max of 15, and even that was pushing it. I always heard it was because of the weight of the wire and that cattle would push it and bend it, but I have some places in my land where it is a straight stretch of land for 1,000 ft, and if somehow i could reduce the number of posts throughout that, it would save my life.
 
Joshua Plymouth
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I've seen "fenceposts" that were actually wire mesh cylinders filled with rocks. They look handy for places where the ground is too solid to drive a post into. Just make sure to build them wide enough for the height you need, I've seen enough that tipped or sagged too much to be useful. But the ones with the right ratio looked like they could stand for 100 years!

Also, depending on your area, there's a way to make stone posts. I can't remember the name of the type of stone, and I can't find the article, but in one of the K states there's a type of stone that is so soft when first uncovered, you can cut it with a knife. But after it's exposed, it reacts with oxygen and turns solid as concrete. Pioneers used to carve up long pieces to use as fenceposts.



I live in Appalachia, and there is a whole lot of sandstone all over. I have never heard of rocks that can be carved with a knife, however I wonder how you could carve it in a place without oxygen.. I would love finding something like that. I really like the idea of wire and rock fencing, everything I have ever seen is just entire walls built like that and not posts. I am curious to see what you have.
 
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Arthur Angaran wrote:Luckily the property that I am working on already has existing barbed wire and woven wire fence from 30 years ago. the wooden posts are all rotted though.



Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I've seen "fenceposts" that were actually wire mesh cylinders filled with rocks. They look handy for places where the ground is too solid to drive a post into. Just make sure to build them wide enough for the height you need, I've seen enough that tipped or sagged too much to be useful. But the ones with the right ratio looked like they could stand for 100 years!



They're called gabian, and often used for avalanche and erosion control in road construction.  You might like the look of  "stone gabian towers"  since you already have wire fencing, dirt, (and maybe stone?) and ranch equipment to move it.



 
D Nikolls
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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Joshua Plymouth wrote:

D Nikolls wrote:Consider much wider post spacing, with heavy bracing, and increase wire tension as required; crudely trimmed sticks secured to fence between posts can help with wire spacing and support some of the weight. A top wire that is thicker or in better shape can help support lower wires..

If you can scrounge old cable or heavy wire, you can run a top cable to hold up woven fence over long runs; I have a removable ~hundred foot run of 7ft plastic deer fencing supported by an old winch cable and tensioned with a 3300lb WLL ratchet strap... wire would be more demanding, but if the materials are free...



I am really curious to see this in action, what materials can you provide me with? All of my life I have always seen cattle fencing with posts every 8-12 feet. max of 15, and even that was pushing it. I always heard it was because of the weight of the wire and that cattle would push it and bend it, but I have some places in my land where it is a straight stretch of land for 1,000 ft, and if somehow i could reduce the number of posts throughout that, it would save my life.




I have personally done extended spacing with electric for hogs(easy, but not that useful here...), and with mesh for deer. So far, it seems like I can do 15ft intervals easily using T-posts, as long as the corners and occasional braces are Solid and the fence is tight.

I badly bent a 2" steel pipe while tensioning a 300ft run of 6ft tall mesh using the tractor; there is a *lot* of force required. I intend to tension at the 165ft splice points, going forward... connecting two runs and tensioning them together turned out to be more hassle than the time saved warrants.


I hope to keep cattle inside my deer fencing, but they will be grazed inside mobile polywire paddocks, and there will be electric run on the inside of the deer fence for backup. The HD t-posts are definitely not HD enough to withstand a cow scratching her butt on them!




Cattle and non-electric fence may well be a different story.. It will be some time before I am near the farm that I was thinking of when I wrote the previous post, and I am not sure what their intervals are. And, when I talked to my friends there, they pointed out the previous owner was sometimes a frugal genius, and sometimes cheap to the point of stupidity...

They've had 6-14 head on it for a few years without issues, but... super docile animals, and they don't do any sort of intensive management, and have lots of space for the herd size. IE, very minimal pressure on the fence.

And, as your other post suggests, your wire may not be up to the extended intervals anyhow... nobody seems to know if the builder used fancy high tensile in the above setup. So, whether it is worth saving on posts if you need new wire is a whole nother question...


I'll get what add'l info I can, when I make it to my friends place again... but, pandemic and distance..
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