So I remembered back to furniture studio, filling worm holes with epoxy to give a smooth surface to a table I was making, and then I had a Eureka moment. What if the ends of your posts were injected with epoxy? Wait, epoxy is petrochemical based, so I found a source that uses natural resin instead. I know it's not as pure and all, adding things not site found - and would take a lot of time to prep each post - but it might actually do a lot of good.
Wood is essentially structured like straw, so that's why the end of a post is so susceptible to rot, as it wicks the moisture up. Resin could be injected at the ends of the posts a few inches (one would have to be very thorough!) and then painted up the outside.
If you are referring to fence post - I try to cut mine at an angle so that the water doesn't sit on them. There is one major drawback though -- no place to sit my ever present coffee cups and wine glasses.
Wooden posts - fence or column - conduct water upward when placed in the natural upright position in which it grew. Reversing the position - small end down, large end up - minimizes moisture conduction.
Due to the abundance of termites in our area - East Africa - we plastic coat the portion of posts to be placed in the ground. We scorch the ground end of a post over a fire - not burn, just scorch. Then we wrap that portion with plastic grocery bags and heat the wrapped end over a fire. If the plastic ignites and burns - too hot. Just want it to melt/shrivel and adhere to the post. Another technique is to heat oil in a cauldron and put chipped plastic in the oil. If the plastic ignites, the oil is too hot. The plastic melts and floats on the oil. Depending on the grade of plastic, you will get a thick liquid or a glob. If liquid, the post end can be dipped into the floating plastic and the plastic adheres. If globs, it can be smeared on the end of the post using a flat spatula-like stick. (For long-term permanent structures, we set the posts in concrete. The plastic treatment is used for long-term temporary. Posts used to last less than a year before termites hit them. They do not bother the plastic lined posts, but have attacked some above ground.)
Caution: There is serious potential for severe burns when melting plastics in hot oil. Make certain the vessel is stable. There is very little fume/toxic gases released by melting plastic but smoke from burning plastic is hazardous. Err on the side of caution, wear a mask.
Epoxy seems way easier than melting plastic in a DIY furnace.
I don't see why it wouldn't work.
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posted 7 years ago
Epoxy is absolutely easier. For me the nearest epoxy is a day's travel and the DIY furnace makes do with what we have, disposing of plastics in a useful manner.
Location: Oakland, CA
posted 7 years ago
shrink-wrapped posts and hot dipped posts is really creative! but it sounds dangerous and toxic too. your post treatments based on building life make sense to me.
anyway, i'd never seen anyone mention injection before, and it just made sense to me. plus if the reason for embedding a log in earth and not concrete is to go all natural, then i got all excited about finding a product that was all natural (resin vs. epoxy) as well.
for another dipping idea, i'm wondering about latex, made from natural rubber...
How about replacing some support posts with something like a metal pipe filled with concrete? This would get rid of some of the risk of rotting columns, and their high strength is well known and documented in building engineering. I know the cost is more than free logs from the forest, but it may be worth it to avoid future problems.
I know it's not as attractive as big logs, but I have used them for supporting framing members/beams in a basement before. (paint can do wonders, or you can box them in with 4 boards to make a simple fake column)
Since this is a well-known construction component primarily used in basement or commercial construction you should be able to get support and components easily. The only downside is you may need to get access to someone who can do welding or steel pipe cutting.
Though I prefer the asthetics of wood to metal pipe, in many parts of the country you can purchase used oil field tubing. 2 7/8" pipe is a good size. It comes in lengths of 29'-33'. Sometimes it is difficult to weld due to magnetism in the pipe, so you have to coil one of your welding leads around the pipe several times to nullify it so the arc will stabilize when welding.
I helped build a pavilion with oil field tubing. We purchased steel plates with rebar welded to the bottom and set them in position in the slab. After the concrete cured, I welded the post upright on top of the plates.
I also welded 770' of fencing made from 2 3/8' oil field tubing.
If you weld, you can build a simple pole trailer for carrying pipe, or you can cut it to length before transporting.
Call the numbers for your local scrap haulers in your area advertising in the paper and tell them you will give them cash for whatever size pipe you are looking for. You will probably be surprised with how quickly they come up with it, and the price should be reasonable. Figure out the weight per foot of what you are looking for and give them .15-.20 per pound for it. They only get .04-.10 per pound for it when they sell, but if you go to the same recycle yard to buy you will pay .40-.50 per pound.
What about mastic or fiberglass? If we are talking epoxy then would these work? If we are talking natural/recyclable then the bag melting idea is very interesting...if not dangerous due to toxic fumes...
Location: Cedar City, UTAH
posted 6 years ago
As for aesthetics, what I did in my basement was simply cover the pipe columns with a simple long box made of wood planks, making a cover for them. It looks better if you cut the edges at a 45 degree angle so the illusion of a large wood post is made.
Location: Oakland, CA
posted 6 years ago
Personally, I totally agree with using cement column footings, but was trying to come up with solutions for those absolutely opposed to it, because I respect their desire to be all natural too.
http://www.graservices.com/products/secureSet/ It's great - there are tables with pole/height, displacement, and pole depth, along with all the MSDS and physical properties so you could even take it to an engineer if you wanted to attempt to permit it.