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Miles and miles of free fencing.

 
master pollinator
Posts: 8712
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
714
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Today,  I salvaged about 200 feet of seven foot tall chain link fence.  The galvanizing is almost completely worn off some areas,  but it's a thick gauge and should last for years. Sometimes, a perfectly good fence needs to come down at the wire is not rusty.

I got it from the region's largest fence building company. They usually scrap the fencing that they take down. They were reusing the posts on this job, so I just got the wire and the top rail.

In good conditions, it's possible to salvage about 50 feet of this heavy material per hour.  That includes cutting the wire free from the posts, cutting it to manageable length,  pulling all of the organic material from the fence and rolling it up.

I'm going to keep working with them until I get all of the fencing that I need for the farm. 

This opportunity exists in most metropolitan areas and even in some small towns. A person could get more than enough firewood,  building wood,  and fencing, by clearing the way for fencing companies. It's a good job for a jack of all trades. It involves tree cutting,  hedge cutting, and general landscaping skills,  along with some rudimentary metalworking skills.

The next time I find myself unemployed for a time,  I will call all of the fencing companies and offer my services.
...... Photos .....
The photo shows about 1/3 of the fencing. Because it's quite heavy,  I cut it in 30 foot sections.

I use the antifreeze bottle in place of a pylon,  whenever I'm loading my truck where there's vehicle traffic.
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pollinator
Posts: 517
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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A timely subject. My backyard neighbor is planning on replacing our fence (at her expense). She will be paying a guy $1.50/ft to tear down the fence. That price is about half the going rate. He discounts because he salvages what he can to use making things to resell. He usually subcontracts for installers.

I don't know as I have ever seen a chain link fence torn down around here, unless it was to upgrade. Metal lasts forever in this climate, unless it gets salt on it. Exposed wood turns to styrofoam in fifteen or twenty years because of the extremes in temperature and humidity.
 
gardener
Posts: 2483
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Great find! In my experience top rail is stronger than posts anyway .
 
Dale Hodgins
master pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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The toprail is super thick and it has a good layer of zinc on it still. I wonder how difficult it would be to galvanize the wire. It's a little rusty.

I'm trying to come up with other uses for this product. One of them would be to use it to hold stone onto the side of a building. I have a steep area where my tenant's ATV is tearing up the ground.  I could put some fencing down and peg it. Then there's the many uses for gabions.
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 517
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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I saw a fence made with welded wire and broken stone. It was like a long skinny gabion. If you line a gabion with geotextile, you can fill it with dirt to make a quick wall. There are rapidly deployable systems (expensive) that are used to make military and emergency shelter. So many options with gabions. Let your imagination run wild.

Are the top rails bendable? If so, you might be able to repurpose them as hoop house frames.

Could you treat the chain link in an acid bath to remove the rust? You may just want to paint over it and hope for the best.
 
Dale Hodgins
master pollinator
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The toprail is not easily bent.

There was a lot of monkeying around with the fence.

By the time I got everything rolled up and packed, I had eight hours into 300 feet of fence. Judging from how the truck is sitting, I'm guessing that I have 1200 pounds of wire and rails.

It was a good test run and I've determined that it wouldn't be worth doing the sort of job just for the fencing.

The owner of the lumberyard came out and asked if it was worth it. I told him probably not, but it was a good test. He's a guy who I've known for several years. He informed me that the fence company had knocked off a couple hundred because I was tearing down the old one. Then he invited me into the store to pick out $200.00 worth of free tools. He's a Makita dealer. Brian is an alright guy.

  Here is my new cordless reciprocating saw.

Some of the fence is quite rusty and some has plenty of galvanizing left.

I got a good heavy load on.
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Dale Hodgins
master pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Fencing can be pinned directly to the ground when the area is steep and there are loose rocks in danger of tumbling down. This is done along highway embankments.

The same, could be done when there is a house at the bottom of a revine or if there is some other thing that you don't want damaged by bouncing rocks.

The fencing could be used to hold back organic materials on eroded slopes.  The wire could eventually be removed, or it could be allowed to rust into the soil after plants take over. Many areas need iron.
..................
These rolls are quite heavy,  so I slide them out of the back of the truck and place one end on the pile, and then lift the other end and swing at around. I roll each one onto this board and then slide them out. I used the same board when putting them into the vehicle.
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Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Union Pacific was replacing all their phone poles and we got quite a few of the old ones for free, delivered to our house. They usually have to pay to have the taken at a dump but since we allowed them to just dump them on our property, all free. Better than free actually since we've been able to scavage a fair amount of copper, scrap metal and those insulator things that sell fairly well on Ebay. The plan is to cut them into lengths we can use as fence poles, poles for various structures, etc. Lots of good building material there!!!
 
Dale Hodgins
master pollinator
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I'm trying to come up with as many uses for this fencing as possible, since it appears there's an endless supply.

My soil is about 15% rock. The easiest way for me to gather rock,  is to dump it through a big sifter that is laid against a hugelkultur mound with the excavator and gather the rock that rolls to the bottom.

The next small building that I construct will be built using gabions made from the wire and rocks.

I'm using one building material to gather the other and getting sifted soil onto the hugelkultur in the process.

Stacking functions,  soil and rock.
 
Posts: 36
Location: Pine, Colorado
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Any updates on your gabions Dale? I like the idea of using geotextile and just filling with dirt, how do you think this might hold up long term in a semi arid environment? Perhaps planting into the dirt as well for some strength from some perennial roots?
 
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Dale Hodgins wrote:The toprail is super thick and it has a good layer of zinc on it still. I wonder how difficult it would be to galvanize the wire. It's a little rusty.



From my old life as an environmental lawyer I know that galvanizing is a messy process that creates a lot of difficult waste -- liquid chemicals laden with zinc and (depending on your formula and your anodes and cathodes) other heavy metals.  Not saying this is a reason not to do it, just saying it's a potential impediment. [Editing to say: actually I was thinking of electroplating when I wrote this; the process of electrically depositing one metal on another, as when renewing the chrome on an old rusty bumper by dipping it in a vat of metal-charged acid and running a current through it. Galvanizing is, I think, a hot dip process where the steel is actually dipped in a molten alloy of zinc and other metals. Which is not easy to do on a fencing scale, and is somewhat industrially hazardous given that the fumes boiling off your vat of molten metal as you submerge old rusty fencing in it are nothing you'll want to breathe.]

As a practical matter I've found that when recycling old rusty chain link, it can be worth brush painting it with a high quality silver-colored exterior enamel paint.  Something functionally similar to Krylon/Rustoleum -- a paint engineered to stick to and stabilize rust.  It's not cheap but the surface area of chain link fence wires that you need to coat is small, so a little goes a long way. The result looks really nice, especially from observation distances of more than ten feet away, and it greatly extends the life of the old fencing.
 
gardener
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I’m salivating just looking at it. I am super sick of mending crummy barbed wire as a full time job on the ranch, but can’t afford to replace the fences, so have just been wiring up scrounged cattle panels, old gates, v-mesh or chain link over the top of the breaks where possible, which works well, but they are in high demand around here and it’s hard to get first crack. I have also (when caught without better materials) created weirdly tied and woven sections with the newfangled plastic string they use on square bales instead of the old twine; it’s ugly but works surprisingly well and lasts quite a while. Alas, if the cows eat it with the hay they often die.
 
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