Fence Up!

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This is cause for celebrating on HTF!  The fence is finally up.

Hooray- Hooray!

I still need to paint everything- including the artwork on the gate (which I am looking forward to)- but the wire stringing is done and no more t-post driving.

How did we do it?

I’ve assisted on fencing projects and so I had knowledge to draw upon and Dave is just plain talented on building anything!  We also got input and suggestions from my dad who knows quite a bit about fencing.  Plus, as I do prior to any new project, I did research.   This preliminary work yielded the following conclusion:  as in the saying, “there is more than one way to skin a cat”  – the same holds true for fencing.

Here’s the steps and methods Dave & I used for the Garden Fence:

  • fence5ts We scoped out the area we wanted to enclose.  Using stakes, a really long tape measure, and string we laid out where the fence would be;  took notes on measurements in order to generate a materials list.
  • I researched all the local suppliers for materials.  Took notes on the prices of all potentials.
  • We discussed various materials based on the purpose of the fence: protecting the garden bounty from wildlife and chickens.
  • We concluded an 8 foot fence was needed.
  • Galvanized wire mesh would be strung between heavy duty corners and t-posts.
  • The wire comes in 8 foot tall rolls, however we realized some savings by purchasing twice what we needed of 4 foot tall mesh.  This was run once on the bottom level and again on the top resulting in 8 feet.
  • The mesh is commonly used for confining goats.  Different options exists on stay spacing…we used material with 12″ stays.  (Stays are the vertical runs of wire in the mesh- this varies).
  • The mesh has smaller/narrower rectangles at the bottom which get larger toward the top.  This can be seen in the pictures.  The smaller openings at the bottom are what keep fat chickens from going through the fence.
  • All materials were purchased and delivered:  a 660 foot roll of wire, 10 foot tall t-posts, rebar, cement, and 120 feet of 2 3/4 inch steel pipe.

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  • I dug the holes for the corner posts using 2 types of “manual” post hole diggers.  Hard work…but our soils are not rocky thank goodness.
  • Three of the corners required 3 holes each, while the corner with the gate got 4 holes.  I dug them as deep as I could…all were over 3 feet below grade.
  • Dave constructed the corner posts and the gate from the pipe and re bar.   Our corner posts are a tepee configuration- diagonal bracing on each side  of the middle post to increase the strength.  He welded re bar on the bottom of the pipe to lengthen the portion being concreted into the ground.
  • When the corner posts and gate were completed we carried them to the holes and dropped them in.

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  • Next was mixing the concrete.  You can save some work by buying the ready-mix bags.  Because we have an abundant supply of sand and gravel on HTF we used unmixed bags of cement.  (these must be mixed with gravel/sand while the ready-mix only requires the addition of water.  We saved $ by going with unmixed cement.)  Our batches were mixed in a wheelbarrow.
  • We used a level and made sure the corner posts were straight up and down and eyeballed them to line them up with one another as close as possible.
  • Then we shoveled the concrete into the holes.  We were told that you need not go all the way to ground level with the concrete….but we did anyway.  Figured the extra weight would add strength.
  • Altogehter we figure about 1 yard of concrete was used.
  • It is a good idea to give your concrete time to set-up and cure.  We waited a week before putting the weight of the wire on the corners.
  • After concreting the corners and gate into place it was time for t-post driving.
  • We ran string between the corners to get a straight line, then calculated the even spacing of the t-posts.
  • The t-posts were 10 footers….Dave stood on a ladder and used a hand-held t-post driver, pounding them 2 feet into the ground.  A bubble level helped us to ensure they were straight.
  • Sometimes during the driving, the posts will “wander” a bit.  Giving them a tweak;  slightly bending them by hand once they are in the ground works to get them back to straight and in line.
  • Next stretching and hanging the wire.
  • We rolled out the lengths of wire needed for each side of the fence in our yard;  cut it;  loosely rolled it back up, and carried to the corner posts;  unrolled it along the line of t-posts.
  • Dave attached first one end of the wire to the corner pipe.  Then a homemade wire stretcher was placed at the other end to get the wire taunt.  (this consists of 2 boards with holes drilled through it.  The wire is sandwiched between the boards which are held together using bolts, washers, and nuts.  A come-along is attached between the corner post and the “stetcher” to tighten.  Don’t OVER DO IT.)

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Stretcher

Stretcher

  • Dave used ratcheting straps to take up the slack of the wire between the stretcher and the corner & wrapped the wire to the post.
  • Meanwhile, I attached the fence to the t-posts using pre-bent clips that came with the t-posts.
  • It was necessary to repeat this twice for each side of the fence since we used two 4 foot sections of wire instead of one 8 foot piece, but it was worth it for the money saved.
  • Finally everything was UP!
  • We will cap our corner posts….probably using concrete.

I will post pictures of the gate once I complete the paint job.

SOOOOOO glad it is done.   Mission accomplished:  garden investment protected by sturdy and good looking fence!

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