Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fence project

This week, instead of riding, :-(, I will be working on our 100' run of fence that needs replaced.  Today (Tuesday) the fence supply company dropped off (literally) all the fence materials--stringers, pickets, kicker boards, posts, and 19 bags of 80# concrete.  As I had to move that concrete into the garage myself, I was reminded of how glad I am that I have been weightlifting all winter!  Monkey2 helped with one bag, and I got the other 18.  That was 1,440# of Sakcrete.  It made me glad I enjoy deadlifts.  It made me sorry that last night was a heavy leg and back day for lifting!

Once dropped off, then the Monkeys and I got to shift all the wood and posts, but not the pickets, to the back yard for painting.  This afternoon, I got to paint all but 7 of the stringers.  The remaining 7 will get done tonight.  The kicker boards seem a little damp (pressure treated pine) so I am hoping they will dry some before I have to paint them tomorrow.  The pickets will take the longest, as there are some 350 of them and they need painted on all sides.  I may consider enlisting the Monkeys to help paint the pickets, except for my fear of the painting wars likely to erupt.
By the end of the day DH and I managed to paint all the stringers, and the 16ft long kicker boards. They were easy to paint, as they are planed smooth.  We had everything propped up along the old fence to dry.  We would not be so lucky when it came to the pickets...
Stringers drying.

See that webbing?  It's holding up the old fence!

On day 2, we began painting the 350 pickets.  They are 4"x 72" rough surfaced dog ear pickets.  They are a pain to paint, being rough.  It takes a LOT more paint at $29/gal to cover them properly.  But first, while I took Ranger to the vet for a checkup, vaccination, and microchipping, DH and the Monkeys began moving the pickets to the back yard.  That's when they discovered the pickets were a bit wet from all the rain of late.  So they propped up all 350 of them to dry in the breeze.  About an hour after I got home from the vet, we began to paint.

Pickets and more pickets.
Of course nothing could be simple.  DH spotted on radar, a large line of storms to the west.  We had about 70 pickets painted, drying against the fence, when we had to begin to rick it all back up, and tarp it, to keep it dry from the impending storms.

Day three dawned dry, with rain in the forecast, possibly severe in the late afternoon or evening. After evicting the ant farm that moved from the tarp it had been living in, into the pile of unpainted pickets, we were painting madmen all day long!  Our lovely breeze from yesterday had vanished, and it was humid and warm all day.  It seemed like the pile of unpainted pickets never got any smaller, until just as we ran out of paint, we ran out of pickets to paint!

Much as yesterday, radar shows more storms inbound.  So after a quick run to Sonic for something to eat, it was time to stack everything up again, and cover it all with tarps.  That will keep the stuff dry, so the paint will cure better.

A little chainsaw art!
Tomorrow, Friday, is demolition day for the old fence.  We'll sawzall it into pieces, pull the old posts, re-auger the holes, set the new metal posts with 80# bags of Sakcrete, and if it goes quickly, we will get to put the stringers and kickboards up.
The former fence.

Friday, as the pictures above detail, was demolition day for the old fence.  Taking down the old panels was simple.  Digging out the old rotted-off-in-the-ground fence posts was not.  Some of the posts were barely set in any concrete.  Those came out with minimal effort.  There there were those that I suspect were used to hide pieces of Jimmy Hoffa, there must've been 160# of Sakcrete down at least 3ft.  One of those had it's concrete ball wedged under two other concrete masses that had to remain untouched, as they were anchoring two posts that were not being removed.  That was fun...

After that, it was DH and I running the large two-man auger to dig/redig the post holes.  It was both easy and hard at the same time.  Easy because it had so much power to dig through clay and caliche.  Hard in that it was big and heavy, and managed to 'walk' on us for about 3 holes.   That meant we had to 'keyhole' those holes so the new metal posts would be on the right line.  That was all hand-dug, made harder to do after the sharpshooter shovel broke.  We ended up using a small metal detecting shovel, the Raven by Predator Tools, and a Lesche digging trowel.
Setting the first kicker boards.
By Friday afternoon, we were setting the wood on the posts, leaving the hard slope and it's posts for later Saturday.  Everything was going well, and for the most part, our measurements were close enough.  At dusk, we were just plain beat down.  It's a lot more work than you might think, building fence.
Saturday was when we ran across our biggest measurment error.  One post hole had drifted too far east, meaning the 8ft stringers overhung the brackets by about 4 inches.  It also meant the gap to the next post was in excess of 8ft, longer than our stringers.  After several calls to various hardware stores in search of a fence splice, I realized I would have to make what we needed.  Fortunately I had some aluminum bar stock, a hacksaw, and a drill press!
Voila!  Instant fence splice!
Ready for the pickets!
At last it was time for setting the pickets.  DH ran the screw gun all day long.  The Monkeys alternated as "belly gunners" setting the bottom picket screws so DH didn't have to bend over so far.  I ran the string line, and spaced every picket vertically and horizontally.

The first pickets are on!
Monkey2 - hard working belly gunner.

Shiloh playing Straw Boss.
The dogs were hatin' life these last two days.  For with the fence down, they had go go out on a long line, in their Gentle Leaders to do their business.  Ranger did NOT want to do any business while on a line.  Period.  Eventually, he reached critical mass indoors while we were outside.  Poor guy!  He didn't mean to unload everything in the house.
Our neighbor, with whom we share this run of fence, not only split the expenses with us, but brought us some divinely tasty egg rolls and a case of root beer and Shiner too!  Those were some superb egg rolls! There was so much good stuff,  he had to borrow the big Gorilla Cart to wheel it into the yard for us.
OMG!  It looks like a fence!
Our side of the fence.
Finally, around 6:30pm were were done.  All that remains is to cut and cap the posts, and rebuild our gate.  The gate will keep until next weekend.  I'm ready for a day of doing nothingmore strenuous than a 12oz. curl or two!  Sunday, here I come!
It is!  It is!  It is a fence!


  1. Gosh, that some major bucks y'all spent, plus a lot of backbreaking work. I know, because we've priced that type of fence for one side of the yard. At our age after all our surgeries, we would have to hire someone. You've done good. I'm impressed! Do you rent out? *lol*
    Have a blessed day! ~:)

  2. Wood fencing has gotten so expensive, but it does look beautiful once done. We have been wanting to do some more 3 board fencing in the horse pastures, but we only do small stretches at a time because it's so pricy. You all had a huge project there, but it looks wonderful!


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