Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fence Work

We have had some high winds during the last few days and it has hampered us finishing the door projects at Reid and Amy's here in Albuquerque.  So we started on a new project -
reinforcing the fence so it won't blow down again.

That was the main requirement:  secure the fence so it doesn't blow down.  Precision, aesthetics, craftmanship were not in the equation.  Functionality.  And a solution that was easy on the budget.

Instead of rebuilding the fence and starting over, we dug some strategic holes, dropped in some new 4" x 4" posts and repaired a few rotted boards.  Simple enough.

Reid decided to get a two man auger to dig the fence posts which seemed reasonable.

He rented one from Home Depot and we dug a practice hole and
five fence posts holes.  Not surprisingly, the practice hole was 'easy'.

The first real hole was another story.  It was about 5 minutes into digging this hole I decided, "This is young man's work."  But at that point I was committed.  My next main thought is, "This baby is hard to ride.  No matter how hard I tried to muscle it, the thing on my end would not go down or up.
We got it stuck somehow?  This is one massive machine and it was heavy.  Even with two of us.  Turns out we were trying to go through some tree roots.  Once we got the SawsAll out and took care of them things went a lot easier.

By about the second hole we dug I figured out the best thing to do was not to fight this monster, just learn to maneuver it and let it do the work.
By the time we got to the last hole it was working pretty well.  Not easy, but a lot better.
We were trying to dig new holes real close to the 'iffy' posts so we could basically drop in a new post next to the old one and lag bolt them to it.
But first I had to get the hole to the right depth and brace each post.  Then I put a bag of Quick Crete cement into each hole.  I filled with water, stirred it around and let each post settle for 24 hours.
Next day, I raised the fence and started putting in lag bolts to attache the old posts to new posts.
Once I was able to tighten things up and secure the fence to every new post we were almost there.
We also went back and replaced old cross pieces with new 2 x 4s and slats that were in bad shape.
That was our fence project.  On time, under budget and met (and/or) exceeded the customer requirements.  It is not likely to blown down again on a windy day and will last another few years.  It is on their "Yard Landscaping Upgrade Restoration List".

It was fun to get it fixed and get in some exercise.  All in all, the main lesson learned was the right tools make the job easier.  Other include:

- There is no easy way to dig five holes 3 feet deep.  Lots of shovel work.
- Renting the auger for $60 was no bargain (especially on my 61 year old body).  Should have bought a $25 post hole digger for more precision (getting the new holes nearer the old posts) and it would have decreased the shovel work.
- SawsAlls work great to cut tree roots and battery operated hand 'drills' for screws and lag bolts worked great.

Glad that project got done.  Now on to  the next one.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles! Until next time...


  1. The finished job looks even better than just functional. Jim would be completely lost without his Sawsall.

  2. We went with the post hole digger idea many years ago. Won't do that again. There were two other guys, both of whom were bigger than I, and we were getting thrown around like rag dolls. Too many roots. Anytime I need new post holes these days, I use those metal spike thingies that you bolt onto the post, and then set that in concrete. There are a few that I've had in now for over a decade and they've never moved.

  3. Last time I used a post hole digger, my arms wouldn't work the next day, for some strange reason! ;c)

  4. So, I guess we aren't the only ones who have had 'auger' problems!