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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Few "Odds -N-Ends"

Since today was pretty windy, I decided that I'd just do a little bit of catching up with some small things, and take it easy for the day. There were the normal chores to do, and a couple things to finish up the pasture gate.

The first thing I had on the list was to make a way for the gates to be held closed. I had decided even before I built them, that I would use the old "steel rod in the ground" way to hold them.

This consists of digging a hole about 20" around, and about 30" deep - right under where the two gates come together. I then positioned two pipes to where they'd be under the end of each gate, but flush with the ground. After adding some "rebar" and a little rock, I filled the whole thing back up to ground level with concrete.

A couple of screw eyes and some bent 3/8" rod later, and I have a way to keep the gates closed.

Now, I needed something to keep them OPEN when they were supposed to be. One side is down hill, so it usually stays open, but the other likes to "float" back into the opening. To fix this, I dug into the scrap pile.

It was about 4 years ago that someone gave me two heavy-duty "Torsion Springs" from an overhead door. You know the kind - those "deadly" ones that take special care to install because things can go "south" in a hurry. They were old and rusty, so it was probably a good idea NOT to use them as door springs again.

These things were pretty good sized - about 6 feet long and around 3 1/2" in diameter. About the only way of salvaging them was to cut them from end to end - lengthwise. This left me with a couple hundred "rings" to have laying around.

This morning, I took one of the rings, and a cross chain from a set of truck tire chains, and put them together. It was the PERFECT size to fasten to the back of the gate, and loop around a fence post to hold the gate open.

Holding Back

At any rate, the gate is now complete. Now I need to finish the fence so I can turn the cows loose. They just do NOT like being forced to stay in the barnyard all day.

I also have had a few questions asked of me about Hedge Posts. This wood is an extremely hard wood that makes the best fence posts of anything. They will out last other wood posts by decades. Last week, I had to pull up a couple to make room for the gate.

They one in this photo was "planted" no later then the late 1960's, and possibly earlier then that. That would make it over 40 years in the ground, and still going strong. It's about 6" in diameter, and 8' long.

Hedge Post

It is so hard right now, that it is VERY hard to drive a nail, or even drill into it's hide. Only a good, short, thick, staple can be used to drive into them without bending.

There are several live trees in my pasture - as there are all over this area. Commonly - if the limbs are fairly straight, you can get 10-12 posts from a single tree. A couple of years ago, my neighbor and I cut down a LARGE, and extremely OLD Hedge tree with several good limbs going in all directions from the trunk. We ended up getting over 50 good posts from a SINGLE tree! I have at least 3 more trees close to this size - one of which I can count 40 posts in.

Even if put in the ground "green", they will out live the person who put them in the ground.

Glad to have them around....


  1. Down in South Louisiana they have a Black Locust tree that is similar to the fence posts you are using but the tree is covered with thick sharp thorns, really have to be carefull with the thorns cause if they stick you they cause a fester that is really nasty.

    Crane Man

  2. We have them Locust Trees here, too! I have 16 ply aircraft tires on my tractors to avoid flats. They don't hold up as posts, though. They are used for firewood - if the bugs don't chew them to dust!


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