Did you know that a pressure treated 4×4 fence post can warp after it has been installed? Well, it can. The real question is, what do I do now? Welcome to The Hippie Geeks! If you enjoy this video, be sure to subscribe and hit the bell notification icon to catch all our new videos!
It is hard to see from this angle, but after we put in this section of fence last year, this post started warping. This post right here is bending towards the bees. Not just a little, it has pulled itself nearly six inches out of line from the rest of the posts. Luckily, I sunk the post four feet from the corner post, and a little under eight feet from the post on the left. The plan here is to cut the offending post off at ground level, and then dig another hole a foot and a half over. That way I can re-use the stringers on the left side by cutting them down, and I will only need new stringers on the right side to connect them to the corner post.
I had to think hard about how I wanted to dig this post hole. I only need to dig a single hole, which I could do by hand in a few hours. However, you can rent the powered auger I used last year for about $50 for four hours. I am cheap, and not afraid to do manual labor, but my time on the weekends is incredibly valuable to me. I work around fifty hours a week at my day job, so I want to make the best out of the time I do have when I am home. With that in mind, we ran to Home Depot and grabbed the auger.
It was noon when we signed the agreement, and the timer was ticking down. We walked out the door, and twenty minutes later I was home. The first thing to do was to pull down the fence boards and stringers for the sections of fence on either side of the post. I had used ceramic coated screws, and everything had only been together for about eight months, so it came apart easily. First the boards all the way across, and then the stringers.
Now, you may remember a couple of videos ago, we installed our new bees into the hive that is right next to the fence line. Bees can get a bit cranky when you are making noise near the hive, and specifically when you are physically bumping the hive. These ladies have been pretty chill so far though, so I just hoped for the best and went for it.
I managed to not get stung, and it was time to cut down the offending pole. I pulled back the bark chips that were covering it, grabbed the Sawzall and went to town. Not surprisingly, it didn’t put up much of a fight and was down in a few minutes. Now that it was out of the way, it was time to get the new pole in the ground. I measured from the corner to the next post and left a brick on the ground to give me an idea of what the midpoint was. I then ran a string line between the two poles, to make sure that they would all be inline with each other once the hole was dug.
Speaking of digging, it was time to fire up the auger and make a hole in the ground. I cannot recommend these things enough. Even for a single hole, this makes it so fast and easy to get a post hole ready. It took a few passes with the auger to get it all the way down, as our soil is completely full of clay it binds it up pretty quickly. It is easy enough to set it aside and grab the loose clods by hand to clear the hole. In no time at all the hole was there, and it was time to get the post in.
We had bought a few too many bags of concrete last year, which worked out for this as we already had them laying around. This is the quick setting version that we were using last year, which is important in this case as the fence has to go back up immediately. The neighbors chain link fence does not go the entire length of our fence, and I really don’t want any of the animals getting over there, which would be a real possibility if I had to wait for concrete to dry.
I used a pair of levels on the post and had Lindsay keeping it in the right place while I got the concrete in the hole and kept it wet. Once the hole was filled up with concrete, I left it in place with the levels, and grabbed the string again. As I had already leveled the stringers when I put the fence in last year, all I needed to do to find the right place to put the hangers was by running a string from the bracket on the left post to the bracket on the corner post. That gave me the placement for the brackets on the top, and then the bottom.
I checked the time, and we were blasting thru the project. It was almost two thirty, and I felt pretty good about getting the auger back in time. No time to slow down though, so I moved onto cutting the existing stringers down to fit into the reduced space on the left. Once the bottom one was in, I grabbed one of our new boards and cut it down to size for the bottom one on the right. Then over to the top left, and finally building the new stringers for the top right.
Whew, almost there. I reused the existing boards, and it worked out that everything fit back into place without having to cut any new boards. Once the boards were back up, it was down to cleanup and rearranging the bark chips. By the time it was all assembled and I had picked up my tools, it was three o clock exactly. I cannot overstate how much time you will save using an auger instead of digging post holes by hand.
Now, I got lucky with this one. Because I had used a shorter span near the corner post to help support it, I had the option of just moving the post over a bit. If I had needed to re-use the existing hole for the new post, I am honestly not sure what I would have done. Possibly something like drilling a hole thru the post and then tried to use a jack to pull the entire concrete plug out? Have any of you folks had an experience with that? I am honestly curious what the best option in that scenario would be.
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