Over the past few years I've got much better at putting in fence posts. I guess from necessity.
|A rather unflattering picture of myself putting rabbit fencing up in my mothers garden a couple of years ago. The post basher was made by my father.|
The most basic method I use is a two handed post driver. I always start the posts by first using a large iron bar that I work into the soil to make a "pilot" hole. I then tap the post in with a sledge hammer, I won't knock them in all the way with just a sledge hammer as it always seems to wreck the top of the posts.
Once the post is started in the ground I start using the post rammer. Just lift it up and slam it back into the post, not a huge amount of skill needed but it takes a fair bit of strength. After a few hours of putting in posts this way you can see why mechanical methods were invented!
It's still a handy method for putting in posts where machinery can't get to or if the ground is soft. Just be careful if you use one of these, as you never want to lift it higher than the post or it might catch the top as you bring it down and you loose your teeth in the process!
|Using the loader to push the posts in|
The next method we used was the front loader on the tractor. This method is very quick with small to medium diameter posts, but it's difficult to keep them upright. Dad made a simple jig to stop the posts slipping off the tines and in the end it was taking longer to move the tractor to the next point than to put the posts in.
|The dangling ratchet strap serves as a crude depth stop.|
I'm lucky as with my father being a farmer I have access to a lot of kit (and knowledge) that your average smallholder might not, without it all costing a lot of money to buy or hire.
|The big machinery needed to push posts in like that|
The last method we've used is the purpose made post rammer that fits on the back of the tractor. These are hydraulically powered and quite dangerous if you're not paying attention.
We used two different types. Ken, our neighbour, had an old offset one that would knock them in steadily, whilst you stood at the side of the tractor operating the controls and keeping the post upright.
|Ken using his own little tractor and off set post basher. Note the metal ring on a pole to keep the posts upright but also top keep his hands far away from danger.|
The other one we used was a massive rear mounted one where you had to back up to each post. This one was great for knocking in our huge corner and gate posts (old telegraph poles) but it was too violent for the smaller posts, with the plate that they sat into being too big, so when it struck them the posts would move all over the place or break.
|A professional post basher - not as handy to use as we thought.|
Nearly all the posts have been put in now (using all the methods), with just a few left to put in by hand and the wire to go up on about half of it. Fencing can seem a little never ending!
How does everyone else go about putting their fence posts in?