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His “Forever Fence Posts” Have Concrete Footings
Eric Little’s motivation for designing and building his hybrid concrete and wood fence posts is simple. He only wants to build the fence once.
    “I’ve seen so many rotten fence posts so I don’t want to ever have to rebuild. I call these my forever fence posts,” says the Freeland, Wash., resident. So far, the custom homebuilder has made and “planted” about 30 of the posts in his free time. He estimates each post costs about $12 and that it will take another 100 posts to complete the fencing on his family’s 10-acre farm.
    Little mixed concrete with wood for a couple of reasons. Concrete won’t rot in the ground, but an 8-ft. post would be extremely heavy and challenging to attach wooden boards to.

    He made molds for the concrete end of the post out of 2 by 6’s cut to size, lined with plywood with a laminate finish to create smooth-surfaced 4 3/4-in. square posts. The concrete portion of the post is 4 ft. long with the top foot formed to create a “half-lap.” Little inserts a short piece of 1/2-in. dia. PEX tubing part way up the lap to later insert a bolt and also embeds two 30-penny spikes at the top of the concrete to secure it to the half-lap on the wood post.
Little mixes high strength concrete and uses pea gravel small enough to fill the narrow end of the form.
    He and his father cut the posts and 2 by 6 fence boards on their sawmill out of Douglas fir. The bottom 14 in. of the posts are soaked in preservative for added protection against rotting. The wood part of the post is usually about 5 in. above ground with about 32 in. of the concrete post buried.
    Each post weighs about 100 lbs., so Little uses a tractor to lower it into the posthole that is then filled with crushed rock and soil that’s tamped well.
    Besides planting forever posts (11 ft. apart), Little wants the fence boards to last a long time. He cuts 1/8-in. rings out of 1-in. pvc pipe and uses them for spacers behind the boards so water runs down instead of collecting and rotting the boards. He finishes the fence with high quality oil primer and two coats of paint.
    “I’m doing this fence partly for aesthetic reasons. I wanted a traditional three-board fence,” Little explains.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eric Little, 1971 Amanda Ln., Freeland, Wash. 98249 (ph 360 730-4799; ericwane@gmail.com).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #2