Emergency Fence Repair

My old blog service deleted my account.  I guess the images and discussion of agriculture and riding horses was just too intense for them.

I hope to find copies of the articles I had posted and post them here.

Anyhow here is a new article written last night.

Emergency Fence Repair


On the evening of 12/7/2010 we had thunderstorms.  We had showers all day but they were light and as is normally the case the real storms wait until I arrive home to do the chores.

Such was the case last night.  When I arrived home the rain turned into a deluge.  Fortunately right now most of my feeding is under roof either in the barn or the stable.  So I did not get real wet, but the rain was coming down and by the time I got back to the house the wind was howling.  We even had thunder and lightning.  The power blinked off and on a few times with the attendant worries.  But it never stayed off long.  The wind was fearsome.  On the morning news the reports were that winds were clocked in excess of 70 miles per hour.  75 mph is the level of Category 1 hurricane winds.  Eventually the storm passed and things calmed down and our power was still on so I went to sleep on the sofa in front of the idiot box as is my custom. 

About 10:30 pm Toby woke me as it was time for the dogs to make their last trip outdoors for the night.  Whichever one has to go will wake me, and we go out ,and then I put some wood in the stove and we go to bed.  As I stood on the porch last night waiting for them to take care of business, I noticed something amiss.  The old Persimmon tree was down. 

This old persimmon tree was real old.  It had quit fruiting years ago and two years ago it died.  It has served as a corner post for the fence since about 1987.  I did not have anything nailed to it but I had taken sections of black plastic water pipe and run high tensile  wire thru them and around the tree and it had been a steadfast corner for many years.

But the wind had taken it down and with it the fence.  Horses are in that lot and I was pretty sure they would not cross the electric fence even if it was down, so I went on to bed.  Had there been cows with access to it I would have needed to go out and fix it last night as cows love to escape and frolic and go play in the road or raid the feed stores in the barn and crap on everything.  Once a horse learns where a fence is they normally will honor it for a good while even if it is down.  Especially an electric fence.

As I went to bed, I was thinking about how to best make the repairs once I got the tree cut up and off the fence.

The corner was really where it needed to be and there was little room to move it without having to reconfigure the entire section of fence.  It was going to be difficult to build a brace assembly there because digging thru the stump and roots of the old tree would be gruesome work.  Just before dozing off I hit upon an idea of building something possibly temporary that might work.  I decided to put in a corner post and brace it with floating braces on both sides of the turn.

Off to lala land until Toby woke me again at about 6:00 am.  I put the dogs out and noticed that the horses were where they were supposed to be and that no one had cleaned up the mess during the night. 

After a quick breakfast, and a call to the boss to explain my absence (boss was stuck at home with trees down across her  driveway and no power) , I began gathering tools and materials and inventorying what I had available and figuring out if I had to go buy stuff, or if I had materials to make do.   After gathering and thinking I revised my plan.  I didn’t have enough 4X4 treated posts.  But I did have some steel posts.

The fence is a three wire high tensile electric fence and it is only 38 inches tall.  I decided to use the steel post as the corner, use the two treated 4X4s as the braces and I found a piece of treated 2X6 for the floats and dug up a couple of wire ratchets, one used and one new and a piece of scrap two inch PVC pipe.

  1.  I cut the tree off of the fence and cut it into fire wood size slices.  Now I have some more splitting to do.
  2. Loosen the pressure on the fence by releasing the ratchets.
  3. I went to the outside edge of the stump hole and drove the steel post into the ground until I had a little less than four feet sticking up.
  4.  I slid the scrap piece of PVC down over the steel post as an insulator for the fence and left about six inches of the post sticking up above the PVC to apply the braces.
  5. Put the wire over the new post to get it on the correct side and in the correct order.
  6. Cut two 24 inch long pieces from the 2X6 for the floats.
  7. Trial positioned the 4×4 braces.
  8. Placed the floats along side the braces on the ground and marked the ground line to cut the brace post to fit somewhat flat on the float.
  9. Trimmed the 4x4s where I had marked.
  10. Positioned the floats on the trimmed post and lagged them together with a 3/8 x 3 inch lag screw in each one.
  11. Drilled a hole about three or four inches from each end of each 4×4.
  12. Stuck some scrap pieces of insultube in the holes.
  13. Ran the tightening wire and added a ratchet to each one.
  14. Tightened the ratchets to the braces
  15. Ran a safety wire to keep the braces from sliding off the steel post
  16. Tightened the fence ratchets.( each wire is about 200 lbs tension)
  17. Cleaned up my tools and was so proud of my fix that I decided to take some photos of it and share with the world.   It took me longer to gather tools and materials together than it did to make the repair.

The only thing I did not have that I would like to have used is some high tensile wire for the brace tensioners.  I did not have any and used regular 14 gauge galvanized fence wire.  I probably won’t last more than ten years but it will be easy enough to replace if I am still living.

Photos below.

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