Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Fence Maintenance

with 6 comments

I’ve tried a number of methods in dealing with fence posts that get pushed up by the freezing and thawing cycles that occur in our location. Our land has areas where the level of ground water sits just below the surface. It will drop during extended drought, but otherwise it doesn’t take much digging to reach moisture.

Every time it freezes, the water expands and the pressure slowly but surely pushes fence posts toward the sky.

Upon consultation with the owner of the company that originally installed our fencing, I learned that they would likely use a skid-steer tractor and press down with the hydraulic bucket. He suggested I save their time and my money and use the same method with my diesel tractor.

So, I did, and was amazed at how easily that pushed posts down. Almost too easy. It requires painstaking control and mental focus to avoid wreaking total havoc by overtaxing the limits of the posts or cross planks. One wrong slip and I risk doing much more damage than improvement.

There is one other complication with that method that pretty much stops me from even driving up to the fence. The ground in many of the areas of pushed up posts is so wet that my big tractor would sink into the mud and create an even messier problem to be solved.

That led me to desperately trying to simplify the task by just pounding down on the most obvious posts that had pushed up. Several different techniques to protect the post from damage and get the right angle and leverage all brought minimal results.

Yesterday spawned a new insight. I had a hand tool with a square steel pad for tamping soil that I figured would work to pound the top of the posts without damaging them. I also thought it wouldn’t hurt to add my 170 pounds of pressure to stand on a plank when slamming down on the top of a post.



The thing is, I couldn’t feel if it was doing any good. I enlisted Cyndie’s help to watch for progress, which ended up providing great encouragement when she would report how much it was working.

I was thrilled. Right up to the point the steel tamper began to shatter under the mis-use. I tried to carry on, but the loss of weight in the tool seemed to diminish progress. Another tool was needed. We don’t have a specific sledge hammer, but I contemplated rigging something to use the wood splitting maul for the purpose.

That’s when the next inspiration struck. I could modify the broken tamper to make it the handle of a weighty block of wood that would match the fence posts I was pounding.


Look out fence posts. Here I come.



6 Responses

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  1. Update…did it work?
    You brought back memories to the time I helped install about 400 feet of vinyl fencing. Yes…the two man auger was quite the tool…especially being that it was two women working it!! 😉


    April 4, 2021 at 10:58 am

    • Oh, I am impressed with your fencing accomplishment! Way to go! Yes, the modified pounder worked great! It outlasted my grip and arm strength, but we improved the worst section of paddock fence almost good as new!


      April 4, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      • Yayy!! Happy it worked. After reading this post I thought that you might be related to MacGyver! 🙂


        April 4, 2021 at 9:18 pm

      • 🙂 ❤


        April 4, 2021 at 9:22 pm

  2. You are one creative guy and a hard working one also. Good for you but take time out to rest!!!!!!!


    April 3, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    • Thanks! My fatigue after gripping the pounder with my hands and the fence planks with my legs ulimately forced me to take time out. I have learned to pace myself as advancing years are beginning to erode my strength and stamina.


      April 4, 2021 at 8:45 pm

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