I Win Again

Not without a hell of a fight first though.

Rotten sumbitch, literally.

There is a rotten fence post in the middle of that slab of concrete.

As you can see, I found the drain pipe for the gutters the hard way.

Fucking rocks everywhere and some of them would give a full grown Russet Potato a complex so I had to use a pointed wrecking bar to pry and dig with.

I’ll deal with that shit after I get a new post up.

As you can also see, Daddy wasn’t fucking around here. I went to Harbor Freight and got their Middle Grade Roto Hammer and some Masonry bits.

Drill a row of holes, smack it with a sledge hammer a few times and pull the chunks out.

Thank God the fucking thing wasn’t three feet deep.

That’s about the point I was at when the Old Guy across the street decided I needed some supervision.

I had already been texting Irish pictures of my progress.

It’s all good, keeps me from killing myself because I have a tendency to go Balls Out until I overdo it when I am determined that something ain’t gonna win.

So I took a break and shot the shit with the neighbor for a bit and then went back at it while he did the color commentary.

Tha’s right.

I win bitch.

Round two is tomorrow.

Now I gotta go find the Ibuprofen.

24 thoughts on “I Win Again

  1. I did the same thing a couple years back. If you bandsaw that stump of a fencepost in half, you’ll likely find pristine cedar in the middle of it. It’s the combo of air and moisture that rots the stuff. It can be sopping wet, but if air can’t get to it, it’ll last near forever. Cedar mining is a real thing where they yard long submerged logs off the bottom of mill ponds. Scrape a couple inches of muck off the outside and they sometimes find clear grain old growth timber that is now worth a fortune.

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    • They do that in Lake Michigan, I believe… some big lake up North, anyway. They make a small fortune off of each log, they are perfectly preserved in the cold anerobic conditions at the bottom of the lake. Have to go a few hundred feet down, IIRC.

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  2. I’ve got a much easier way to accomplish the same thing my friend. And I just did 10 rotten posts last weekend. Get a long 1″ auger bit about 16-18 inches long chucked into a good half inch drill. I usually hit the four corners of the rotten post first then drill as much more as I can before using a shop vac to clear the debris. Repeat this as needed. I also use a 2′ long Snap On pry bar with the angled chisel like tip. An old fashioned crow bar will do as well. A small maul or framing hammer is helpful in conjunction with the pry/crow bar. It takes maybe 10-20 minutes of fiddle fucking around with drilling, prying and vacuuming to clear 10-12″ of rotten wood out. No need to get it all.

    Next, go get one of these: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Simpson-Strong-Tie-4-in-x-4-in-G90-Galvanized-Wood-to-Concrete-Cast-in-Place-Base/1002709612 or something similar and a small bag of quikcrete. I can do 4-5 post brackets with an 80lb bag so a 60lb bag should do 2-3.

    The only hard part is compressing the bottom of that bracket a bit to fit snugly into the now cleared out void where the post was. I use a heavy (old) vise with a cheater bar on the handle. You could also cut about a half inch wide piece of steel from the bottom center of the bracket. This will make it a bit floppy but there are ways to mitigate that. You’ll need to bolts, two washers and two nuts anyway so just snag four extra nuts and you can use the nuts/bolts to hold the top of the bracket together in a normal position. Then the bottom of the bracket will be stable and fit very easily into the square hole.

    Once that’s done mix up your concrete but not too wet. You’ll also need a small hammer and a small garden shovel. Shovel a couple of scoops into the bottom of the hole then insert your bracket but hold it up a a bit if needed to shovel concrete into the hole below. Once the hole is filled you want to use the hammer to tap the bracket from all directions. The goal here is to *vibrate* rather than strike the bracket. Vibration will allow air out of the concrete, allowing it to settle tightly around the bracket parts below as well as into the square hole. Take care to avoid moving the bracket as much as possible while doing this. Now just leave it for at least 24 hours. Two days is better. Do not be tempted to “test” if the bracket is set. Trust me on this.

    In most cases I’m able to reuse the rotted off post as the bracket base plate ends up being an inch or two above where the post rotted. Simply trim the bottom off as desired then drill and bolt into place. I’ve even used a good outdoor glue to add a few inches to a too short post. No issues after 20 years. There’s even a little square hole between the bolt holes where you can drive a deck screw to loosely hold it in place while you drill for the bolt holes. Marking the post and using a drill press would work too. Use a four foot level to plumb the post while tightening the nuts. You may need to re-tighten every year or three.

    I started doing this twenty years ago as posts rotted or broke. I’ve had 100mph winds break old posts since then but those repaired in the manner above held tight. Been using the same 1″ auger bit for twenty years too. Just sharpen as needed. Also be sure to clean out the shop vac when done because that wood will be wet and it will mold/mildew in there. After that you’ll never get that smell out of your shop vac.

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  3. Puh-leeeeze! I live in a region of southern New England that is a huge deposit of glacier rubble left behind when the last 2 mile thick ice sheets retreated northward 12,000 years ago, and also exposed lots of ledge. A hole for anything larger than 12″ x 12″ x 12″ requires nothing less than an excavator with a rock claw at best, A diamond bit core-bore machine, or the local blasting company and their expertise. I have hand dug some smaller ones. It required more than a day’s labor, pry bars, a “come-along” to pull moveable rocks out of the hole, or a rented jackhammer to break them up in place.

    When the contractor that built my house did the excavating, he used a very large Volvo excavator, and pulled out boulders that were the size and weight of the average compact car. They are placed not too far from where they were pulled out. The lower part of the driveway required blasting. Other parts of the state do not have the rubble problem. A friend of mine that lives about 28 miles away fenced in his entire yard by digging the fence posts by hand in like 3 weekends.

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  4. BTDT, but…I drill a line of holes and use feathers and wedges to split the concrete along the line, followed by a large chisel to widen the crack. Once split into quarters and the cracks widened it’s sometimes possible to pull the post piece out IF there’s solid wood in the center that the coarse threads on a large (1″ diameter) lag bolt will dig into well enough. IF the post piece can be removed the fractured concrete can be broken further using the square hole as a “relief zone” for movement of the fractured concrete.

    FYI, if you have a compressor and an air hammer, splitting the concrete into smaller chunks with a chisel bit becomes child’s play. Harbor Freight has a 3-chisel set for <$20 that works well.

    Something I've thought about is a length of pipe – about 1.5" diameter – with a way to extend a pair of tabs at the bottom by rotating a shaft in the center of the pipe. Drill a hole in the broken post, insert the pipe until it extends below the end of the post, extend the tabs, pull the pipe out with the post. I seem to recall I've seen something like that somewhere – might have been a tool to recover broken oil or water well drilling bits. And it might be possible to use compressed air to force the tabs out rather than a screw or screw/wedge mechanism.

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  5. Ibuprofen was my first thought just from the picture before reading. BTDT for the last 2 days putting in watering systems and planting in the garden. Getting old sucks but I still refuse to grow up. Last years 600 feet of vynl fencing included some of your project and lots of ibuprofen.

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  6. I had two fenceposts of my neighbors to replace. The bum couldn’t give a shit about his fence falling down. They literally rotted at the base and were no longer connected to the ground. Turns out, that was the second fence installed. The first was a chain link fence that they simply cut the pipe off at the ground.

    I beat myself stupid trying to remove the concrete, using a digging bar, jack, hammer drill, and my air chisel. Then I got smart. I went to home despot and for a few bucks rented an electric jackhammer with a carbide bit. Sliced though the concrete like butter. Took maybe an hour to bust up the chunks and toss them in the wheelbarrow.

    So a jackhammer will fix your problem fast. No need for ibuprofen. I think I spent $40 on it. Worth.Every.Penny.

    https://inspectedbypat.com/2019/06/14/that-was-one-big-assed-storm/

    Not a few months later we had a huge storm that knocked down every bit of that fence, except the section with my new posts, standing straight as ever. He got his insurance money and found a troupe of monkeys to build a new one. It looks like it was built by apes. Apes on the take.

    https://inspectedbypat.com/2019/07/30/fundamentals-part-one/

    They found the same thing I did DoublePlus Concrete. I told them how I did it, They ignored it, gave up in some spots and simply put the new metal posts in the old square holes. It looked bad when they did it.

    Now, it’s 10 times worse. He has at least two posts that there’s nothing holding them in. I doubt they are very far sunk, since they had no post hammer when they put them in (FFS even I bought one of those and fuck if I was lending them any more tools). It’s untreated pine, which has taken an absolute battering in the Texas sun. There are finger wide gaps between the slats from shrinking and warping pine.

    Big storm coming tonight. First of the season. I give it 50-50 it’s still standing tomorrow.

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  7. It would appear that I’m not the only one that knows how to replace rotted square fenceposts by drilling out the old ones, then slamming in new treated 4X4’s.
    Putting in new fence posts (which I did when I got tired of the neighbor) I use the Oz-Post system. The Spokane Valley has LOTS of glacial leftover rocks, so I also rented an electric jackhammer and slammed them in. Had to redo a couple that twisted badly!

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    • The Old Guy across the street is moving some of his fence out and widening the gate opening. He is using those.
      At $35 each I’m not so sure it wouldn’t be about the same as a damn pressure treated 4X4 anymore.
      I have a wooden gate and it’s freaking heavy, I would have to redo the hinges and everything to use one of those, basically build a new gate. I’m just going to throw a 4X4 back in the hole and remount the existing gate. This is a rental and I am only doing this so I don’t have to deal with the rental management outfit.

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  8. CO2 cartridge, filled with black powder (or flash powder…your choice if you have it) and 6″ of cannon fuse. Drill a hole in the center as far as you can, drop it in, light it and clean up the rubble.
    Packed tightly, it’ll powder a 6×6 and 4″ of concrete on either side.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bentonite. Kitty litter for the most part. Floor sweep, just look for ‘bentonite’ on the label, grind it in a food processor or mortar/pestle and drive it in. Soak it, and like watching grass grow or paint dry….wait.

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