The Fence: Finally Getting Started

So everything's all mapped out --> it's time to get started.

We rented an auger to dig the holes. We had 16 post holes we needed to dig and there was no way we were doing that by hand. We thought a 12" auger would do just the trick.

Enter 5'4" person trying to operate that thing. Holy lord. This is the hole Chris and I were able to dig

Another problem we encountered was that the 12" auger bit was having a hard time getting through the dirt and roots. So we went back to the rental place and rented an 8" bit as well. We figured we'd essentially drill a pilot hole with the 8" one, then come back with the 12" one.

The auger wasn't super powerful, but because I'm too damn short it was INCREDIBLY difficult for me to lift the auger in and out of the hole while it was digging. I couldn't get enough leverage and midway through the second hole we attempted to dig I thought my arms were going to fall off. And Wendy comes in at maybe 1/2" taller so even with THREE of us using it, we just had a really difficult time lifting it high enough.

Enter 5'10" dad coming home from work, "Oh hey dad, have a good day? Yeah? Well, can you come dig 14 1/2 holes with Chris? Thanks." :)

Unfortunately it was too dark to really work much. But we got a few holes dug that first day. The next morning we got up bright and early and dug dug dug away

My dad and Chris would manage the auger and I would come back around and use the shovel or hoe to move away all the dirt as they pulled the auger out from time to time. We marked on the shovel the proper depth for each hole so we didn't have to get the tape measure out each time

We encountered MANY roots (which really made digging and keeping the fence in the correct line incredibly difficult)

We were okay cutting away small roots, but we didn't want to upset any large roots and tried to move around them as best we could

Once all the holes were dug (it took about 15-40 minutes per hole, depending on how difficult the root system made it for us, and keep in mind there were 16 of them in total), it was time to start setting in the posts.

We had a pretty good system down: my dad would mix the concrete, either Chris or I would shovel in the mix, and the other would make sure things remained plumb and level. We got it down to a science by the end of the day

And we made sure to add bracing to keep things from falling out of plumb

The post level was really a godsend. Seriously. If you're building a fence, get one. Amazing. You're able to make sure everything is level and plumb without having to get out a conventional level and move it around to every side. Just rubberband it on and you're good to go

The last post was quite a conundrum. We had a very large root system to deal with so the hole got a bit ridiculous. As a result we needed a lot of concrete, so we added in some rebar to strengthen things up

There was finally visible progress!

We also primed the top, bottom and one side of the fence boards so that when they were assembled as part of the fence these faces that would be covered or sandwiched between other wood would still be primed, and thus not be as susceptible to rotting

And with that progress, it was finally time to build!


Dave said...

Tough job but worth it in the end. I feel your pain as I installed 18 posts last fall the same way. Yours looks good so far.

threeacres said...

Looks like a lot of good progress! I love the color of the posts is that what the whole fence will be? We installed a huge fence two years ago but we cheated and hired someone to come put in metal post for us.

Can't wait to see how it all turns out!

meryl rose said...

Thanks so much Dave!

Robin - I do love the color of those posts, but my step mom went with a lighter color in the end when we painted. Those posts are a way better pressure treated color than the traditional slightly green hue one normally sees :)