Draw up a plan before you actually start to fence including a list of the tools required and the safety equipment that will be worn. Wooden fence posts are normally used for fencing on farmland.
- Work out the exact line of the fence in advance and the position where the straining posts and turning post holes will be, allowing for changes in the slope and direction of the fence line. These are usually determined by the lie of the land. (A post at every change of direction or major change of gradient.) Make sure the fence line is clear of undergrowth, overhanging vegetation and old fence material so that you have room to work.
- Install the straining posts, approximately 50m apart, attach a temporary wire low down between them using Gaffer Staples/clips, making it not too tight and also that it does not catch the ground. This will guide the siting of the intermediate posts, which should be approximately 2.4m/ 2.7m apart for livestock fences. Install the posts and take care to ensure that the posts are upright and are in line.
- Attach and strain the top wire first using GafferStaples and work downwards. Use a measuring stick to get the correct height and spacing of the wires. On uneven ground you may have to allow some variation in height and spacing to achieve a smooth line. This can be easily done with GafferStaples as they can be easily removed and reused.
- Screw the GafferStaples into the post to hold the wire in place. The Gaffer 8 is used on the straining posts to hold the wire tight. On the end strainer posts the wire is also bent around the post and twisted over the oncoming wire.
- If using sheep wire use a stretcher bar to ensure equal tension in all lines, or use two wire strainers in tandem, strain and fix the top and bottom wires using GafferStaples and then work inwards. When joining sheep wire overlap it by at least two meshes, don’t join it end to end.
As well as plain wire, there are two types of wire mainly used for fencing, Mild Steel Barb wire and High Tensile Barb wire.
Mild Steel Barb Wire is mainly used by farmers / landowners to contain their livestock. It is very suitable for fencing using an existing hedge and where there are lots of curves or turns on the fence line.
High Tensile Barb Wire does not stretch with weathering, but needs more skill to erect, it is often used on a completely new fence with new posts in a straight run alongside a hedge or open space.
Wooden fencing posts will last in the ground for different lengths of time depending on various factors, e.g. if they have been pressure treated or in different soil conditions, before they will start to rot at ground level, which can be anything from 5 years upwards.
Why would anyone take a perfectly good tree, cut it down, cut fencing posts from it, dig a hole, set a post in it, and then spend the next 5/8 years watching it decay in the ground, and then having to go to the expense of replacing it.
If you are fencing where there is a hedge, it is best to face/trim the hedge back and attach the fence wires to the existing thorns/saplings using GafferStaples and in certain places where necessary install a fence post. As this is a living hedge it will not need the maintenance of having to replace fence posts and it will be a lifetime fence. Obviously, there will be places where there is no hedge and a completely new fence will have to be installed.