suggestions on making concrete posts for woven wire fence? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

we're trying to build a fence for sheep, and not use any CCA treated wood (arsenic is on DW's no-no list). my best option seems to be concrete posts. anyone have advice or a link to advice on how to make them?

we have a quarry downt he road to get the supplies from (cement, sand, stone), and i have plywood and lumber to make frames from. thanks in advance...

-- james (, May 03, 2002


How about cedar or in this area there is something with long thorns that is considered a nuisance tree but makes long-lasting fence posts?

-- Ann Markson in Mid South TN (, May 03, 2002.


You are probably trying to remember locust trees.

-- Bob in WI (, May 03, 2002.

My best idea is this; 1. Dig a hole 32" deep x 10"dia. 2. Place a large rock or 4" of gravel at the bottom 3. Put an 8"dia x 7'lg. sono-tube into your hole. 4. Reinforce with galvanized chicken fence, cut a 20" piece of fencing and wrap it into a cylinder and secure it with galvanized wire; place it into the tube and center it. This fence piece should be about 6" from the top of tube. 5. You can also at this time make and install anchor points for your fencing. You can do this by using 1/8" galvanized rod. Cut the rod into 8"long pieces. Bend the rod in half leaving a 3/8" radius at the looped end. Drill into the sonotube for the two rods to go in. You'll need at least three rod points to secure the fence to the post. Probably at 1', 2'-6" and 4'. You should buy your fencing first so you know in advance where your tie-ponts will be. 6. Fill the tube with concrete and taper the tops for warer runoff. 7. Let cure at least a couple days and peel away the sonotube from the concrete. Make sure to coat the inside of the sonotube with a releasing agent so its easier to remove the tube. 8. Now you can attach your fence to the rods that are now looped into the post with galvanized wire. 9. Nice.


This may be a bad idea - I don't know how hard sheep are on fences, or how rocky your ground is, but have you considered those metal "T" posts? They would probably be cheaper than concrete. (Of course concrete would look better, last forever and you could probably space the posts further apart...)

-- Deborah Stephenson (, May 03, 2002.

I think what Deborah suggested would work fine. Woven wire fencing along with a line or two of hot wire would keep it looking good for quite a while. They even have ways of using the steel post for corner stability. Much cheaper than concrete, easier to handle too! I'm sure concrete posts would get very expensive. Wouldn't you have to use rebar with it as well?

-- Joy in Eastern WA (, May 03, 2002.

thanks for all the replies. i forgot to mention that a) i need the fence up in a couple weeks (so no time to age locust, and, i don't have any locust on my property), and b) the soil is not that rocky. i'm going to look into the sonotube idea w/releasing agent. might be cool.

i will be using steel t-posts between the heftier corner posts that will be made of concrete. one challenge to the sonotube idea is lifting lotsa buckets of heavy concrete to the top of the sonotube. i was thinking it would be fairly straight forward to use my tractor to move them once they were poured and set on the ground. hmmmm.

more ideas?

-- james (, May 03, 2002.

James, I did a bunch of searches for the same thing a while back- never could find anything worthwhile. The sonotube idea sounds good, but expensive. Please share if you find any good plans.

-- shakeytails in KY (, May 03, 2002.

Depending on how many you need to build, I'm a fan of using pvc as a form. You can place 1/2" rebar just inside a 1" conduit pvc pipe and that makes it fairly durable for many uses. Also using larger pvc pipe as forms, using one or more pieces of rebar inserted for strength. This gives you a pvc outside finish with the strength of concrete and rebar.

-- BC (, May 03, 2002.

one thing i did find of interest is artsy concrete posts (see link below). they're 4.5 inches on a side and 7.5 feet tall. 4 pieces of rebar are used to strengthen the posts. my current plan is to create a pour-form on a plywood 4'x8' sheet and mimic the above artsy posts. the idea of using chicken wire for strength instead of rebar is interesting (i read something about ferro-crete construction claiming that the mesh increases strenght as well as rebar) and i will also incorporate the anchor points idea from the sono-tube suggestion.

i don't know how they got the aggregate to stick out like they did on the image above, but think the poultry wire reinforcement might conflict w/the size of the aggregate on the artsy posts. might just go w/smaller aggregate. i'll post my findings and experiments here. thanks again folks!

-- james (, May 03, 2002.

The link below has covers and caps for t-posts. They make the posts safer and more atractive. There's also matching covers for 4x4 wooden corner or gate posts. I think that untreated lumber would do OK in a pvc cover like this. I'm not sure how important asthetics is in your fence design but even if it's not high on the list the t-post caps are a good safety measure.

As for the corner posts, Wood set in concrete would work great. Just dig down about 3 feet (or less if the fence isn't goung to be all that high) and pour the concrete around the wood. A lot less trouble to cover untreated wood with pvc and then just set the bottom on cement. An entire post made of concrete would be a real pain to replace or remove if you need/decide to do this down the road. (A wood post set in concrete is bad enough).

Good luck with your project!

-- Erika (, May 03, 2002.

BC, you are recommending leaving the pvc in place, right? Have you actually done this? I'm curious as to how long the pvc holds together in the weather as I think the 1.5 - 2" pvc/concrete post would make attractive, rot-proof posts for cross fencing with electric tape or rope.

-- shakeytails in KY (, May 03, 2002.

The first 2 sheep fences I put up, I used woven wire too. This was expensive and too much work. The lambs could get out easy too because of small gaps under wire they could work it with no shocks. Then I got smarter all the rest of my fences since then are 5-strand electric. I built them for 1/4th the cost of woven and I have never had a animal get out yet. I do use a strong fencer and they only mess with the fence one time, the first time. It also went up alot faster and the asthetics are not half bad. I spaced my T-posts 20 feet apart and this works just fine. Also the corner posts are just T-posts anchored by wire or light cable to a screw-in earth anchor 24 inches long placed at the base of the t-post. With the corner posts anchored you can stretch your wires for a very nice appearance. This fence is much better against coyotes and dogs as well. The same problem with the lambs getting out is that the coyotes/dogs can get in too. There is nothing to stop them from really working the fence. The spacing of the wires for my medium sized Icelandic sheep is from bottom up 6 inches from ground and then continue with 6 inch spacings until the last wire (5th wire) and put that one about 10 inches.

-- Calvin (, May 03, 2002.

I was just trying to talk my son into concrete posts yesterday! LOL!

I live near Sugarloaf mountain in Md, a recreational/hiking area. Many moons ago, the fence along the farm land on one side of the public area was done with concrete posts. They each have holes in the posts and then there are split rails through the holes. So it is a split rail fence using concrete posts. I have always admired that fence, and wanted one just like it at my entrance area. I could never figure out how they formed the posts, ( all of which are identical), especially because of the holes for the rails.

I do have an old homestead type book somewhere that I naturally can't find now that I'm looking for it, ( I think the name of it is: "The farmer, his own builder" - or similar), and it tells how to make concrete posts. Didn't say anything about holes for split rails though.

There are some bright folks who frequent this forum. . .and I'll bet they can come up with the technique!

I'll keep looking for that book, - just had it - - it was what got me started on the subject again just recently.

-- Judy (, May 03, 2002.

In _my_ conditions wood set in concrete is about the worst a person could do. I see this argument develop all the time when it comes to fencing. So, wood in concrete must work in _some_ locations very well. But here in Minnesota with lots of rain, harsh winters, and heavy clay soils, those posts rot off but _quick_ when set in concrete. Then what do you do?

I would do more research to see if it actually works in your area before trying that one.


-- paul (, May 03, 2002.

My family had their farm split by railroad right of way which had many concrete posts in the fencerow. I think they used them so that when locomotives set fires the posts didn't burn off. There were many fires which of course would also burn wheat acreage.

The ROW fence posts were triangular, had rebar in them, and fencing was wired to them.

Judy's post jogged my memory and I have instructions in a book by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming entitled "Build it Better Yourself." Copyright is 1977 from Rodale Press.

There are several different styles which you can make. Many are tapered end to end in order to conserve cement. It states that if the posts are six feet or longer then 1/4 inch rebar should be used to add strength. They used 4 lengths per post. There are directions for using cans squashed into an oval to block out holes for the ends of split rails to fit into.

One form idea is to use a sheet of plywood as backing, with divider boards set apart the width of each post. Across the top and bottom of the divider boards are single boards spanning across the entire width of all.

There are different ideas for embedding loops, bent nails, and stips of wood to fasten fencing to.

I had previously thought about splitting 3 or 4 inch pvc pipe to use as forms. Had thought that 3 pieces of rebar wired into a triangle would be best. Place into forms, place the second half of form on top, then use pipe strap clamps to hold together. Bet you could also find the right sized tin can to slip over one end to hold the pipe halves together. Stand form upright to fill. Of course you would need to add a bit of cement and lift the rebar to get some underneath of it. Then making sure the rebar was centered away from the form sides, fill the form. Allow to cure a day or two and remove post. Labor intensive and time consuming, but the posts should last decades.

On the Sono-tube idea--wouldn't that cost a bunch for each post? I noticed you said to peel them away, so I suppose that would mean one per post anyway.

Any form made of wood should be coated with oil to help preserve it and to help the post release from the form.

-- Notforprint (, May 03, 2002.

i really like not's answer. i can see splitting a piece of 5" diameter pvc for the two form halves, drilling some holes and inserting the attach-point galvanized bar, holding the whole shebang together w/pipe clamps or bands, and capping one end w/a tin can. time to see what supplies i can rustle up on the cheap. i might try the plywood version as well as the pvc one and compare notes. i need plenty of posts since i'll be fencing on hilly rolling N. Ga terrain, and making two pasture two acre pastures, and dividing each pasture in half so i can rotate the sheep around a good bit.

-- james (, May 03, 2002.

T posts from Tractor supply: 1.70 each. I could see 1.70 of concrete being poured into each post (at 4 bucks a bag for premix). Do you have too much time on your hands!? Well, the concrete wouldnt attract termites, or rust... As a side note, I used free for the taking round steam grade iron pipe, for my fence. Attached fencing (barbed, high tensil and field woven wire, at various points around this multi fenced farm!) via wrapped 18 guag electric fence wire (5 bucks a roll)- easy to do with a pair of vice grips. So far so good, and they look good and are SUPER sturdy, too. Plus all I had to do was pound them in with a sledge.

-- Kevin in NC (, May 03, 2002.

We are planning on making concrete posts next summer starting with the corner posts then boundary fence so I've done a bit of research and brain storming with my Dad over this.

Garbage bags or black plastic can be used as a form liner so forms can be reused. Rebar is a must, chicken wire may interfere with a smooth pour. We will have a flat side to our posts where we will set thick redwood strips with lag bolts or large concrete screws into the wet concrete.

The redwood will be for stapling or nailing fencing up and will last almost as long as the concrete. With this method, we can change the fencing type from woven wire to rails add insulators or take them off as we please without changing fence posts or chinking into the concrete or having rusty wires wrapped aroud the posts.

If you have a permanent fence line, I don't think you can have a longer lasting or nicer looking post and they really do add to the property value when the are on the boundary lines.

-- Laura (, May 04, 2002.

Just another thought - they make pressure treated wood now without the arsnic. Probably other stuff in their your husband doesn't like, but something to check?


-- paul (, May 04, 2002.

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