fence installation Q

Planning to put up a fence using "shadowbox" panels -- premade panels with 1X6 vertical boards on alternate sides of the rails, overlapping. The kind where you can look through it but only if you look real sideways. The panels are made to be mounted in between the posts, requiring a pretty exact fit in between the posts.
Here's my question -- it seems like it would be more easy/convenient to rent the posthole digger and dig all the holes, then set the posts, then put in the panels. But it seems like it might be pretty hard to get the posts spaced at the EXACT width of the panels. Do you space the posts an inch or two less than the panel width, then trim (rip) the last board on the panel to fit?
Alternatively I suppose you could do one post, one panel, then the next post, the next panel, etc. to fit them as you go, but that seems like a PITA. Many thanks,
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I dug fence holes in NJ for a couple of years in college, way back. Unless the soil was totally free and clear (no rocks, tree roots, clean fill) we had to use the post hole digger and 5' shale bar by hand. Never failed with the manual tools. We tried two man and one man augers and they always got stuck. The only thing that was fool proof was the auger mounted on the PTO drive of a farm tractor. Nothing ever stopped that. Then if you are digging on blast fill along an interstate like we had to once you'll need a trailer to pump compressed air to the 30, 60 and 90 lb. air hammers.
I built a fence in my back yard last year, about 300' of it using a 5' shale bar and $20 post hole digger. I have wet/damp soil so the soil/clay was like butter. Took about 10-20 minutes per hole. Easy compared to what I remember years ago.
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holes are enough larger than the posts that you can re-position th epost in the hole a little if you got them offr a bit. Just be certain to get the location as accurate as you can, and when you put the posts in be sure they're vertical with a level and the correct distance apart and you can't go far wrong. You know what they say; Measure twice and say once. If you're not sure you can get them accurate, maybe the best is one at a time for you, but ... that sounds like a lot of work, plus yo have to let the cement set before you put any load on the post.
HTH,
Pop
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Pop wrote:

Pop has it right. I will only add that how well a power unit will work depends on the soil conditions. Large rocks and tree roots will stop most power post hole diggers. You end up doing more work than doing it by hand. If you need many, you need a trailer mounted digger. They can handle larger stones and tree roots as well.
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Joseph Meehan

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Years ago I helped my husband dig post holes. We rented a power digger. Big mistake for us. The darn digger wouldn't come out of the ground. We have sandy soil, but a lot of tree roots. We took back the machine after attempting just one hole. Then we bought the manual digger and did it ourselves one hole digging at a time. We figured there was less error doing it one by one. The fence is still there after 20 years. It's still in good shape. The fence is a semi circle for shielding off an above ground pool. The pool is long gone but we kept the fence. We have peering neighbors that spy on you even if you're just sitting and reading a book ! Marina
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