Metal fence post questions


At Home Depot today I saw these fence post holders that you pound into the ground. They go 30.5 inches deep, and taper from about an inch across at the bottom to 4 inches across at the top. A 4x4 post is held onto the top by a bracket that appears to be about 5 inches deep.
My concerns: 1) The width of the thing is only 4 inches at the top. Is this wide enough to not tilt or lean over when you put a 6 foot tall fence, spaced at 8 feet? 2) The entire weight of the fence is held by the 4x4 post sitting in a bracket that is only 5-6 inches tall, or in other words any lateral force applied to the post due to wind shear, kids climbing on the fence, etc. is supported by the end of the post in this bracket - it just doesn't seem to me to be strong enough.
Anyone ever used these, have any comments about them? Are they strong enough to support a 6 foot tall wood fence with posts at 8 feet intervals?
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On Fri, 13 Oct 2006 19:57:58 -0700, "Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote:>At Home Depot today I saw these fence post holders that you pound into the

Probably. It should hold anything that a 4x4 post driven 30 inches into the ground would. If it fails it will be either the entire bracket tilting in the dirt, or the post snapping off above the bracket. The post-to-bracket connection isn't going anywhere.
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What about the post snapping off above the bracket? Is this a real danger? Or rather, the post coming loose in the bracket? It's a pinch bracket, no holes actually get drilled in the post. It would have to squeeze the post pretty tight to hold it in place. There is going to be a lot of pressure at that point, but a 4x4 is pretty strong. OTOH, there is only 4-6 inches of post in the bracket, instead of 2+ feet of post in a hole. I have no experience with this thing, so not sure how well it would work. Mail box, yes, 2 foot picket fence, sure, 6 foot fence? Hmm.
Oh, and any suggestions on how to drive them into the ground and have them end up level? It would not take much to end up with posts that lean. I'm tempted to pick up a half dozen and see how they work. If they do, great, I saved a lot of trouble. If they don't, I've wasted 80 bucks or so - these things are not cheap :(
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I even thought of sinking them in cement. They would last a few hundred years that way :). If the bracket that holds the 4x4 was taller, say 8 or 10 inches or more, I'd think this was a great idea. But 4-5 incheas of bracket to hold the post? That is where I'm uncertain.
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Ook wrote:

check with the mfr for answers to your concerns
buy one or two & do some experiements with them

steel is much stronger than wood or dirt, I wouldn't trust the pinch connection, I'd had some screws

wood into the concrete or the bracket into concrete????
untreated wood into concrete ~10 to 20 years depending on location & environment
>If the bracket that holds the 4x4 was taller, say 8 or 10

A deeper socket would be better but they must have done some tests?????
cheers Bob
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Around here - rain all the time - I keep hearing 10 years from locals. I'm planning to be here for longer then that, don't want to have to dig them out and replace them in 10 years.

Maybe, maybe not. It's possible they did some tests and this is the next best thing since sliced bread. It's also possible they did some preliminary tests and just dumped the things on the market. So, take a 100 foot run of fence. Imagine the posts being held by a 4-5 inch tall pinch bracket. Imagine a 20mph wind blowing. I can just see the entire fence blowing over.
I really like this idea, so I'm researching it to see if it's viable.

Yeah, I will probalby do this. I'm hoping someone here has actually used the things so I don't waste $20-$30 in case they are not useable for a 6 foot tall fence.
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Ook wrote:

I've seen them but never used them. I was under the impression they where sold for "repair" not new construction.
I would be concerned about the long term strength & stiffness of the wood / bracket connection.
I suggest you visit http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us /
They have a great deal of information about wood & the design of wooden structures.
I assume you're interested in the best perfroming, longest lasting wooden fence at a reasonable cost.
IMO perhaps these brackets are not the best use of resources from the point of view of post longevity & fence strength / stiffness I'm not a huge fan of wood posts into the earth but some effort put into post hole prep might be more cost effective than these brackets.
If you're designing a fence for longevity you need to take a look at the entire system. As soon as any part of the fence starts to fail, you go into repair / maint mode.
Things to consider
Treated posts , stainless fasteners,
post hole prepped for drainage
continuous (ie spliced double) top rail will give you some moment / load transfer from section to section so the whole thing works together
some sort of bottom horizontal board worked into the desgin so rot / termites only effect on board per section rather than 16
May solution to a 75 year old wood frame / stucco fence (no wood left at this point stucco only) on a concrete footing .........
A CMU wall
cheers Bob
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Ook,
Why do you have to have the bracket/footings level? Put them into the ground as the manufacturer recommends. Level the 4X4s if you want a level fence top.
Dave M.
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Not really. Anything that would snap the post off above the bracket would snap the post off at ground level were you to just plant posts.

Nope. It seems like a bad connection, but as long as the collar is deeper than it is wide, the post can't roll out of it without breaking completely. And you shouldn't have any significant uplift forces, (sans pig, or stubborn dog) so that fact that the post can lift out isn't important. It's essentially the same type of connection as the short metal tube on a collapsable fiberglass tent-pole. It's just held in by a rubber band, but in the direction of stress, it's stronger than the pole.

Start them off straight, and they should go in straight unless you hit a pretty big rock. And you're not driving one through rock no matter what you do.
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On Fri, 13 Oct 2006 22:21:01 -0700, "Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote:>

I think the most likely failure would be the bracket coming loose in the ground. It may go 30 inches deep but isn't it like a sword, just a flat piece of metal?
I thought these things were for mailboxes, or repairs.
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It's crossed - two pieces perpendicular to each other. Tapered, maybe 1" at the bottom. 4" at the top. The box they come in shows mail boxes and picket fences, and larger fences. I vote for mailboxes and picket fences, they would work very well for that.
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That thing is for a mail box post.
"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

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