Building a fence - Nailer?

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"Puckdropper" wrote in message
Probably right on that count unless you use those pretty stainless steel or deck screws and then you probably add several hundreds of dollars to the price of the fence.
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@swbelldotnet says...

A while back I put together some scaffolding from 2x lumber using galvanized SPAX screws. Was up for about three months. Most of it came apart all right, but some of the heads spun right off and when they did it wasn't possible to get the pieces apart without damaging them--the screws were too hard for a Multimaster to cut and had enough thread in both pieces to hold like the head was still on.
There was no rust or corrosion evident on any of the screws, so it's difficult to blame the heads spinning off on weathering.
Personally I tend to use screws mainly because I'm too lazy to swing a hammer, but I don't really see removability as being a selling point in exterior wood construction.
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"J. Clarke" wrote in message
If you did not use an impact driver to remove the screws you may want to consider using one. While they are extremely strong compared to the typical same voltage drill, the impact action is much easier on the fastener. Because the torque is not constant it gives the fastener a chance relax a bit.
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@swbelldotnet says...

Used an impact driver going in and going out.
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"J. Clarke" wrote in message
Crappy Spax screws I guess. I know screws don't hold up well out doors unless specifically suited but I have used regular square drive out doors and several years later they are still OK.
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@swbelldotnet says...

Have you tried taking those screws out? If not, give it a shot and see what happens.
They were SPAX brand which I have never heard anybody call "crappy". They were holding up just fine. It's just that taking them out the heads came off of some (maybe 1 out of 100). Even with the heads off they were doing their job.
My point is not that there was any defect in the screws. My point is that using a good brand of screw that was not corroded in any manner, some were still not readily removable, so one should not count on ease of disassembly as being a benefit of screws.
If you really want to be able to get it apart later without mangling it, use machine screws, carriage bolts, elevator bolts, timber bolts, or other fasteners which take nuts and put anti-seize on them.
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"J. Clarke" wrote in message
Agreed.
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And I agree with everybody that you count on nothing more than the probabilities developed from actual experience and testing, yours or that of someone more informed.
Regards,
Edward Hennessey
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"J. Clarke" wrote
Used an impact driver going in and going out.
Try ceramic coated square or torx drive. They will not twist off.
-- Jim in NC
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says...

Except when they do.
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"J. Clarke" wrote in message
LOL, No kidding. If you have not twisted the head off of a particular brand yet it is only because you have not yet used enough of them.
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"Leon" wrote
LOL, No kidding. If you have not twisted the head off of a particular brand yet it is only because you have not yet used enough of them.
I must be living right, then. I run in several pounds of screws per month, and they don't twist off. It helps to choose the right length, and if it is necessary drill a pilot hole, but usually not.
The place screws usually break is the transition from threaded to non-threaded shank. These screws seem to have a more gradual transition, and do not have such a highly stressed area. For me, twisted off heads are mainly a thing of the past.
I have no idea what brand they are. I get them at a Mom and Pop's type of lumber yard in bulk bins. They have gone to all torx head, now. I used to love square drive, but now am hooked on Torx.
-- Jim in NC
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"Morgans" wrote in message
"Leon" wrote
LOL, No kidding. If you have not twisted the head off of a particular brand yet it is only because you have not yet used enough of them.
I must be living right, then. I run in several pounds of screws per month, and they don't twist off. It helps to choose the right length, and if it is necessary drill a pilot hole, but usually not.
The place screws usually break is the transition from threaded to non-threaded shank. These screws seem to have a more gradual transition, and do not have such a highly stressed area. For me, twisted off heads are mainly a thing of the past.
I have no idea what brand they are. I get them at a Mom and Pop's type of lumber yard in bulk bins. They have gone to all torx head, now. I used to love square drive, but now am hooked on Torx.
-- Jim in NC
Not saying that you have not had good luck, but no one screw manufacturer makes every screw perfect. I too have gone through thousands and at an odd time or another every 4-5 years I break a screw or two. Probably my fault but the screw was not expected to do anything the previous hundred had not been used for.
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"Leon" wrote
Not saying that you have not had good luck, but no one screw manufacturer makes every screw perfect. I too have gone through thousands and at an odd time or another every 4-5 years I break a screw or two. Probably my fault but the screw was not expected to do anything the previous hundred had not been used for.

break that few, I always figured it was "operator error" <g>
-- Jim in NC
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wrote:

Yeah, impacts practically -vibrate- the things loose. They are an absolutely marvelous invention. I even spent Festool-like prices on my Makita. (Nah, the prices were lower.)
-- If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do. -- Samuel Butler
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"Larry Jaques" wrote in message
I did a kitchen remodel about 6 years ago, the customer had puttied in the old cabinet mounting screws so that you could not see the Philips head. My impact driver seemed to dislodge the putty with out hesitation and the drywall screws came right out. My drill with the same bit had no effect.
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Go to google, click on "Images" for your search.
Type in " postmaster fence posts " and you will see the exact product I am talking about. Don't think these are flimsy. They are really heavy duty and almost 3/16" thick. They are galvanized, can be covered or painted.
You screw on the rails with deck screws, and nail the pickets. It makes a very strong fence and the back side with the screws can be covered up with a picket or small trim piece over the rail itself, giving the appearance of being a wood post. My fence guy has been using this for his municipal work for years now, and everyone seems quite pleased.
He still uses cedar posts or 4X4 recycled plastic posts (unless I want to spring for the metal) on either side of a gate. Like the old timers did around here for years, when using cedar 4X4s, I take roofing mastic (tar, plastic cement) and trowel on a thin layer about 3" from the bottom of the post before setting them in concrete to help their water resistance and resistance to bugs/water at the point of contact to air at the soil level.
When using this system for the state/county/muninciple guys, they love this system as they can easily replace damage sections by simply pulling out the screws and letting whole sections drop. It also makes it easy to remove and replace if a section has to be removed for machine access like a skid steer loader.
If you have a McCoy's in Houston, you should have them there. That's where the "Postmaster" fence post products are available here.
Robert
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wrote in message
Thank you Robert, we do have a McCoy's in the area, Rosenberg IIRC. I'll look into that.
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wrote in message
That looks like a dandy post Robert.
I have questions. I typically don't worry about the height of my posts until after the concrete has set and then I run a level line and cut the tops of the posts. Obviously this would be difficult with these posts. Do you however simply pound them in a bit farther into the hole, beyond the bottom of the hole to get them even in height?
Also I use quick set concrete so I don't have to stake the posts, they stay plum by them selves. Is there any special needs in this regard ? tI seems that they might be slightly more likely to tilt off plumb, maybe not.
Do you ever run a top rail that is wide side up?
I am thinking about running a short temp fence across my covered patio to restrict our dog from having the whole back yard. Can these posts simply be pounded into the ground so that they can be pulled up later?
Thanks.
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My fence sets these a solid 24" into concrete. He strings the top and simply taps them to the right height, not caring of he goes through the bottom of the hole or not. Without air, it would take many decades for this fence post to rust enough on the very bottom, buried end of the dirt.
BUT; we have a lot of areas with limestone bedrock not too far beneath the layer of topsoil. If he can get them in 16" or so, he doesn't mind. He slips bolts into the holes to provide more grab. He puts them through the punched holes with a nut to hold them, and the bolts going into two different directions so it looks like a porcupine.
If he has an errant post that is too tall, he has one guy steady it, and then he cuts through it with a 7" grinder with a metal cutting abrasive blade. The steel is pretty soft and it just takes him about three or four minutes to cut through the top to get it to the right length.

Nothing different when you set them. The key here is that he uses regular or fast setting concrete in bags, but mixes in about 1/2 gallon measured, not weighed of this stuff into his concrete: http://preview.tinyurl.com/423xl8x It is a product known as Por Rock, and is a cement "setting" product to set in all kinds of things into concrete. When I was working on restaurants about a million years ago, we used ot use that stuff to set chairs and furniture into the slabs. Never saw on fail when done correctly.
NOTE: he uses a generic Por Rock that is available at Fastenal as well as the original.
He pours a bit into the hold (6" or so) then puts the rest in the rest of the mix. He pulls the post up and down to "rod down" the concrete into the hole. Then he fills it up and does the same thing again. When he is happy with the position, he fine tunes it and taps the post in a bit or moves it back and forth. It might move a hair one way or another, but close enough for fencing. And with the Por Rock in it, it sets up fast. I mean really fast. When he is in a hurry, he will put almost a gallon into the concrete and he can attach wood crossmembers on in an hour!

Yes, and it works like a champ as helps to keep the top part of the fence from bowing in or out. I can remember which job it was, but check this out; On a <<new>> fence Alex (fence guy) conned me into 7' centers, not eight. He bought 14' 2X material and cut them in half. He did the cap rail, the top rail and the bottom rail by cutting a pile of 14' boards in half. He figured it cut down the time he had to mess with warping 8' pieces, and he didn't get all the trash he got with the normal 8' lengths.
The 14' made a lot nicer looking fence and went up FAST. He outdistanced the picket installers quickly and it was a fast moving operation to get that fence up. He told me he didn't worry about bowing with 7' centers, so no 2nd top rail. Just the one on edge like the middle and top.
But he only goes 7' if it is a <<new>> fence, one he cannot use the old 8'o.c. holes on, and the contractor or client will spend the extra money. Just FYI, it only adds two posts on a 55' run Since he charges $32 a hole/post, the extra sturdiness, and the better looking fence (hey - it even looks stronger!) make that $64 worth it. On an overall fence job, this usually adds 4 posts to the overall cost. He has found though, that no matter how much he screws with it, he can't get these posts to work well on the corners or on either side of a gate. He uses a good 4X4s there, and these allow him to easily attach hardware and hasps.
So the last fence he put up for me where the client wanted a 20 year wood fence, he used 6X6 treated on the corners (go Alex, go!), metal posts in the field, and 4X4s on both sides of the two gates. The client (and me!) were blown away at how sturdy this was. He could have used 4X4s in the corners, but we got the 6X6 treated for only $15 more a post.
So to recap; we put two more holes in across the back of that house, and on up each side. That cost us another $128; add in $64 for one extra field post per side, or another $128. Add in the extra $60 each for four corners, and the whole (hole?) thing cost me another $316 to construct one helluva fence.
A regular cedar three rail costs about $30 (round numbers) or so finished a foot (depending on cedar costs). So at +/- 160 feet at $30 l.f. ($4800) + 2 gates at $80 each, or a total cost of $4960. To get our version of the municipal fence it only adds $316. This is only a 6% difference, and I have no doubt it adds years to the fence life and certainly its appearance. The first time I did this I split the cost with the homeowner so we could both see one up built in this way. Worth it!
I sell fencing on a cafeteria plan, so they get to decide which options they want, so they can add as much or as little as they want to a regular fence bid. That way if I am not immediately competitive, I can pull out the extras and look apples to apples at the fence cost with a client. After that I can add what they want. That way I at least stay in the hunt.
The only other thing we add from time to time is a weed eater board. This is a piece of 2X8 TYP board that he turns on edge and mounts like a rail at the bottom of the fence. It sits directly in contact with the ground, and when installed mowers and grass cutters run their weed eaters across the TYP instead of the soft cedar. FYI, this add $1.5 to $2 a running foot. Well worth it as today's weed eaters chew up cedar really fast. We are getting requests for this bottom board more and more these days.

No. They make a regular version of this post, and a heavy duty version. Neither of them can you pound into the ground unless you used a really short piece. The metal is soft, regardless of which version you get. If I was going to put in a temp version of fence with metal posts I would use the old faithful green, ranch style steel post and rent/buy the driver
http://preview.tinyurl.com/3f94jc8

Anytime.
Robert
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