Some Tips to Help You Drive Fence Posts More Efficiently
Putting up new fence is a pain – and setting the posts is usually the hardest part of the job. Fortunately, the new post drivers available turn a backbreaking, time consuming task into a painless one. In this article, we’ll talk about how to prep for post driving, some tips for driving post, and some maintenance and care tips to keep your post driver running in great condition.
Prep for Post Driving
- Plan ahead – Choosing the appropriate time to run fence can make all the difference in the world. Be sure to drive post during times of the year when the ground is neither frozen nor arid. Post driving in the early spring will usually yield the best results. Make sure that the ground has some moisture. Moist dirt will allow the post to be driven easily and will make sure that the post is effectively secured.
- Prep the Ground for Post Driving – if you must drive post in dry conditions, you can prep the area by digging a hole twice as wide as the post, and 10” – 12” deep at each post location. Fill each hole with water. Once the water is absorbed, you should be able to drive the post. If it’s still too dry, then just fill the hole with water again.
- Don’t Sharpen the Post – sharpening a post allows it to be “pushed” out of the ground during the natural freeze and thaw seasonal cycles.
Tips for Driving Post
- Prep the Driver – Before each use, be sure to “season” the springs. The post driver’s spring life can be extended by slowly raising and dropping the driver in small increments; gradually going higher with each strike. Do this for the first post each time you use the driver.
- Place the Wide End First – by driving the fat or wide end into the ground first, the post will be anchored better. This keeps the post from being pushed by seasonal freeze and thaw cycles.
- Keep it Straight – You can actually drive a post “straight” once it goes crooked. By using the hand cranks or hydraulic base plate, you can either drive the post straight (in a similar manner to driving a crooked nail straight with a hammer), or you can use the side or back of the driver channel and pressure from the mount plate to force it straight. Either method may work depending on ground conditions.
- Don’t Lubricate the Driver Channel or Rails – Introducing lubrication or oil to the surface of the driver channel will attract material and debris to stick in the rail and cause the driver head to fall at a slower rate or bind due to the added friction of the debris and material. The best way to make sure your post driver keeps striking smoothly and quickly is to make sure the rail is dry and free of debris.
- Oil the Springs before Storing – after each use, be sure to coat the springs with oil or gear lube before putting it away. Lubricating the springs will keep the spring coils from bonding together due to humidity and moisture. The lubricant allows the coils to evenly separate during the “seasoning” process, lengthening spring life.