Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

February’s Fall

Just when I thought it was safe to stow away my claw hammer; the gale-force winds returned and I found myself faced with another fence panel repair and post to replace. I guess I forgot to knock on wood. It’s ironic that the lighting bolt would strike the same spot again, mere weeks after assuring myself that my time as a fence panel-repairer was over.

Another Friday afternoon was absorbed in the rectification of this latest tumbling.  Some fortune clearly lay in my favour though, as the large 6x6ft panel had fallen without any further scathing. If not for the neighbour’s garage, maybe I would’ve had more work to do.

So, that was another £15 spent on a new post (the old one snapped at its foot this time, without any signs of rot), a repair spike and, of course, a cap to sit on top. I forgot to include a clear photo displaying the interior of these bolt-less repair spurs but hopefully this one paints the perfect picture. To drive it in to the ground, I planed a 3x3in offcut down to 70x70mm square before drawing the sledge hammer out and in to the battlefield.

I was hitting the stuck spur so hard that the wood absorbing every blow was being forced through the underside like fresh meat passing through a mincer!

I think I began to realise why some people dislike this ‘quick and easy’ method of post repair and replacement… There came a point where the spike would not delve any deeper and the base of the holder sat about 20mm or ¾in above ground level. I used every hammer at my disposal but I must have hit a rock or something, as the form began to twist slightly. I couldn’t imagine that anyone had ever previously been able to successfully remove a metal repair spur like this from the ground and so, I wasn’t going to waste my energy in trying!

New post IN.

I decided that it was ‘good enough’, as a new occupant could be living there in a month’s time and I like to think he’d have an intention to scrap the entire line of fencing. With the old post lying on the drive, I still needed to rescue the 4ft long battens that had been stolen away from their framework. In order to avoid any breakages (I hadn’t bought any spare wood for this), I decided to use my jigsaw with a long blade to cut around each of the nails.

From here, I decided the simplest course of action was to crudely nail one batten to the post; as opposed to removing the smaller panel and repairing it on the drive. Then, I could hop over to the neighbour’s side (with the aid of a stepladder) and bash everything back together (or, at the very least, to a state that might hopefully see us through until the spring).

A fence-bodger’s work doesn’t look half bad…

With the repair spur sitting above ground level, I needed to cut another inch or so from the top of the post. I didn’t stand a chance of pulling it out with the hardware I’d selected so I called on my ladder for the second time and, armed with a hand saw, proceeded to cut on the horizontal…

A competent, square cut on the horizontal.

And, I must say, I was incredibly chuffed with the apparent accuracy of this cut, considering I was hand-sawing at an angle awash with discomfort and awkwardness. It really does pay to mark out and stick to your lines. I made a light scoring pass across one right-angle to guide and then allowed the teeth of the saw’s blade to do the work. It really doesn’t help to push or try to cut too fast; you only end up wasting time in an attempt to tidy it up.

Thanks for reading and happy hammering!

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