Cedar posts

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Im going to be putting up some fence .I dont want to use pressure treated post.I was going to buy some Cedar post today but was told that they wont last 5 years.I had heard that cedar last a long time.WHich is the true story here.
    Frank
     
  2. Amy Jo

    Amy Jo Well-Known Member

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    I can't say about cedar, but my husband said locust is supposed to last a long time.
     

  3. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    More like 10 to 15 years.
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Red or Virginia cedar is an excellent post tree provided it has a large portion of heart wood. The heart wood is the red center section and the amount of heart wood varies depending on where the red cedar grew. Typically the red cedars with lots of foliage and grow in the open are low in heart wood. On the other hand, those red cedars that are grown in a wooded areas and have the minimun amount of foliage have a high percentage of heart wood. Only use trees for fence posts that have a 3 plus inch heart. These with lots of heart will last 30 years or more.
     
  5. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

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    I've had great luck with locust post for many years, there is still several around here that have been in for over 20 years. Trying to get a staple or nail in our out is sometimes tricky
     
  6. puffdog

    puffdog Active Member

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    it will last 10 to 15 years use them a lot
     
  7. pufdog,which wood will last 10-15yrs,cedar or locust
     
  8. don't use concrete. The gap between the post and the concrete (the post will shrink a little as it dries) will hold water and cause the bottom to rot out quicker.
     
  9. puffdog

    puffdog Active Member

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    I walked across my dw grandfathers farm the other day and some of the old fences is still standing 15 + years and i found both cedar and locust post that were still in good shape, The ones in low areas were in bad shape and will have to be replaced but i will use most of the ones on higher ground. Also he had metal over the tops of the conner and gate post and they keep well. Hope this helps When i start redoing the fences i will use both.
     
  10. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Cedar does rot.

    My dad built a new house in '77 here in central Indiana, and used cedar posts for the back porch, which were set into the ground.

    Three years ago, he decided to enclose the back porch, and rebuild it completely. I was shocked to see these 8 x 8 posts extremely rotten....I dont know how or why the porch was still standing!!! They were so rotten that we had a hard time getting out the post part that was in the ground, because it would break off when we tried to pull it out.

    Here are a couple of thoughts: Consider using steel posts, which are much cheaper. They are recyclable and will prevent new trees from being cut down. They also require less maintenance in paint, etc. Really want to spend your time painting fences?

    While I am unsure of the damage creosote can create in the soil, you may consider using old telephone poles for fence posts. Sometimes they can be purchased from the utilities at low cost.

    If you are set on new wood posts, you can add years of life by coating the end of them with boiled linseed oil. About $8 a gallon. Apply with a brush. It works just like paint. (Paint of yesteryear used linseed oil as a primary ingredient) This will help waterproof the base of the post. I would put 2 or 3 coats on if you have the time.

    You can also 'paint' the tops of the posts with linseed oil, which will keep the rain from soaking into the post. BTW, it dries hard like paint.

    Remember to used BOILED linseed oil, not raw.

    clove
     
  11. I am not sure what kind of cedar you have there but here in S.E. montana cedar posts have been used for years, in fact many of the original posts from first fences are still in the ground, I mean these were put in in the early 1900's but it is a very dry climaate here, so we really dont seen much wood rot. As these old posts are replaced with steel posts they then become firewood, and nothing heats faster than an old cedar fence post. course you are soon run out of the house due to the heat from the stove. good luck
     
  12. Sharpened 6foot cedar posts in Maine are less than $2 a piece at lumber or feedstore. You can char the ends or cure with linseed oil and wood ashes concoction or put wood ashes in the post hole to ward off rot. We have had many years from just doing nothing to them. Goats will eat the bark off in winter.

    Dipping in tar might also work but a bit toxic.
     
  13. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    I would hunt up a 55-gallon drum and fill it with a saturated solution of borax and water. Let the posts soak in the solution for a couple of days before placing them in the ground. Borax is a good wood preservative and is non-toxic to animals. I would then sprinkle any leftover solution on the ground around each post.
     
  14. swamptiger

    swamptiger Active Member

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    We have untreated northern white cedar posts in the ground around here that I know have been in the ground for 35 years or more.
     
  15. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Guess it depends on how wet it is. We have clay soil and humid summers. Our fence posts are getting pretty rotty, they are 18 yrs old.
     
  16. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    Both... Sorry! I have to talk to DH... But the truth is that there are several species of cedar, and there IS one that is great for fencing. However, most are utterly worthless, as I can attest by the former owner's handiwork of two years ago, most of which is rotted at the ground and fallen down. Much of that has fed my desire to learn how to cook over an open fire, lol! That is - I BELIEVE eastern white.

    I will ask him, but I believe he said that is western red cedar that is good for fencing... Don't take my word on it - I will post again with his REAL answer.

    On a different note... My Dad used plain old pine posts, about three inch rounds, for our back yard when I was a kid. He coated them in penta, then painted them. They lasted over 25 years, and THEN started to rot out at ground level... They were green when he put them in, too - and not treated wood.

    Sue
     
  17. Both red cedar and locus post will last a good long time in the ground. How long the post will last depends on the condition of the ground. With well-drained soil and post caps they both can last for 30 years plus. In rain drenched swamp, life expectancy will be greatly reduced (go figure). Most people in my area used cedar or locus posts cuz they could be driven into the ground. It was usually done in the spring when the frost was just out of the ground. Easy, quick way to fence.
    If you don’t mind dealing with other folks toxic waste, both used telephone poles and used railroad ties make excellent fence posts. You can usually get both from salvage years for a nominal sum. Bit of a pain to get into the ground without a posthole digger but once the fence is up it should outlast you.
    I have herd tell of people making posts out of concrete. If you have a cement mixer and some basic wood working skills for making some moulds, you could probably produce several posts a day. Once cured, they should last a long time in the ground.
    Real trick to making fence posts last is to keep rain from getting into the top of the post. If you are using wood poles, once the fence is up, cut a sharp angle at the post top so the rain runs off the post and does not pool on top. Pooling rain and a few years of freeze thaw cycles will split any post. You can also put post caps on top of the posts or coat the tops with roof tar, or cut a piece of ice and water shield and stick it to the top of your posts, stick a bird house on top of the post etc. Good Luck
     
  18. mousecat33

    mousecat33 Well-Known Member

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    Whatever you end up using, dig the post holes in the 'old of the moon' and the posts won't loosen. Call me a crazy hillbilly but its true.

    mc
     
  19. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I bought some western red cedar siding for a project not long ago. Expensive tongue-in-groove stuff. Hauled it to the site, tilted up on end against a tree until I could put the siding up. Wind came along and knocked one bundle of them over onto the ground. A month later, the board that was on the ground was eaten all the way through in a couple of spots from termites.
     
  20. Maria

    Maria Well-Known Member

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    We used cedar posts around our lagoon ten years ago and they are still fine. Though, we did dip the ends in roof tar before setting them in the ground. That might be why they've lasted so long....