Utility poles as fenceposts...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by oz in SC, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Found a source for used utility poles,can have as many as they have for $50.

    They are old poles that were either damaged or needed to be moved for road construction.

    The ones I saw were not too big in diameter(about 9 inches) but some are obviously huge.

    I was thinking to cut them into transportable sections(8' long??) and slowly take them up to the land.

    Any thoughts or ideas?

    I imagine it will be hard going for my chainsaw but it was bought to work... :)
     
  2. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    Where????? I want to build a barn out of poles.
     

  3. UncleD

    UncleD Well-Known Member

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    I use them all the time for fence posts. They work well. Your chainsaw should have no problem cutting through them. Just watch out for nails or bolts that someone might have put in them. But usually once I get them they have been stripped of any metal.
     
  4. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Well from reading up on the topic it seems BIG companies are deathly afraid to give away or sell old poles....liability issues from the preservatives.

    The company I found was a independent cable connection company in town.

    If you have independent contractors doing the work you might stop by and ask what they do with the old poles.

    I think SC is a little far away from Maine to be transporting 30' long poles :p
     
  5. primal1

    primal1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was offered some to use as replacement beams for a log cabin but then I heard that they are extremely toxic and I would even have to hide the fact that I used them for a living space, so i passed on them.
     
  6. swollen tongue

    swollen tongue Well-Known Member

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    they work good for posts for me.
     
  7. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Well that is supposedly the reasoning behind why the poles aren't given away anymore...

    Of course it is odd that IF they were so toxic the poor buggers working for utility companies are exposed to them... :shrug:

    I look at it like this...almost EVERYTHING is toxic or dangerous to some degree,it depends upon how little or how much you are exposed.

    I worked in a boatyard painting boats with copper based paint-it was a TERRIBLE product destined to make you arms fall off and your head spin around....it hasn't yet.
     
  8. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    With the power poles its the penta that they are concerned about. It is quite toxic which is why its used to begin with. It is specifically designed to kill most any bug crawling to prevent the poles from rotting or becoming termite infested. The guys working for the utility companies arent at much risk as the penta is not easily absorbed through the skin in sufficient quantity to do real damage. The poles are pretty well dry to the touch by the time the workers are handling them. When I got them from our local power company I was put on notice about inhaling the fumes if I used them inside or if I were to burn them. Apparently its the fumes are the risky part. Ya dont want to be breathing too much of that stuff. As fence posts they are great, and even using them in a barn where there is plenty of ventilation but I would not use them in any confined spaces like a house and I dont think they would be much good for firewood either due to the fumes. :)
     
  9. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    We use them for fence posts too. Also we've built loafing sheds for the pastured livestock.
     
  10. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It never seem to bother my chainsaw. Just wear gloves and long clothes when you handle them to be safe. I have picked up loads and trailer loads of free poles from the power company. I saw them on My Wood-Mizer saw mill, But I wear long clothes and a breathing mask and gloves and Collect and Burn the sawdust. If the sawdust touches your skin it will irritate it. I am using them to build a "Sea Wall" type deal, also as skids/supports under a few storage buildings and a Solar Kiln. I feel sawing them will shorten the over all life if they were used as poles in the dirt, because the Cresote is weaker as you get towards the middle of the pole. If I was going to use them as fence post, I would use them whole and use some type of metal flashing over the top of each post so water will not soak down into the top because of the weaker cresote in the middle from the "Fresh" cuts from the chainsaw. Good Luck!! Randy
     
  11. Trixie

    Trixie Well-Known Member

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    I have seen people use them for fences, especially for corner posts.

    When we first moved to our house in Central Texas, the utility company was replacing the pole across the street. My husband walked over and asked the guys if he could have the pole. They told him they had to take it back to the yard, but he could go to the yard. He told them, we had no way to haul it, so thanks anyway.

    A couple of hours later, he was mowing and someone pecked him on the shoulder. It was one of the utility guys and they told him they would just swing the post over onto our property. He decided to pull his 'old codger' routine and said, 'Well, I couldn't plant it myself - so thanks." The utility company planted the pole in our front yard. The told him, 'you're wife is going to be mad at you'.
    The old codger climbed that pole and put a birdhouse on the very top.
     
  12. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    We use sets of them to anchor the corners and gate openings on our field fenced (hog wire) pastures.

    I use a chainsaw bar and chain that's already worn and slightly damaged. They cut fairly easily, but, as mentioned, watch for nails. We're lucky to live away from areas in which folks post garage sale, etc. signs on telephone poles. The ones in the city look like porcupines. I'm not sure I'd try to use the bottom section of one of those.

    I wear gloves and eye protection when I use a chainsaw, so the chemicals aren't a problem. If you ever need to legally dispose of a utility pole, depending on the state you live in, it might take a decent-sized committee.
     
  13. rebelfarmer

    rebelfarmer Well-Known Member

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    all my corner post and the gate poles are old electrical poles. the power company here cant sell them they have to give them away or throw them away.
    the chainsaw doesnt have a problem cutting though them.
     
  14. hrslvrtrailridr

    hrslvrtrailridr Well-Known Member

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    I would love to have some of these, they would last forever. No peeling bark or coating with preservatives, already done.
     
  15. rebelfarmer

    rebelfarmer Well-Known Member

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  16. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Some of the things we've done with them:

    1. Posts, especially corner posts and H set-ups. They take big post-holes, so it's easier to use metal t-posts for the rest of the fence.

    2. Sheds and barns. If they're in good shape, they'll last for many years out of the weather, used in a pole barn...probably where I see more used than anywhere else.

    3. Somebody mentioned sawing them. By all means, if you can find somebody to do it, the boards work pretty well. Maybe not quite as good as new treated lumber, but they'll outlast untreated in many applications. We've floored several trailers with lumber from poles.

    4. Built a back deck on the camp many moons ago by setting the poles into the side of a river bank. Deck was 20 feet wide, with one end set on the ground, and the other end about 15 feet in the air, resting on old poles for piers.

    5. Used them several times (with adequate bracing) as bridges for shorter spans.
     
  17. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    I use them for the corners of my electric fence. I can buy them for 35 cents a foot, and they load them on my trailer. I cut them 8 ft and put 4 ft in the ground. I havent had to brace any of them and havent had one move yet. Digging the holes is the hardest part, since some are fairly large diameters
     
  18. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    I am hoping to pick and choose amongst the poles and try to only take the smaller diameter ones...although in the end all will work for fenceposts.
     
  19. JackDeePeyton

    JackDeePeyton Well-Known Member

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    I am in the process of building a cabin, that will measure 16x36, with covered porches on two sides. The corner post for the porches are telephone poles, that were practically new, before the ice storm a few years ago. I have given alot of thought to this cabin and how I want to build it. Once the cabin is done, I plan on building a carport, again utilizing telephone poles for the corner post. Hey, they are cheap and will last.
     
  20. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    As others have said, I love them for gates and corners.

    I would cut them longer than 8', as long as you can, if at all possible to bring them home.

    Once home you can do as you choose to when the job comes up, but it is very hard to cut them any longer if it were to be needed.