what do I soak 4 x 4 fence posts in???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BamaSuzy, May 30, 2006.

  1. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    My new son-in-law is an over-the-road truck driver and he seems to have an almost unlimited supply of 4 x 4 posts that they use under loads such as pallets, etc.

    They appear to be mostly oak and pine and are different lengths, but most pretty long.

    Husband (who is usually always negative about anything around the homestead) says they will rot if I just use them as fence posts. Is there something I can dip them in to keep them from rotting as fast????

    If so, what is it called and where do I buy it??? thanks!
     
  2. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    Don't wate your time, they will rot and soaking or trying to preserve them will cost you more than you can buy good posts for. Been there. Dunage I believe it is called. Basiclly poor cuts of wood. Makes a nice fire though...
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ............The smartest thing to Do would be to purchase treated 4x4's and then paint the portion that goes in the ground with Roofing Tar . You should get lots of years of service before any rott sets in . fordy... :)
     
  4. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

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    Yep. My family built a huge deck for my grandparents and it is on the backside of their house. The floor of the deck is about ten ft off the ground. We lathered up the four by four posts with tar and sunk them in the ground over 15 years ago. When they tore it down recently because they were concerned with its stability we pull the posts and they looked just as good as the day we sunk them
     
  5. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    i would put ceder even before treated 4x4 if you have some trees about 6 in. there free and will be there after your gone i beleive in doing things 1 time
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Typically those pieces of wood are the very poor ones, that can't be used for anything else.

    With the lobor, time, & effort to build a fence, it is not worth using them as the backbone of your setup. Even treated, they do not last.....

    Soaking doesn't add much preservitive to the wood. Pressure treating is how they get the preservative to enter deeper into the pores of the wood.

    Some folks soak the bottom 3 feet of a good post in used motor oil for a few weeks. That can add a couple years onto the life of the post. It does make for a messy post to handle, and there is a bit of environmental concern.

    There were paint-on or soaking creosote treatments back in the day, but again you probably won't find good ones, environmental issues again. Again these only added a few years to the post, as soak-in isn't all that great a treatment.

    Roofing tar is expensive to paint on; and in some climates it locks the water inside the post, making it rot out quicker.....

    So, starting out with a throw-away poor chunk of wood that would only last 3-4 years to begin with - there just isn't anything you can do to make this worthwhile in a ground-contact situation.

    --->Paul
     
  7. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    But you all do think they would be o.k. to burn in a wood-burning heater? they appear to be oak and pine.
     
  8. JGex

    JGex Pragmatist

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    Careful where youu burn them, though. Most pallets are soaked in chemicals and pesticides, and burning can release gases. I would not burn in the woodstove, only outside, and not in the bbq pit.
     
  9. Qwispea

    Qwispea Well-Known Member

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    If you new SIL has a seemingly "never-ending" supply..then just go ahead and build your fencing. You should get at least 5 good years out of it, and more if you properly set the posts in cement with a drainage taper on top and pea-gravel underneath.

    Most fencing requires periodic maintenance anyway..at least that's been my experience. Especially with goats! During routine maintenance every couple of years..if there is a "never-ending" supply of 4x4's..then just replace those posts that have become unstable.

    If you wish to have a fence that is maintenance free..then buy the absolute very best 4x4's you can find..even cedar. But somewhere down the road..you're still likely to have some type of fence maintenance.
     
  10. TwoAcresAndAGoat

    TwoAcresAndAGoat Well-Known Member

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    I seem to remember hearing or reading somewhere (I know not a very percise reference) that charing the bottom of the post, the part going into the ground, will deture rot.
     
  11. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Could use them to build coops, such chicken or rabbit? Cut them with the saw, cut them into 2x4 and use them to make a barn with?? Paint them and they should last a long time..
     
  12. wheeezil

    wheeezil Well-Known Member

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    portland cement and water bath let em soak
     
  13. Thoughthound

    Thoughthound Well-Known Member

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    Sell them to yuppies in town as "preservative-free landscape timbers."
     
  14. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i was thinking lime like what is used for whitewash. the wood "petrifies" over time and more application. so if you could soak them for a good long time in a lime solution, maybe that could work. i like the cement idea too.


    how well does ceder last? i have a dried tree that is @ 12 inches narrowing to about 6 inches i thought of using for a post in a grape trellis?