Low-tech way to help sink or remove posts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Squeaky, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Squeaky

    Squeaky I squeak, therefore I am

    Jul 5, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    So I just got the mesh stapled onto the window I cut in the coop, and today I put up my chicken run. For most of it I used an existing fence, wall, tree, and the coop itself, but I did have to sink one post.

    Pounding a post into clay is not much fun, and I'm a very lazy person. Here's how I dealt with it.

    After digging as far as the shovel would go easily (about 6 inches in this clay) I poured in a couple liters of boiling water. This reduces the clay to soft mush. Cold water won't do it, it's got to be boiling hot. Then the digging is much easier although of course the hot mud won't set around the post until later. Two repetitions got me a hole about 18 inches deep. (If the post doesn't stay still tomorrow, I'm going to put in a foot of Quick-Crete and that will hold it).

    To remove a stubborn post or tree stake (especially the kind with the knobby bumps on the end) simply wiggle and twist the post while pouring the boiling water. Then the stakes come right out in minutes or even seconds no matter how long they've been in there or how hard and clay-like the soil is.

    I came up with this trick years ago while doing landscaping one summer, and used it to get my all-female construction crew to out-perform the guys. We were pulling out tree stakes and did six in the time it took them to do one. They were pitching fits, thinking we had softer soil or something. So we swapped, and kept outperforming them by the same ludicrous rate. After yanking and twisting on those stakes as though they were about to strain something, but seeing us toss a stake into the pile every couple minutes, they were starting to question their masculinity. After an hour or so of very good fun I took pity on them and shared the secret.
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Great tip - thanks for sharing.

    I got a visual of your ladies easily pulling those stakes while the men were a-cussin and a-sweating trying to get theirs loose! [​IMG]
  3. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Quote:LOL!!! I'm surprised they didn't know that....it just seems like common sense to remove a stake that way, it would be pointless to try to pull it up without loosening it first.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Something you might like to have rattling around the back of your head for next time --

    if you want to give a wooden post extra 'set' and hold in the ground, but do not want to go to the expense and aggravation of quikrete or concrete (and man are they aggravating if you ever need to remove the post!), take two flattish rocks or paver-bricks or broken chunks of concrete slab. Smooth is ok but rougher-surfaced is better. After putting the post in the hole, but before filling, put one in the bottom of the hole (tamp dirt really well around it so there is no void under it), then go along tamping the dirt in til you get to just below the surface and put the other rock/block there, on the other side of the post. When you're finished it should remain below the soil surface. If you have particular reason to expect stress on the post in a certain direction -- for instance, the direction the wind blows the worst, or into the run, or whatever suits your situation -- place the bottom rock on the same side as the force will come from, and the top one on the opposite side, and that will strengthen it extra.

    Good tip about *boiling* water on clay, I've never tried that (just cold), will probably get an occasion to this summer when I am fixing some of our fenceline [​IMG]

  5. Bird Hearder

    Bird Hearder Songster

    Apr 10, 2008
    Salisbury, Md.
    Play Sand will pack in nicely as long as it stays dry. In New Mexico shouldn't be a big problem. Pea Gravel will also work well, It's small enough to get down and around post to hold it tight.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  6. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Never thought of boiling the water first. Thats a very funny trick you played on the guys!! [​IMG]

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