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The Fence Post

T Post Installation

May 8, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Using T Posts

                                                                             First, a lesson in T post installation

T Post Efficiency 

No digging holes for wooden posts--a huge benefit of T posts is their installation. Pounded right into the ground, most easily done with a post hole driver. Straight and strong, knock em in, and revel in their ability to hold.  And happily, they can be moved, too. Permanent or temporary, you choose. 

T Post Strength

These American made posts are made of 100% recycled rail steel. Think about what freight trains pull. This is that steel. Very tough, durable, and able to bear a generous load. They're a fine choice for hard or rocky ground and can even stand up to livestock.

T Post Economy

Wood or vinyl posts carry a hefty price tag. T posts are a bargain in comparison. Add their ease of installation and longevity, you end up saving considerable time and money. And you can cover a lot of ground. Louis Page also includes five wire fasteners with each post.

Three surface treatments:

  • coated with baked enamel
  • hot-dipped galvanization
  • untreated

Consider purchasing T posts that are galvanized for longer life. Particularly in coastal climates where there is more risk of increased corrosion of steel which is vulnerable to rust. Yet even unfinished T posts are very weather resistant due to the high quality of rail steel.  

Are you thinking that wood might be more appealing? Aesthetics are important; however, T posts are seen mostly in winter whereas in summer the posts are covered in leafy vines. Even treated wood posts are vulnerable to rot, breakage, and taking a beating from the weather. However, if a T post is for some reason damaged, it is easily replaced.

Use them for silt fencing, snow fencing and safety fencing.

Here's an example of T posts holding up grapevines.
Vineyard T Posts

 You can also these beauties for sign posts, pens, guide stakes, home gardens, and more.

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Topics: galvanized after, posts, steel fence posts, steel fence posts and driver

Safer Mesh for Chickens

April 24, 2019 | by Joe Morrell


Secure chickens
Our first set of chickens were thrashed by what looked like the work of a head-hunting fisher cat, an odd type here in suburban New England. Our chickens, tragically named after Jane Austen characters, came to disastrous ends--four of them were left headless and scattered indiscriminately, while the other four had vanished. I imagine the fisher cat family sitting snugly at table.  

Which one is not like the others?

Ordinary chicken wire has its uses; but here, it was not the best choice. Soon our newly acquired replacement chickens were visited by a very respectable possum who bunked in the cozy chicken cubicles, not so much tempted by eggs but by shelter and the soft strawy beds. Imagine scanning past the cubicles, checking for eggs and finding a possum snoozing next door to an unconcerned chicken. Chicken wire boasts flexibility, yes, but is highly susceptible to rust, is hardly rodent or small animal-proof, while strong animals can shred it. As is often said, chicken wire is more for keeping chickens in than for keeping predators out. However, It can work well in areas devoid of predators or on the top of a pen to keep airborne hunters at bay.


1/2 inch, 19 Gauge Security

More pricey than chicken wire--though if you add in the resulting security of your flock--it's less expensive. 1/2 inch welded wire is the safe, strong option. While being more difficult to cut than chicken wire, it keeps out a wide variety of predators and should be used on all openings, such as vents and windows, of the coop. Sized right to keep smaller predators from reaching in, 1/2 inch, 19 gauge wire mesh is certainly the stronger choice. It can be bent by hand and at the same time it holds its shape well. Bury it 8-12 inches with a curve outward from the coop at the bottom. Vinyl coated hardware cloth is a great way to avoid rust.

Keeps out larger animals, such as:

  • dogs
  • coyotes 
  • foxes 

And smaller ones:

  • possums
  • snakes
  • mice and rats
  • weasels
  • fisher cats

Why it's stronger

1/2" x 1/2" mesh, 19 gauge galvanized after weld (abbreviated generally by GAW) wire mesh and fence is commonly known as hardware cloth. Molten zinc is applied after the 19 gauge wire is welded into a 1/2" x 1/2" mesh. Here the workhorse zinc covers the entire wire cloth mesh, completely sealing it for protection against corrosion and rust--particularly crucial are the vulnerable welded areas which benefit greatly from this zinc bath. This guarantees that 19 gauge 1/2" x 1/2" mesh will be assured of a long life and being of lighter weight and strength it ends up costing less than the thicker 16 gauge 1/2 x 1/2 mesh. It's great for enclosing small animals or keeping out rodents, gophers, and other nuisance animals. This also can be used for economical flooring for game birds while 16 gauge is also recommended. Keep in mind that availability may be an issue and that this is a material that requires special ordering. Louis Page can help with all those particulars.  

As you can see cutting this mesh takes some strength and some helpful tools... 


or here's a video with a good option... 



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Topics: wire mesh, welded wire mesh, galvanized after, GAW, 1/2" mesh

Zinc to the Rescue

March 26, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

 rust covered artistic relief  rusting ship skeleton

The Enemy: Rust

Move on to Class 3

When thinking in terms of the wire used for fencing, sometimes being number one is not always tops. A Class 1 coating for your mesh or fence is anything but top rate. Oxygen and moisture working on iron and its common alloy, steel, result in rust. Now think again about that coating. It can mean: this looks fine or it'll do. In the long run (or short run), it will not stand up to the ravages of air, moisture, and abrasion. 

However, a coating of zinc reacts differently to these factors. As it corrodes. It forms a barrier or patina, running interference between it and the steel or iron that it is sheltering.

The Protector: Zinc

Classes of Zinc Coating 

Class 1--lightest coating of zinc; widely available and lasts 2 to 11 years in non-coastal climates. (.28% zinc per sq. foot)

  • protection drastically reduced in humid climates. (For the record, there is no Class 2.)

Class 3--heaviest coating of zinc; lasts 13-30 years, often must be special ordered (.80% zinc per sq. foot)

  • however, in humid conditions, the coating may last at least 15 years with wider wire gauges lasting longer.

Zinc galvanization--a coating for mesh and fencing that endures.

After wires are either welded or woven into a mesh, the entire finished product is drawn through a bath of molten zinc (830°F.) This galvanization-after-weave or weld method (GAW) creates mesh that emerges with a thick coating tightly bonded to the wire. Each strand of wire is protected and more importantly, each vulnerable welded or woven area is thoroughly sealed. In some circles, this is known as "galvanic healing!" Officially, this is termed, cathode-anode protection.

More zinc = more protection. Delaying the time until rust sets in.

So the more zinc per square foot, the longer it is until it rusts.

galvanized screw and nut


If something is friable, it is subject to the rubbing process that works on the surface of unprotected iron or steel, which offer no natural corrosion resistant patina. Friability describes the flaking and breaking apart of a solid substance.



 Simply put: What are the benefits of a Class 3 zinc coating?

  • Lowest cost over the long run
  • damage resistance--the zinc patina guards the metal underneath
  • cheaper than stainless steel
  • consistent results
  • longest life

What does an ASTM standard signify?

Seeing this on a product, such as for zinc coatings, shows that a company is adhering to a certain set of criteria for the quality of a product. These are internationally accepted guidelines, based on research, for the specifications of materials, products, and services as approved by a  governing board. (ASTM International was once known as the American Society for Testing and Materials.) Buyer beware: a company's adherence to these standards is voluntary.   

Other factors for deterioration:

                  airborne sand and dust                      chemicals                            salt                            air pollution 

Zinc facts:

Zinc is the 27th most abundant element in the earth's crust. 70% is mined, 30% recycled. More than 50% of this is used to coat steel and keep it from disintegrating.

Zinc is found in rocks, soil, air, water, the biosphere as well as in humans, plants, and animals.

Biology: organisms must have zinc to exist. For example, in the human body, zinc is important for cell division and is responsible for the function of red and white blood cells.

Here's an example of zinc galvanizing in action:



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Topics: woven wire, welded wire, vinyl coated wire, galvanized after, galvanized, galv after

A Fence for Your Emu

February 19, 2019 | by Joe Morrell



These grand, imposing, flightless birds are probably as tall or taller than you. Some folks consider them pets, some consider them products. Whichever, we'll start with a brief description, then recommend the right fence, followed by explaining this bird's unique nesting habits.  

How big is big?  

Obviously, if you're choosing an emu as a pet, your taste is somewhat extravagant and you no doubt realize that an appropriate space for this very large bird should be one of your first concerns. Here are some considerations:

  • They range from 5 to 6½ feet tall
  • weighing up to 130 lbs
  • They can run up to 30 miles per hour
  • Imagine these big birds traveling hundreds of miles for food and water in the Australian outback. They need space and for healthy birds, you must provide an opportunity for exercise. A long pen is recommended so they can run--at least ¼ acre to 2 acres in size. 
  • Audible--their grunts and squawks can be heard up to 2 miles away. You might want to think about your neighbors as you plan your emu enclave.
  • Emus are especially docile toward humans especially if they are handled from birth. If an emu feels threatened, its claws can do real damage. Other small animals in the yard, such as chickens, can be trampled.
  • They like baths and enjoy an occasional dip. In a pinch, a child's paddling pool can suffice.

2" x 4' fence with square knots drawing

Now, about that fence...

Your emu will benefit from a  2" x 4" woven, non-climbable mesh fence that is five to six feet high. It is attractive, has a long lifetime, and makes a safe and secure fence for emus. The strong 10, 12½ or 14 gauge steel wires (depending on style) are treated for maximum rust and corrosion protection. The heavier wires used on the top and bottom edges give this fence additional strength. Stiff "square" knots, formed by a third piece of wire woven around each intersection, hold the horizontal and vertical wires securely. The mesh offers flexibility, allowing for its construction on uneven terrain. The woven knots are rust-resistant and will not hold water. This fence features knots that are smooth, which protect both animals and people from injury. 

The Broody Male

Females are larger than males and can exhibit aggressive behavior, especially during breeding season. They lay their eggs and wander off, leaving the males in charge of the nursery. The males build their nests in a shallow hole in the ground using grasses, leaves, and sticks. After the female lays her eggs, the male steps in. He becomes broody and takes control, remaining on the nest for 8 weeks until the emu chicks hatch.

Generally, the males may seem friendlier, being the nest tenders--yet much more defensive of the newly hatched chicks than of the eggs which can be removed from the nest without much upset. The male doesn't leave the nest, his sole activity (no eating, drinking or even defecating!) is to turn the eggs a couple of times a day and understandably, during this stretch of time, he loses a third of his body weight. Once hatched, they will remain with their father up to a year and a half and are ready for breeding between two and three years of age.

While the female usually abandons this domestic scene, she goes on to mate with other males and will produce up to three clutches (between 5 and 15 eggs in a season.)  In her wandering, the female may deposit eggs in the nests of males with whom she hasn't bred. The large eggs weigh about a pound, are teal in color, and measure about 3 inches wide and 5 inches long. Thinking culinarily, a single egg contains the equivalent of 10-12 chicken eggs with a richness similar to duck eggs.

Assorted Emu Facts

  • Emus are in the family of originally southern hemisphere flightless birds known as ratites which include ostriches, kiwis, rheas, and the cassowary.  
  • They are omnivores. 
  • Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, fruit, bark, stems, insects, small reptiles, amphibians, and small animals.
  • One mature emu contains three gallons of oil, which is prized for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • They spend a good amount of their days pecking at things, quite indiscriminately; so an environment that provides foraging possibilities, with plenty of shrubs, dirt (they extract minerals), pebbles (used for digestion), and insects, will keep them occupied, reduce boredom and may decrease pecking of the fence.
  • Pens must be kept clear of any trash, wires, nails, etc, to avoid trips to the vet.
  • Pacing can be a sign of stress due to being confined.
  • In the bush of Australia, the usual predators of emus are dingos, the native wild dogs. Eagles can also attack from above. The eggs and smaller chicks are sought by a number of animals and reptiles, but the ever-vigilant male rarely allows opportunity.
  • Life expectancy of an emu is 10 to 20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.

Australian coat of arms with kangaroo and emu

The Australian Coat of Arms


Note: if you're interested in keeping ostriches, fence-wise, much of what applies to emus applies to them. And know that a 2" x 4" woven, non-climbable mesh fence is also used for:

• Garden fence

• Horse paddock fence

• Parks and public areas 

• Dog kennels and containment

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Topics: galvanized after, GAW, emu and ostrich fence

Understanding Wire Gauges Used In Welded & Woven Wire Mesh & Fence

January 15, 2019 | by Duncan Page

micrometer measures wire gauges


Wire Gauge

  • What is it?
  • What does it mean?
  • How is it used to describe wire?

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines wire gauge as any of various systems consisting of a series of standard sizes used in describing the diameter of wire.

It all starts with heavy coils of large diameter wire called rod made in a rolling mill. The rod is then shipped to a wire manufacturing mill. To make the wire used in wire fence and mesh, single strands are "drawn" through a series of increasingly smaller dies or plates and reduced to a specific gauge/diameter. The gauge is determined by the wire's final use - single strand wire, welded wire mesh or woven wire fence. Heating of the wire is not required in the drawing process.

Wire Gauges Through Time

There have been several different gauge designations since this process was introduced. Numbers have been used to designate wire diameter since 1735. They originally referred to the number of draws used in the process. The first draw was called 1 gauge, the second 2 gauge, the third 3 gauge, on down to the final draw of the thinnest wire being made. This is why thick wires have a lower gauge number than thin wires. 9 gauge wire is thicker than 14 gauge because it requires fewer "draws" than 14 gauge.

The Birmingham Wire Gauge, also known as the Stubs Iron Wire Gauge, was originally developed in early 19th-century England as a means of standardizing gauge sizes. It has been used in a medical setting (needles) since the early 20th century. In 1855, Brown and Sharpe established a formula-based progression of 39 steps - from 1 gauge through 40 gauge. This is now known as the American Wire Gauge and is used extensively in the United States.

Common Wire Gauges

The following values show in inches the most common gauges of wires used in welded and woven wire mesh and fence:

  •  8.5 gauge - 0.155 inch
  •  9 gauge - 0.1483 inch
  • 10.5 gauge - 0.128 inch
  • 11 gauge - 0.1205 inch
  • 12.5 gauge - 0.099 inch
  • 14 gauge - 0.080 inch
  • 16 gauge - 0.0625 inch
  • 18 gauge - 0.0475 inch
  • 20 gauge - 0.0348 inch
  • 21 gauge - 0.0317 inch
  • 23 gauge - 0.0258 inch
  • 27 gauge - 0.0173 inch

There are many different combinations of wire gauge and mesh size manufactured. You can select the right product for the requirements of your project.


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Topics: wire gauges

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