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The Fence Post

Should I Build or Buy a Pre-Built Rabbit Cage?

December 5, 2019 | by Debbie Page

Rabbit behind mesh cage

Safe Enclosures for your Rabbits

Safety is the most important priority when building and buying rabbit cages. We specifically sell and recommend materials that keep rabbits safe. This article includes information on ready-made rabbit cages shipped from Pennsylvania. It also includes two materials that are safe for building your own rabbit cages from scratch: 1. Baby Saver and 2. Welded Wire Mesh.

DIY Rabbit Cage Materials for Customizing Rabbit Cages

The Baby Saver or Protecting Your Kit

Baby Saver wire is designed specifically for protecting kits (baby rabbits) in rabbit cages. Unlike standard welded wire mesh which has a 1” x 2” mesh for the entire width, this wire mesh has a ½” x 1” mesh for the bottom 4” which prevents kits from falling or being pulled through the cage.

Even though baby saver wire is more expensive than the standard wire used for rabbit cages, the cost is more than worth it to prevent the loss of kits. After all, what good is a rabbit cage if it does not protect the kits?

Baby saver is welded from 14 gauge wire and is available in both GAW (Galvanized After Weld) and GBW (Galvanized Before Weld) finish. The GAW wire will last far longer than the GBW. After the welding process the mesh is drawn through a bath of molten zinc. The weld spots and wires are thoroughly protected from rust and corrosion. Although more expensive initially, you will save the expense and hassle of replacement.

Dimensions and Planning

Rolls are 18” x 100’. The bottom 4” has a mesh opening of ½” x 1” and the top 14” has a mesh opening of 1” x 2”. It is made of 14 gauge galvanized steel wire for strength and security.

Protect your kits from untimely death by choosing baby saver wire so you and your rabbits can enjoy peace of mind! Your Mama rabbits will thank you!

Welded Wire Mesh in All Sizes

Although Baby Saver is specified for rabbit cages, there are other options. You can get creative and use what is generally known as welded wire mesh. Welded wire mesh can be used to make rabbit cages and hutches in all shapes in sizes. In other words, you can customize your cages in any way you want. Welded wire mesh in the 16 gauge, 1/2" x 1" is the ideal mesh size to use for flooring. Widths available - 12", 15", 18", 24", 30", 36", 48", 60" and 72". Galvanized After Weld finish is recommended due to its ability to stand up to the corrosive effects of rabbit urine. The 14 gauge, 1" x 2" mesh is the perfect size for the sides and top. Galvanized Before Weld wire can be used for these panels to save money, if needed. These products will keep your rabbits (and other small animals) safe and secure.

Remember that domesticated rabbits have lost some of their ability to cope with life outside and it is preferable that they are kept indoors. A hutch left outside is vulnerable to attack by predators; for example, a raccoon can reach in and do damage. It also must be noted that simply the approach of a predator can cause a heart attack as a rabbit has no capacity to run or hide.  

If you have other animals, other meshes are also available that can be used to make cages and pens for larger animals such as:

  • apron fence for beagle training pens
  • woven diamond mesh and 2" x 4" mesh for horses
  • woven deer and wildlife fence

Be sure to Check the Louis Page website for sourcing a huge variety of animal enclosures.

 

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Topics: welded wire mesh, cages, baby saver, galvanized after, GAW

Gabions...More Design Ideas

August 20, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

If you've got the creativity, we've got the mesh

Standard or Custom

Welded from heavy 11 gauge wire, typical gabion mesh has 3" x 3" openings, with Galvanized After Weld mesh as the standard--protecting against rust while offering a long life. In coastal or saline environments, a tough coating of PVC is recommended to offset corrosion and this, together with the galvanization, offers double protection. Also available: panels for assembling gabion baskets, with a standard set of dimensions being 3' x 3' x 6' or a larger set can be ordered in lengths of 9' and 12'.

It's very possible that your project may require a different set of specifications--gabion mesh can be customized and special ordered.

 

At Louis Page, we love the ingenuity applied to the design of gabions and the endless variety of uses for them, whether it's for walls, casual seating, embankments or planters, the list goes on. The sturdiness and style make these small or great feats of engineering an enhancement to whatever surroundings they inhabit. 

They are also used for

  • erosion control
  • bank stabilization
  • channel linings
  • weirs 

Now just for fun, here is a look at the process of putting a large construction project together:

 

Shop Gabions

wire_gabion-resized-600

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Topics: vinyl coated wire, gabion, galvanized after, GAW, wire gauges

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.

Shop T Posts

 

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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

Chicken in profile

Night of the Fisher Cat
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. One imagines the fisher cat family sitting snugly at table.  

Chickens in, predators out--

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, less tempted by eggs but rather by the shelter and soft strawy beds. Imagine scanning past the cubicles, checking for eggs and finding a possum snoozing next door to a seemingly 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 in warmer climates to keep airborne hunters at bay.

chickens in coop

1/2 inch, 19 gauge wire

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

Hardware Cloth Solution

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... 

 

Aviary Netting for the Run   

Ominously, predators don't just come from the ground and sides, but also from above. In thinking about a covering for your chicken run, consider thinking about aviary netting. Louis Page stocks a great netting that is extremely tough and can cope with snow load if you live in a cold climate.

Aviary Netting

 

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

What about Zinc Coating?

March 26, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

 rust covered artistic relief  rusting ship skeleton
net

                                 The Enemy: Rust                           The Answer: Zinc

Oxygen and moisture working on iron and its common alloy, steel, result in rust. 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. 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

galvanized screw and nut

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.

Jaguar Emblem

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.

Friability

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 

Wrecked Ship

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.

A short video:

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

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