Wood FAQ | FAQ INDEX
How do I cut wood posts? Thank you for putting so much helpful information on the Web. I do have a question I'm hoping you may help with. I am in the process of replacing a 6 foot stockade fence. I have tore the old sagging fence down. The back section was merely 8 foot landscape posts stuck 2 feet in the ground! The sides were ~6 inch round posts (tapered to a point at the top) set in concrete. I used a jack to remove those not in concrete, and also the corners in concrete, as I needed to use the corners. The remaining posts (in concrete) I cut off below ground level. I used 10 foot pressure-treated 4 x 4s and dug out the holes 36-42 inches deep 8 feet apart, set in quick set post concrete. So far, it looks great! The rails are very level and all that remains is trimming (i.e. building some rises were the ground clearance would be too great to fill, gates, etc.). My question is this: What is a good way to cut off the uneven post tops? And at what height? I have tried a couple of ways, 1- using circular saw and going around the post as the blade is on 8 inches and can not cut through on one pass... very uneven results, 2- used a speed square to try and get 2nd/3rd passes more even...limited success, 3- one pass with circular saw, finishing cut with reciprocal saw...best results so far. As I will probably use post caps on the fencing posts which are visible (the neighbor-side fencing), I guess the Hatteras slip-over caps are my best bet.? With the post caps, I imagine they should be cut at fence level or higher. Could you please confirm? Which of those that you carry do you recommend? The lady there who answered the phone suggested using finishing nails and/or shims to level. I am concerned with using finishing nails as they would rust. Thank you very much for any help you might provide.
Usually when constructing wood fences, care and consideration is taken prior to setting the posts in concrete so that they are set at the correct height to begin with, alleviating the need to cut any posts. However various circumstances may force you to cut posts off at the correct height after they are set in the ground. Some of the methods you mentioned are common methods to cutting off posts and with experience and skill it can be done perfectly. We have also used a chain saw to cut off posts with success. I do not know of a tool on the market to make this job easier. You may use any of our ornamental wood post caps found online here: http://www.hooverfence.net/wood/index.htm . We also have an assortment of quality hardware for gates found here: http://www.hooverfence.com/woodfence/hardwareindex.htm . The choice of cap and the height to cut off posts is purely an aesthetic choice. Cut them at your preferred height and remember to consider the height of the post cap when doing so. You will most likely secure post caps to posts with finishing nails or an adhesive. Either method allows one to level the caps on uneven posts during installation. Use aluminum or stainless steel finishing nails to prevent rust. A few other notes: *Since stockade is usually the cheapest wood fence one can purchase, ornamental caps usually aren't used. Most privacy fences in wood won't have ornamental caps since most of the post is hidden behind the fence section. Ornamental caps or cuts in posts are more common in picket styles, especially those with fully exposed posts. *Most customers who use this fence usually aren't very concerned with rusting of fasteners since they installed the cheapest fence they could find to begin with. Chances are a stockade fence will have lived its life, warped, cracked, and generally deteriorated long before any fastener will rust. *As far as finishing nails rusting - all steel rusts, all wood warps and cracks, and all concrete footers fail. Of course, with proper choice of hardware and building methods, these things can be prevented for a time, however they will still occur. Galvanized, stainless, and/ or aluminum fasteners are items on the market to help prevent such deterioration. If you are concerned about rust, I highly recommend you consider using a low maintenance vinyl fence such as those found here: http://www.hooverfence.com/vinyl_fence/index.htm .
Good luck with your project!