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A Visit To Our Wood Lot for Locust Posts = $350 in Savings

By: Everett S

Using Locust Trees for Fence PostsThe Home Depot sells 4″x4″ x 9′ long fence posts for about $25 each. Since we needed 14 of them for the garden fence it would have cost me about $350 had I purchased them instead of cutting them out of the wood lot. Though it doesn’t account for the price of property, I prefer to see it this way: for one day of work I saved about as much as I’d make for doing three days of paid work. I’d need to augment the sedimentary lifestyle had I spent all of that time in a cubicle to pay for the lumber, so this type of thing also saves me several hundred more each year in gym membership fees.

Actually, back when I was working 50 hours a week in office-land (including the commute) I’d probably have ended up paying someone else to build the fence so I could use my precious little “free” time to do something more enjoyable, such as a costly activity like riding ATVs or snowboarding. This was the work-spend-work treadmill I jumped off of awhile back. I am only just now regaining my footing. That ride packs a lot of momentum.

Shaving Black or Yello Locust Trees for Posts

Stripping off the bark helps prolong the life of the post, especially the end that goes into the ground. Usually I use a draw knife to shave off the bark. I couldn’t find mine this time so I used a machete, which actually works just as well. I find the best way to do this is to straddle the log and pull toward you, as opposed to pushing away or bending over the log, which would be hell on your back. This is roughly the same movement you’d do on a row machine at the gym.

I don’t know if these are yellow or black locust trees (can anyone identify them from the pictures?) but they are abundant on this property and make awesome firewood and fence posts. There are still 100-year-old locust fence posts in use around here. It sure beats using treated lumber that has been bathed in a toxic soup of arsenic, creosote and who knows what else.

The locust posts are so resilient you’re supposed to put them in upside down (top part of the tree into the ground) to keep them from re-establishing roots and “coming back alive”. But that must be a rural myth since nobody I know has actually ever seen it happen.

This is all to say the dog, chickens, deer and rabbits are no longer going to be digging and scratching up, pecking-to-death, nibbling and chomping away at our precious garden anymore!

Category: DIY Projects, Farming & Gardening, How-To, The Transplants

Comments (5)

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  1. Sharon Cole says:

    The reference you made to saving money in your last article on locust posts hit home here in Ohio.
    I am not as organized as you,but I do make do with what I have and buy only when necessary.The other
    reference you made to getting a work out on your land and not a gym membership sounds like what I have been doing for years,in retail!
    Take care.I enjoy your updates.SCole,Ohio 44647

  2. Tommy says:

    Awesome! I love the many uses of Locust posts, especially for building foundations for small cabins!

    A way I like to skin the logs is invert them on the side of a building or something and work my way down with a draw knife. I find it is less strain on my back.

  3. Everett says:

    Great idea Tommy! Would the tailgate (a closed one) on a truck work?

  4. Everett says:

    Thanks Sharon! However, I think “organized” is one of the last adjectives most people would use to describe me. 😉

  5. tommy says:

    Open/closed it doesn’t matter, the side of your porch, against a big tree, etc. The trick is to get it perfectly situated so when you are drawing down the log it will stay in place and not move or fall down.

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