Today, we’re going to show you the step-by-step process of how to replace a wire fence end post and H-brace for hanging a farm gate.
Replacing a wire fence end post and H-brace is just the first step in completing that entire project. So rather than pack it all into one long video, we’ve broken it down into three videos here on Tips Notebook, each covering a fundamental piece of the project. They are:
- How to replace a wire fence end post and H-brace,
- How to wire an end post and brace post together, and
- How to hang a new farm gate.
For this project we used a John Deere 5060E Utility Tractor (US CA), and a Frontier PHD395 Post Hole Digger (US CA).
We also needed several different hand tools and supplies. It’s a pretty long list, but you can find a downloadable copy of it right here on Tips Notebook.
Now, before we get started, let us make a very important point about wearing sturdy eye protection. When working around any kind of wire, maybe especially barbed wire, there can be a high risk of that wire whipping around in any direction when cut. So always protect yourself with sturdy protective eyewear at all times. Just in case.
Okay, let’s get started.
First, let’s hook up the post hole digger.
This Frontier PHD395 post hole digger has a simple parking stand that really makes it easy to hook up.
Start by backing your tractor up to the implement. Then shut off the engine and set the parking brake.
Next, remove the implement’s PTO shaft from the support on the parking stand. Then remove the top link from the 3-point hitch and store it in your machine shed someplace you can actually find it again.
Attach the post hole digger main arm to the same connection point where the top link was attached and secure it with the locking pin.
Attach the two support arms on the post hole digger to the lift arms on the 3-point hitch and secure those with the locking pins.
Hook up the post hole digger’s PTO shaft to the tractor. Using the 3-point hitch, raise the post hole digger slightly. Then remove the parking stand legs and you’re ready to work.
Now, let’s get rid of that old end post.
The first thing we noticed here was that this end post was so rotten it had broken off at ground level. So, we knew from the beginning we’d need to replace it.
We also quickly discovered the remaining post left in the hole was so rotten, it would be a waste of time trying to clean it out. So, we decided to dig a new post hole for a new end post.
Here’s our first tip for this project: It’s a good idea to clear away any grass and other vegetation from under the fence line using a string trimmer so you’ll have a pretty much unobstructed work area.
And here’s another tip: Clip the fencing wires away from the old end post and save them by folding them back to the next fence post. That way, you can use the wires again once the new end post is in place.
Next, detach the H-brace from the end post and the brace post. Clean up the H-brace of nails, wires, mounting pins, and anything else that might get in the way or draw blood. Having the right tools on hand makes a huge difference.
Okay, time to dig the new post hole.
First, determine exactly where the new post hole should go based on the width of the new gate. Ours is 16’ (4.9 m). So, measure from the post where the gate will be latched to the new post where the gate will hinge, and carefully mark that point in the ground.
Carefully position the auger, mark the auger for desired depth, and dig the hole. Place the post in the hole and see how you did. Keep digging until you get the depth just right.
Now, let’s measure the gate opening again. A little fine tuning and this post is in the right spot. A few whacks on top to help firm it in place and we’re ready to set this post.
Now here’s another tip: Build and install a support brace to hold the post perfectly vertical through the next steps. It’s like having another set of hands on the job.
Next, measure from the new end post to the brace post and, if necessary, shorten the H-brace to fit. Hold it in place to make sure. Square everything up again. Then measure the gate distance again and make sure you’re spot on.
Using an extra-long 1/2” (1.27 cm) auger bit, drill a hole about 5” (12.7 cm) deep in the end of the H-brace, insert a 10” (25.4 cm) brace pin, and drive it a couple inches (2.5 – 5 cm) deeper.
Then using the same ½” (1.27 cm) auger bit, drill a hole deep into the brace post. Insert the mounting pin in the H-brace into the hole in the brace post and hold it in a level position.
Drill a hole through the new end post and a couple inches (5 cm) deep into the center of the H-brace making sure you stay level all the way. Insert a mounting pin and tap it secure leaving an inch (2.54 cm) or so remaining outside the end post. Then make sure the end post is perfectly vertical one last time.
Next, pour concrete mix into the post hole up to about 8 or 10 inches (20.3 – 25.4 cm) below ground level. There had been a tremendous amount of rain in the area recently and the subsurface of the ground was pretty wet. So, we only added a little water to the concrete mix and let it set overnight, so the ground moisture would be absorbed. The job to replace the wire fence end post and H-brace is done.
The next day, they’ll come back and add the bracing wire to hold all this work tightly together. You’ll also find that video here, and one more on hanging the farm gate here on Tips Notebook.
Don’t forget, always read the Operator’s Manual before storing or operating any piece of equipment and follow all operating and safety instructions.
And remember, if you’re looking for equipment that’s built to get the job done season after season, year after year, you’ll find it – and all kinds of advice on how to use it – every day at your John Deere dealer.
Frontier Post Hole Diggers (US CA)
John Deere Utility Tractors (US CA)
How to wire an end post and brace post together
How to use a PTO-driven post hole digger