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PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson
Some farm projects are simple, but fixing fences is rarely one of them. When a fence needs maintenance—either routine work or a quick repair of a damaged section—it can require an impressive array of tools to get the job done. Here are nine tools that I like to have on hand when embarking on any fence-repair project.
1. Electric Drill
After expounding on the virtues of electric drills in a previous column, I have to rank them as one of the most important tools for fixing fences. From drilling holes to screwing things together, an electric drill is essential.
2. Post Hole-Digger Or Auger
During fence repairs, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually need to move or replace fence posts, and having a post hole digger or an auger on hand is the way to go for digging new holes.
3. Digging Bar
Few tools are more useful on a fence-fixing project than a digging bar, my tool of choice for loosening the dirt around posts, prying the posts out of the ground, and later tamping dirt back into place. Being 5 or 6 feet long and made of steel, they’re heavy, but they’re worth it!
Replacing old fence posts or adding new ones requires moving a lot of dirt. Even if you use a specialty tool for actually digging the hole, you’ll want a shovel on hand for shifting the dirt around and adding it back into the hole once the post is in place.
5. A Lot Of Drill Bits
Remember that summer when you accidentally bought square-head screws instead of your usual star-head screws? It’s not uncommon for fences to have been assembled from a variety of screw types (whatever happened to be handy), so you can save yourself some trips back to the tool shed by bringing along a variety of drill bits …
… and also a hammer! Just when you think you’ve got all the drill bits you need, you’ll discover that one part of the damaged fence is held together by nails. Use a claw hammer to remove old nails, and bring along a few new ones if you like to use them.
7. Pliers (Multiple Pairs!)
Even massive fences that surround acres of land are made up of tiny components, and these can be troublesome at times. Maybe you tied that knot in the rope a little too tight when you first installed the fence, or maybe you need to hold on to a nut while you tighten a bolt. I always have multiple pairs of pliers on hand, including at least one pair of locking pliers (commonly called vise-grips) that clamp in place and hang on tight without any effort on my part.
As you can see, fixing fences requires a lot of tools! You’ll want a wagon of some sort (perhaps a yard cart or even a tractor-pulled trailer) to carry all your supplies to and from the work site.
9. Safety Goggles
Although not technically a “tool,” plastic safety goggles are great for protecting your eyes from flying objects (because you never know when you might need to break up a piece of concrete holding an old post in place).
Have I forgotten any essential tools? Let us know which tools you like to have on hand!