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The lost art of DIY Paling Fences

Fifteen years ago on any given weekend in spring or summer, you would be likely to hear the unmistakable sound of a nail gun echoing across the suburbs. Thud, as the nail was hammered home in one shot and hiss, as the air was expelled from the chamber.  Replacing or erecting a new timber paling fence was a task that many confident, and some not so confident, DIYers would attempt to finish in a weekend.

I’m glad to report that it is a task still undertaken by the DIY fearless and it still involves those roped into the task, such as mates, wives, fathers, father-in-laws, neighbours or any combination of these.  The good news is, you can still hire all the equipment you need for the job so that the budget doesn’t take a big dent for once used equipment …. and so that you can knock it over on the weekend.

Here are some of your basics including some options.

Post Hole Digger – 1 person

The post hole digger, up to 200mm auger, will beat using a shovel nearly every time. It’s small and compact enough in size that one person can use it, and typically they have a safety feature on it that will automatically shut off the unit should it hit something hard. Although most commonly used for metal fencing due to the smaller size of the posts, there’s nothing to stop you using this to create a starter hole for timber posts which you can then widen with a shovel.  This is still easier than digging from scratch.

Post Hole Digger – 2 person

Next, you’ve got the post hole digger two-person model which is most commonly used with a 300mm auger for fence posts. Each person will stand on one side of the auger holding on to the bars as you dig the hole. This is by far the most popular method of digging fence post holes.  You can also find auger extensions for these models so that you can dig even deeper if required.

Kanga Post Hole Digger

The Kanga Post Hole Digger is typically recommended for big projects with lots of holes or for hard ground. This item is powered by a Kanga mini loader so you know it’s going to speed up the process of your project due to its digging power and because it only requires a single operator. It can easily tackle rocky ground and hard clay, which can be difficult to deal with to say the least.

Excavator Post Hole Digger

Now, maybe the job you’re doing requires reach, which is when the Excavator Post Hole Digger makes sense since it has superb reach, such as down an embankment or onto a retaining wall. Another benefit in using this machine is that it can handle tight areas thanks to its retractable tracks, slewing cab and pivoting digging arm. It’s all about getting the job done effectively and quickly.

Electric Air Compressor

Coil nail guns that have air delivered via air lines are often the best choice for paling fences due to the continual nailing once you get going with the palings.  An electric air compressor will deliver plenty of air to the nail gun and during the day will automatically turn itself on and off to ensure that it keeps up with the air volume requirements.

Coil Nail Gun

Another must-have item in order to get the job done like a professional, is a coil nail gun. This is available separately or as a Coil Nail Gun unit, including an air compressor and air lines, for a reduced cost. Once you’ve got your string line in place as a guide for where to nail, the coil nail gun will keep pace with you, even if you nail like you’re an old hand at fencing.

Circular Saw

A circular saw will make it possible for you to trim your posts and rails to length with a clean cut each and every time. The tungsten tip blade is able to cut through your timber with ease, and without much effort on your part.

2CuFt Cement Mixer

Of course, you’ll need to fill those post holes with concrete, which is why the 2CuFt cement mixer is another must-have item. The unit is very quick and easy to operate, and will ensure that you’ve got freshly mixed concrete when needed.

If you would like any guidance or have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk with our friendly team at the Hire Desk.


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Centenary Hire is a Tradesmen & Weekend Warrior’s best friend. Our ever increasing range of hire equipment consists of modern tools, machinery, scaffold, access equipment and site services all of which are aimed at helping you get the job done right – the first time. Our friendly staff can help you to choose the right equipment for your project or you can view & book your equipment online now at www.CentenaryHire.com.au. Drop into our store at Sumner Park or request an equipment delivery as our efficient transport service extends well beyond the limits of Brisbane on a daily basis.

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