With the completion of my fencing project, I certainly learned a lot. I figured I would jot some of them down in case it would help anyone else.
1. Make a budget for your fencing project. Have a heart attack at the figure. Did you survive? Good, now double that number, that is closer to the actual cost. Watch out for that second heart attack.
2. Never underestimate the usefulness of that third person. Two is always better than one but it is amazing how much a third set of hands helps. Four is good too but then you are boarderline crowded unless you are really good at project management. Three is the magic number.
3. If you know your project is going to be super expensive, try getting supplies well in advance. For example we started buying the split bolts back in December. By the time our project rolled around, we are needing to purchase only a single bag of them to finish. Instead of gifts we asked for fencing supplies, for example we got 4 bags of fence insulators from my mom.
4. Check the prices of things at multiple stores, they are usually close in price but not always. I went with Electrobraid fencing because my App is still around because of it after being caught up in a fence when he was 10. I checked the price of the copper split bolts from Electrobraid vs buying them from the Depot or Lowes or Menards and they were about the same price. I bought the zip ties at Harbor Freight as they were a lot cheaper. We compared prices of galvanized ground rods vs copper at TSC, the local hardware store and the local farm store, they were about $20 for a 4 foot section (counting other materials). When at the Depot on Sunday, apparently their copper ground rods are $10 for an 8 foot section. Damn, we already bought and installed 4 ground rods. Live and learn.
5. Landscape timbers do not make good fence posts. In a lot less than 10 years your fence will be holding your fence posts up, not the other way around. I have pictures to prove it.
6. Having a tractor with a front end loader is awesome. Having a really small tractor is even more awesome.
7. They make this thing called a Ratchet Rake for your front end loader. It is an amazing thing and will clear heavy brush like you are sweeping a floor. Beautifully destructive.
8. No matter how big your wood chipper will be, unless it is a tow behind model it won't be big enough. Trust me.
9. Don't cheap out, if you are putting your paycheck into this project, spend the extra $4 for the better material. You are expecting this to last 20+ years so get the better stuff. This counts for gates (don't bother with the painted steel, go galvanized), ground rods (copper conducts way better) and even fence post types. You may be able to save $100 by the end of the project but the extra $100 will make things a lot better.
10. The horses will not clap their hooves in appreciation as you work your behind and checkbook off. Maybe when it is done but they will not while you are working on it. Ungrateful animals.