Recently an innovative Australian company Woodshield, gave me some posts to play around with. Promising to do away with CCA posts and the environmental issues surrounding the use of heavy metals in agricultural trellising and fencing. I was excited to try them out. I had some reservations, mainly the water proof quality of the posts when fixings were added and the lack of ability to trim and drill the posts.
In the field some advantages immediately became apparent. The posts are lighter and easier on the hands than traditional treated posts, not requiring gloves to handle them. The posts were easy to drive into the ground with a post driver and were no different to ramming in holes by hand. It did require a bit of thought though to set up a box end assembly. Inaccurate or rushed installers will find the lack of ability to trim the top rail (due to removing the end cap) limiting if they do not change practice. There is a bracket available to set up stay post assemblies and I think this is something that could be developed in time for setting up box ends. A simple work-around for me was using a clamp to set my support post straight before tamping the soil.
Waterproofing was tested with extreme prejudice. I put a range of fixings from nails and screws all the way to barbed staples into a post and then submerged it in a dam for two weeks solid. Under these conditions, the screws and nails did not leak at all, however the staples (due to the tear from the barb) did leak and let water in. Those of you seeking to use these underwater should be fine using screws and nails, just avoid barbs. Under normal conditions, barbed staples should be fine as the water is only on the surface of the post and not under pressure.
It was during this test though, that I had one of those great discovery moments and found out about Davo’s fencing clips. A simple but very well designed wire device that turns a screw into a fencing clip! With these little devices, I reckon the Woodshield post would be unbeatable in any conditions. The plastic coating even makes the posts more fire resistant. Within a vineyard fire in NSW recently they lost all their CCA posts but the next block over had the woodshield posts and they survived with no damage. Not a bad result. Not that I recommend burning your posts anytime….
At the end of the day, we need to protect our soil and ourselves from toxins. Woodshield posts seem to me to be a logical solution to waste management and sustainable fencing all in one.