Steel T-posts have taken a lot of the work out of building a fence because they can be driven into the ground with a post driver. With wooden fences, you have to dig a hole, drop the post, then fill and tamp the dirt around each post. Post drivers can be purchased at any farm and tractor store, but if you have the right materials and equipment, you can build your own at home. A do-it-yourself post driver doesn't take much time to create, but does require some knowledge of welding in order to complete successfully.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Heavy steel pipe, 2 to 3 inches diameter, 2 to 3 feet long
- Heavy-duty steel cap, 1/2 inch or thicker, 3 1/2 inches wide
- 2 pieces 1/2-inch round stock steel, 15 inches long each
Weld the metal cap onto one end of the pipe. Start by placing a few tack welds around the pipe and cap to hold the cap in place, then go back and weld it all the way around. You should use at least 1/2-inch steel for your cap; the thicker the steel, the greater the driving force of your post driver. You don't need to trim the cap to a perfect fit on the pipe, because the overhang makes it easier to weld.
Bend and shape the 1/2-inch round steel to create a handle that will allow ample room for your hands to fit as you drive the posts. Hold the steel securely with a vice and beat into shape with a hammer. All you need is a little curve at each end to provide a space in the middle to hold onto. Repeat for a second handle.
Weld the handles onto opposite sides of the pipe. This weld will need to be very secure to make sure you don't lose your handles as you work. The handles should be spaced at least 6 inches below the cap.
Test the post driver for durability, and further secure your welds if needed.
Tips and warnings
- Although thicker gauge steel will increase force, it also increases weight, so test to make sure you can lift the pipe and cap overhead before attempting to build a post driver with it.
- Always wear protective mask and goggles when welding. If you're not experienced with welding, you may want to get help from a friend who is.
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