How to remove a 4×4 fence post that is snapped off at ground level?

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Wind damaged fence with broken post

Wind damaged fence with broken post

It’s a common question in home repair forums and do it yourself message boards – a windstorm blows the fence down and breaks the fence posts off right at ground level. Often the posts were already weakened from rot, moisture and insect damage and old age and the wind was just the mercy blow that finished them off. The homeowner is left with the challenge of coming up with a cheap and easy way to remove the broken-off fence post and they want to pull it straight out so they can sink the replacement post in the same location without digging too much.

Many of the posts play out like a soap opera – many ideas are offered:

The posts are not set in concrete, so just dig them out.

Screw lag bolts through a chain into the broken off fence post and then use a vehicle winch/come along/high lift jack to pull the post out.

Dig down a few inches and nail or screw a piece of wood to the side of the post then use a fulcrum to pry the post up. Or screw a long eye-bolt into the post from the top and yank it out.

Remove the wood from the concrete (using a drill bit or auger or chisel) and insert a new post.

Chip away at the soil around the post with a steel bar and vacuum out the loose dirt with a shop vac.

Use a post repair spur – drive it into the bottom of the old post and then fix the new post to it.

Soak the ground with water overnight then pound the concrete further into the ground with a sledgehammer.

Rotten wood fence post broken at ground level

Rotten wood fence post broken at ground level

But to quote Mike Tyson “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth” each and every one of these ideas seems good until you go and do it and that fence posts punches you back. Then the homeowner realizes its not going to be so easy as it seemed.

After digging down a few inches they discover the 4×4 posts are set in concrete below ground level.

The post is rotten and the eye-bolt or lag screws pull loose, leaving the post and concrete plug in the ground.

After a long, hard work to chisel/drill the wood out of the concrete, the homeowner then discovers that getting the new wood post into the concrete is almost impossible. After cutting down the sides of the post to get it to fit the post is wobbly and not secure.

There is nothing secure to grab onto and the realization hits that the only way to get the post and concrete stump out is by digging a giant hole.

Then there are the other unhelpful ideas:

Just give up; you are not getting the post and concrete out.

Use dynamite. Give your redneck brother a call and hook a cable to the post and his truck then put a 6 pack of Schlitz down the street and watch the fun. Put some termites on the post and wait 6 months. Pour diesel into the concrete footing and burn the post out.

The Wood Post Puller is fundamentally different than every other tool on the market – the Wood Post Puller is the only one that works bottom-up to push the post and concrete out of the ground from below instead of pulling from the top – where the broken, rotten fence posts can make it impossible to grab onto securely. The Wood Post Puller creates a layer of mud around the concrete, letting it easily slide out of the ground with just simple pry bars or shovels for assistance.  Go to www.sawyerventures.com to learn more and to purchase your Wood Post Puller today.

Wood Post Puller removing broken fence post from the ground on a layer of mud

Wood Post Puller removing broken fence post from the ground on a layer of mud

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