Wednesday 3 December 2014

Post savers

Have you ever noticed that when a post or pole rots it does so generally at soil level?

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Apparently, it is in the topsoil where soil organisms in the organic matter, moisture and air combine to cause the most damage. So someone invented "polesavers", sheets of bitumen on plastic sleeves that can be applied to poles around soil level. That apparently doubles their lifespan, so we are increasingly using them in the department.

Today we were taught how to apply one with the use of a blow torch. Very useful things blow torches, but rather scary, so first thing it's risk assessment.

Leather gloves, eye protection, a stable stand to keep the blow torch when not in use, a stable stand for the pole, that allows for rolling it. Working in an open environment with no flammables around, and fire estinguishers to hand.

Then we where shown how to cut a piece of bitumen sleeves and heat them on the pole.
  1. Clean the pole from any soil. Try to go for smooth surfaces so the bitumen sticks more easily
  2. Cut a slice of bitumen sheet 
  3. Measure down to 6 feet/1.83 cm which is how tall we usually have our posts
  4. Apply a slice of the sleeve (must be big enough to overlap a little) around the expected soil level on the pole, some 15 cm above it, and let it hang around the post
  5. Heat one side until it wrinkles, which means it is adhering
  6. Move to the other side, heat it, and with leather gloves press the side edge on the pole
  7. Go back to the initial side and finish heathing the sleeve, rolling the post, until you reach the other edge
  8. Press the othes side edge so it sticks well
  9. Roll the pole while heating the top and bottom edges, and press them into place
The finished posts

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