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Mission Not So Impossible

Here is a hilarious and winning testimonial from John B who lives in North Huntingdon, PA:

“Erecting fencing is not a favorite summer pastime… then come to think of it, it is not a favorite pastime during any season. However, “The  Boss” gave me little choice and fewer options.

MacGreggor, aka "The Boss"

Having installed a few fences in my day, I really did not look forward to installing another one.  From cyclone, split rail, and privacy panels, I could see my entire summer pass in front of my eyes.  Several years ago, I installed white vinyl railing around my deck.  Therefore, I wanted something to match and blend in.

I began by reviewing online offerings at national box stores.  Options were clearly available, but I was not impressed.  A search of local installers followed resulting in possibilities but with a hefty price tag.  Finally, I searched online for something “new and truly innovative.”  Most search results offered the same-old-same-old.

Research Complete

Looking over product offerings did not indicate a clear winner but looking at installation techniques did.  There was this company in North Carolina claiming to have the better way of installing fencing……”RIGHT!” I understand marketing so the claim of ease of installation was taken with a few grains of salt, several shots of tequila, and followed by a quick suck on a lime.

I read over the information available on the WamBam web site, not once, but several times.  My feelings were reserved on the claim, “The only fence that’s fun to install.”  At 61, I have been dragged around the block a few times, and once thought that it would fun to own a bridge AND ocean property that had a nice view of land.  But fence that was fun to install?  Whoever wrote this must have done the ads for “caveman insurance.”  Fun is sitting on the deck with a few six-packs and watching someone else install their fence.

Convenience ME!

I sent an email requesting information on the Simple Simon fence style.  A prompt and informative response from Denise suggested that I might want to consider the Even Stephen style.  With continued skepticism, (over ease of installation) I did a design and created a materials list all the while receiving the look of “Where is my fence?” from The Boss.

I then called WamBam’s office to obtain information on how to make modifications to the gates I would need for the project.  I was directed to Stephen who asked all the right questions and indicated that I, with the right tools, could make the modifications.

 I reflected on my options.  Purchase local, have it installed, and pay 60% more for labor.  Purchase local and install myself by digging holes and planting poles in concrete.  Or, take a leap of faith and try the new guy. I emailed my design and parts list to Stephen; he quoted me a price and said to let him know what I thought.  I called and placed an order with the new guy.

The fence arrived and I was looking at this!

Thoughtfully packaged and shipped, but ouch, my aching back…  I then questioned my sanity for not taking option 1.  But I immediately set to task and moved the boxes to the backyard, and then retired to my deck with a few cold-and-wet cans of one of my favorite beverages.

 Several days earlier, I had received a package from WamBam containing a clip to help self-install the leveling donuts, installation instructions, and a booklet on “Murphy’s Law.”  I only scanned the materials then, but now I would attempt to wrap my head around the project while I could now lick, hold, and see the materials.  To my surprise, the processes and steps were clearly organized and followed the same principles of any other fence installation BUT without digging (still skeptical).

 The Murphy’s Laws booklet included some advice about NOT using dynamite!  Really… anyone who has installed fencing knows that blasting is not only fun, but is better than breaking one’s back with digging.  The problem is post 911 this stuff is no longer available at the local feed-and-grain store.  I also could not find any military grade materials online.  But, should I encounter any potential “back breaking” obstacles, I could always improvise.  I did not watch all of the episodes of “Macgyver” for nothing and July 4 provided an abundance of raw materials.

In the beginning… 

The photographs above visually display the beginning.

Laying out the installation

Yes, The Boss is in my office chair!

Notes-to-Self

REAL men do not read or take installation instructions seriously because they:

  1.  Are written in Chin English.
  2. Contain confusing language.
  3. Provide illustrations and/or pictures that are as confusing as the language, and/or were taken or drawn by a preschooler to save money.
  4. These instructions are spot on and when followed all is good!

The pictures demonstrate how I ran my string line, measured off distances, placed the post holders in the ground, and then simply inserted the pipes into the holders to get a picture of what I was doing and where I would go.  The rough outline allowed several small design changes that enhanced installation and aesthetics.

All the while, the pressure from The Boss was mounting and I was stressed out from the constant stare.

The FUN Begins!

Note the position of The Boss when the real work is taking place!

With all planning finalized, I began driving the posts.  Using the Basic Betty Post Pounder, I easily drove the posts into place.  This should not be confused to mean that I did not experience rock issues or correct for level.

When pounding began, a rhythm took over.  Since “real” men do not read instructions, and yes there is a warning in the instructions to be careful, be warned least Basic Betty is directed toward one’s head.  When the post’s height just slips under your reach, and Betty no longer has contact with the post, steel and bone will meet.  The black-and-blue knot on my forehead had a face under it for about a week.  Fool me once, shame on you…well it happened a second time when I was kneeling during the final strokes, BUT this time I drove Betty down on my thigh, now shame on me!

Installing Rails

Since my installation was designed in two unconnected segments, I chose to complete the small segment that included one of the two gates.

I hate to waste anything, and yes, I turn all precious liquid containers bottom up to drain all the “nectar of the gods” out.  So, I cut apart the shipping skids and created spacers to demonstrate spacing before making final installation of rails.  What this enabled me to do was once again modify my installation to ensure a continued professional look to the project.  Here you can see the beginning of the changes as I modified the design to include 4-rails per post.  The Even Stephen style is supplied with 3-rails per post.  When installing the post with the gate, I discovered that 4-rails would enable me to:

  1. Customize the installation so that The Boss could not escape his new play area.  With the spacers in place I attempted to coax The Boss to escape, and he did.  Therefore, I reduced the size of the spacers by 1” resulting in a virtually escape-proof design.
  2. Permit symmetry so that all lines flowed.
  3. Customize the height and width of the gate for a very customized installation.

Post heights have not been modified at this point so that I could ensure a symmetrical and aesthetically professional finish.

Additional Modifications 

The pictures indicate one change in plans.

Looking to keep an esthetically pleasing look, I made additional modifications and moved from 4 to 5-rails in certain areas in the largest segment. Yes, this did result in a shortage of rails and I did incur additional cost, but the result was so worth it.  After all, I made a substantial savings by not buying local and electing self-installation.

3-rail to 4-5ail and then to 5-rail design change

These photos demonstrate the rationale for using 5-rails in one part of the fence design, 4, and 3-rails in a few others.  My slope was such that this enabled me to maintain a professional look!  Is this possible?

Almost There!

Being pleased that The Boss could not “leave the building” (sorry to all Elvis fans), and appearances were symmetrical and professional looking, I began utilizing the supplied fasteners.  When looking at the materials, I was unsure of the look and stability of the long screws.  Yes…. I continued to be a skeptic.  However, I found out in the completion of the small section:

  1. The screws did NOT distract from the look of the installation
  2. The screws were structurally sound and secured the rails to the post (grandchildren considerations)

The Completed Project

Final View?

Not quite...

WELLLLL…….. NO! I am sorry, but I will have to append that later.  I am looking at landscaping and have thoughts on lighting using LED’s.  This is at the planning stage and I have thoughts of how to use the cut off vinyl posts to create lighting that also ties into lighting installed into the top of the posts.  I do hate wasting anything.

Parting Thoughts!

I emailed Stephen during day 2 that:

  1. I was having fun
  2. That the installation was professional in appearance (I can show my mistakes but choose not to do so!)
  3. That “WamBam”ing was simple and easy. However, it is not effortless
  4. With some degree of diligence and thought, customization can occur on the fly and does not have to be written in stone tablets during the design.

Total time from receiving materials to demonstrated completion was just 2 weeks.  HOWEVER, the time included:

1) Ordering and receiving an additional rail section

2) Spending time with The Boss on the deck, where I enjoyed partaking of Johnny Buffet’s…I mean Jimmy Buffet’s favorite beverage.  I did tack actual time at 30-hours, this included approximately 6 hours of thought and redesign.

Overall, I am extremely impressed.  I experienced a company whose ads “told it like it is.”  The hype that I considered brag was not.  It was just plain fact.  And this was quite refreshing.”

What does The Boss think?

If he’s even half as impressed as we are, he’s thrilled! Great job, John!

Comments (1)

Lynae

I love it! What a witty testimony. I missed the fact that the dog was “The Boss” so the whole time I was thinking that it was his wife. It was funny to realize it was the dog at the end!

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