Wood Posts: From the Forest to Your Fence Line

posts2-blogOur CCA-treated wood posts travel quite a distance and go through numerous processes to become the fence posts you know and trust. At Kencove, we strive to provide quality products at the lowest cost possible. In order to do so, we recently started a post mill in Eastman, Georgia. We are now able to closely monitor the quality of our posts and control the posts from start to finish, ensuring the highest quality products for you!

pine-treesEach Southern Yellow Pine Tree that is selected to be a post starts out as a rough log in Georgia. When it has been processed into a semi-complete product, it is dried and shipped to a CCA-treatment facility in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Once the posts are treated in Indiana, PA, they are dried and shipped to our Blairsville, PA headquarters and are ready for you to pound into the ground.

The process begins at the Kencove Post Mill where each rough-cut log is offloaded into the log yard. After the logs are unloaded, they are moved into the log bay. From the bay they are moved onto the saw. Once the logs reach the saw, they start to take shape into fence posts. After the logs are cut to the desired length, they are sent to the peeler. Check out this clip from the post mill to see the peeler in action!

Aerial view of the Kencove Post Mill

Aerial view of the Kencove Post Mill

The peeler takes the bark off the logs making them smooth and clean. By peeling off the bark, our machines are keeping the integrity and strength of the post while still giving them the aesthetic appeal of a clean post.

After the logs are peeled, they are moved to a sorting table. Since each log is cut to maximize the amount of posts harvested, they must be sorted based on their length. When the logs are sorted into their correct lengths, they are bundled and moved to the permanent yard. This is the longest step at our post mill. Each bundle of posts may sit for up to 3 months as they dry out. During Georgia’s hot summers, some bundles may only sit for 30 days. When the posts are dry, they are ready to ship and are loaded onto a flatbed trailer to head north.

We dry the posts in Georgia to keep our costs as low as possible for you. By drying the posts before shipment, we are able to reduce the posts’ weight by eliminating most of the water. This lower weight allows for more bundles to be packed onto each truck, creating the most efficient shipping system.


A Schroth Industry worker testing the moisture content of posts before CCA treatment is added

A Schroth Industry worker testing the moisture content of posts before CCA treatment is added

From Eastman, GA to Indiana, PA, traveling about 900 miles, our posts reach the CCA-treatment facility. Schroth Industries is a local, family-run wood treatment facility that has been in operation for over 80 years. During their time at Schroth, our posts turn from dry, cut logs into pressure-treated fence posts. CCA, or Chromated-Copper Arsenate, is the treatment selected most suitable for fence posts. CCA-treated posts last longer, are stronger, and resist pests better than untreated posts. Although CCA-treated wood is no longer permitted in residential use, CCA treatment can be used in posts for agricultural purposes due to the durability and relatively cheap cost. During their time in Indiana, PA, our posts go through the treatment process which includes being loaded into a pressure vat, having treatment applied, and, finally, drying on a drip pad. The complete process is done under roof in one building with a concrete drip pad preventing any environmental impacts. 

Posts being placed into the Vacuum vat for CCA treatmen

Posts being placed into the Vacuum vat for CCA treatmen

After the posts arrive from Georgia, their moisture content is tested. If there is too much water in the posts, they will not take the CCA-treatment as well as a dry post would. Some posts may sit as they dry, where others may be loaded into the vacuum vat where the CCA treatment is applied. Once loaded, each bundle experiences an airtight vacuum. After the air is removed, the CCA is added along with pressure. Since there is no air, the treatment is able to enter the wood cells in place of where the water once was. This process is what creates the solid, durable posts you know and expect from Kencove. Each bundle spends a few hours in each cylinder, after the CCA process is complete, they are removed, tested, and the excess CCA is allowed to drip off the posts on to the controlled drip pad. The CCA treatment will not “leak” out of our posts due to the chemical reaction that has occurred between the preservative and the sugars found naturally in the wood. The posts are left on the drip pad to allow an excess CCA treatment to drip off rather than CCA treatment leaving the posts.


Schroth Industry Employee taking a core sample of a recently treated post.

Schroth Industry Employee taking a core sample of a recently treated post.

During each step of the log’s transformation from a tree to a post, strict guidelines and regulations are in place to ensure only the highest quality posts make it to your farm. Before each rough-cut log is unloaded from the trailer, they are inspected using a spec sheet that includes straightness, correct sizing, and wood health. When the posts are thoroughly inspected, they are removed and placed into the log yard. After each bundle of posts receives the CCA treatment, a core sample is taken and tested. First inspectors check to see how deep the treatment penetrated the post. They will then grind up the core samples to check the volume of treatment in the posts. If a post meets all these strict quality controls, it is shipped to Blairsville, PA for its final stop. To ensure quality posts, periodic tests from the Timber Products Inspectors are in place as a second check for quality control.

Core samples of CCA-treated posts.

Core samples of CCA-treated posts.

Most of the logs used for our posts are sourced locally to the Kencove Post Mill. In fact, most of our posts come from 55 miles away or closer. Keeping our products local allows for us to keep your costs as low as possible. It takes six workers and one supervisor to run our post mill, a handful to treat the posts at Schroth, and roughly a half-dozen workers to unload them at Kencove. Although they say many hands make little work, there seems to always be a lot of work when it comes to our posts! But that is simply to ensure top quality products for our customers.


During a quick phone call with Cole, the production supervisor at the post mill, we asked about a “slow” season. His response was quite comical in his southern accent. “When pigs start flying we might slow down!”

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Production keeps humming along, so the next time you are looking for a high-quality, CCA-treated wood fence post, give us a call at 1-800-KENCOVE.


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