An alternative to spikes and concrete
Putting in a wooden fence post shouldn’t be such hard work. Traditionally you lug bags of concrete around and dig big holes. Or pound a large metal spike into the ground. It’s all strenuous stuff. If you’ve ever had to do either you might welcome an alternative to spikes and concrete!
One day, John Gibbs, a retired civil engineer, was watching his neighbour struggle to install fence posts using metal spikes. It was hard work and they weren’t going in straight. “John” the neighbour said “there has to be a better way”, John set himself the challenge to find it.
“John, there has to be a better way”
He knew that the key to sturdiness was resistance to the soil. So that meant an alternative to spikes and concrete had to have surface area not weight.
John came up with a unique A-shape design for his FenceFins. As a result he could minimise metal thickness so the product was easy to handle. Most importantly it maximised strength. This was due to both a large surface area and the harnessing of tension and compression forces (see more about our strength testing and some informal videos here).
John’s son Andrew added FenceFins clever ‘peanut’ hole pattern for the nail holes. This pattern is really forgiving of the odd nail not going in straight – and so makes it particularly suitable for DIY fencing projects. Also it lowers the risk of wood split in less high quality posts.
Now John had a really manageable, easy-to-use product. Using it was easy because it was just nailed on and needed only a small hole to be dug. As a result it was perfect as an alternative to spikes and concrete. No more heavy labour needed.
Getting a team together
Through the Wessex Round Table of Inventors, his local inventors group, John’s idea was spotted by an experienced entrepreneur, Richard Atkinson. Richard saw FenceFins real potential as an alternative to spikes and concrete – which he knew were unpopular with DIYers. He brought a team together to bring FenceFins to market.
An award-winning product!
FenceFins launched at the Glee international tradeshow in 2014. There they won the Garden Industry Manufacturers Associations’s Innovation Seed Corn Fund award. GIMA said they:
tacked a common problem…in an innovative way… and offered volume sales opportunity to retailers