Building and repairing fence is one of those jobs that is as much a part of rural life as riding a tractor. Whether on a livestock operation where it is important to keep critters in or on a vegetable farm where it is important to keep critters out, fencing is an unavoidable task.
Anyone who has done fence work knows how exhausting it can be to drive nails or staples into an endless row of fence posts.
Andy and Sam Gardner know about fencing. At their Gardner Brothers Land, LLC, they feed out replacement heifers for dairy producers in the Northeast and along the mountains into Virginia. At any given time they may have as many as 600 to 1,000 head of curious heifers on the farm. They feed out the heifers, returning them to their home dairy when they are about to freshen.
In-between times, they do custom fencing for farms, businesses or government agencies.
The Gardner brothers are sold on the STOCKade ST400i staple gun. Although sold under the STOCKade name, it is made by a subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works. The 400i is the fuel cell version of the ST400, a pneumatic stapler that has been on the market for several years.
“With the 400i and the STOCKade insulators, we were able to install a line of fence with 500 insulators in less time with less fatigue on our guys and on us,” said Sam. Though they are still tweaking their routine to get the most efficient way to move between posts and install insulators, he said he is sold on the gun.
The stapler was developed for use at the sheep stations in Australia and New Zealand. The manufacturer since has begun marketing it elsewhere in the world. As part of their beta testing, several users in the United States were given units to try under local conditions.
“We don’t own one yet,” Andy said. “But we’re happy to have our hands on this loaner.”
Rick Jackmas, president of McArthur Lumber and Post, McArthur, Ohio, also recommends the ST400i stapler for fast, easy fence work. The unit shoots a 1.5- to 2-inch staple. “It will work with any type of wire that you would use that size staple with,” he said. “It will go in any rural fencing with any wood over 1.5 inches thick.”
Since most fencing jobs in this part of the world work with 1.75-inch staples, the unit fits right in with most users’ sweet spots. The unit is a top-loader for simple access.
“The 400i sets two, 2-inch staples every second. They are fully embedded in the wood with twice the pullout power of other staplers,” Jackmas said. “In fact, the staples are almost impossible to pull out.”
His business, McArthur, both sells the 400i and uses it for work for the states of Ohio and West Virginia and even for Victoria’s Secret.
“It takes 54 seconds to move between posts, putting four insulators per post,” Andy added.
He timed his efficiency on a run of 50 posts. “It took us just under a minute to install each post,” he said. There are two staples per insulator.
“I think it is very important to use the insulator that goes with the gun attachment,” Andy said. He noted that early vendor literature did not make it clear to use the insulator for high tensile applications.
“We are extremely satisfied with the product and will continue to use it in our applications/business, but I want the rest of the professionals out there like me to fully grasp what is being sold,” he said. “The prices are competitive so that’s not an issue.”
The crew working for Gardner Brothers Land is a professional bunch. “We hire good guys and pay them well,” Andy said. They also provide the crew with the best of equipment.
“We know we are spending good money on more efficient equipment,” Andy said. “But in the end we find we are saving money.”