Let’s face it. If there is one task that many cattle producers dread, it is installing and/or fixing fence. Put simply, it’s a pain, and for that reason it is often put off and ignored as long as possible. After all, it is time consuming, physically tasking and when it comes to ranching, it’s often a long ways away from the ranch.
Enter the ST400i, the world’s first 4mm diameter/9 gauge cordless fencing stapler. Designed and sold by STOCKade (www.stock-ade.com), a part of Illinois Tool Works (ITW), a Fortune 200 company based in Glenview, IL, this means no more manually pounding staples into wood posts. Instead, the ST400i does all of the work, and since it is cordless, it can be taken anywhere a fence needs to be installed or fixed. It allows you to fire staples with one hand, while utilizing the other hand to line up the height of the wire. It weighs around 9 pounds with battery installed, which is understandable to get a cord-free, hose-free fence post stapler that can fully drive a 9-gauge staple with consistency.
Thoughts from a Montana fencing contractor
For nearly 20 years, Calvin Johnson has owned Johnson Custom Fencing and has constructed fences across the western United States. “We do field fences, electric fences, barb wire fences and interstate fencing. We’ll go anywhere if it is cost effective!” Johnson is always looking for ways to make things safer and easier for his fencing crew. That’s pretty important when you average 40 miles of fencing yearly.
“Four years ago we bought two of STOCKade’s staplers utilizing an air compressor. They made a huge difference for us by saving time, labor and workers’ health. We actually did a test to see how efficient they were. We constructed a ¼ mile stretch of five-strand/staple fencing. It took three guys 45 minutes to complete this manually using a hammer. Then we took one guy with the air-powered stapler, and he completed it in 10 minutes! Even though we had to have someone drive a pickup along side, it was still a huge savings in time and labor.”
So, while that was a good comparison, Johnson is really anxious to use the new ST400i cordless stapler. “It is an amazing tool. We have purchased two of them, and that is probably what we will go to exclusively this spring when the weather turns.” According to Johnson, having the battery-operated stapler will allow for much more flexibility. The crew will literally be able to go anywhere to erect fencing without having to worry about how to get the compressors there or whether they will have to pound in the staples by hand.
Another positive for Johnson is that High Country Ag Marketing out of Whitehall, MT is going to be a distributor for STOCKade products including the ST400i cordless stapler and its accessories.
High Country Ag Marketing
Larry Feight, owner of High Country Ag Marketing located in Whitehall, MT, is excited about being a distributor for STOCKade products, especially the ST 400i and its accessories. “The STOCKade products are used throughout the construction industry. The reason I am adding the STOCK-ade product line is that I had had contractors come to me and ask if I would carry the STOCK-ade line. That’s a pretty good endorsement when contractors come and ask for products!”
Feight, who has been in the fencing industry since the early 1970s, continues, “We have customers all of the Pacific Northwest. I began fencing construction myself to help pay for college. In all of those years, this is the second product that I believe has the potential to revolutionize the fencing industry. The first was the pneumatic post pounder. I truly believe that the ST 400i will be an incredible time and labor saver. Plus, I know from experience that hammering staples by hand takes its toll on the shoulders, elbows and hands. This stapler will totally change that.”
Virginia fence builder’s perspective
For brothers, Andy (37) and Sam Gardner (34), building and repairing fences has always been part of their working lives. Andy says, “Our family owns Gardner Heifers Inc., which is located in south central Virginia. We grow anywhere from 600-1000 high-quality dairy replacement heifers from customers across the region.”
Then over 10 years ago, they began Gardner Brothers Land LLC and started building fences commercially. “It was kind of a natural, since we grew up building fences. We took courses and studied up on the different types of fences,” notes Andy. “We have both agricultural customers and commercial customers. We have done a lot of work on stream exclusion, putting up fences to keep livestock out of streams to help protect the Chesapeake Bay.”
On average, Andy says they will erect 4,000 to 5,000 feet of fencing a month. “We definitely need quality products that will hold up to this kind of use.” As a result, Andy and Sam have gone to STOCKade staple guns, staples and accessories. “We started with the ST400, and it has worked really well. However, when we saw that STOCKade was coming out with the ST400i cordless stapler, we felt that would be perfect for us.”
This past fall, they ran through over 4,000 staples with great results. According to Andy, “This is a great product. All I can say is it is smokin’ fast! The insulator attachment and insulators really speed up the process.”
Andy adds, “We want things done good and right the first time. The ST400i and attachment are an investment offering consistency in the finished product. Plus, it is also a huge time saver!”
Stay-Tuff (www.staytuff.com), located near New Braunfels, TX, about 30 miles north of San Antonio, offers its customers the latest in superior quality fencing products. Each year it also offers a series of hands-on fencing workshops, where those in attendance get to witness the quality of Stay-Tuff products and actually get to be part of the construction.
Lewis Sapp, who is the East coast regional sales manager, says, “We offer everything from field days to seminars and fencing schools with participants having the opportunity to use the products that are being demonstrated.”
Sapp agrees that one of the most labor-intensive parts of building fence is the stapling process. “We have used STOCKade products before, and this year they came to us to see if we would try the new STOCKade ST400i.” Sapp agreed to try out the portable stapler, but it would have to meet Stay-Tuff’s standards. “So far, everything has worked well, and the response has been good. Since it is portable, it’s easier to handle, a time saver and less labor intensive. Although we don’t sell the product, we’ve had some participants ask where they could purchase the ST400i.”
STOCKade products are sold through several businesses in the United States. To find a dealer, go to the STOCKade website (www.stock-ade.com). Plans are underway to add more dealers in the near future.
The STOCKade ST400i has certainly taken the fencing world by storm! There really is nothing on the market to compare it to, and it is making the job of building or repairing fences much easier and more manageable. Dare we say, “Fun?” After all, what more can you ask for in a fencing stapler: rapid fire, miles faster, lightweight and cordless!