Tag Archives: stockade

Down to the wire

When the Stockade team crossed paths with Gregg Holmes and Max Walton, we were captivated by the tale of travel, adventure, and the saving grace of great fencing skills.

Adventure begins, 1984

Gregg Holmes caught the travel bug as a young trainee from Ashhurst on a seven-month international agricultural exchange to Canada. Alberta seemed ‘tractor heaven’ and with a few weeks off to explore Canada, the US and Mexico, he awakened his wandering spirit. On his return home he picked up a fencing job to finance his next adventure – Denmark. He fenced some more before falling into sheep shearing with nil experience, plenty of enthusiasm and credentials as a Kiwi enough to satisfy the Danes.

Greggholmes Travel1

Fast track to 2020

The Kiwi fencer and, now, international man of the land, is heading South across continental America. With cracked ribs, doped up on painkillers and fighting an onset of hypothermia from the chilling blast of an incoming Artic storm, he is living the dream!

Gregg is crossing the globe top-down from the Artic Circle to Sub Antarctic South America, and then beyond, on his Honda Africa Twin, 1000cc dual-purpose adventure bike. He rides from Alaska arriving in Alberta 30 years after his first stint there. He is back on the combine harvesters. This time they are the latest high-tech million dollar, GPS auto-steer machines. Then it’s onward to Utah in subzero temperatures followed by a relaxed trip to Panama.

In Panama, Gregg connects with an engineer, an Indian National, who he’d met in Alaska for 10 minutes. The pair have arranged to ride together and cross the water to Columbia on a 113-year old, steel-hulled ketch to avoid the Darien Gap – a mosquito-infested jungle, almost impenetrable and notorious for its poisonous snakes, escaped murderers and drug barons. Then it’s a four-day stomach-churning sail to safety.

Finally, it’s smooth. It is land. Dust, gravel, and roads less travelled from Columbia to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile. Finally, Gregg is standing in Ushuaia, Argentina, the Southernmost city in the world, 45,000 kms from Alaska and ready for his next leg.

72 hours and down to the wire

In Argentina there is talk of “Italy.” That’s not Gregg’s intended destination. “Talk of ‘COVID’.”

Within 12 hours, national parks are closing. A notice comes from the hostel. “Argentinian borders close in 72 hours”. It’s a heart-stopping 3000 km ride to Buenos Aires. Gregg must transit through a small section of Chile, then back into Argentina on the same day. The government issues an edict requiring any person entering the country to be quarantined for 14 days. This instigates a series of roadblocks and police checks. Gregg is detained. He is issued with travel papers to move through checkpoints. No, there’s a misunderstanding. They are not travel papers at all but notice of quarantine. Leaving the hotel means risking arrest. The embassy is no help. The police, doctor, and interpreter return and with some fast talking Gregg is on his way and locks in a flight with LATAM Air.

Things change rapidly: Flight cancelled. Rescheduled. On, off. No airport entry without a valid ticket. No valid ticket. Starting to panic. No commercial flights. Last hope is a government-sanctioned flight to San Diego, Chile. Full lockdown, curfew, military – everywhere.

And a flight!


Time to reflect

Auckland, 25 March. It is Level 4 lockdown. Gregg arrives, holds up in an RV and recalls how earlier life plans had sent him on a different course.

“Returning from Denmark 30 years ago I had a grand plan of becoming an agricultural pilot. I took a job at Lochiniver Station to set up two big tractors they had brought over from the States and ended up staying for 6 ½ years, getting married and having our first child… Flying went out the window and I moved North, to rural South Auckland, where I invested in a helicopter business. The guy turned out to be a conman, took all we had saved.”

It was a big life lesson for Gregg and time to dig deep and build back up using the skills and resources Gregg had on hand.

Starting anew

“I put a flyer out around Ardmore and Brookby. ‘I will fence, relief milk, paint, a few other things’. Then the phone never stopped ringing. More and more it kept coming back to fencing. I started up my own company in 1995.”

Fencing brought Gregg a stable, reliable income for 25 years. “I fenced alone for a while, built up a team and a reputation. It’s been a great business in a unique area. Through all the economic downturns, fencing, for me anyway, has never waned.”

The next leg

“Then came Max Walton. A young guy looking for work. He had an aptitude for fencing. I showed him a few things and he picked them up straight away. I knew I’d better hold on to him.”

Two or three years in, Gregg recalls Max thinking about going out on his own and Max recalls Gregg seeding thoughts of transition for ownership and promising plenty of opportunity if he put in a hard day’s work.

“We did the transition over a couple of years to make sure the clients were happy. Max had good skills there – but a few things to learn in a business sense. The clients were in agreeance of staying on and over those years Max took on more responsibility. We agreed on a price.”

Gregg knows identifying and fostering Max’s young talent and mentoring him to become a business owner opened up his lifetime dream of riding around the world on a motorcycle.

He didn’t know that planning ahead and investing in Max was about to pay dividends in other ways.

Coming full circle – 2020 lockdown, New Zealand

Under Level 4 lockdown Max is working on his own. Stock containment is essential work. His two staff have been unable to join him. Where could he find a reliable experienced new hire in this environment? Walk in Gregg.

“It’s been great having Gregg’s experience back on board. Everything I learnt about fencing, I learnt from Gregg himself – so I can trust he will do a great job.” Max likens fencing to riding a bike. “Once you know what you are doing and have the basic knowledge about how a fence is constructed, you have a skill for life.”

And Gregg is happy to be on the job too. He has a boss he has handpicked. Still, a couple of things have changed. Work isn’t quite as hard as when he left since Max won a Stockade ST315 batten stapler from last year’s FCANZ AGM, then quickly invested in the ST400i post stapler for the team.

Max says there’s that much work to do, and he knows efficiency is key.

“I am adapting, bringing some modern technology and equipment into the business to make our lives as fencers so much easier. Since getting the gas-operated tool, it’s opened up a whole lot of uses. We always struggled to get a compressor down some of those steep hills. Now with the ST315i batten stapler you don’t even think about it. You just grab it and head off. Repair work or new work, the ST400i post stapler is really useful, definitely speeds things up and saves the arm from stapling away.”

Looking ahead

As for the future – Gregg is enjoying the beautiful New Zealand outdoors while he waits to reconnect with his bike and saves up for his next adventure. This time, Africa. Max is already thinking about the next generation of fencers. He has brought on an 18-year old who is already showing talent.

“He’s keen, reliable and turns up every day and is proving a valuable part of the team already.”

Volunteers build fence in countdown to show time

The Milton Freewater Junior Livestock Show attracts competitors and exhibitors from Walla Walla County in Southeastern Washington and Umatilla County, Oregon every year. It’s a chance for local 4-H and FFA members to showcase their talents in herdsmanship, cattle handling and other skills as well as exhibit sheep, goats, rabbits, hogs, and other small livestock.

Jon Dowling, a local fencing contractor, runs Jon’s Ranch Fencing in Walla Walla specializing in agricultural fencing work, “anything that requires animal containment”. He is also on the Board of Directors for Milton Freewater Junior Livestock Show and has taken a step back from his usual business projects to help local volunteers to prepare for the annual show.

Stockade ST400i stapler tools

Jon, 4-H volunteers and FFA members are working on a large community project installing a perimeter fence to prevent any animals from getting loose and on to the road.

“We are currently putting up a Noble Panels and Gates’ Contour Fencing to provide additional security and we are installing Noble Panels and Gate small animal pens for our sheep and goat barn. The pens are a galvanized wire mesh panel on a 1’ 5/8” frame.”


More renovations are underway at an old pole barn and soon volunteers will be putting up 13/48/2 high tensile wire around the perimeter and a four-rail painted wood board fence over the top of it.

“We will be using my Stockade ST400i stapler tools on this portion of the project. I’m looking forward to showing some of the volunteers what these stapler tools can do.”

“I don’t think people understand how easy running the Stockade stapler makes getting work done until they actually have it in their hands and are using it.”

Jon says as soon as he started using the Stockade stapler he knew it was the best tool to keep his fencing business growing.

“It has drastically changed the efficiency of how quickly I can get a job done. It saves time on labor. Everything is right where you need it and easy to maintain and adjust.”

Stockade ST400i

Once the show work is complete, Jon will be taking the ST400i back out on a high tensile barbed wire fence job for cattle.

Great Teamwork and Technique in Golden Bay

It’s midweek. A rain shower has just passed and now the sun is blazing hot. Angela and Dave Jacobsen from Golden Bay Fencing have been hanging gates up near Black Marble Quarry and taking a moment to relax under a walnut tree until the surveyor arrives.

Golden Bay Fencing

The husband-and-wife team are putting in a seven-wire fence with two-wire electrics, making a right-of way-across the main road and a side road to move dairy young stock safely via a quicker, easier route. First though is clearing out the gnarly hawthorn trees that are 150 years old if a day.

They make up one crew of Golden Bay Fencing. Their son Luke and new team member Jacob make up the other half.

Golden Bay Fencing2

Angela says there’s a natural split in fence work. “When we have had big jobs, we have all gone together in the past, four or five of us. Now, Dave and I usually cover the local jobs, more often for people who have known us for years, and Luke does the long-distance bigger projects.”

Early on, Angela started out as a landscaper. “Plants are really my thing – ever since I first left school. I had a nursery and studied landscape design.” Then on day one of Golden Bay Fencing, Angela picked up the tools and has been fulltime fencing ever since. That was 15 years ago.

At the start, Angela says she didn’t know any other women who worked in fencing – and admits she still hasn’t met any, but that doesn’t deter her.

“I am just doing what I do. It is great being in the outdoors. I had a hip replacement over 20 years ago. Landscaping is quite hard on your hips whereas the fencing I do is all about arm strength so that is so much better.”

For women coming into the practical side of the industry, Angela says hands-on fencing is really about technique.

“Women don’t need to be put off by the idea that they need to be strong. Strength can be built up. To be a good fencer – it is very helpful to be fit but you can get that as you go along.”

Angela J.

On top of that, Angela sees that fencing is changing.

“Thanks to FCANZ, fencing is becoming more recognised as a profession. Everyone always thinks that anyone can put a fence up but that’s not the case. There’s a lot more to it, and there’s more support with best practices, courses, association days to learn and do it well.”

One of the real drawcards of fencing is that every day holds something new.

“I do enjoy fencing. You never ever feel bored or wonder when the day will end. It is the same technique you’re doing but every day you’re in a different place. It is so cool because it is so varied. You go to so many different places that you would never see otherwise. You are all over the bay, in little corners, looking out at the view here and there at the mountains that other people wouldn’t see.”

And it’s not all about doing things on your own. “Dave and I build a good fence together. We are a good team. What we do works well… and you pace yourself out.”

Tools help. Like Stockade’s power post and batten staplers. The crew have one each.
“They’re fantastic. Stapling insulators on used to be the longest part of a job and now it is the quickest. Putting those insulators on now is just so easy.”

Angela J.

At 55, Angela expects to stay on the fence line for a good while yet. “It suits us. Where we go with that in the future I don’t know, maybe we will have a bit more time gardening.”

Grassland Solutions’ reputation built on strong investment in crew and Stockade equipment

For Matt Schaefer, building up and equipping his Grasslands Solutions crew has been a standout accomplishment during his two and a half decades as a fence contractor in Cokato, Minnesota. It’s a long term focus that has helped Matt keep the business relevant for the times, production levels high and helped build a reputation of delivering large and small projects on time.

In 1998, Grasslands Solutions was a small family business, starting off building high tensile fence, then expanding into agricultural fence with local demand. After college, Matt and his wife Karin took over the company from his father. Grasslands Solutions now totals eight staff, including crew, an estimator and an office manager. They do agricultural fence and spec fence, mostly high tensile woven wire in a commercial setting.

“We are not doing things like we did when we first started. It’s been an evolution – and that is what makes work exciting. I think back to when I started, having to do so much physically. Now so much of this is done with mechanicalized equipment or apps in the office. I would say we are blessed to have tools and equipment to do the job and to use every day.”

Stockade Gs

Early Adopter

Matt started with the Stockade ST315 battening tool shortly after it arrived on the scene. When the ST400 pneumatic stapler tool came out, he bought one of those, and he kept going.

“Fatigue is way down and the ST400i has made the installers’ lives a lot better.”

Matt Schaefer, Owner – Grasslands Solutions

“We still have both tools but use the ST400i cordless now. I would say we have six Stockade power staplers and we are pretty much fully integrated into the ST400i stapler tools. Fatigue is way down and the ST400i has made the installers’ lives a lot better. If you put two stapler tools on the line, in no time you can have a tremendous amount of fence stapled up. For me it is a psychological advantage just knowing how much faster the ST400i goes and the empowerment to the team of having something that is the fastest in the industry.”

No Need For Hammers

“We do have a couple of hammers, but there wouldn’t be a hammer for every man on the job because we just don’t utilize them like we used to. We have had 80 lbs of loose staples on the inventory going on four years now. At one point that was all we used.”

Matt recalls times when they were hand hammering and they wouldn’t finish projects. “We would run out of steam by the end of the day.”

Grassland Solutions Today

Matt’s focus on people and tools has allowed Grassland Solutions to set itself apart in the industry and building a reputation to manage and attract large-scale project

“We’ve recently completed a 30,000 foot job of woven wire for a commercial job which was more or less completed in one phase, followed by tree planting etc and finalizng gates. This job was brought to us because we have a reputation of being able to handle large footages and that derives from the tools and equipment.”

Stockade Tool Maintenance Tips for 2023

Practical Advice for Cleaning & Tool Maintenance

Here are a few things to look for when servicing your Stockade power stapler tools:

Keep parts tight

Screws and bolts on the magazine and nose should be secure but not super tight.

Staples should slide freely along the magazine

On the odd occasion, steel wear plates in the magazine can expand with heat causing staples to bind. There’s a simple fix to this. Take out the two wear plates, give them a slight squeeze with some pliers, and replace.

Lubricate the correct product for your stapler

When doing regular cleaning and maintenance work on your ST400i and ST315i, wipe and spray the coiled spring using a degreaser. Oil and CRC-type products tend to attract dust and grit – so try to avoid using these on your Stockade tool.

Quick reminder: The ST315 and ST400 models use different fuels. The ST400i uses a drier gas so there’ll be less oily residue.

A Focus on the ST315i

ST315i not working as you would expect? Here are some troubleshooting tips to get you going:

Keep your ST351i firing

At times, your tool might not fire, or might misfire. There can be a variety of possible causes. If your tool is not firing as you expect, here are some troubleshooting tips to get you back in action.

Do you have a brand-new tool?

When you fire up your brand-new tool for the first time, there can be an initial delay as the gas reaches the combustion chamber. If you depress the nose, down and up around 8-10 times without pulling the trigger, this will get the gas flowing through the system.

It could be your fuel cells

Expired, empty or cold fuel cells may be the cause. Cold fuel cells can lead to slow gas. A quick fix is to heat up the cells in your pocket or leave them in your vehicle overnight rather than in the back of the ute. Running out of gas is a classic reason why your tool is not firing. If you give the fuel cell a shake you might hear a noise and it is easy to think there is still a small amount of fuel left, but it may really be out of gas. Expired fuel cells are not a common reason for the tool not working, but if the cells are old then it may be the culprit. Check the date on the gas canister.

Is it your batteries?

Check they are charging correctly. Staple jams will also stop your tool firing. Open the nose cover and release the jammed staple.

Firing pin sitting slightly out of place might be the issue

After a service, cleaning session or clearing a staple jam, the staple nose firing pin can sit slightly ajar. The next staple will not move along into the correct position and the tool will not fire. Open the magazine, then use your finger or screwdriver to push the firing pin back into place. Similarly, when the magazine pusher assembly gets tired, this can prevent the staple pushing up into the firing chamber correctly.


A flashing red light on the handle of your tool lets you know your battery is flat. A constant red light on the handle is a sign that there is an internal issue, and you need to send the tool to a Service Agent for inspection.

Looking for more tips?

Watch the “How to” cleaning videos on the Stockade website, via Stockade | How to Videos | How to clean your stapler.
Don’t forget that you can always contact us via the form on our website https://www.stockade.com/contact-us/.

Stockade Tool Maintenance

Stockade Service Agents

Even with good cleaning and maintenance routines, your tool will thank you for regular servicing. Head to the website to see the full list of Service Agents, Where to Service – Stockade 

Below are some service agents around NZ & US:


Otago/SouthlandOnsite Nail Gun Services, c/o Dunstan Motors 38 Sunderland St, Clyde
Darrin Hall 021 332 591
ChristchurchSports Service Centre, 519 Tuahiwi Rd, RD1, Kaiapoi 7691
Paul Thomas 03 313 0064
NelsonElectrical Service Centre, 31 Parkers Rd, Tahunanui, Nelson 7011
Office 03 548 3144 office@escentre.co.nz


WellingtonNail Gun Solutions Ltd, 1 Sunlight Grove, Porirua
Rick 029 777 9920 contact@nailgunsolutions.co.nz
HamiltonLeGrand Tool Services, 50 Higgins Rd, Frankton, Hamilton 3304
Kerry 021 103 3102 kerry@legrandtools.co.nz
New PlymouthEnpro Machinery, 307 East Devon St, New Plymouth 4312
Office 06 758 5736
NorthlandThompson & Industrial, 11 Rewa Rewa Rd, Raumanga, Whangarei
Dave Thompson, 09 438 6956 or 027 721 5694


USACertified Tool Solutions, 320 Northpoint Parkway Southeast Suite Q, Acworth Georgia 30102.
(770) 218 6050

Get in touch

To learn more about Stockade, get in touch with us at www.stockade.com/contact-us

Taking the next career steps – planning the work and reading the land

Murray Graham entered the fencing world during holiday work between his senior years of high school. He stayed. Now, four years into a fencing career under the guidance of Tony White at White Fencing in Clevedon, the Stockade Ambassador is mastering heavy equipment and a variety of fencing systems. He says he can’t imagine doing anything else.

“I am using tractors, post drivers, skid steers. It is a whole other side of fencing compared with hand and wire work.”

Murray Graham

Murray’s thoughts

For the most part, Murray says using the post driver and other machinery is about getting comfortable trusting himself and knowing where he can take the machinery and where he can’t. But he explains there’s also more to post driving.

“It is not just a mechanical process. You’ve got to plan the fence out, picking where the lines are going to go, and then lay out the fence and build it in the right place to a high quality.

“It is about managing a crew as well. Usually if you are on the post driver, you have others under you, and you’ve got to make sure that they are getting through the work and using the right systems on the fences.”

It’s not just about turning up

Murray says he is still working on aspects of this process. “Much of the time fence lines are dictated by Tony and the customer so I am working between fixed points. Reading the contour and the terrain as to the best place to put the fence is something that I can work on.”

“I enjoy post driving. It is more of a responsibility because it is up to you to keep yourself motivated, plan the work out in front of you, and look after the crew. It is not just about turning up and having the work out there waiting.”

Fence work continues to provide Murray with an everchanging scenery in some of the most stunning coastal and bush landscapes of the Auckland Province. He works regularly out on Āwhitu Peninsula and at Port Waikato in the West and all-around Clevedon and Orere Point past Kawakawa Bay to the East. The variety of projects provides good experience across fencing systems from horticultural structure work, standard rural fencing, and post and rail.

“Every job is always different, and whether it’s wire or post and rail, each fence systems requires a completely different approach and process. A lot of it has to do with planning and set out of the fence, laying out of material, and bringing the right gear so you are not tracking back and forth constantly.”

Looking ahead, Murray says he will be refining his technical and planning skills and expects greater experience managing a crew will be determined, in part, by attracting new people on board. His message to those thinking about taking up fencing is always the same.

“Fencing is a lifestyle thing. It might not be what you expect. There is a real career involved rather than a labouring position with limited scope for skill and management development. There is always something to learn and skill sets to expand.”

Murray Graham

Get in touch

To learn more about Stockade, get in touch with us at www.stockade.com/contact-us

Robert Littrell talks curves in Kentucky

Robert Littrell runs Sticks Fencing in Central Kentucky, the “Horse Capital of the World”. He says most thoroughbreds you see at the Derby and the horse races are born within a 30-mile radius

It’s no surprise then that equine fence, usually wire fencing with a board or Centaur on top or four-rail, keeps the staff of seven well occupied.

Robert says a problem is the labor shortage. “Typically, if you had ten people available, you only have five people now. With fewer staff, you are limited on what you can do. So, if you speed up a process, that is really going to help in the long run and be easier on your crew members.

Robert’s first tool

Robert bought his first Stockade tool about 10 years ago — the pneumatic ST400. Initially it didn’t get a good workout.

“My problem was my math. I thought, well, I could staple this fence a lot cheaper if I just bought a 50-pound bucket of staples. But I was too young to understand that the Stockade power stapler was saving me money by reducing the labor aspect.”

Sticks Fencing Today

Now Sticks Fencing has a pneumatic ST400 tool and two of the gas-powered ST400i cordless staplers.

“Since we have been using the Stockade staplers, none of our crew members have swung a hammer. A minute stapling by hand is now a 10 second job per post. Your guy comes back and he is not tired, he’s ready to do another job.”

Robert Littrell

Robert and his crew have just completed a three-mile project of equine fence using wire netting with a vinyl Centaur rail on top. He says the ST400i has really saved time on the job.

Rob says when building equine fence, the quality of fence and a good understanding of the livestock, particularly the safety of horses are key considerations.

“In the thoroughbred industry, racehorses, younger horses and mares are hot-headed. They like to run from one end of a paddock to another, so when it comes to equine fence, one thing that is not allowed is a square corner. All the fencing must be on the inside of the paddock and with rounded corners. That becomes an issue when stapling a post when you are in a curve”.

“You need to think how to make this work without the staples pulling. We have a good way of pulling our curves. Once we get to that point, we use the ST400i to push the wire in to make it tight…

That’s one of the most enjoyable things of the Stockade stapler, not having to use too much manpower to leverage the tool to push the wire in and staple it.”

High Quality Fencing

“From driving the posts, to pulling the wire and stapling, it all ties in together to make a high-quality fence. We are using an inch and three-quarter staple and use two staples in each post in our curves. We double up the staples to make sure the wire doesn’t pull out.”

While Kentucky is known for its gently rolling hills and green grass all year round, underground there’s a lot of rock. Out of the whole project of three miles, Robert and the crew drilled 60 four-foot holes through solid limestone.

Beyond digging and drilling holes, the crew need to be aware of underground utilities. They always call 811 before they dig.

Materials and equipment

Robert used 2400 Stockade staples, 48 rolls of Tornado 13/43/2 wire with 24 rolls 660-foot Centaur vinyl rail and 1980 6×8 inch brown line posts.

Drilling was done with a 279 Caterpillar skid loader with a rock drill on the side and post driving with a custom-built post driver on a Massey Fergusson tractor four-wheel drive with a loader.

Note: This article has been recently published in ISSUE 02 of the CORNER POST Magazine.

Robert Littrell CornerPost Article ST400i cordless stapler

Would you like to see the ST400i in action?

To book your free tool demo, get in touch with us at www.stockade.com/contact-us

A long look back along the fence line. Rabbit fencing on a lifestyle block up the back of Ophir, NZ.

Stockade caught up with Otago local Ken Lake from Omakau as he was putting in rabbit fencing on a lifestyle block up the back of Ophir.

“The sun is shining and it’s a site hotter than the 6-8 degrees forecast. It is going to be a good day.”

Ken says there is nothing difficult about fencing in Otago.

“At worst, you just come across something that slows you down. It just takes time.”

Right at the beginning, Ken recalls his father teaching him the art of fencing, “the way he did it”.

New jobs = New ideas

“As you move to new jobs you pick up new ideas along the way. I have been to a few FCNZ conferences and it is quite amazing what you can pick up there and also from networking with different fencing contractors.”

Ken’s first fencing memory is as a youngster at Island Block, Millers Flat in the early ’60s.

Img 5143
Ken Lake


“My father was down by the Clutha River with the farm worker putting a hole in the rock. They were using what they called a ‘tap-n-turn’. This was a crowbar with a chisel head. One of them would hang on to the crowbar, the other would hit it. They would turn, hit, turn, hit.”

The monotonous cycle repeated, and Ken recalls it taking a very long time to put two to four inches in the rock.

“It was one of those jobs that you would have liked someone else to do. By the time I was fencing we’d use a cobra rock drill to drill holes for waratahs to go in. It would splurt and cough, then stop. Now there’s the compressor that runs a rock drill and a air hammer, this is much improved on the cobra.”

A young shepherd

“I left school at 17 and worked for my father at Island Block, then went shepherding at Linnburn Station. From here I headed to work at Moa Flat. The beauty of working as a shepherd and then going fencing is that you have an idea of where to put a fence because you understand where the stock run.” 

“The old station fences were built around the early 1900s and a lot of those are still standing, and we would go around once a year to maintain them and fix the broken wires after the snow had knocked them down.”

“Then around 1945, after the second world war, stations and farms were subdivided a bit more. This time using a six-wire fence with flat standards and a tin dropper. When fencers came to a rocky piece, where they couldn’t get it a hole in, they would bend the flat standard over and sit a rock on top, then thread the wire through.”

“By the early 1970s, my father bought Northburn Station. I spent the next 20 years there. Around a month a year was full-time fencing. Initially, it was splitting up the big blocks, and in the later years, by the 1980s, we’d come back to put rabbit netting on those same fences to control the sky rocketing rabbit population in the South.”

Otago farms’ most serious problem

Rabbits bred rapidly in Central Otago, where they enjoyed the perfect conditions of wide grasslands, high sunshine hours and low rainfall. Ten rabbits could eat as much pasture as one sheep, so fast working fencing contractors were in high demand. Plagues of rabbits were such a serious problem that they caused the financial ruin of many Otago farms. They are still considered as the Province’s most serious agricultural pest.

Ken recalls rabbit netting arriving in 50 metre rolls. “We’d be rolling them out by hand, joining them together, rolling them out, joining them together. Now, it arrives in 100 metre rolls. With the invention of the netting roller we can get it in 400 metre rolls, which can fit on the front of the tractor and rolls out when the tractor moves. The netting roller can also strain it once clamped to the required tension.”

Ken’s favourite part

In the past 10 years, Ken has seen new technologies such as the Stockade stapler tool, rock drill and air hammers, modern post drivers and battery powered tools dramatically ease the heavy physical demands of fencing and decrease labour hours.

Always on the job

When Ken reflects on more than 20 years’ of fulltime fencing in Otago, he says there’s only been about three days where he hasn’t gone to work because there’s been none. Work always turns up!

“I wouldn’t like to think how many kilometres of fencing I have done. We did about 100kms in Paerau, ‘The Styx’. That took us two winters.”

Reflections from the Fall Fence Forum 2022

Mattschaefer (1)
Matt Schaefer, Grassland Solutions

Stockade caught up with Matt Schaefer, General Manager, Grassland Solutions, Minnesota, to reflect on the success of the 2022 Fall Fence Forum. Here’s how it went:

How did you come to know about the Fall Fence Forum?

I did not attend the first year and realized through social media that I missed out on something that seemed valuable to my business.

How many times have you attended?

Since then, I have attended for the last three years.

What keeps you coming back?

The people that show up to the event are leaders in the industry, plus the forum is a place to share Ideas with other fence professionals, which are both on installation side and sales side. It’s also a showcase of talents and ideas that you can build together collectively, an experience that you can duplicate at a trade show or typical field day.

What did you enjoy the most?

The people and the event in general.

fall fence forum 2022

Ryan Gray, Cowboy Construction
Ryan Gray, Cowboy Construction

We then were able to catch some words from Ryan Gray from Cowboy Construction, Washington.

What three words would you say best describes your experience at the forum?

  1. Educational
  2. Empowering
  3. Fun

Your favourite part of the Fall Fence Forum?

I enjoyed good conversation with like-minded people who want to improve their business.

The one thing you learned the most.

I learned how to run a p240 on a Rayco, not as good as Stewart but still fun to run. I also learned that I need to buy one!

P240 On A Rayco

Kyle Stender, J&AK Agriculture and Connor Voulo, Timberline Ridge & Fence
Kyle Stender, J&AK Agriculture and Connor Voulo, Timberline Ridge & Fence

Now, here are some words from Kyle Stender, a fencing contractor and owner of J&K Agriculture Inc, Western New York.

What three words would you say best describes your experience at the forum?

  1. Engaging
  2. Educational
  3. Entertaining

Your favourite part of the Fall Fence Forum

That this event brings together contractors and vendors to connect and collaborate on ways to improve the Agricultural Fencing industry and to continue to work on best practices.

A new person you met

Connor Voulo, in person, who was the new recruit that Stockade sponsored to attend the Fall Fence Forum. Although I was a part of seeing the essays submitted for this opportunity, it was great to actually speak with him, work with him, and get to know him and his Dad better.

One thing you learnt

I continuously learn that people in the fencing industry are generous and willing to share their knowledge with fellow contractors. It was truly an event where encouragement, hands on practice and lengthy discussions were had. From how to build a fence to best practices, while also keeping your business successful. So many folks from all over, including people from the UK, Mexico and Northern and Southern United States, were willing to share their knowledge of how to build a better fence, what tools and techniques they use and reasons behind certain practices.


Last but not least, our Product Manager for Stockade Andy Schoenherr shares a few final thoughts with us.

What three words would you say best describes your experience at the forum?

  1. Collaborative
  2. Supportive
  3. Exciting

Your favourite part of the Fall Fence Forum.

The Food! Leslie and her team make the breakfasts and lunches from scratch. The dinners were instead catered by a local company. No one leaves the Forum hungry! Friday night everyone sits around the campfire and shares their favorite tool tips and more, but more importantly, talks about the fencing industry and how the other contractors have supported them in their business and career.

Giving Back for those who Gave All: NAFCA Service Project at Arlington National Cemetery

This year Stockade had the honor of joining the North American Fence Contractors Association (NAFCA) at their annual service project at Arlington National Cemetery.  Each year, a dedicated group of volunteers donate their time and talent to build or maintain fence on the grounds of America’s most hallowed resting place for combat veterans who lost their lives in service to their country.

This year’s project involved building 275 feet of 7 foot high chain link around a maintenance area at the cemetery.  Brian West, Stockade Territory Manager for the Southeast, was on hand to help out and used the word “humbling” to describe both the place and the experience.

“I had never been to Arlington, so to be there at all was pretty neat, but to be there working and contributing to maintaining the grounds made it a really special project.”

Brian and his wife Libby were part of a group of about 10 volunteers who attended.  It was a smaller group than year’s past, but everyone involved was extremely dedicated and understood the importance of the work.  The effort was led by Clint Iams of Log Cabin Fence in Amity PA, who is currently the Executive Director of NAFCA.  This was the first time the group has been able to get together in a number of years due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

In past years there would be 35-40 people in attendance.  Given this year was our first project since 2019, it was a much smaller group.  We are looking forward to building back up to the larger events of the past.”  said Clint.

Arlingtonplaque2022 3

To mark the significance of the project, the group brings with them a plaque that symbolizes the spirit and the history of their efforts.  In 2012, Scott Ruete, US Coast Guard (Retired) and past chairman of the Arlington project, saw a cherry tree limb growing through a section of 70-year-old chain link on the grounds.  It had to be removed, but a portion of the tree was kept and memorialized in the plaque which also features 2 medallions given by the staff at Arlington National Cemetery.   Holes were drilled in the wood to hold shell casings from a 21-gun salute, and a horseshoe was added from a horse that pulled a caisson from one of the many military funerals that are still performed daily at the cemetery. 

Every fence contractor understands the importance of keeping the client happy.  But it’s a whole new level of pressure when the “client” is the United States Government and you’re at a place as significant as Arlington.   Al Martins, Owner of Fence Armor and current President of NAFCA, noted how the finished product was received. 

Arlington2022 6

“Both Chief Warrant Officer Rios and his Superintendent were very impressed with the quality of the work and commented on how quickly the job got done.  A lot of that was directly thanks to the Stockade ringing tool – it would have taken a lot longer using traditional pliers.” 

To assist with the project, Stockade donated all of the ring fasteners used to attach the tension wire to the top and bottom of the chain link, along with the use of our Pneumatic Ringfast tool. 

Clint noted how the Ringfast made “quick work” of securing the chain link to the tension wires. “I am not a chainlink contractor; however, if I was I would certainly want that tool on my truck.”

Both Al and Clint have been involved with this project for multiple years.  This was the seventh service project that Clint has volunteered for at Arlington.  With regards to the significance of what they were there to do, he remarked:

“It is always a humbling experience to be working and look up to see the rows and rows of white headstones.  These projects we complete are miniscule compared to those who gave their life in service of our country.“

Thank you to NAFCA and all of the volunteers who helped contribute to this terrific project!

Al Martins, Fence Armor, Ft Lauderdale, FL

Mart Prost, Prost Inc, Williamsburg, ON, Canada

Glenn Butterfield, Certainteed, Malvern, PA

Bill and Judy Iams, Log Cabin Fence, Amity, PA

Hurricane Fence of Richmond, VA

Brian and Libby West, Stockade

For more information about the North American Fence Contractors Association, please visit: www.4NAFCA.com
or find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4NAFCA/

Connor Voulo wins Fall Fence Forum New Recruit Challenge

New Recruit on his way to Fall Fence Forum

Connor Voulo from Fly Creek, New York is heading off to Indiana to attend the 2022 Fall Fence Forum.

The 18-year-old from Timberland Fence and Land is this year’s winner of our first Fall Fence Forum New Recruit Challenge. You can read about the success of last year’s forum here. He takes away a complimentary entry and accommodation for the three-day event where he will learn tips and techniques from fencing professionals from around the country. There’ll be plenty of industry equipment demonstrations, educational workshops, and the chance to compete in the annual fence challenge.

Timberland Fence and Land specializes in residential, commercial, and agricultural fence. The business is run by Connor’s Dad and long-time fencing contractor Chris Voulo.

“The crew includes Dad, me and two part time guys. On big jobs, that’s how it works. A lot of the time it is me and my dad, and that’s cool because I get to work with my father. Fence work is a good bonding experience and I love the outdoors and construction in general. “I find it satisfying working with customers on different projects and completing them to the best of my abilities to make the customer happy.”

Connor Voulo

“I am learning the trade, trying to learn from other people and what they do, different tips, tricks, ideas, and ways of doing things. I have been talking with a lot of professional ag fencers from across the US. They all told me about the Fall Fence Forum, and all said it is a great thing to go to.”, continues Connor.

“I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t been happy to share their tips and tricks and how they started out, what they have done, and things to avoid. I think it is going to be a great time going to the Fall Fence Forum to meet all these guys face-to-face, and learn as much as I can, and see different ways of doing things. That is what I am really excited for and hope to have happen.”

Connor has one-year under his belt with Timberland Fence and Land. His goals for the next few years are to help his father build the business to the best it can be and grow the company so it can invest in more equipment like their ST400i post stapler to drive productivity and efficiency.

“My aim is to provide top notch quality work, to build a reputation for being dependable and reliable and always bringing a smile to customers’ faces.”

Fall Fence Forum New recruit challenge