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Fencing tools, equipment have come a long way
Setting posts and putting up wire are two of the most time
and labor intensive activities in building a fence. Each task has been addressed by farmers in
their home shop and by manufacturers.
Most fence posts are set upright in the dirt. There are two basic ways to get them there;
one is to drive the post by slamming a weight down on top of it and the other
is to dig a hole, set the post in and
backfill the hole to hold the post in place.
Most posts are wood or steel. For many years, farmers have driven steel
posts by hand, lifting up and slamming down a pipe with a plug in it as a
manual pile driver. In soft ground, some
farmers would use the down pressure from a tractor loader bucket to press the
post in the ground. Now, skid steer and
tractor pile driver attachments are available from many short-line
manufacturers to hammer both wood and steel posts into place. Most involve a heavy weight tied to strong
springs. A hydraulic ram pushes the
weight up and then releases it, letting the weight and spring pressure drive
the post. These attachments fit on the
front of a skid steer, on the three point or loader of a tractor or on
specialty machines. Usually, one person
drives the machine while another positions the post and controls the pile
An alternate way to get a post in the ground is to use a
loader or three-point mounted earth auger to bore a hole. This is often used for corner posts that are
too big to drive. Augers used to be
power take off driven, but hydraulic motors are common and popular now.
Stringing wire, putting it in place, stretching and fastening
it has always taken a lot of time.
Farmers have devised ways to unroll wire from a hand cart, tractor or
truck, usually one strand at a time.
Modern fence builders have machinery that fits on an ATV or is towed and
can unroll woven wire or up to six
single wires at once. Some can position
and stretch the wire to make fastening the wire in place easier.
Fencing used to be labor intensive and take a long
time. Now, a fence crew can install one
quarter mile of fence, one side of a 40 acre field, in a couple of hours. Experience is a key factor, but having the
right fence equipment is the primary reason time and labor have been slashed in
building fence. Most online resources on
building fence are oriented to old fashioned, manual methods. To find information on power equipment, ask a
local fence contractor, check out farm stores and catalogs (don't forget to
browse through the equipment rental store), talk to a local county extension
agent and ask local farmers.