We live in a golden age of power tools – particularly cordless power tools. It seems there are very few areas where cordless tools have yet to replace hand tools and even corded tools. One of the remaining outliers is in the agricultural sector. Sun, wind, and rain don’t deter the people that bring food to our tables when the job has to get done no matter what the conditions.
From the orange groves of Florida to Wyoming cattle ranches and even my little piece of heaven on our horse farm in Georgia, wire fencing is one of the keys to creating boundaries for those of us working in agriculture. Building and maintaining these fences have been a time-consuming part of the job that you just have to deal with. It’s been made easier with the new Stockade ST400i Cordless Fence Post Stapler.
A Promising Sunrise
If the Stockade ST400i looks vaguely familiar, you haven’t gone crazy. Stockade is the agricultural division of Paslode. In addition to preparing you for Final Jeopardy, that should also inspire some confidence considering Paslode’s reputation in the construction industry. The build quality we expect from Paslode is evident in Stockade’s fencing stapler.
To make a stapler that can handle the size fasteners wire fencing demands, Stockade had to think beyond simply beefing up a framing or roofing nailer. It was a steel rivet shooting gun that inspired the foundation of the line.
The Stockade ST400i gets its cordless name from the fact that it’s a fuel cell (gas cartridge) design. The fuel cell is a French-made formula and is branded for Stockade. Fuel is included with the staples and should keep you from running short. The ST-315i model is able to run on Paslode’s Framing Fuel, though you’re moving down to a 10-gauge staple.
Like you’d expect from a stapler this heavy-duty, the Stockade ST400i is heavy – 9.3 pounds with the battery installed. That’s the trade-off you make for a cord-free, hose-free fence post stapler that’s capable of fully driving a 9 gauge staple consistently.
As you look over the stapler for the first time, you’ll notice the classic features of a standard magazine-fed nailer. Two strips of staples can be fed into the magazine. Rather than coming in through the base, you need to lock the staple pusher down and load them in from the rear.
Once loaded, the pusher release is really well designed to be easy to use. It’s also been well-built and doesn’t look like it will be a point of concern for failure.
Should you get a jam in the course of your work, you can access the top of your magazine to clear without the need for any extra tools.
Guesswork is taken out of the stapling process with a tip designed specifically to nestle wire perfectly before firing.
Stockade ST400i Cordless Fence Post Stapler Specifications
- Model: Stockade ST400i
- Power Source: Stockade Impulse fuel cell, 3.7V lithium-ion battery
- Fastener: 9 gauge wire fence post staple (4.0 mm)
- Staple Length: 1-1/2 inches, 1-3/4 inches, 2 inches (40mm, 45mm, 50mm)
- Staple Design: Divergent tip, hot dip galvanized
- Fuel Cell Run Time: Up to 650 staples
- Battery Run Time: Up to 300o staples
- Weight with Battery: 9.3 pounds (4.2 kilograms)
- Cycle Rate: 2 staples per second
- Magazine Capacity: 50 staples (two strips)
- Price: $1399
Riding the Fence Line
On our horse farm, not all of the fencing is wire, but we use a lot on the back half and the perimeters. We’ve been creating some new paddocks as we develop the property and there’s always maintenance to be done. We can thank storms for most of the maintenance. After each storm, I make it a priority to ride the fence line to see if there’s any damage.
You have a few choices when it comes down to checking the line. You can load your compressor and fence post stapler up and drive your truck. You can do the same thing with an ATV or utility vehicle. Or you can use some real horse power and ride the line on horseback. Riding on horseback is a much more pleasant use of time, but you normally have to go back to get your equipment if you find repair is needed.
With the Stockade ST400i Cordless Fence Post Stapler, I can take everything I need on horseback for most repairs. In the event that I need more wire fencing, I can at least patch up the damage before heading back. No getting stuck, Spartan can refuel himself while I’m working, and I’m enjoying the atmosphere of the outdoors rather than inhaling diesel fumes.
If You’re Going to Live on the Farm, You’re Going to Work on the Farm
If you’ve worked on a farm before you know the hours run from sunrise to sunset and everyone better be pulling their weight – including our tools. We don’t have time for downtime to run as efficiently as we need to. There are lessons to be taught, horses to be trained, routine maintenance to complete, and even film production to accomplish. It’s all a day in the life for Ed Dabney Gentle Horsemanship and the reigning two-time national champion Diamond D Cowgirls.
I needed to know if I could count on the Stockade ST400i to make my wire fence installation and repair quicker, but just as effective as hammer and staple. As I was riding the line, sure enough, I found some fencing in need of repair. I lined up the wire fence in the tip and took my first shot, not knowing what to expect.
The staple slammed into place with an authority I was pleasantly surprised to find. Finishing the first post, five staples were all fully seated with no problem. As my confidence quickly grew in the tool, I found that I could fasten an entire post in the same time it normally took me to hammer in one staple. That’s time savings of 75% – 80% on each post!
The Stockade ST440i is capable of firing two staples every second. That’s more than you’ll need assuming you don’t want to go back and fix mistakes where you missed the wire. When lining up the wire fencing, I found one shot every 2 seconds was about as fast as I wanted to work to do the work right the first time and keep my hands safe.
There’s a bit more recoil with this stapler than you’d find with a framing or roofing nailer, but that’s not really surprising. Essentially, it has to fire two 9 gauge nails 1-1/2 to 2 inches deep. It also has to do that against a fence post that has some give to it since they’re not concreted in. That takes some power.
The Setting Sun
I’ve done plenty of repair and installation work using the Stockade ST400i now. Working methodically and safely, jams haven’t been much of an issue. The performance has been outstanding with the vast majority of staples fully driven. Just carry a Stiletto Titanium Framing Hammer with you to finish off the occasional staple that needs a little help.
Two downsides are the fact that there’s no getting around the weight and the smell of spent fuel. I don’t see any other solution that can provide the versatility of being completely cordless while addressing those though.
Staples are heavy and can be expensive to ship. However, if you’re willing to front the cost of buying them by the pallet (120 cartons), you’ll save with free shipping. Just give Shwarz Equipment a call (they’re the main Stockade distributor for the US) and tell them you heard about it from Pro Tool Reviews.
I’m getting my wire fence installation and repair done in a fraction of the time it used to take thanks to the Stockade ST400i Fence Post Stapler. There’s no doubt that the cost of entry is steep for many folks, but you have to ask how much your time is worth. When I’m saving 3 or 4 hours in a day, it’s earning its keep in a hurry.