While fencing used to be the summer job that sent high school kids back to school with bulging muscles, mechanical improvements mean one rancher can put in a lot of posts without much help.
Power post drivers are small, simple pile-drivers and the driving is accomplished by dropping a heavy weight on top of the post. A tractor or skidloader mounted post driver is attached to and uses the tractor for both transportation and power. This type of driver requires time to assemble and detach and ties up the tractor while it is mounted. The tractor-mounted driver is especially adapted to setting replacement posts in old fences, building new fence and use in rough terrain. A second type of driver is mounted on a trailer and has its own power unit. The trailer-model post driver can be used behind a truck, tractor, or ATV and is always ready to operate. It is ideal for building new fences but not quite as handy for replacing posts. Also there are handheld units available for driving metal T-posts. While there are numerous different types and manufactures of mechanical post drivers, we have high-lighted just a few.
Montana Post Drivers based in Gold Creek, Montana, says they been revolutionizing fence building since 2007. Founder Floyd Yoder was a fencing contractor, who invented the hydraulic hammer post driver through need. Trial and error perfected a driver that worked in hard, rocky conditions. Soon others were asking for drivers, and Yoder built them during the wintertime. Due to growing demand he sold the fencing business in 2012 and started Montana Post Drivers. They offer three different size drivers all with an available auger attachment to drill pilot holes in rocky or hard ground. They are all easy and fast to attach, offer universal excavator and skidloader mount, are low profile and allow the operator to be in full control of the post while driving. In 2015 they set up a distributor in Ohio to better serve the eastern United States, this was followed by a second manufacturing facility in Ohio in 2017.
Wheatheart is a Canadian company with many distributors around the United States. They offer four different models, with the Renegade being Wheatheart’s most popular model. The trailer mounted post pounder offers the convenience of towing posts with you as you work. The telescoping hitch, telescoping mast and four-way tilt direction provide the flexibility of working on uneven surfaces, allowing you to pound posts exactly where they need to be. All of their models have an optional pilot auger that drills through most soil conditions and certain rock obstructions, making it easier to pound posts. They can all be adjusted to accommodate different post heights and sizes.
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The Outlaw is the most versatile three-point hitch model made by Wheatheart. The free-standing unit features a telescoping mast and tilt functions allowing you use this unit anywhere a tractor can go, including sidehills and the adjustable hammerhead gives you the flexibility of using different post lengths.
The Sheriff is a free-standing, center mast post pounder that comes with a universal mount for skid steers, allowing it to transport with your skid steer. The adjustable hammer head accommodates different post lengths.
The Bandit is a center mast three-point hitch post pounder made for smaller jobs and level ground, with a non-self-contained hydraulic unit that runs off the tractor.
Buck Jedlicki is a salesman at Mathis Implement and Equipment in Winner, South Dakota. “The Wheatheart pounders have a long lifespan, years and years of longevity. In good spring conditions it can put in a four or six inch post in about 30 seconds. We sell about 90% to private individuals. They make fencing much easier and they are user friendly.”
Chip Bortnem is a salesman for Wheatheart. “No tamping is a big thing, the way it hugs the post it eliminates breaking and splintering. They work for flat bottom posts, railroad ties, T-posts, sharpened posts. There is no vibrating like other competition. The pilot auger can predrill a four or six inch hole for tough conditions like clay, gumbo and rocks. The guides are replaceable, we don’t ever see very many of these traded in, they last forever. Most of our sales are from referrals from owners. We stand behind what we build.”
Tippmann’s Propane Hammer, is built in the United States and is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Weighing in at 52 pounds the Propane Hammer can be safely operated by just a single worker; it is strong and rugged enough to handle the wear and tear of large-scale municipal operations. Drives posts arrow-straight even in the frozen ground, very reliable, with a patented onboard computer that adjusts the fuel mixture at any climate, pressure, or altitude. The Propane Hammer is very efficient, able to drive 750 T-posts on a single 14.1oz tank of propane.
Many local equipment dealers sell post drivers and are more than happy to assist landowners and fencing contractors get set up with the best option for their needs.
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