Pneumatic T-post drivers: Any experience with them?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Case, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. Case

    Case Well-Known Member

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    I've got over a quarter-mile of barbwire fence to install in Northeast Oklahoma and I'm not real keen on using a manual pounder to drive some 200 T-posts into that rocky ground.

    Two companies make pneumatic post drivers that should run off about any 5 HP or larger air compressor:

    1. The Rohrer Man-Saver T-Post Driver, which comes in several models and starts at $450.

    2. Rhino Air Post Drivers. These come in various sizes and start at around $900, but the necessary control valve and filter/oiler would add another $500 to any of them.

    Obviously, I'm leaning toward the less-expensive Rohrer.

    Has anyone had any experience with either of those or any other pneumatic post driver?
     
  2. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    Hi Case. When we did our fencing we rented a hydraulic kersmacker from United Rentals that went onto the front of a Bobcat. It would do 1 post about every minute and a half (8' post driven in 2 feet). Since our ground is solid rock it had a tendency to bend some posts if I was not paying attention or trying to go to fast but other than that is was wonderful.

    To cut down on rental time have all the posts premeasured and your string already run. The driver has a guide the string runs in to help also.
     

  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    String? You mean the wire itself? Never ran a string for a wire fence.

    --->Paul
     
  4. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    You know the alignment string, long line, guide, what ever it's called that you tie between your end posts so the others line up straight.

    We did our front fence 1/8 mile at a time and it came out pretty darn straight for a rookie!
     
  5. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    I second the equipment rental. Unless you have the expectation of miles and miles of fence to string, or the desire to be a custom fence builder, rental is by far the cheapest. I can not remember the brand we rented, but it worked well and we were done before the day was up. I agree.....have your string run and you measurements done before you get the equipment. Lay out your posts and go the the rental place to pick it up.
     
  6. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    case , I've owned a Rohrer for about 3 years. When I ordered mine he didn't have the 3 larger, more powerful models. I've probably driven a couple of thousand tposts and no problems. Mine will work with moderately hard soil but was NOT designed for Rock. Just keep it clean and keep your air pressure within the specified range and it will drive lots of posts. If.......I was going to order one today I would order the NEXT to the largest Model as it will pay for itself everytime you have to build fence on very dry, hard surfaced ground. Your shoulders will thank you for spending your money.
    ...If I was going to run a couple of strands of bobwire on TOP of my field fence I would just stretch one run of Bwire and let lay on the ground as a line of demarcation(sp) on where to drive my tposts. Then , when they are All driven , I would simply pull the bwire up to the Top of my tposts and tie it Off. Works well for Me...........fordy :) :yeeha:
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Case, the $900 + unit will require a 7 1/2 hp compressor minimum whereas the cheaper one will get by on a 3/4 hp unit. Just for thought, I see the electricians driving ground rods 8 ft long completely into the ground using an electric hammer drill. They attach the hammer drill to the rod and turn it on and walk away for a few minutes. Do you think an adapter and a large hammer drill could drive the tee posts? I use a air chisel with a punch mounted in it to remove the bolts from a Cat track after burning the heads of the bolts off and it does a much better job than a large hammer. Seems awful expensive to spend the money to drive 1/4 mile of posts even at 8 feet intervals! Do you have access to a bucket loader. If so fill the bucket with dirt and push the posts into the ground. That is the technique I use and I have a post driver. I only use the post driver when I need the posts to be very plumb.
     
  8. Case

    Case Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments, folks.

    That's encouraging, fordy. I called Rohrer and talked to a crusty old gal who vigorously assured me that all I needed was the less-expensive T-post driver and that it would drive a post anywhere one could be driven with a manual pounder.

    So I ordered one -- about $520 including shipping from Oregon.

    I've already got a generator and compressor. I can just haul them along in a small wagon behind the ATV.

    This is 213 acres and there's always fence to be put in somewhere. I just hate renting tools, not to mention it's a 30-mile roundtrip to any rental place around there, which probably wouldn't have one anyway.

    A 3/4" hammer drill would work great for driving 5/8" ground rods, agmantoo. Just chuck it in, turn it on and let it go. However, it wouldn't work with T-posts, especially in this gravelly, rocky soil around here.

    Loader buckets work good, too -- except the tractor would end up at the bottom of a holler where some of this fence has to go.

    I don't mind buying the thing. No one around there has time to put in the fence and I'm way too much of a flyweight to be pounding T-posts. Hiring someone to do it would cost about three grand because it's actually considerably more than a quarter-mile.

    Can't have too many tools around a place. My next toy is gonna be a small used track loader with a 4 in 1 bucket. The two-wheel-drive 580D just doesn't cut it for clearing large areas of scrub oak and digging ponds.
     
  9. Phil - MO

    Phil - MO Active Member

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    How do you use a loader bucket to drive a T-post, and what does filling it with dirt do? Are they talking about a loader with no down pressure and letting the weight push the post in?

    I have a John Deere 450 crawler loader, but would feel uncomfortable having somebody hold a T-post while I lower the bucket. Something or someone would have to hold the post straight.

    I have very rocky soil and just wait for saturated ground, and use a heavy old time hand punch bar to start the hole. The gound has to be wet enough to push the rocks aside.
    I've built over a mile of fence this way and probably have 3 miles more plus cross fencing.
    There are some rock outcroppings I'm thinking of renting something to bore a 1 and 1/2 inch drill and then knock off the steel plate and drive the post in. Has anybody used something for cedar flats with rock ledges? Fence gets kind of crooked going from cedar to cedar.
    Rough fence building in the Ozarks.
     
  10. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    The only acceptable WAY that I have found to deal with Rock when utilizing Tposts is to Rent a Rotary Air Hammer Drill along with an aircompressor to run it. All it really is, is a Jack hammer that with a hardened steel bit on the end that rotates. ALSO , I usually REMOVE the face plates on any Tposts that are going to be used in conjunction with holes drilled in rock. The rocks hold so well that you don't need the face plates. If your holes are alittle big , I usually carry several sacks of sackcrete and I'll just add a little cement too the hole and then some water . Doesn't take very much , BUT you had better have your tposts in correct alignment because you don't get a second chance with concrete..........fordy...
     
  11. docbdj

    docbdj New Member

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    do you still like your Rohrer T post driver?
    whic model did you get?

    I 'm thinking about getting one
    any advice

    thanks
    docbdj@aol.com
     
  12. jim/se kansas

    jim/se kansas Well-Known Member

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    I use my bucket on my tractor for t posts. My wife or son will hold the post until it is about six inchs into the ground and the bucket dose the rest. Make sure the bucket is flat and posts are stright berore driving into ground.
    Hope this helps. Jim