John Noakes: Installing a Batten
A real icon in fencing circles, John Noakes, from Noksee Fencing, has built his reputation through delivering to a high standard on every job.
We visited John down in sunny Nelson, where he shared his wealth of wisdom on all things fencing. Being part of the Fencing Contractors Association in New Zealand (FCANZ), he has been on the board for 12 years and has enjoyed every moment. FCANZ was formed in 2006, representing a body of members who showcase the industry and promote health and safety, and the legal technicalities of fencing work. John has been involved in FCANZ conferences, showcasing association days and much more.
John has witnessed the profile of fencing rising while working the last few years at the Fieldays with Goldpine. "We have guys in the fencing competitions that are now going to world competitions and winning those as well," John said. Fencing competitions are a good chance to network and share your expertise with others. His advice to anyone who is new to fencing is to watch fencing competitions, have an open mind and improve as you go. John couldn't recommend fencing enough and hopes that more younger people get involved in the industry.
Originally from Pahiatua, John started fencing beside his dad when he was just a "little tacker". Coming from a dairy farming background, John has spent most of his time sharemilking throughout New Zealand, and a bit of agricultural contracting work as well. His love for the outdoors went from farming to fencing, and he couldn't be happier. "My office changes from looking down into the sea, to open green pastures, and yeah I have a great time."
Fencing over the years has evolved with the latest technology and materials but the basics of fencing hasn't changed. John mentioned that some fencers still use hard yards and crow bars, however other fencers these days would never see that or would avoid it at every cost.
When talking about the products that he uses, Goldpine products became the hot topic. John talked about how the wood in the rounded quarters are a lot stronger than the normal round posts, as it's been cut from the base of the tree. "The Goldpine product I use, I find it really strong. I'm not having breakages and that sort of thing with it, so it’s obviously doing a good job for me," John said. "There's other products out there but I find that Goldpine products suit me down to the ground in the area that I work in."
"Their rounded quarters are way ahead of anything else. I don't use square cut quarters anymore. Rounded is my game. They're an awesome post to use, easy to drive, and I swear by them."
John's business was completely shut down during lockdown and he says it provided him time to reflect on things especially the need to have good business practices in place and the need to "save for a rainy day".
He has spent the time in lockdown cleaning up around home and working on his block of land — it actually provided the time to complete some of his own fencing. Chopping firewood and welding jobs meant there was not a lot of down time. John said it was
Not being able to meet friends for a catch up, beer or dinner is what John missed the most during lockdown. He didn't miss takeaway food at all and couldn't believe some of the scenes at takeaway joints when we went into Level 3.
Now back into his work, John is concentrating on what he always has, "great workmanship on every job I do". John's view is that it will take some months before we really understand
John kindly took the time to share some simple tips when it comes to replacing a batten. Accepting there may be different techniques, John steps through the process as he would do it, a good endorsement given he has a few thousand of these under his belt.