installing barbed wire fence line : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

i have finished puting in my gate posts and braced corner posts and will have all of my metal "t" posts inshortly. i've read all i could put my hands on about installing fence lines but, have not come across any information on the tensioning of the 12gauge barbed wire. i'm installing braced t posts every hundred feet is this the interval (100'), that i stop,..and tension the barbed wire or should it be every 50' or so? any suggestions that you all might give would be appreciated.

-- bob mccaffrey (, August 26, 2001


Tension your wire at the bace posts, whatever the distance between them may be. I stretch my field fence wire with a wire grip (cam device that grips tighter the harder you pull) and a come-along attached to the tractor bucket. Works great. I've stretched 200 feet at a time this way and gotten nice tension. After a while you get a feel for how tight you can pull before the wire breaks. I pull just shy of the breaking point.

-- Skip in Western WA (, August 26, 2001.

I suggest tensioning over the longest practical length as each join will loose a bit of tension. I am not sure what you mean by 'braced "t" posts' but if these are the small steel posts we call 'waratahs' I would not put any tension on them at all! I would not put tension on any post that is less than about 8inch diameter (or square). But maybe you are using materials I am not familiar with.

It is especially important with barbed wire to equalise the tension by lifting the wire off the ground and dropping at intervals, or just by shaking the wire, do this when the tension is on and before you clip the wire to your 't' posts.

What tool do you have for tensioning the wire?

-- john hill (, August 27, 2001.

John and Skip are right. Stretch your wire only from the braced corner posts. You can stretch very long distances this way. I don't brace any line posts unless I am doing a slight curve or else I've used one roll of wire up and have to go to another. You probably don't have to do it then, either, but a roll is (I think) 330' and that's getting to be a stretch. Makes it easier to control with a break on the fence occasionally.

Like John says, walk the wire between bouts of adding tension to get it out of the grass so it's not getting 'drag' from the ground and not getting tight evenly. When the wire is tight enough, you should be able to hit the wire with your fist and have a "beat" sing through the wire down to the other corner post and come back at you in seconds. Once it does this, I don't tension any more---you can start breaking wires at this point,and you do NOT want broken barbed wire whipping back at you. Which is a good reason never to tension with a tractor. Not that we probably haven't all done it at one time or another, but it's dangerous. Use hand held come-alongs or ratcheting tools built just for stretching fence wire.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, August 27, 2001.

.thanks for all the replys. this first fence line is 1,000' long and is straight. the braced metal t posts are every 100'. i plan on using the ratcheting cam type wire tensioner that i bought for just this purpose. i have cleared a fence line 12' wide and will use my 4x4 with a bracket that i made to fit in the trailer hitch to hold the tension- ing device. if, i tension every 100', making sure that i shake the wire & make sure that it is not caught up on .anything, then from what i see on this forumn, i should be ok. these t posts as they are called up here are 7' long sunk into the earth 24" and are 1/4" .thick made of solid steel. aas i will be installing these this coming week- end any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

-- bob mccaffrey (, August 27, 2001.

Okay Bob, it sounds like more than a trivial fencing job. Concerning the tensioning. In my experience one of the hardest aspects is to retain the tension while making the wire fast to the post the way we always did it was to attach a short piece of wire to the post then use the tensioning tool between that and the fence wire.

-- john hill (, August 27, 2001.

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