Fence stretcher questions

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TRAILRIDER, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. TRAILRIDER

    TRAILRIDER Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Can someone explain how a fence stretcher works? Can one person use it or do you need two people?
    I have the wooden posts in the ground and need to put up the 2 x 4 horse wire now. I am a woman and on my own....but I am strong. Is this something I can do by myself?
    Also is it best to buy a stretcher, or is it possible to make a good one? Thanks in advance, I appreciate all your help!
     
  2. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    I have 48 inch high woven wire for my horses (mini's) and I used my riding lawnmower to pull it. When I could not get the mower in I used a ("Come Along")
    Because the fence being 48'' woven, I used a Steel fence post Wrapped the fence around the post. and with a rope in the middle of the post, did all my pulling either with that come along or rope attached to the lawnmower to pull it tight while I fastened the wire to posts.
    Now that fence was put up over 12 years ago and still is in excellent shape, and still TIGHT, although I do have electric wire running on the inside, but not only has that kept my mini's in, but over that time a Full Sized Horse. Several steers being raised, and even a exotic steer, a miniature Zebu, and not one of those has wrecked the fence.
    And even as I look out today you would think I just put the fence up.
     

  3. SFM in KY

    SFM in KY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've done it myself too, though I was working with 5' wire. What worked best for me was a fence stretcher I made. Two 2 x 4s, drilled for bolts at both ends and the middle. Lay one on the ground with the bolts through the holes. Lay the end of the wire on top, with as much "overlap" as you are going to need. Put the second 2 x 4 on top, with the bolts through the holes and bolt down tight.

    To pull the fence tight, I fastened rope about 1/4 up from each end, hooked the middle of the rope over the ball hitch on the pickup and started pulling. I've done it myself, without help, but it is much easier with someone to help and a second person is pretty much a necessity if you're using a Haflinger mare to do the pulling/stretching instead of a pickup or tractor with brakes you can set.
     
  4. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    Most commercial "fence stretchers" are meant to be used on single wire fencing.
    "Field fence" is easier to do with the "come along"
    I weave a piece of pipe through the end and attach it to my ATV or tractor.
    I can normally do it alone, but help makes things go faster
     
  5. dragonchick

    dragonchick Well-Known Member

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    We made our fence stretcher as the above poster did with 2x4's and 3 bolts.While I am quite able to pound the posts, dig and form the corners, unroll the field fence and stretch it,its a whole lot easier, not to mention quicker with another person to help.
     
  6. Jalopy

    Jalopy Well-Known Member

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    Make the homemade stretcher as mentioned and use a chain or cable attached 1/4 of the way from the top and bottom of the stretcher then use your come along anchored to another chain that is hooked to a braked vehicle or a tree. I have used a vehicle to pull woven wire fence but it is easy to over pull either the top or the bottom of the fence3 and stretch it our of shape before you realize it. by useing the come along you can really watch it closer. You definitely do not want to pull thr curls out of the line wires as that can create problems later with weather heating and cooliong. Good luck.
     
  7. FarmboyBill

    FarmboyBill Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you buy a real barb wire rope stretcher, be very careful of the grip of the stretcher whe it is set to hold barb wire. Put the stretcher with a barb BEHIND the grip so that it , the barb, will help the stretcher hold the wire, BUT, It can come off if pulled tight enough, and that can be dangerous. Once, when I was a kid, dad was stretching a wire, the highest wire. He pulled it tight enough that, as I was either standing by, or walking towards him, the wire came free of the grip and came towards me. It was winter time, and I had a flap cap tightly on. The wire ripped it off my head. I have a boughten made hog wire stretcher, made out of 2 X 4s bolted together. It has eyes attached to it to hook a stretcher onto.
     
  8. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Lil' ol' lady here - re-stretched about 10 acres of barbed wire with a stretcher by myself a couple years ago. Fenced another 5 acres of land with field fencing by myself (and my tractor). No problems - you can do it - it just takes TIME. Go slow, figure out your steps first, then Do It!
     
  9. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Building a fence takes effort, skill and wisdom. I am going to make a huge assumption. If you are struggling with the mechanics of a fence stretcher, how did you design the corner posts and gate openings? I've seen folks use a diagnal brace for the corners that actually works to pull the corner post out of the ground! What kind of wire are you using to "turnbuckle" the corner braces together? Corner braces are the foundation to fence building, without a proper installation, the fence will fail.
    Using a come-along is good advice. Bolting a couple 2x4s together is good, too. You can use your truck as something to pull the fence with a come-along. But do not try to stretch the fence with anything stronger than a riding lawn mower.
     
  10. norcalfarm

    norcalfarm NorCalFarm

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    I have never had a second person to help me with all of my fencing so it is possible to accomplish. A second person would certainly help and cause the project to move many times faster I'm sure. I prefer to use a comealong over a commercial fence stretcher. I know many people who use ATV etc to stretch the fence but if your land is anything like mine (rocky and steep), that may not work.
     
  11. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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  12. TRAILRIDER

    TRAILRIDER Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Actually, I hired some people to put up the posts, gates etc. But good help is hard to find, as the saying goes. Even when they are paid well and treated well....sometimes they get paid and disappear (read, get drunk). So here I am. I have the rolls of wire there ready to go. I'm tired of dealing with other people : (
    I will probably do as Wolf mom says, just go slow and do it. Why not? I do everything else myself? Sounds like a stretcher made of 2 x 4s and a come along is the way to go, using my truck to be the second set of hands. I'll let you know how it turns out!
     
  13. o&itw

    o&itw aka avdpas77 Supporter

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    There are a couple of types of fence stretchers, some are for single strands (such as barbed wire) some are for things like woven wire. As you are using woven wire, you will need one that spans the width of the fence. Whether you make one, improvise, or buy one, you will need to clamp it securely and find a method of "stretching the wire". This can be done by use of a come-along, using a low powered vehicle such as a lawn tractor, or anything else that will accomplish the task.

    However, one often does not need a fence stretcher at all, especially if your ground is not perfectly flat. Here in Missouri, where it is hilly, one can often just pull the wire snug, and fasten it at both ends, and when the wire is pulled down into the dips, or pushed up on the hilltops, it will stretch the wire by itself. This is much easier with single or stranded wire, but often one must loosen a stretcher because when the wire is fitted up and down to correspond to the terrain, the wire becomes too tight.

    So, whether you bolt a couple of 2x4's together to hold the wire or get a commercial clamp, you may not need to do more than tie the clamp to a tree or vehicle.

    If you have an "old time" tractor, you can put it in gear (leave the off/on switch in the "off" position, and hit the starter to provide tension without worrying about too much force.
     
  14. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    Get some masonry twine and pull it tight where you want the top of the fence to be.
    Leave some space at the bottom so the fence is off the ground enough to trim under it with a mower, and to prevent rusting.

    When you start the fence, staple it LOOSELY at the top corner, then go to the next post and do the same, using your twine as a reference. Don't let it TOUCH the twine but keep it as close as possible.

    Then go back to the end and staple it well top to bottom. That should get you started straight so you can go to the other end of the run and pull it tight.

    When you get most of the sag out, staple from your starting end and adjust to your twine at each post . The staples on the line posts don't have to be tight.

    The wire should be able so slide so it can expand and contract with temperature changes

    Also be VERY CAREFUL unrolling and cutting the wire, since it will try to roll itself back up and it CAN hurt you
     
  15. o&itw

    o&itw aka avdpas77 Supporter

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    In one of the new tensile fences this is true, but it causes all the forces to be exerted on the corner posts, and requires extra "brace" posts to be used every so often. With woven wire, one will end up with a much stronger and long lasting fence by snugging the staples without the extra work and expense of in-line brace posts.
     
  16. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    There are lots of variables in any fence project.
    A lot depends on the length of the runs and the lay of the land.

    If the staples are put in loosely to begin with, you are able to make some adjustments as you work, and you can go back anytime to drive them tight.
     
  17. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    Oh yes that is true. The fence I put in over 12 years ago was stretched Tight, and it is still tight today, because of the snug fit and the stables put in tightly to wood posts and the wire clips on the steel posts. The only bracing posts I used was on the corners.
     
  18. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    You've been given info on stretching woven/welded wire. Commercial bob wire stretchers are either the old rope and pulley type or the more modern type with the bar. I like the rope type better. Even better yet is to find one of the old rope type and salvage the little doodad that clamps the wire and use it with a cheap come a long.

    You can also use a handyman jack, but it is heavy to work with for this type work. Just another option if you have lot time and little cash to go buy yet something else.
     
  19. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yeah, we use the little doodad and a come along to stretch barb wire, but I could not find a picture of it for my post. I also don't know the correct name of the thing, but we've clamped/stretched a lot of wire with it, usually with no mishaps. However, when it slips, you better be out of the way.
     
  20. plowjockey

    plowjockey Well-Known Member

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    The way we have always put up woven wire, is to use a stretcher, which grips the entire height of the fence. Fasten one end of the fence to a end post. Pull the other end towards a corner or end post (you don't even have to cut the fence, if you are continuing around a corner post). Staple the fence to the corner post well and then staple the line posts ( or clip if "t" posts). Release the pulling tension and move to the next corner and do the same thing. Don't pull too tight.

    We did it and we did not know what we were doing at the time. You can too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010