How to stretch fence tension wire

Written by mary lougee
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How to stretch fence tension wire
Fastening excess tension wire to its roll will keep it from unwinding on its own. (Barbed Wire image by joanna berhow from

Tension wire stiffens a chain link fence along the bottom of each side. The tension wire lies between all of the posts and the fencing material. Tension wire on the bottom edge of a fence discourages pets from digging under fences and tension wire is useful to stiffen the top of a chain link fence in the place of a top rail. Stretching tension wire uses the same principle of stretching chain link fence in that an entire side or section between terminal posts tightens at one time for strength and stability.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 12-1/2 gauge high-tensile wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • 2 feet of rope
  • Come-along tool or fence stretcher
  • Brace bands and bolts

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  1. 1

    Place a brace band on a terminal post with a bolt about 1 inch above ground level and tighten the bolt with pliers on the side of the fence where fencing will attach. Feed the loose end of the high-tensile wire through the brace band with an excess of 6 inches. Pull a few feet off the roll and walk down to the next post with the roll of wire. Set the roll on the ground. Fold the loose end of wire on top of the long length of wire and tighten by twisting it around the long part of wire at least six times with pliers.

  2. 2

    Walk to the next terminal post with the roll of wire. Place a brace band on the post and attach by tightening the bolt with pliers at 1 inch above ground level. Cut the wire with wire cutters 6 inches longer than the post distance and loop the loose end of the wire through the brace band. Bend the wire at a 90-degree angle to hold in place.

  3. 3

    Tie a 2-foot length of rope tightly to the terminal post for a sling about 3 inches higher than the brace band. Attach a come-along to the sling by hooking the hook closest to the handle through the rope sling. Attach the loose end of the wire from the brace band to the come-along by looping and fastening to the wire gripper in the same manner as attaching wire to the first terminal post.

  4. 4

    Move the handle on the come-along forward and backward to tighten the wire with each complete stroke. The come-along has a ratchet motion that allows the wire to tighten without slipping. Tighten the wire until it is hard to crank the handle of the come-along and the wire sits tight next to all fence posts.

  5. 5

    Attach the slack wire end to the tight wire by wrapping the slack wire in a circle around the tight wire and twisting to hold into place. Release the come along handle by pushing the ratchet release button and cut the wire in the wire gripper on the come along. Remove the come along from the post. Continue this process for each section of fencing between terminal posts around the perimeter of the fence.

Tips and warnings

  • A terminal post is an end post at a corner or at the end of a side. Posts on either side of a gate are also terminal posts.
  • Placing a stick inside the roll of tension wire makes it easy to unroll as you walk the length of the fence.
  • Refasten tension excess tension wire to its roll after cutting off the amount you will use for an installation. This will keep the wire from unrolling on its own in a neat and tidy roll for the next installation.
  • Wear gloves when working with tension wire to avoid cuts from sharp ends of the wire.

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