Constructing a woven or welded-wire fence to contain pets or to protect your garden is a satisfying and inexpensive landscaping project. Once the fence posts are secured and in place, installing the wire-mesh infill material is simple. The mesh is attached to the first fence post, stretched, then attached to the adjacent post. Using only your hands to stretch the infill material can result in a nonuniform appearance or sagging wire mesh. Stretching tools distribute uniform force across the width of the infill material, producing a professional appearance to your finished project. Constructing your own wire-stretching tool takes only minutes and requires no special tools or advanced carpentry skills.
Measure the width of the fencing material. Mark a 2-inch-by-4-inch plank, approximately two-thirds of the width of the infill material. Cut on the line.
Lay the plank on a flat surface with its two-inch surfaces horizontal. Use a yardstick and a pencil to scribe a line down the centre of the plank, from one end to the other. Mark the line along its length approximately three inches apart.
Use a drill and driving bit to drive a wood screw through each mark, into the wood. Leave the heads of the screws protruding approximately one inch from the surface of the plank.
Your wire-stretching tool is used by hooking the heads of the screws on the vertical wires of the infill material and pulling, applying uniform pressure across the tool. Commercially available fence stretchers come in standard sizes, to be used on infill materials of varying widths. It is not crucial to distribute tension across the entire width of the material to adequately stretch, without disfiguring, the wire, which is why a wire stretcher that is approximately two-thirds the width of the infill material (step 1) should adequately distribute tension without making the tool overly cumbersome.
Use gloves when operating this tool.