Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stretching fencing with a tractor and a log

Once the braces are in I roll out the fencing.  I'm using no climb horse fence here because it's pretty resilient and will stand up well to abuse.  It's pricey, though.  $169/100' roll.  I roll out about 10' more than I need so that I have some slack.    This end is fixed. 

I cut the strands of the fence out, and using those ends wrap them around the post at the end of this stretch of fencing.  More details on this farther down. 

I'm pretty skeptical about tools, but this crescent tool has been really nice for this job.  It's a 2-1 strength cutter, constructed a little like a minature bolt cutter.  It's got a spring in the handle to open it back up again after the cut, and it really makes the wire trimming easier.  I have no connection to Crescent, I just like it when a tool works well.  Search the part number in the photo to find someone who sells 'em near you. 

First thing I do is lay a small log down.  It's helpful if this log is at least 3' longer than the height of your fence.  You want some to stick out from the top and bottom. 

Then I  cut the "vertical" wire out, leaving a bunch of ends hanging.

Then I make a loop about 2' in diameter by folding the wire back on itself and hooking it, as shown here. 

The log is placed in the center of this loop. 

You can see the log inside its loop of fencing here.  when I'm' pulling on this fencing, I want the pull to be equal.  It's hard to get to the center link of the chain, and you can spend a lot of time fussing with it, or you can do this.  On the right is the bucket of my tractor, with a chain hook welded in the center.  On that chain hook is a small loop of chain.  On the log is a longer piece of chain that is attached to the log, just above and below the fencing. 
I run the longer chain through the shorter chain attached to the bucket.  This allows the longer chain to "load balance"-- as I pull back, the two chains will automatically find the place where the pull is equal.  So I can do one smooth pull. 

So here it is in action.  the smaller chain has moved on the longer chain, actually attached to the log, and found the center.  Magic.  Nice, even pull. You could do this with a clevis or a steel carabiner, too.  DO NOT, i repeat DO NOT use a climbing carabiner for this sort of work.  You'll break it, and the pieces are dangerous.  Use steel. 

I back the tractor up until I get it taught, being careful to line up my chain hook with the brace posts.  Right now there's about 500lbs of pull on the fence.  Once I get that all lined up, I use the bucket curl to put as much tension on the fence as I can.  Now I don't want to break the fence, but I want there to be a good TWANG! when I pluck it.  To finish this I walk over, lift the log, and then tack the fence to the post.

I repeat this whole thing the other direction. 

Now here I can't get the tractor into a straight line with the fence.  Look at the front wheels of the tractor, and you can see what I did.  I was driving forward slowly to stretch this fence here.  Notice the load-balancing rig here, too.


steel fencing said...

Do work. I love looking at pictures of hard work being done on steel fencing

Sonica said...

Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow /Hey thanks man!! you are so good. I think this the perfect work.
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