Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Fence is Done!

After what feels like ages, our first new pasture fence is done!  We finished it just before our Christmas break. (Here is a link to the start of the fence project.)

If it was square, it would be about 140' x 170'.  It is really more of a trapezoid, following the contours of the land and our access road.  It is just the first of many acres of fencing, and it feels good to have it done.

This is not going to be a 'how to,' as I assume most readers already know how to build a fence, or don't care to know.  What I will do is note what I learned, in the hopes that it can save someone a bit of time, or result in a comment that shows me a better way.
This is the best fence I have ever built.  Far from perfect, but a big step forward for me.  One thing I struggled with was attaching the fencing to the inside of the posts.  Not nearly as fast and easy as putting it on the outside of the posts, but stronger and safer for animals, especially horses.
Part of the challenge of putting the fencing on the inside is wrapping the corners.
It involves a lot of time cutting vertical wire to release the horizontal strands, then attaching the horizontals to the post.  Phoebe and several others asked why I was using side-cutters to cut the wire, instead of using
a fencing tool. 
I mistakenly thought the fencing tool's wire cutters were as lame as its hammer.  When I finally tried it, after hours of cutting, I found how wrong I was.  Another lesson learned.

This is the first time I had to use a dummy post.  I only needed it once, and it worked well.  The rest of the time I was able to pull from another H across a gate opening, or from the trailer hitch on my car.
There was a very specific order to which side got fenced when, since pulling wire through an already finished side is such an ugly thought I avoided it at all costs.

This is the last time I will be using my old fence stretcher.  Next time I will buy a come-along or two.  It will save me a few steps and a chunk of time on the stretching.
I used aircraft cable for the first time, to connect my various bits.  It was a big time saver, and not too expensive.
First time seaming wire too.  Next time I will try to find a an easier way to attach wire to wire.  I have seen references to connectors you crimp to the wire, which are actually stronger than wrapping the wire, but our farm store had never heard of them.  I will find them before I do another fence.
It was rainy and nasty a lot of the time I was working on the fence, but not all the time.
And there it is.  About 1/3 of an acre.  550' feet of 5' No Climb fencing.  Two 10' gates and one 4' man gate. 
Next step; building a loafing shed.  Our goal is to have the pasture occupied very soon, so we will be getting right on that.  After a couple weeks sitting on the couch eating holiday cookies, it is time to get back to work.


  1. Congrats on the new fence. Your post makes me want to start working on our north fence line. The bulk of our 4.6 acres is still unfenced. I need to rectify that one of these days, or we never are going to have livestock.

    Your corner tie-offs look like the technique we used on our high-tensile woven. It's definitely a pain to do, but I think the result is worth it.

    The splicing you are talking about is probably either a Gripple or a crimp sleeve. We used crimps on our high-tensile smooth wire install, and in all the H-brace tie-offs. Three of the standard crimps are necessary for splicing, and two for tie-back (when you create a loop). I admire the Gripple concept, but I can't possibly justify the costs. If I was doing fencing for a living (which honestly doesn't sound that bad .. it's a tedious detail-oriented job I like), I would definitely use the T-gripples for the bottom tie-backs at posts (our woven fence has variable spacing, and the 3" spacing at the bottom makes it very difficult to tie the wires). By the way, I've bought from both those retailers I linked to. Premier has slightly better products, but Kencove is cheaper for crimps and the crimper tool. Both are generally a lot cheaper than your local farm store.

    I was wondering about the last picture in your post. Is the H-brace on the right the start of another fence run? If so, I think it might be missing the required tension wire (it should go up-hill in the direction of pull). I've found that Collie farm blog has one of the best discussions of H-braces online. Of course, I'm probably just mis-interpreting the picture. :)

  2. Thanks for the tips Lee. I will look at those sites for crimping bits when I start the next round.

    The right hand brace in the last photo is part of a corner I only did one tension wire on corners that were not holding gates. I will look at the Collie blog to see if I got it right.

    I would enjoy fencing more if the ground were easier to put posts in. It takes so much to get the hole dug. I have thought about renting a tractor with an auger, but I worry that the rocks in our soil will damage the blade. So for now, I dig by hand. Other than the digging, I too enjoy it.

    Thanks for the great comment!

  3. Sounds like I just mis-interpreted the picture. For a corner H-brace like that which isn't under any strain in either direction, it probably doesn't matter which way the wire is pulled, if at all.

    Yeah, we have it pretty easy here. Our soil gets sandier the further down you go. We had to buy special post-hole diggers that seal up tight (or the soil all leaks out as you are lifting it out of a 3' deep hole), but otherwise it's pretty simple. The few times I've hit layer of rocks it was miserable digging.

  4. Where did you get your woven wire type gates? Love the

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