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Chain Link Tension Wire Installation

Tension wire is an important part of chain link fencing. It secures the bottom and top of your chain link fence to ensure the chain links remain tight to the posts and rails. We have created this how-to guide to teach you the properly install tension wire for fences. 

Objective:  By mastering this lesson, you will be able to complete chain link tension wire installation.

Equipment:  2ea. come-a-longs, pliers, bolt cutters, chop saw or hand saw, wire rake for the appropriate height wire, speed wrench with ½” socket, barb wire dog, T-bar, and hammer.

Key Question:  How do I install top or bottom tension wire?

How do I install top or bottom tension wire? 

 chain-link-tension-wire-installation-1.gifTension wire is manufactured from spring steel which means that it has a considerable amount of resistance to bending or stretching.  Thus, when you cut the banding on the spool, be sure that you have the spool firmly in your grasp.  If not, the spool will quickly become unraveled and tangled to a point that you will not be able to use the materials.  Also, it poses a real safety issue with the end of the spool spinning around.  Be sure that you have safety glasses and gloves on. 

  1. Locate the spool at the far end of the stretch.  Lay it on the ground and cut the banding. 
  2. With the end of the spool firmly in your grasp, slowly pull the wire along the inside of the fence line to the other terminal post while another installer keeps constant pressure and control on the spool, never letting out of his control. 
  3. Install an end band at the base of the terminal post.  The ears of the band pointed to the other terminal post. 
  4. With your pliers, bend a one foot section of tension wire around the nut and bolt located in the end band.  Wrap the tension wire around itself with tightly wound loops at least four times.  It is important that you don’t leave loose loops around the wire because when tension is applied the wire may come unraveled. 
  5. Make sure that you leave at least a one foot section to wrap around the wire.  Tension wire is so rigid that unless you have a good piece of wire to get a hold of while wrapping, you will quickly become frustrated.  Cut away any tails.
  6. At the other end of the stretch, pull the spool past the terminal post and estimate how much wire you will need to complete the stretch.  Cut the wire. 
  7. Place and end band at the base of the terminal post. chain-link-tension-wire-installation-2.jpg
  8. Pull the tension wire taut by hand along the fence line.  Place your wire dog approximately ten feet from the terminal post. 
  9. Wrap the cable end of your come-a-long around the base of the terminal post above the end band. 
  10. Place the fixed end of the come-a-long into the eye of the wire dog. 
  11. Keeping constant pressure on the cable, crank the come-a-long until the wire is taut. 
  12. A common mistake in stretching tension wire is stretching it too tight.  Most tension wire has a natural crimp.  That crimp should remain visible after completing the installation.  Do not attempt to stretch the crimp out of the wire. 
  13. Cut your tension wire and attach to the end band located at the base of the terminal post.
  14. At every line post, tie the tension wire to the line post with a fence tie. 

If installing top tension wire, you will thread the wire through the loop caps.  With top tension wire, it is very easy to over stretch the wire and pull the terminal post out-of-plumb.  This is not always noticeable when stretching.  It commonly occurs after the fence is complete.  So, do not assume that since the terminal post is still plumb that you have not over stretched the wire.  Only stretch the tension wire to the point that it does not sag and you have placed tension on the crimps.

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© 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.

© 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.