Let’s face it Fencing is a tough job to do in the Summer months, when it is hot and humid! So the Winter months are the perfect time to jump into those fencing tasks and get them completed so you can enjoy Spring.
What you will need
To construct or repair your fence you will need the following:
- a helper
- posts (strainers and drop posts)
- post hole-digger
- gripples and applicator or wire-strainers
- crow bar
- safety glasses
All of these things can be obtained at Coffs Harbour Produce… Remember preparation is key!
The make-up of a fence
A fence consists of three main elements:
- strainer assembly at either end
- intermediate posts
- droppers and wire stretched tight between the strainers.
Strainer assemblies are the most important part of any fence. Their job is to transfer the tension in the wires to the ground.
There are two main strainer assembly designs – the diagonal stay and the box.
Intermediate posts and droppers
Intermediate posts perform two functions; to guide the line wires off the ground at the correct spacings and, to some extent, provide lateral resistance to pressure by transferring it into the ground.
Droppers, which are suspended in the fence, maintain the vertical wire spacing and spread any lateral pressure onto all the wires.
Three main types of wire are used in fencing; prefabricated rolls, plain wire and barbed wire.
The most expensive – prefabricated rolls – are a quick and easy way to erect a fence. They can be used in conjunction with plain or barbed wire.
Wire comes in many thicknesses (gauges) and tensile strengths. A fencing material supplier can help you decide what is the most appropriate gauge for your fence.
End assemblies can be built from steel, concrete or timber (treated or natural).
Treated timber is a popular choice because of its resistance to termites. It is light and can easily be cut to length in the field.
Steel is more expensive but is an excellent alternative in high fire risk areas. Steel posts can be installed quickly by hand without the need for a tractor and can be galvanised to prevent rusting.
Concrete posts need to be prestressed to perform well but they can still be affected by fire and are very heavy.
Prefabricated fences are tied off onto one of the end posts and rolled out to the next post. If the distance is greater than one roll, join it to another roll and continue until the next post is reached.
When straining up prefabricated fences it is wise to use a multiwire strainer. This grips all the wires in the roll simultaneously ensuring an even tension.
The strainer is fitted to the wire a few metres before the second strainer and tension applied. This can be carried out with a tractor or four-wheel-drive.
After the first strain, the roll needs to be lifted and shaken along its length to free it from any obstructions on the ground.
Judging when the correct tension is reached can be tricky but there are several tools on the market which can help.
With prefabricated wire one simple method is to note the change in crimp shape in any of the line wires. When the crimp is half flattened the tension is generally sufficient.
When no crimp can be seen, then the tension in the wire is too high and needs to be reduced.
The loose ends of the line wires can now be tied off on the second end assembly and the tension on the strainer released.
A commonly used method of straining plain and prefabricated wire is to use ‘gripples’. A gripple is a wire tensioning device that fits permanently on the fence allowing the wire to be restrained at a later date.
A gripple applicator is used to draw the wire through the gripple and tension it, allowing the gripple to lock it in place at the appropriate tension.
Gripples can also be used as a joiner. The rolls are rolled out, joined using gripples and pretensioned using a multiwire strainer. The multiwire strainers are removed from the wire and the end tied off on the second end assembly.
Then, using single wire strainers or a special gripple tool, the individual line wires can be tensioned at the join of the rolls.
Using plain wires follows a similar process except that the wires are rolled out and strained one at a time.
When using steel intermediate posts it is important to not run the wire through the holes in the post — tempting as it may be. This will damage the galvanised coating on the line wire, shortening the life of the wire.
The final job is to tie off the line wires onto the posts and droppers.
Remember when using wire ties on steel posts that one side of the tie needs to go under the line wire and the other side over the line wire to hold it securely in place.
The finished product should be a quality fence capable of managing your livestock and preserving a healthy relationship with your neighbours!
Information courtesy of AGRICWA.
For more information on fencing and techniques, talk to our friendly team in store.
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