Tension wire may be installed at the top and/or bottom of a chain
link fence. Top tension wire helps cut down on cost when used in lieu of top rail. Bottom
wire helps deter animals from digging and pushing the bottom of the fabric out. It is
frequently used with vinyl coated chain link as this tends to be more elastic in nature.
Both types of wire are attached to the chain link, once stretched, with hog rings. It is
easiest to install when one person holds the coil of wire upright while the other 'walks'
the loose end to the other end of the fence. The next step is to hook up the loose end to
the terminal post using a brace band and nut and bolt. The loose end is looped through the
bolt and wrapped around the wire itself (Fig. 1 & 2) The tension wire
loop is 'sandwiched' in the brace band. Bottom tension wire is installed on the same side
of the posts as the chain link fabric (Fig. 4.) Once chain link is
stretched, the bottom tension wire will be 'sandwiched' between line/ intermediate posts
and the chain link fabric (Fig. 10). If used as a top wire, thread
tension wire through loop caps and connect at each terminal post.
wire is most commonly stretched using a come-a-long
and wire grip.
Do not wrap the cable of the come-a-long around the post (Fig. 5). This
action done repetitively will cause the cable to fray and be destroyed. Instead a 'sling'
may be made of rope or cable to wrap around the stretch post (Fig. 6).
Release and pull out 6-10' feet of cable from the come-along. The length of cable to pull
out will depend on the length of stretch of tension wire. Hook a cable puller to the
ratchet end of the come-a-long. Secure tension wire to cable puller (Fig. 7).
Crank the handle of the come-a-long until the tension wire is tight (Fig. 7 &
9). Do not tighten too much or post damage or physical injury may occur.
With the come-a-long cranked tight, bend the tension wire where it
would loop into the nut and bolt. Next, cut 6-8" past this bend with bolt cutters. Be
careful as both ends of the wire will 'whip' from the tension and can be dangerous. Fish
the looped end of wire through the nut and bolt and wrap as before. Release come-a-long;
repeat process for other runs of fence. Note: Short lengths, approx. 12' and less, are
difficult to do using a come-a-long. These are often simply done by hand. The tension wire
naturally has crimps in it. With the use of pliers in
their open position, these crimps can be crimped further causing the wire to tighten (Fig.
8). Be sure to crimp throughout the length for uniform appearance.
Once tension wire is installed, the chain link fabric may be
stretched. Chain link is installed to terminal posts using tension bars, tension bands,
and nuts and bolts. Often one end is installed with the roll upright for ease (Fig.
14). The roll may then be laid down flat of the ground and rolled to other end.
Additional rolls may be added easily and the weaving is easily done on the flat ground.
Chain link is stretched with a come-a-long and spreader bar
for longer stretches (20' or more). A pul-jak is used for shorter stretches (20' or less)
(Fig 15). As tension bands are installed an equal distance apart, usually
the bottom brace band holding the tension wire may be adjusted so that the tension wire is
centered on the bottom diamond of the fabric. The top rail, line posts are tied last. Hog
rings are installed to secure the tension wire to the chain link fabric using hog ring