About: Retired Firefighter 1966 to 1986; Retired Wheat Farmer 1987 to 2003. Drapery Sales 1969 to 1987. 17 year Quintuple Heart Bypass Surgery Survivor; 14 year Melanoma Cancer Survivor. 81 years young.

Stretching, tightening and splicing barbed wire is a job that has to be done periodically. It's a dangerous job that must be done. The wire can slip, pulling the wire through your hands similar to a chain saw blade. Even punching your skin will require a tetanus shot. Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection that causes painful muscle spasms and can lead to death.


Twisting the two ends together to make the splice is difficult and the rusty wire can lead to very serious injury even if you wear heavy leather gloves. These are some actual splices made probably 40 years ago or more.



1 - Fence Stretcher......needed to pull the 2 wires together.

1 - Pair of fencing pliers......a multi-purpose tool. A hammer, pliers, wire cutter, staple puller all in one.


1 - Flat washer w / 1/2" hole or a 1/2" nut to hold the 2 wires together

2 - 3/8" or 1/2" hex nuts to secure the ends of the wire.


If the wire is not taunt, one solution is to cut the wire, remove some of it, and splice it back together.

Decide where you can cut and tighten the wire.

Using the stretchers, clamp the wire on each side of the spot you are going to cut.

Stretch the wire...........cut it.............

Remove barbs that are within 6" to the ends. Slip one nut onto each wire end.

Bend both ends to 90 degree angles.........

Stretch wire to get ends to touch .....


Slip the washer over the 2 wire ends........

Bend wire ends back on themselves and back through the nuts. Bend 1/4" to 1/2" of the wire ends to keep the nuts from sliding off.

Remove fence stretcher.

In today's cattle country, good fences make good neighbors. You should now have one tight wire. Now all you have to do is tighten the other 3 or 4 wires. Contrary to what you see on old Gene Autry movies, barbed wire fences seldom come with less than 4 wires, or all the cattle would be out on the roadways and highways getting run into by you environmentally handicapped city drivers. LOL.......and we don't fight over using barbed wire or not using it.


I made 2 revisions per suggestions in comments.

1.) I eliminated the washer and hooked the 2 ends together. This seems to be a better option.

2.) I cut some 1/2" copper pipe into 1/2" long pieces to replace the 1/2" nuts. This required a cutting tool and a grinding tool. I used a chop saw and an electric bench grinder and an electric motor with a wire wheel to remove the burrs. This may make the splice look nicer, but takes more tools, time, and planning. Steel pipe would have required the same preparation; I just didn't have any the right size.

It appears to me that grabbing a few 1/2" nuts, the fence pliers & fence stretcher before heading to the field is acceptable, but cutting the pipe, grinding it, de-burring it is not something you would normally do before getting on the 4 wheeler and going to the pasture, unless you were making the trip specifically to fix fence.



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    Nice work! I use a puller like yours with a couple of visegrips as the bite seems to slip when you get it real tight and I use store bought wire crimps that slip over both wires and I crimp them down with an old bolt cutter that one of my knuckle headed help tried to cut a case hardened lock off the supply shed and knocked a chip out of the bolt cutter. There is a crimp toll you are supposed to use but the cost is high. Anyway works good. Looks good.

    1 reply

    Thanks for your comment wmwinkle. I wondered when I put this I'ble on here if anyone would be interested, so I am pleased with the response. Good idea about using a damaged bolt cutter for crimper. HF has several that could be modified. HF has a 18" bolt cutter for $11 or a 12" for $9

    FYI: I added a step & photos to the post eliminating the middle nut and replacing the other 2 with pieces of copper tubing.

    I`ll never have to make this but instead of using nuts cut some small bore pipe to the diameter of the wires as it will look neater and will probably be cheaper and lighter in the long run.

    2 replies

    No problem with using pipe. I did it using small pieces of copper tubing, but thought I'd make it simple.

    Whenever I've spliced wire on my friend's ranch, we always did it the "old way." I'm curious as to if having to lug around nuts and washers up and down canyons would be worth their weight. What advantage does this method have over the "old way" of doing it?

    3 replies

    How much does a handful of nuts and washers weigh? It's a much faster and easier and a more secure connection. It's very disappointing to wrap the wires the old way, only to have them slip loose when you stretch the wire, and don't tell me that hasn't happened to you. When a splice slips, the wire rebounds and the barbs slice everything they touch. VERY DANGEROUS.

    I don't want to carry any extra weight if not absolutely necessary. I'm already carrying fencing staples, hammer, a two sets of lineman's pliers, extra barbed wire, a small coil of bailing wire, wire stretcher, a gallon of water (since fence only seems to break during the hottest days of summer), and anything else I've forgot to mention. A pound of 1/2" nuts doesn't sound like much, but it adds up fast.

    The canyons that we typically have to patch are too steep for quads and there are no horses on the ranch (they burn through hay too fast). Attached is a picture of one of the gentler sloped canyons that we've patched in the past. Most canyons on property are much steeper.

    If this method is faster, then I wouldn't be out in the sun as much and would need less water. That would shed the weight of the water and I could then justify the extra weight of the nuts. About how much faster is your method?


    I cannot really give the amount of time saved. My primary issue was safety. Wrapping the wire around and around while it is stretched is an accident waiting to happen.

    You could use 1/2" lock washers instead of the nuts. They are strong and weigh less.

    I grew up on a cattle ranch, where we used the "old style" splice all the time. The new style looks like an improvement, but I wonder if you couldn't eliminate the washer by just making a loop in one end of the wire, and then loop the other end through the first loop. I'd be also inclined to bend the wire back over once it's through the nut, sort of as a safety. But the basic idea is clever, and looks quicker and easier.

    1 reply

    I agree with you about eliminating the washer. I just didn't think of it. You did. Congrats !! I'll try it your way, but I'm sure you have a good idea.

    I did say, "Bend 1/4" to 1/2" of the wire ends to keep the nuts from sliding off." as you are suggesting. Thanks

    Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed reading it. Wow, I am impressed at how pretty the wire looks after splicing them together. I have helped my husband build fences and repair them many times but we have not used your method. I will share this with him to see if he has ever used this method growing up. I love the pictures. Thanks again~


    1 reply

    Thanks Sunshiine. I am all about doing things as quickly, easily and inexpensively as possible. This method fits all three requirements.