How to Patch a Wire or Barbed Wire Fence




Introduction: How to Patch a Wire or Barbed Wire Fence

What the heck is that big rusty yellow thing? ....that's what they used to say about my car back in high school, but no, I'm talking about the big rusty yellow thing in the picture! 
It's an old Fence Stretcher/Splicer and this Instructable is going to show you how to use it to splice a wire fence.

It's spring and we've already had a few tree-dropping storms, so I've got a few fences to repair...Let's go  !

First step, gather the tools needed:
  • Fence Splicer/Splitter - this one has been around, but I see they can still be purchased ...your local farm supply store or even on Amazon
  • Wire
  • Wire cutter (I grabbed a tin snips...there are better tools for this job but alas....)
  • Large screwdriver
  • Fence Staples (1 1/4")
  • Pliers or vice grips
  • Tape to mark the repair
  • Gloves

Safety first, if it's an electric fence turn off the electric fencer  :-)

Step 1: Get Loopy

In the location of the split, clear fallen trees and plant-life so you have room to work. If it's an electric fence you'll want to keep plants from touching the line anyway.

De-kink the wire and pull it reasonably tight. You may have to check down the fence line a bit to be sure all the kinks are out.  
You may have to remove some fence staples to clear things up.

Grab one of the split fence ends and bend the wire to create a loop. Similar to a simple fishing line knot, you want to twist the wire and run it back through the loop so it can't easily come unwound by animals pushing against the fence.

Cut a section of wire from the spool of spare wire to use as a "splice wire"'ll want some extra length, so make it maybe 3 feet long. Slip one end of it through the loop you just created and join the two sections by creating another loop. 

Step 2: Stretch Time

No...I didn't mean take a break!  I meant we need to use the Fence Stretcher to stretch the fence wire so we can make the repair complete.

Kind of tricky to explain...but here goes....
  • The stretcher has two clamps that are designed to pinch onto wire and grip it. You can see the stationary clamp in the first picture above. The small lever is used to open and close the clamp.
  • Spread the move-able clamp as far away from the stationary clamp as possible.  
    (same as if you were opening a pipe clamp to it's largest/widest setting)
  • Attach the move-able clamp to the wire loop.
  • Pull the end of the splice wire (which as yet doesn't have a loop on it) as tight as you can by hand and clamp it into the stationary section of the Fence Stretcher.
  • Slip the loose end of the splice wire through the loop held by the move-able clamp. Things should look roughly like picture 3. 

Step 3: Let's Wrap This Up

Ok, now we're ready to start cranking the long lever on the Fence Stretcher.
Like an old fashioned tire jack, or a come-along winch, each pump of the lever tightens the fence.

Be Careful here, these Fence Stretchers can slip and the clamps can lose traction as well...but in general I find this a heavy but very good tool to have for fence repair.

Once the fence is tight to your satisfaction, bend the loose splice wire end and create another loop knot.
Don't worry if you notice some slack here..we'll fix that next.

You can take off the Fence Splicer now, and take out a small amount of slack by using your screwdriver and a random stick or your pliers. Just slide them into the loops as shown and twist them in opposite directions.  

Step 4: And Finally!

Now you can replace missing fence staples.
It's a good idea to have the wire on the inside of the hungry animals pushing on the fence don't pop the staples out.
Put the staples in on the diagonal as shown in the picture also so they are less likely to pop out.
Don't hammer them in too far as you can damage and even break the wire. 

It's a good idea to mark the newly repaired fence with tape...just to give everyone and everything a fair warning that it's there.

That's it, do a little happy dance and then on to the next project!

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    I've often wondered, what is the preferred method for pulling tight the type of fence that has squares in it? Not sure what it's called, mine has 6" squares at the top, that get narrower toward the bottom.

    I'd also like to add, if using T-posts, the proper ties and fence tool (funky plier/hammer things) make the job so much easier.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Oh I know what you mean...I think it's called Woven Wire fence and the green Tposts. I have some of that I need to set up to keep the deer out of our garden. I use the tpost clips to hook the fence to the tpost and they are very easy to put on and for a small fence like ours, I roll the fence out, get it into basic position and start hooking it up at one end....then farther on down the line I hook up a post that isnt fully in the ground yet...I hook clips up to that post and use that post as a lever and cranking on it to pull the fence tight.
    Then re-adjust the clips after the slack is out.
    I imagine you could clip a post to the fence and then hook that fence post to a Come-A-Long Winch...hook the other end of the Winch to a tree or tractor or something and then pull out the slack that way too.
    Did some random googling and found someone doing it that way


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Neat, that's a great idea! I was just thinking I should find a use for my old 2,000 lb atv winch.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I noticed this forum with respect to splicing wire fencing ideas. From what I have found, crimp splices are only a temporary fix which isn't good if you are protecting your investment and tying wire fencing can be difficult especially with high tensile or old/brittle wire that will break. Check out this link to Ranchmate ( ). If the DOT specifies a "Western Union Splice" that is a method, than Ranchmate' Twist Splices would be the easiest and strongest splice available with no tools needed. Average retail cost per pair of inline splices is only around $1.99 each. These splices are a preformed western union splice that you would use and are the exact same products (Shrunk down) as what the power and energy companies use to splice/repair power lines and cables. Products like these are significantly better than a method that might be incorrectly applied.. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I've had to fix a lot of fences on our farm. My father pointed out to me (which is ironic since he's mechanically declined) that when you use loops all the pressure of the fence has very little surface area. It will rust out faster there. I started using his idea of wrapping each end around one another. It works and will last longer. Although it takes longer to fix.