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How many strands of 17 gauge wire twisted equal a 12 gauge wire (approx) Answered


I need a 12 gauge wire for the positive side of a small perimeter electric fence. However the only size aluminum wire they sell locally and I bought was 17 gauge wire.

My thought is to twist the entire length of two or more strands of the 17 gauge wire together to equal the 12 gauge wire (approx) 
How many strands of 17 gauge will it take to do so?

One more related question while I'm at it.
Does the twist have to be a tight twist or can it be a loose twist? Tight meaning a lot of twists per foot, loose meaning something like 4-6 twists per foot.

- chase -


Josehf Murchison

3 years ago

Advice from a farm boy and an engineer.

The proper way to do this is by area.

17 AWG is 0.0016 sqin

12 AWG is 0.0051 sqin

0.0051/0.0016 = 3.1875

3.1875 strands of 17AWG = 12 AWG

Round it off to 3 strands and 4 to 6 twists per foot should be fine even a little looser will be Ok.

For an electric fence galvanized steel wire of any diameter will do, but I have seen Deer get trapped in the steel wire and get zapped until they die.

Aluminum wire breaks more easily allowing trapped animals escape.


3 years ago

If it just for an electric fence you don't really need the thicker wire or twist it.
The fence will work just fine with hair thin wires bu with no stenght to break.
You can also do what most farmers down here do and use simple, galvanised fencing wire - much stronger, cheaper and lasts forever.

Aluminium wire in the outside enviroment needs to be of good quality but can't be painted.
If it is not too late bring the aluminium wire back and take normal fencing wire instead ;)


3 years ago

Gauge 17 is 1,149 mm, gauge 12 is 2,052 mm (diameter). So basically you'll want about twice the size in diameter. The closest you'll get to that (I think) is by twisting four wires together and I'd twist them tight.


Reply 3 years ago

Assuming AWG...

17 AWG = 1.0378 mm²
12 AWG = 3.3088 mm²
Ratio: 3.3088/1.0378 = 3.188

So, if the 12 gauge is (more or less) a ball park figure, 3 strands will probably be fine (it's just 5.9% below 12 gauge).

4 strands will be 0.5% shy of 11 gauge.

Twists however you like. Theoretically, the resulting cross area will increase a shade as you add more twists, since it shortens the wire, but in a real life setting without sensitive measuring instruments, you'd be none the wiser.


3 years ago

You can get free estimate as well as free quote from La Habra Fence Company. Just contact them. http://www.lahabrafence.com/