Posted on November 15, 2013
What is Tensioning?
When the term “tensioning” is used at DeerBusters, it means exactly what you think it means. Tensioning refers to the tools and wire that give your deer fence tension, or keep it tight, which is important both in making sure that your fence is living up to its potential and that your landscape isn’t impeded by a messy and slumped over fence. A good tensioning system relies primarily on taut monofilament wire attached between each set of posts in a fence line, creating a top and bottom perimeter of tension throughout the fence. This wire is connected, tightened, and attached to fencing with a variety of accessories, and they are all available at DeerBusters.com. If you are curious about whether you should install a tensioning system, read on for a complete explanation of tensioning and tension system installation.
Why is Tension Important?
Proper installation of your tensioning system ensures that your deer fence will be long lasting and effective. Tight monofilament wire between each set of posts is your primary defense against the sagging and shifting of your deer fence over time. Posts are kept upright and parallel to each other, and the poly fencing material is given a structure to rest on in between posts. Attaching the top of your fencing to the monofilament wire will prevent drooping that will put low areas in your fence and will make the entire installation look sloppy. The length of monofilament at the bottom perimeter of your fence doubles as a deterrent against digging, the method to which a deer typically resorts first. The fence is attached to the bottom length of monofilament in the same way as at the top of the fence, and the monofilament is staked into the ground all the way across. This leaves no gap or open area under which a deer can reach and start digging a back door. While it is possible to install the posts and the fencing and ignore the monofilament altogether, you probably won’t be all that pleased with your fence’s performance in the long run. Tensioning keeps your deer fence tight, upright, and helps to keep the deer out.
Monofilament Wire Installation
Your tensioning system is very easy to install once you’ve gotten all of your line posts into the ground. You’ll need to collect a few materials before you begin: a spool of monofilament wire in the gauge and length you desire, connection sleeves or clips to attach your monofilament, self-locking ties, tighteners, and a few tools, depending on what you’ve chosen to connect and tighten your monofilament.
To attach your monofilament to the posts, unroll a couple feet of excess monofilament from the spool. Choose a post to begin with, and whether you want to begin with the top or bottom of the fence. Keep in mind that the perimeter of monofilament at the bottom of the fence should be as close to the ground as possible, and the perimeter at the top of the fence should hold the fence as high on the posts as it can be when it is stretched out.
First, you will need to slide the free end of the monofilament into a connector. You can use either a connection sleeve or a connector clip. Connection sleeves are small tubes of metal with two grooves in which monofilament can rest. A crimping tool is needed to press down forcefully on the sleeve, snugly crimping the sleeve around two pieces of monofilament. A connector clip is more of a clamp wherein two pieces of monofilament are placed, and nuts are tightened on the outside to hold the monofilament tightly. The clips don’t require a specialized tool to operate, but they are more involved. We recommend using connection sleeves for larger fencing installations for ease and speed. Make sure you select the appropriate sized connector for your monofilament’s gauge. Slide the connector far enough down that you have ample wire to wrap around your first post. To connect the free end of the monofilament to the wire that you will be stretching to the next post, slide the connector back up toward the post, making sure that the monofilament is resting in one side of the connector. Slip the free end of the monofilament into the other side of the connector. You should try to get the connector as close to the post as you can, but tighteners installed later will help you make the monofilament as tight as it can be. If you are using sleeves, use the crimping tool to crimp the sleeve and connect the wire, and if you are using clips, simply tighten the nut with a wrench or pliers. Lastly, crisscross two self-locking ties over the monofilament and around the post and use the cutter puller tool to tighten the ties and cut the excess. This is how you will attach the wire to each post. When the monofilament is connected to the first post, walk toward the next post with the spool, allowing the monofilament to unroll as you walk. Stretch the wire as taut as possible between the posts, and giving yourself enough excess to repeat the process, cut the wire. Attach the monofilament to the next post the same way was the first. You are finished when you have a complete perimeter of
monofilament at the top and bottom of your fence line.
Tighteners and Tightening Tools
Round tighteners should be placed at the center of each length of monofilament between two posts. These tools will get rid of any slack in the fence line after installation. Insert the wire into the long
slot in the center of the tightener so that the wire runs through the tightener. On the other side of the tightener, there is an opening in the center. This is where you insert the center prong of the tightening tool . When you’ve inserted t he tool, hold it on either side by the handles and twist clockwise to rotate the tightener and wrap the wire around inside of it. When the monofilament is as tight as possible and the tightener can’t turn any more, insert the tightener’s metal clip into the openings going around the tightener such that one end of the clip is above the monofilament and one end of the clip is below it. This clip locks the tightener in place so that you can remove the tightening tool and begin tightening the rest of the wire.
In the event that you are attempting to connect and tighten two pieces of monofilament that are broken or cut, a round tightener isn’t going to help you. You will need to use a gripple. Pass both ends of the wires you would like to connect and tighten through the gripple from opposite ends. To tighten the gripple, you will also need the gripple tightener. The tightener works by holding the gripple steady, and pulling the free end of one piece of the inserted monofilament farther through. Alternating using the gripple tightener to pull the monofilament on each side through the gripple will successfully tighten the wire. Use this method to address any other areas where cut monofilament needs to be connected and pulled taut.
If you have any more questions about deer fence tensioning or any of our tensioning products, visit DeerBusters.com to view part two of our DeerBusters Deer Fence Installation video, Part 2: Installing Tensioning Systems or read our Monofilament Wire Installation instructions.