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Click to Return to Page 5 - Installing Chain Link Top Rail Chain Link Fence Installation Manual
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Installing Top/Bottom Tension Wire - Click Images to Enlarge!

Chain link tension wire is looped through the nut and bolt of a brace band.
Fig. 1
Use fence pliers to wrap the wire back around itself, 4-6 wraps usually suffice.
Fig. 2
Reposition brace band low on the post and tighten nut and bolt snugly.
Fig. 3
Tension wire is installed after the top rail. Pictured here is the finished frame to the fence.
Fig. 4
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.
Wrapping the come-a-long cable around the post will cause the cable to fray and be destroyed.
Fig. 5
A rope or cable sling may used in lieu of wrapping the cable around the post. This same sling may be used to stretch the chain link fabric/ mesh.
Fig. 6
A quality cable grip will prevent slippage of the wire which can be dangerous and frustrating.
Fig. 7
Crank come-a-long until tension wire is tight. Do not overtighten as this can cause damage to the wire, bands, and 'pull' posts.
Fig. 8
Tension 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.
Only a few feet of slack in the cable is necessary to use when stretching fence.
Fig. 9
Tension wire is stretched on the same side of the line/ intermediate posts as the chain link fabric. This will 'sandwich' the tension wire in-between the chain link and posts.
Fig. 10
Brace bands may be raised higher off the ground to make wrapping more convenient.
Fig. 11
One brace band is placed tightly on the next for neat corner connections.
Fig. 12

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.

Usually all chain link fittings are installed prior to framing the project.
Fig. 13
While connecting chain link, brace bands may be adjusted to correct height on fence post.
Fig. 14
A pul-jak is irreplaceable for short stretches of chain link. Fence shown is white vinyl-coated fabric on a galvanized frame.
Fig. 15
A neatly completed chain link fence adds security for owners and pets.
Fig. 16
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 pliers. Click for Page 7 - Installing Chain Link Fabric