I’ve always had a dilemma when it came to pulling fence tight. I’ve tried everything from using my lawn mower to a car including fashioning my own fence pulling devices. You’re supposed to have a tractor and a device to spread the force across the fence or in the case of barbed wire fence, a come along . These are helpful, but expensive, tools. With a little help from physics and stuff you probably have in your shed or truck we can use leverage to our advantage
For the photos I was pulling a chainlink fence which lent itself very well to this method, but the method would be easily adaptable to any kind of wire fence.
How to pull a fence without a fence puller or come-along
Step 1: Preparation & Safety First
Safety goggles, thick leather gloves, long sleeves & pants are a must to protect yourself!
If you’re pulling chainlink, we will need at least 1 ratchet strap per foot of fence (CargoLoc 89977 1-Inch x 15-Feet x 1500-Pound Ratchet Tie Down with S-hooks, 6-Piece), but more would be better. I happened to have a brand new set of eight that I bought on clearance after Black Friday.
If you’re pulling wire fence, then you’ll have to build a spreader out of 2×4’s, nuts, and bolts
Step 2: Prepare the fence
For chain link, hook the ratchet straps to the fence mesh and an anchor point (start laying your fence at the edges of your property and pull toward your gate so you can use the opposite side of the gate as the anchor). Start ratcheting only until you get enough tension to hold everything in place.
For wire fence, wrap the fence end around one of the 2×4’s then place the other 2×4 on top and bolt together with a bolt every 6 inches for the height of your fence. Now set up the ratchet straps as above (you can wrap the straps around the 2×4 then hook onto the other side of the strap.
Step 3: Pull the fence
Gradually tighten each ratchet strap. My ratchet straps had a safe working load of 500lbs each (1500 lbs breaking strength each). As you tighten one strap, you will see the others loosen. The idea here is to never put too much stress on one strap. With 6 straps, we can easily achieve over 2000lbs of fence pulling strength and still be very safe!.
When the straps become tight, walk down the fence and pull the fence by hand every 8 feet, this should loosen the fence again and lower the tension on the ratchet straps. Tighten the straps one by one again. Repeat and you will find that the fence will become very tight.
If you end up unable to tighten the straps because you’ve tightened too far for the ratchet strap, you can put a strap in place over the old one and start pulling with the new strap until the old one has enough slack to pull it off. Use that one to replace the next one until all have been reset.
Step 4: Secure the pulled fence
Once the fence is as tight as you desire (without a come along or fence puller/spreader), it is time to secure the fence. For chainlink, you insert the spreader bar and fasten to your end pole, before loosening the straps, you can tighten the carraige bolts and rearrange as needed before putting tension on the bar.
For wire Fence you would secure with many fencing nails (drive them at an angle so they don’t get pulled out when you relieve the tension).
Step 5: Release the tension
For chain link, this is the final step. Release the tension one strap at a time (wear gloves and watch your fingers!), when all straps are done, you will have to cut the bent piece of chain link out, but its just one.
For wire fence you will want to wrap some fence around your end post and fasten with more fencing nails. Remove the 2×4 fence puller we created.
Step 6: Show off
Call others over to admire your handiwork and cleverness. Tell them you once saw a guy bouncing up and down on his lawnmower trying to get more tension like a mad man. Or maybe you saw the guy with an 8 ton jack, cinderblocks, chain, and a long metal pole looking for more leverage. Oh wait, both those guys were me. Glad I’ll be able to pull my fence without a come along or fence puller in the future.