How to build a wire fence with wood posts

Crow sitting on a wire fence with wood posts

Wire fencing is a quick and cost-effective way to put barriers around even large areas of land. It’s a staple of agricultural and animal fencing, and chain link fences are also popular with gardeners, home chicken keepers, and pet owners.

AVS Fencing can supply everything you need to erect your wire fence with wooden fence posts. It’s a job that most competent DIYers can handle, though it’s easier if there are two of you.


Types of wire fence

Before you start, you’ll need to know what sort of wire fence to go for.

The biggest influence here is the size and strength of the creatures trying to get through the fence.

We supply sheep fencing and classic chain-link fencing of the sort you’ll see on small animal enclosures and in use as a security or garden fence. It’s also a great way to keep your dogs in the garden. Either of these types can be used domestically or commercially.

Our fencing is 80cm (sheep fencing) or 1.8m high (chain link). At nearly six feet, the chain link should be enough of a barrier for most small pests, and you can double up if you need to add more height.


Field wire fencing with wooden posts

The choice of wood

Both wood and metal fence posts have their plusses. Wooden posts might have less weather resilience, but are treated for a long life and look great. Getting a metal post into the ground is usually easier, but attaching the fencing to wooden posts is simpler. We also sell concrete fence posts, which offer the same benefits as metal posts.


Plan ahead

Pre-existing boundaries will make a lot of your decisions for you, but as far as you can try to erect your fence on stable, flat ground. Check ahead for any obstacles to digging fence post holes or freely running the wire.

You can choose to install your wire-link fence in one of two ways: with timber rails to which the fencing is fixed, or simply running the fence between posts with wires keeping it in place.

For both methods, the posts are erected in the same way.


Erecting wooden fence posts

If you have a post-hole borer then this is its big moment. If not, a narrow spade will do. A long board is used to measure that the top of the fence is level.

Mark the line of your fence and measure the distance between posts. For railed fences, you will need to put in posts and rails as you go along, for non-railed fences you can simply divide the complete distance by between 6 and 10ft (3m) depending on the type of fence you are using and your requirements.

The post should have at least one-third of the height of the fence underground. So, for a 6 foot fence you will need a 2 foot hole, plus around 6 inches for hard core or other base.

  1. Dig your hole and put in 6 inches of hard core or other packer.
  2. Stand the post in the hole and add more filler to keep it upright. Use a spirit level to check the vertical.
  3. Once you’re on your second post, you can start to check the heights of the posts by laying a board across the top of neighbouring posts and checking the horizontal with your spirit level.
  4. Fill the hole up with rammed hard core, gravel and top soil; with layers of hard core and concrete or postcrete; or just postcrete.
  5. For extra strength you may want to add a post stay – an angled support – to the posts at the corner of your fenced area. You can erect it at a 90-degree angle to the fence or along the fence line.

Cut your stay to three-quarters of the length of the post it is supporting. You will also need to cut its top so that it rests flush with the vertical fence post. The stay should be at an angle of around 35 – 40 degrees to the post. The hole in which it rests should be about the same depth as the hold for the post and a stone in the bottom of the stay hole will keep it strongly in place.


Feeding deer through a wire fence

Railed wire fencing

Post spacing for railed fencing is determined by the length and strength of your rails. Put the posts up in pairs if you’re using pre-cut rails.

  1. Erect your posts according to the guide above, running the rails between them through the pre-cut slots or by nailing them into place.
  2. The wire fence can then be unrolled – this is where your friend comes in handy – and held in place while it is nailed to the top rails with fence staples.
  3. A staple every 3 inches should keep it stiffly in place. Leave the bottom rail to last.
  4. Pull the fencing tight at each post. A staple every 6 inches should be used to fasten it. Work from the top down and then work back along the bottom rail stapling to the previous post.
  5. Trim the ends of your fence as you go along and use a capping rail on the top rail for a really smart finish.


Wire fencing

Posts for wire fencing without rails should be between 6 feet and a maximum of 10 feet apart. Pest fencing – particularly for rabbits and foxes – should also be buried up to a foot deep in the ground to ensure they can’t be dug under. Remember to factor this into your measurements.

You can simply erect all your posts and staple the fencing into place in the same way as if you were using rails.

Or you can use straining posts and intermediate posts. Straining posts use the top wire of the fence for a strongly tensed result.

  1. Use post stays for the corner posts as you erect all your posts.
  2. Fix an eye bolt to the straining posts at the height the top (and bottom if applicable) wires should run.
  3. Put a stretcher bar into the end of the fence roll and fix it to the first post with angle cleats. Twist the end of the top wire into the eye bolts.
  4. Run the wire to the next corner/straining post and use eye bolts to put them in place.
  5. Use wire ties to fix the top and bottom of the mesh fence to the wires as you go along.

At the second straining post, attach another stretcher bar to the end of the roll of fencing. Undo the eye bolts that were used to fix the wire in place and use the angle cleats on the stretcher bar to fix the bar to the final post. You should be able to get a taught fix by tightening the eye bolts at either end of the fence. Affix the wire to intermediate posts with fencing staples or by drilling in to attach a length of wire to the post and the wire.

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29 Mar 18