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How to Build a Metal Post & Wire Fence

Utilitarian in both its construction and its appearance, a wire fence hung on metal posts---called T-stakes in the building trade---is not built for looks, but it is effective and simple. Building a metal post and wire fence is a moderately easy project that provides an effective fence line in minimal time. With some preparation, even a beginner can install 40 feet of fence in 8 hours.


  1. If the fence is intended to keep a dog in, remember that dogs dig. The first order of business will be digging a shallow trench at least 9 inches deep along the line where the fence is planned. String the fence with the bottom wire of the mesh touching the bottom of that trench, then backfill the trench with the dirt removed, creating an "underground fence" that will prevent the dog from burrowing under.
  2. Set the first T-stake where you want the fence to end, using either the sledge hammer or the post driver to drive the T-stake into solid ground.
  3. Measure a distance of 8 feet along the line you want the fence to follow and set the next T-stake. Repeat until you have a line of T-stakes along the entire fence line.
  4. Starting at one end, hook the wire mesh over all of the hooks on the end post. A wire mesh that's 3 by 2 inches and 3 feet tall will hang on 12 hooks---if the opening in the mesh is 3 inches tall, there will be 4 openings, each 3 inches tall, for each foot of the height of the fence.
  5. Move to the next T-stake, pulling the wire mesh tight as you go, and hook the wire mesh over the hooks on that post. Continue this process until you either complete the fence or run out of time, energy, enthusiasm or daylight.

Things You Will Need

  • 3-pound sledge hammer or post driver
  • Wire fencing sufficient to complete the project
  • T-stakes or T-Posts (metal fence posts), 1 for every 8 running feet of fence, plus 1 for the end of the fence
  • Shovel, if the fence is meant to contain a dog

Tip

  • If you dug a trench to prevent dog escapes, remember to buy mesh tall enough to give you the full height of the fence, both above and below ground.

Warning

  • Building a wire fence can be very physically demanding; remember to take precautions to prevent dehydration or physical injury from heavy repetitive labor.

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.