How to Construct a Barbed Wire Fence Across a Creek
Constructing a barbed wire fence over a creek isn't as difficult as you may think. The same basic construction methods for spanning flat ground apply for spanning a waterway. The only differences are in how you reinforce the posts on each side of the creek and filling the gap between the creek and bottom wire.
Setting the Posts
Dig a hole on each side of the creek 3 feet deep and 1 foot in diameter.
Mix a bag of concrete for each post hole. Place the post in the hole, and dump in the mixed concrete. As the concrete begins to set, use the level to check that the posts are straight.
Let the posts sit overnight before you string the barbed wire.
Stringing the Wire
Tie off the sections of wire coming from the fence on land to the creek posts. To tie off the wires, wrap each wire three to five times around the post then back around itself several times. Pull the wires as tightly as possible.
Cut several shorter wires (as many as the land part of the fence) for the creek span and add a few feet to the length to tie them off in the same fashion, one wire at a time, post to post. Pull them as tightly as possible while you're tying off to the second post.
Hammer two u-nails over each wire's initial wrap on the post, one on each side.
Filling the Gap Between Creek and Fence
Wrap the end of the tension cable around the bottom of one post a few inches below the bottom fence wire but not on the ground. Use the cable clamp to secure the end of the tension cable back on itself. String the cable taught to the other post and repeat. Trim the excess cable.
Hammer u-nails to the tension cable at each post to hold it in place between the ground and the bottom wire. The tension cable should span the creek just under the bottom fence wire.
Loop a piece of barbed wire around the tension cable, and wrap it back around itself several times to secure it. Pull the barbed wire down to the surface of the creek and add an extra foot. Cut the barbed wire there, letting it hang into the water. Repeat this in 1-foot intervals across the tension cable to the other side of the creek.
Cut the 2-by-4 to just less than the width of the creek. Wrap the ends of each vertical barbed wire strand around the 2-by-4 about one and a half times and secure them with u-nails. The 2-by-4 should hang just on top of the water, closing the gap.
Take one or more strands of barbed wire and weave them horizontally through the vertical wires to prevent animals from squeezing through. If there are gaps near the banks, string more barbed wire from the tension cable to the 2-by-4 to fill them.
- You will need to clean debris from the 2-by-4 from time to time.
- If the 2-by-4 isn't heavy enough to stretch the vertical wires taught, wrap a chain around the 2-by-4.
- Barbed wire can cause serious injury, handle it with care and wear gloves.
- You will get wet. Make sure you're prepared to stay warm and dry while working in the creek. Wear hip boots or waders and be careful not to tear them on the barbed wire.
Lyle Smyth has been a published writer for over five years. He's a professional fly-fishing guide and an accomplished cyclist, racing and touring around the world. His work has been seen in various local and regional publications in the West, such as "Sierra Fisherman" and "Life More Natural." Smyth studied English at Riverside College.
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