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Better Way To Build Fence
Diagonal fence strainers require one less post and only about half the labor to install as conventional horizontal fence strainers, yet provide equal strength and holding power, according to two USDA researchers who've been developing the idea.
Dan McKenzie, San Dimas, Calif., and Bill Currier, who is retired in Alburquerque, New Mexico, are promoting the use of diagonal fence strainers as a way to cut labor and cost without affecting the fence in any way, noting that on high-tensile, smooth-wire fence only one diagonal strainer is needed per corner to replace two horizontal braces.
"Strainers are of even greater importance today because of the necessity of maintaining the complete fence at recommended tension with the use of high-tensile wire," say the researchers, noting that the diagonal design is not new. "It was in use in South Dakota 50 years ago and has been used in eastern Washington state and, to a limited extent, in New Zealand." In using and installing a diagonal brace or strainer, several principles should be kept in mind.
1. Make the diagonal brace as long as possible.
2. Be sure that the end of the diagonal brace in contact with the ground is free to move and is not blocked by a stake or post.
3. The diagonal brace can bear against the corner post in any location from the middle of the post to the top but the best place is to have the brace contact the corner post at the top.
4. The corner post should be set before the diagonal brace is installed. Then, the bottom holding wire should be installed and the fence wires attached and tensioned. This way, the lower brace wire will not have to be twisted to tighten.
5. The diameter of the corner post should be as large as possible.
6. If one diagonal strainer will not hold proper tension, a second diagonal strainer should be installed with each strainer taking half the tension of the fence.
"People have a hard time realizing that the horizontal and vertical braces have the same strength," says McKenzie. "I came up with the idea and then discovered it had been used before. But, because it doesn't look as strong, people went to what they thought was a stronger strainer."
McKenzie says it's important to let the lower end of the diagonal strainer "float" freely and not to put a stake or other impediment in front of the end. "If you block the end of the vertical brace in any way it weakens it," he points out." Also, by making the diagonal brace and the horizontal strainer as long as possible, the force tending to pull the corner post out of the ground is reduced."
For a copy of a report that details the entire fencing process, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dan McKenzie, USDA, San Dimas Equipment Development Center, 444 East Bonita Ave., San Dimas, Calif. 91773 (ph 714 599-1267).

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #6