The metal hexagrid fence we purchased from McGregor Fence Co. is fairly heavy, so it needs to be well-supported. That’s the job of the monofilament line that will constitute the top of our deer fence. This week, with Amanda gone to California, I had the chance to install the monofilament line on all four sides of Veg Hill.
The monofilament line itself is thin and surprisingly lightweight, which is part of what makes it so useful, I guess. We bought two rolls of 330 feet each, which we figured would be more than enough. After stepping off all four sides of the enclosure, I decided we had a fighting chance to stretch one roll to run on the two long sides (East and West) and leave the two shorter runs (North and South) to pull from the second roll, which would maximize the uncut length of monofilament line we could use for some other purpose. We finished the East and West runs with a few feet to spare, so our gambit worked.
Installing the monofilament line proved easier than I expected. I started by threading a wire nut on the line and then wrapping the end around the tree or post at 7 feet off the ground. Then I threaded the end of the line back through the wire nut and tightened it securely. The next thing I did was to reel off enough line for the entire run and cut it off. This turned out to be a good idea, because the line gets twisted easily. If the end is free (instead of still secured to the roll), it rotates freely and is easy to work.
On a couple of our runs, the fence line bends inward to attach to a tree. I just threaded the line on the inside of the tree instead of the outside where the fence is intended to go. That helped define the line, and then when I actually attached the line to the tree I pulled it back and ran it on the outside where it belonged.
Once the line was firmly attached and cut to the correct length, I just moved from one end of the run to the other end, using 2-inch staples to attach the line to trees and a stainless steel tie to attach the line to the brace band of each round post.
When I got to the end of the run, I used the same process I had at the beginning, threading a wire nut on the line, wrapping it around the post or tree, threading it back through the wire nut, and tightening the wire nut. I then had a line running the full length, but the line was floppy.
That’s where the tensioners come in. Because we have four runs, we purchased four tensioners. As you can see in the video, they’re plastic circles 4 inches or so in diameter, with a metal clip you can remove and insert wherever you want to on the circle.
To use the tensioners, I removed the metal clip and threaded the monofilament line through the slot provided in the tensioner. Then I used the “tensioner tightener” that McGregor sells – basically a metal cross that engages with the tensioner and gives you nice leverage to use in twisting it – to twist the tensioner slowly until the line seemed nice and taut. I opted not to tighten the line beyond getting all the slack out. I figure I can always tighten it up a bit more if the fence line begins to sag.
We do have a couple of very short runs (three feet or less) where there’s a gap between a stout post and a gate post. On those we will attach the deer fence in place with staples on trees and stainless steel ties on posts, and not worry about monofilament line. I’m six feet tall, and I could have done all of this standing flat footed on the ground. I quickly figured out, however, that everything went faster, more smoothly, and with less effort if I could get up on the same level with the monofilament line. The small stepladder we normally use indoors proved just right for the purpose, tall enough to get the elevation I needed but small and light enough that I could pick it up, move it, and reposition it with one hand when I needed to. I could have used a full-size household stepladder, but it would have slowed me down more.
Another little step I took at the beginning saved me time with the measuring tape. I cut a length of scrap 2 x 2 exactly seven feet long and used it to gauge quickly where the monofilament line needed to be attached to each tree.
The video runs about seven minutes. Next step: attaching the fence fabric to the monofilament line. We’re making progress!