I made a decision when we moved to the farm to always have the right tools for the job. Fencing tools can be expensive but I’ve found that expensive doesn’t always mean best quality. Ask around for what people recommend, field days are a good place to compare both quality and price.
Here are the items I’ve found essential for building your pig fence;
1. Good fencing pliers. Fencing pliers can range in price from $25 to $100 and as time goes by you’ll lose a few. I like to have a pair with the rubber grips for doing electric and a set without for tying Cobb & Co hitches.
2. Wire spinner. I bought a good one of these from Waratah; problem was it took me two years to work out how to use it. Since then it’s been a dream, you can’t run wire with out one.
3. Wire strainers. I bought an average priced set of strainers years ago and they have never let me down, I also bought two sets of the waratah ones when I bought my hinge joint strainers and they are just crap. They don’t always chain, the jaw springs gave out after a couple of uses and the wire grips chew the wire – I would avoid them at all costs.
4. Steel post driver. I have two and a pneumatic one. The mandrolic version is good for quick jobs, but if you’re putting in a hundred posts nothing beats the pneumatic driver. Steer clear of the Chinese copies (about $599), I got mine from Marchant Engineering in Sydney (about $2000) with a petrol driven compressor, it works a dream. I’ll probably invest in more air tools as I go.
5. Steel post lifter. You can’t get steel posts out with out one. Make sure it has a good solid large foot plate other wise you’ll just sink it into the ground when ever you use it.
6. Fence post shovel. You need a good one, I like the wooden handle version, I’ve had mine now for twenty years.
7. Heavy crow bar. You’ll need one with a tamping end. Don’t get the light weight versions, they may be easier to pick up but they bend easily.
8. Bolt cutters. For cutting wire, much easier cutting wire with bolt cutters then fencing pliers.
9. Shifting spanner. For attaching hinges for gates.
10. Level or plumb bob. For getting those posts strait.
11. Tape measure. Make sure it’s at least 5m, you loose a lot of these – and I’ve buried a couple down fence post holes as well.
12. 10lb sledge hammer – everybody needs a sledge hammer, don’t go cheap here. I’ve broken the head of a Chinese made sledgy, a rather large piece sheared off and hit me in the face whilst banging in a post once, so go for quality with a good handle.
13. 20 Litre bucket – for wire off cuts and carrying tools.
14. Fencing clip pliers. These are used to attach chicken wire or mesh wire to your fence. There are two types, and we use both, made by white’s wires; the plier’s type is fine for small jobs. The other is a spring fed pliers; they hold about 50 fasteners and are great for bigger jobs.