Chain Link Fencing Basics - Part 3: Fittings

Chain Link Fittings


Tension Wire


Tension wire is often used in place of bottom rail. Depending on the total linear footage of the fence, using tension wire can be a less expensive alternative than rails

Tension wire is also sometimes used in place of top rail in security applications because it makes the fence more difficult to climb. When using tension wire in place of top rail, a brace and truss setup is typically installed to keep the terminal posts from pulling over.

Smooth tension wire / utility wire has a wide number of uses, including residential fencing. It is typically available in 9, 11, 12, and 12.5 gauges. The most common use is in place of bottom rail on chain link fences.

Marcelled tension wire, which is usually 7 gauge, is used in commercial and industrial fencing applications. Due to the heavy gauge, Marcelled tension wire has crimps, or kinks, in it to facilitate stretching; without the crimps, stretching the 7 gauge wire over the length of the fence would be very difficult.

Line Fittings

Loop Caps

Loop caps fit on your line posts and secure the top rail of the fence. They are designed so that the top rail passes through them in a continuous line. Loop caps have 2 important dimensions, the post cap dimension (i.e. 2” for a 2” Post), and the top rail loop dimension (i.e. 1 3/8” for a 1 3/8” top rail)

Barb Arms 

Barb arms, like loop caps fit over the top of your line posts and have a hole in them to allow the top rail to pass through. Barb arms are available in 2 types, 3-wire and 6-wire. 3-Wire arms have 3 “Z” cuts or notches in them to hold 3 strands of barbwire. 6-wire arms have a V shape with 3 “Z” cuts on each side.

Line Rail Clamps 

Line Rail Clamps are used to secure mid-brace rails and bottom rails to your line posts. They are sold in 2 pieces, and are assembled around the post and attached using a carriage bolt & nut.

Terminal Fittings

Tension Bands

Tension bands are used in combination with tension bars to secure the stretched chain link fabric to a terminal post. The bands are placed around the terminal post, and hold the tension bar in place with a carriage bolt. There are two types of tension bands, flat and beveled. Flat bands are lighter, have flat edges, and are typically used for residential fencing applications. Beveled bands, on the other hand, are typically heavier with a thicker zinc coating, have a beveled edge, and are used in commercial projects.

Tension Bars

Tension bars are flat steel extrusions, usually 5/8” or ¾” thick, which are used to hold the stretched wire fabric in place at the terminal post. The tension bar is held in place by tension bands spaced every 12” apart on the terminal post.

Brace Bands

Brace bands are used to connect other fittings like rail ends, tension wire, and barbwire to your terminal posts. Like tension bands, brace bands come in flat and beveled varieties.

Rail Ends

Rail ends secure top, mid, and bottom rails to your terminal posts. They are held on to the terminal post with a brace band and 1 ¼” x 5/16” carriage bolt. Rail ends are typically available in aluminum (residential grade) and pressed steel (commercial grade). Commercial grade rail ends are often combo rail ends, which have a hole in them to insert a bent truss rod in a brace and truss setup.

Post Caps

Post caps fit over the top of your chain link posts to keep water and insects out. They fit over the outside of your post, so a 2" cap will fit on the outside of a 2" (1 7/8" O.D.) post.  In most situations, you will only use post caps on your terminal posts because loop caps will be used on your line posts to hold your top rail.   Post caps are generally available in aluminum and pressed steel, in 2 different styles, acorn and dome.

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