Letters to the Editor

I believe that the description of one of the “mystery tools” in
the November 2005 issue (Farm Collector, page 8) is
inaccurate. The identification of Item C, which originally appeared
in the October 2005 issue, is correct: It is commonly known as a
finishing tool. However, the information pertaining to its
manufacture and use is incorrect.

This is a modern-day tool used in all fence building
applications. To use it, first you have a corner post with a brace
post 3 to 8 feet from the corner-end post. If you are stretching
woven wire field fencing, you use a standard fence stretcher hooked
to the end-corner post with the bar clamp tightened to the wire of
the fence, so that when the wire is stretched tight, the clamp will
be between the two posts. Then you staple the wire to the brace
post to hold the fence tight, and also fasten the fence to all line
posts. After you fasten the fence to all the posts, take the bar
clamp off the stretcher.

Now you still have the last bit of fence between the brace post
and the corner-end post that is loose. This is where that tool
comes in to use. Place the wire in the slot in the tool and place
the teeth of the tool against the post, pull as tight as you can,
then pull on the handle to turn the tool around the post like two
teeth in a pair of gears running against each other, but those
teeth on the tool will dig into the wood of the post to give it
grip to pull the wire tight.

Now you can staple the loose end of the wire to the post, doing
one wire at a time. Then take the remaining end of the wire and
finish wrapping it around the post and twisting it back around
itself to keep the wire tight. Without this step, the wire will
slide in the staples, and you will have used at least two or three
staples in wrapping the wire around the post and the same on the
brace post. When you have finished this step, the fence will stay
tight for many a year, providing you have your posts set solid in
the ground.

Now to get to the inaccurate part: It is not called a star
shape; those are teeth to grip the post and they have nothing to do
with turning over in the hand during use. The tool can also be used
to finish the fence with the barbed wire on top or a multi-strand
barb or single-wire fence.

I have built a lot of fence using all of these tools and now
have a collection of many different types of fence stretchers.

Lester L. Helmlinger
10622 Ashburn Road
Wapakoneta, OH 45895-8732
e-mail: lesfarm@bright.net

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment