Designing the Barbed Wire Pipe Fence

Dove Ranch sits in the middle of open range land. What that means is that it is my responsibility to keep cattle off my land, not the cattle owner’s responsibility to keep the cattle contained. I’ve determined I want an all metal fence instead of a metal fence with wooden posts, mostly because of the brush fire risk in Utah. Finally, I realized what I wanted for my ranch is a barb wire pipe fence.

Think of a barb wire pipe fence as a hybrid of chainlink fences and barb wire fences. They’re a little pricy, but very sturdy and fire resistant. Barb wire pipe fences aren’t really documented well on the internet. I’ve searched for months for information, and I finally had to just go look at some to figure out how they’re done.

What I really could have used when I started thinking of creating a barb wire pipe fence was a good set of diagrams with part lists. I’m sure someone that works in the industry could have figured this out in less than a minute, but I’m a newb, so it took me months to figure out. When I started looking at them last year, I didn’t even know the metal posts were simply sold as “pipe.” I did mention I was new to this, … right?

Terminal Pipe Post Diagram

My first challenge was finding a place that could supply all the parts I needed for a barb wire pipe fence. Since cattle may be pushing up against it, I needed some parts that were sturdy enough to slow them down. Nothing is going to stop a determined bull that wants to cross a fence, but a fence that will keep lazy cattle out would be nice. Oddly, Home Depot in downtown Salt Lake City doesn’t specialize in agricultural grade pipe.

I finally came across Hoover Fence online and with the help of their picture catalogs found all the parts I needed. Having them deliver just one pipe is very expensive, so the more pipe ordered at once, the better deal on the shipping costs.

I plan on keeping the terminal posts and the actual gate construction separate, so the terminal posts by the gate will give an extra 3 feet on either side for me to construct the gate. In other words, if the gate is a total of 12 feet wide, then the space between the terminal posts at the gates will be 18 feet.

Brace Pipe Post Diagram

Here are the parts I’ll need, not including the parts for any gates, fence stays, and the many bags of concrete mix. I’ll deal with gate construction after I’ve finished the fencing. I wouldn’t have minded the larger 6-inch terminal and corner posts, but there is no way I’m dealing with posts that weigh 150 pounds all by myself. The 75 pounders are going to be hard enough to move and set without injuring myself. Besides, once they are filled with concrete, 4-inch posts will be plenty strong and heavy.

4″ x 8′ Terminal & Corner Pipe Posts …

3″ x 8′ Brace Pipe Post …

2 1/2″ x 8′, Pipe Supports …

2 1/2″ Rail end cups …

5/16″ x 1 1/4″ NUT AND BOLT …

Beveled Brace Bands (several sizes) …

Post Caps …

12.5 Gauge All Aluminium Barbed wire …

Concrete Mix … will buy locally as needed

Fence Stays … won’t worry about buying until main fence is done

I intend to fence approximately 1600 feet facing the roads, and an additional 1800 feet to enclose the future homestead area that I intend to develop into orchards, horse pastures, vineyards and recreational areas. There will be three gates giving access to the enclosed area.

I estimated the price for my full fencing project and it comes out at just over $10,000. So by virtue of cost alone, the barb wire pipe fence has to be a multi-year project. I plan to order parts as I have the money and time to install them.


One thought on “Designing the Barbed Wire Pipe Fence”

  1. When I have built fence on pipe posts, I used commercial grade chainlink fence posts. In my case, I was putting up V-mesh fencing, but it is the same idea. Another way to build that fence is to use oil field pipe to make corner braces and H-braces for long runs and then t-posts in between. You may or may not be able to get oil field pipe cheaper – and you would need a welder to put it together.

    Most cattle ranches in Texas use either oil field pipe corner and H braces and t-posts only OR they put one cedar pole every x t-posts, typically every 5. They do this because t-posts will sink into the ground when it is wet and the cedar posts keep the fence from getting shorter – or at least slow it down.

    If you don’t want any wood posts, use oil field pipe or commercial grade chainlink fence posts in place of the cedar posts. What type of posts you need depends upon the weather and the soil. In California, I just used chainlink fence posts and some just used t-posts. In the black dirt of Texas, big cattle companies did not use only t-posts because they want their fences to last a long time.

    You can buy brackets to turn t-posts into H and corner braces, so if you aren’t in black dirt that might work for you and would be less expensive.

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