One of the first steps when it comes to installing a chain link fence is actually cutting the chain link fence to size.
Though this might sound difficult and intimidating at first, it’s actually very easy. And it’s even more so because no actual cut needs to be involved.
With the right tools and just a little know-how, you can actually unweave a section of the chain link fence “fabric” to adjust it to your specific size preferences.
Of course, it’s still possible to actually cut a chain link fence with heavy-duty wire cutters or even bolt cutters, so we’ll briefly discuss this as well below.
Here’s exactly how to cut chain link fence.
What You’ll Need
With just a few simple tools, you’ll find that it’s much easier than you might have imagined to cut a chain link fence.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tape Measure
- Tension Bar
- Lineman’s Pliers
Step I: Make Your Measurements
Like most home DIY projects, cutting a chain link fence requires a little preparation.
Most important is measuring. Although the measurements don’t have to be as accurate as, say, a woodworking project, it’s still important to get a rough idea of where to cut.
Measure the area where the fence will go and then transfer these measurements to the actual chain link fencing material.
Step II: Tension Bar and Fence Stretcher
A tension bar is required to install chain link fencing. Its purpose is to equally distribute tension throughout the fence.
Install the tension bar before attempting any cuts. The tension bar will also allow you to remove the end piece from a length of fencing.
These end pieces are known as fence stretchers. It’s their job to help the tension bar hold the tension of the fence once installed.
Removing the fence stretcher will give you access to the fencing material.
Step III: Unweave to Size
Use your lineman’s pliers to unweave sections of the chain link fencing.
You’ll quickly notice that unweaving these sections is easy but time-consuming and tedious.
Repeat the process by twisting the top and bottom weaves until one piece of the chain link fence fabric breaks free.
You can then reinstall the fence stretcher before finishing the installation of the fence.
I recommend hanging onto the removed portion of the chain link fence weave just in case you need it in the future.
What About an Actual Cut?
Sometimes unweaving a chain link fence isn’t enough.
If you do need to make an actual cut, the best tool to use is a pair of bolt cutters.
Although it’s possible to use a power tool or even a hacksaw, bolt cutters offer a good in-between in terms of price and ease of use.
Bolt cutters are also an easy tool for the majority of casual DIYers to get ahold off.
All that it takes to use bolt cutters to cut a chain link fence is to make measurements and then cut through the cut line wire by wire.
Bolt cutters are even capable of cutting through the tension bar of the fencing.
How to Cut a Chain Link Fence Post
Cutting the chain link fencing is only one part of cutting a chain link fence.
There are many circumstances in which you’ll also want to cut the actual chain link fence posts.
Once again, this project is simple and straightforward, even though it might seem complicated in your mind right now.
All that it takes is making accurate measurements, transferring these measurements to each post, and then using a hacksaw or reciprocating saw to make the cut.
In both cases, it’s essential to equip the tool with a blade designed to cut through metal before beginning any cuts.
My personal preference is to use a reciprocating saw as it makes the job much easier and quicker.
The only catch with this particular project is that the chain link fence post will be prone to wobbling as you make your cuts.
That’s why I recommend using heavy-duty woodworking clamps to clamp the fence post to your work table.
Or, better yet, have a friend help you with the cut by holding the chain link fence post steady to prevent rolling while you make your cut.
There’s no doubt that cutting chain link fence might seem intimidating.
Yet once you gather the right tools and know what you’re doing, it’s actually very easy.
After reading my definitive guide, you should know thoroughly understand how to cut chain link fence as well as chain link fence posts.
Once you’ve completed this project, check out these other top DIY projects to keep yourself busy!