Your Reading List

Made-on-the-farm device for handling wire

Used parts here, sucker rod there, 
and a bit of welding

Homemade wire holder with components for rolling out 
used wire.

Building new fence can be a big job and can require different tools that a rancher or farmer doesn’t always own. For example, new fence requires a system to unroll the wire. Rather than purchase an unroller, we decided to try to make one.

My father-in-law, John, built a very simple unroller that we could attach to any truck we needed. He took a piece of square tubing that fit the two-inch receiving hitch on the truck and drilled a hole in the end to accommodate the pin in the receiving hitch. On the opposite end, he took a piece of one-inch sucker rod and put it through another drilled hole standing straight up at a 90 degree angle from the tubing. He then put a piece of old discer spool over the sucker rod for support and then a discer blade on top of the discer spool so that the wire roll would spin. He then welded all the pieces together.

This device worked really well for the brand-new wire, but it wasn’t going to work for the lightly used wire that had been rolled up with a rented mechanical wire roller. The used wire had been rolled up on a conical sphere so that it would slip off the device. In order for us to be able to unroll the used wire we would need something that would be able to keep the roll together and tight as it unrolled. So, John and my husband Gregory expanded upon the first wire unroller. Gregory took an old straw spreader off a John Deere combine and took the fins off but kept the iron spool that was originally pinned to the hydraulic drive. He then drilled out 1-1/16-inch hole in the straw spreader so that it would fit on the existing unroller with the one-inch sucker rod. Next, he cut angular pieces out of the spool portion, pulled the tops together and then welded the pieces together to form a conical shape that would match the mechanical roller and thus fit the roll of used wire.

Gregory then took apart another straw spreader so that he had a round, flat piece of iron that he could put over the top of the roll of used wire which now fit over the top of the conical spool. It needed a spacer to keep it tight, so Gregory used an old implement tire rim with the spokes cut out and a piece of channel iron and nuts to tighten down on two pieces of ready rod that were bolted down to the bottom straw spreader on the inside of the new cone. This was able to keep the tension on the roll.

Though the unroller may have looked funny it worked great. It provided the used wire roll with stability and kept the roll tight so that the wire wouldn’t snag on a loose coil as it unrolled.

About the author


Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]



Stories from our other publications