Construction techniques: hardware cloth and metal roofing panels

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mark, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. Mark

    Mark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm getting ready for some more construction and would like some advice on two issues:

    1. How do you get a nice, tight, flat and well attached piece of hardware cloth? Are there special tools? Let's say I've got a 2 x 8 rectangle which will be entirely covered....

    2. I'm going to build a roof with metal panels. What are the best tools for cutting and shaping the panels to size?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed on the U nails, but depending upon how fancy you want to get, they guy at www.coops4you.com has a stapler that shoots a u-shaped staple that is about 1.5 inches wide. All along the edges where the hardware cloth is secured is a neat little row of those staples - every couple inches. You might be able to rent such a staple gun, or borrow one.

    Another approach, depending upon how large an area you are securing, one might imagine using a 1x2 as a batten that sandwiches the hardware cloth between the 1x2 and the underlying lumber.

    I recently build a bunch of raised bed boxes out of 2x12 cedar, and placed hardware cloth on the bottom to keep moles out. After making certain the box was sitting squarely, I nailed the wire cloth to one end with the u-nails. Then I rolled it to the other end and had someone hold it so that I could start working from the starting end - nailing the wire down each edge.

    When building wire fences, it is not unusual that wire is secured at one end - then the material is rolled out - then it is tensioned before securing. To do this, one can weave a rigid piece of metal (pipe, flat bar, whatever) in and out of the wire at the loose end. Then a come-along is attached to a point which will withstand tension and to that strip of metal. By tightening the come-along the wire fencing is pulled tightly so that one can then work their way down the fence and securing it to the posts. This is an idea if you are pulling wire down a lengthy run - probably not applicable for shorter lengths.

    As for the metal roofing, the first tool to have is a sharp pair of tin snips. Or order them to length if buying new and can predict the exact lengths. My neighbor is a builder and he has this nifty Makita hand tool. It's shaped like a power drill and instead of the chuck for a bit, it has a 3-fingered cutting head. With a variable-speed trigger, this is a very nice tool for making gentle precision cuts through sheet metal and other materials. I also have a sawzall available for when circumstances dictate.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    U nails/fencing nail you can get at Lowe's . There is actually a hammer looking thing called a fencing tool that you can find at some Farm & Dog stores. I got mine 20+years ago at a flea market in AZ. It's got a hammer on one side, works as plyers, puller, and cutter. Make sure your frame you are nailing it too is sturdy. No wire is going to stay tight if the frame isn't strong enought to support it.

    Tin snips work on most of the tin roofing. The heavy duty stuff will probably need some kind of saw, but I'm poor and use the $8 stuff.
     
  5. Mark

    Mark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't been happy with the sag I've seen when using my fingers to create tension across the hardware cloth. I've used a 'come-along' to strech fencing, and it does a good job. I'm looking a way to do the same with a small panel.

    Looking on the web, all I've seen are things like this: "Lay one hardware cloth section onto each of the four frames, tack each corner with a stable to center the cloth. Stabple along all four edges of the hardware clot. Tension the cloth so it will not sag..."

    That's what I was doing, and it didn't feel right.

    After thinking about the comments here, I think I'll try the following process:
    1. cut the hardware cloth to size, so that it lays down with 1/2" to spare on all four sides of the panel.
    2. Staple the hardware cloth down to 1x2 boards on each side. The boards are not connected to one another.
    3. Lay the assembly down on the tractor frame, with the hardware cloth between the firring strips and the tractor.
    4. Screw down one of the 4 firring strips, then manually put tension on the opposite side and screw it down. The firring board ought to make it easier to get uniform tension across the wire mesh.
    5. Do the same on the other two sides.

    As for the metal roofing, I found this website googling with some of the words greginshasta used:

    http://www.builderbill-diy-help.com/roof-sheeting.html

    It looks good, but I don't have time to read it now.

    Mark
     
  6. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    That's a fairly old and grotty tool, but Tom's Makita works just like that one does. The 2 side fingers are rigid and the one in the middle moves up and down. The trigger allows for a very gentle touch and the cutting tool slows or speeds up.

    When I was at Home Depot recently, I saw a tool used for pulling fence. It was a metal bar with hook-shaped rod attached in a perpendicular arrangement. To use this, one aligns the bar parallel to the end of the fence. The hooks, spaced evenly along the length of the bar, loop into the holes of the fence - allowing even pressure along the length of the edge. A loop at the top and bottom of the other side of the bar allowed connection of a cable which is in turn connected to the hook on the come-along. so you simply connect the pulling bar to the fencing, connect a cable to the other side, connect that to the come-along - and pull. Even pressure is applied across the width of the fence.

    How to do the same thing here:
    - anchor the tractor frame so you can pull on the wire without moving the tractor.
    - cut the wire mesh a bit longer than needed to cover the panel.
    - staple one end to the tractor panel so it's not going anywhere.
    - take a pair of 1x2 furring strips and sandwich the loose end between them. I'd do that with my screw gun and a few construction (sheetrock) screws.
    - now you have a 2x2 pulling fram at the end of the wire. connect something to pull that with. a come-along is probably over-kill, so I'd be looking for my cabinetry clamps - something like a pony clamp and anchoring that to something solid - then pull.

    Make any sense?


    ok, just found one of these pulling tools: http://www.hooverfence.com/tools/stretch-bar.htm It's different than what I saw at HD, but you should get the idea.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  7. Mark

    Mark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GregInShasta,

    Thanks for all the ideas. I'm set for now.

    Mark
     
  8. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As you can tell, I like building things, talking about building things, and getting distracted from other things to participate in either. And given that when we moved to this home it took at least 3 trailer loads for all of my tools, equipment and surplus lumber - I sort of go crazy with it. I guess I could have worse diversions.
     
  9. barg

    barg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    What I do is,
    Line up the hardware cloth with the frame and then
    Hold the U nail at an angle.
    Nail it in a little ways and then straiten out the nail, Pulling the hardware cloth tighter.


    Does that make sence?
    ADDED: It isnt nessicery to do this on the first nail. (or possible)

    I dont put one in each corner because then you end up with it bunching up.
    Instead I make sure its all lined up and put in the nails down one side, keeping it tight as I go.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    I measure the hardware cloth and cut the panel to size. Then I gently straighten the "roll" out of it on the grass, so it lies flat. OK, I walk on it. [​IMG] For our chicken tractor this year, my DH attached it to the frame. He used screws with a washer to attach it, drilling a pilot hole first. We lined it up and he just started at one end and worked towards the other end. We didn't have any problems at all.

    We used 1/2" hardware cloth. Our sections were only 2'x8' or 4'x6' at their largest and attached to a 2"x2" frame. The hardware cloth we get is already square, very sturdy and not floppy. Once I get the "roll" out of it, it's like the plywood of the wire world for me.

    I was looking at the large fence staples originally. I actually only asked my DH to use a few screws spaced around the edge as insurance against predators pulling the wire off. He builds everything with screws for sturdiness, anyway, so he just skipped the staples all together.
     

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