After spending a lot of time recently working with barbwire we figured that it was about time to write an update on the subject. This is a much faster and efficeint take on our second method of making barbwire, which you can find here.
The materials used are still the same (a single strand of nylon string cut from a window screen, and two lengths of wire) but we have made a few simple tools to make the winding process significantly simpler. For the far end we made a wood block with two eye hooks that can be clamped onto any table edge. Taping the wires down to a table works, but they do tend to pull out from under the tape due to the stress of the winding process. For the twisting end we made a winding bar.
The winding bar is a wood block with a bolt attached in the center and two holes drilled in it. Just make sure that the two holes are the same distance from the center or your winding motion will be very jerky and hard to control.
Now attach two wires (of the same length) to the anchor points and then tape the nylon strand to one of the two attached wires.
Do the same on the drill end of the wires. Keeping the tension on both wires the same is essential initially, but will tend to be self-regulating as the winding progresses. Keep winding until you are satisfied with the tightness of the twists and then take the wire off of the winding jig.
You will have to finish winding the ends by hand and must ensure that the two metal wires wrap around the nylon strand to lock it into place. Don’t forget to rewrap the new ends every time you cut your wire! Once the nylon strand loses tension it will tend to unwind if you don’t.
If you want to, it is also possible to do this with metal mesh, however I personally don’t recommend it for two reasons. The first reason is that the metal used to make it is a lot more brittle than regular wire and it doesn’t hold up well to the winding process. The second reason is that it is actually real (miniature) barbwire. The barbs probably aren’t sharp enough to draw blood, but will catch and stick to almost everything!