Jonny’s Tool Time

We’d like to welcome a new contributor to our blog.

Jonny has joined our team as a long term volunteer, working with us to gain insight and experience of working in Countryside Management as a ranger with the National Trust. When asked if he’d like to write a blog post, Jonny suggested sharing what he’s been learning during his time, specifically the new tools he’s come across.

So here’s what I’m hoping will be a regular feature…. Jonnys’ Tool Time!



Volunteering with the National Trust has introduced me to equipment and tools that I have never used: such as a monkey strainer, more commonly known as a wire strainer. The monkey strainer is a tool which is used for tensioning fencing wire to keep your fencing tight.

To use it you clamp your fencing wire like shown in the picture below and make sure it’s tight so the wire doesn’t release from the clamp.

Then you start to pull the lever back and forth and the hands which grip on to the chain will begin to move along the chain and pull it through which tightens the wire. (The other end of the chain is attached to a large fence post, or strainer which the wire will be attached to.)

Once you believe the wire has enough tension and is well attached that it won’t release from the fence post which you have stapled it onto, release the hands from the chain.

Do this by pushing/pulling the lever the opposite way to when you are tensioning it and grabbing a hand and releasing it, and then the other should follow suit.

Slacken it a bit and then finally release the wire from the clamp and your fence wire should be tight.

Tensioners in action.

Tensioners in action.

However, the first time I used the monkey strainer didn’t go to well to say the least. The wire wouldn’t stay in the clamp so I could start the tensioning and the hands on the chain were giving me problems. After a few failed attempts at using the strainer the experts had to do it as action was necessary. But after another try I finally had some success and tensioned the wire. After that my attempts became more successful and efficient with the monkey strainer. This also taught me new things, so advice to others in a similar position to me….

Always remember when using new pieces of equipment, machinery or tool it’s always good to remember that you’re not going to be perfect the first time you use it and don’t be afraid to ask for guidance from someone with more experience using the equipment.

Asking for guidance will reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others and will help you grasp how to use the equipment safely and efficiently.

And finally always remember practice makes perfect.


Jonny | National Trust

Jonny | National Trust


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