August 10, 2017 | Joe Geng |

Devil’s Rope: How to Handle Barbed Wire

How Do I Handle Barbed Wire?

Here are things you can do to keep safe while handling barbed wire:

  1. Wear the right protection: Gloves, goggles, and long sleeves.
  2. Use the right tools: Heavy duty wire cutters are your best bet.
  3. Get some help: Don’t be the macho man who ends up in the hospital because he didn’t ask for help. It’s better to have someone helping you take the fence down and watching your back for any other hazards that may come up.
  4. Watch out for buried fences: Barbed wire is old, so it might be under the ground, keep an eye out and wear some heavy duty shoes, so you don’t get a barb in your foot.

Dexterity 10-gauge cotton poly-knit with Hiviz latex palm lined with punkban

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When it comes to handling barbed wire, Punkban™ will be your best friend. By weaving layers of Kevlar together, Punkban™ is more flexible than epoxy plates or steel mesh used by other companies.

The S10LXPB is a great glove for handling barbed wire because the puncture protection is on the palm, so when you’re grabbing at the metal spikes your hands will stay safe.

Next time you’re in a thorny situation, choose a material that’s tough as nails that will protect you from them.

Removing barbed wire might be tricky, but most garbage disposals will take barbed wire. Since the barbed wire is metal, you’re safe to take it to a scrap yard too.


What is Barbed Wire?

Originally used to keep livestock from roaming around the Midwest, barbed wire is now used as an inexpensive fencing tool to keep things out, or keep things in.  All that it requires is a fence post and a chain of barbed wire. Today on the blog we’re looking at the devil’s rope, and providing some helpful information on how to safely handle barbed wire.

close up photo of barbed wire


History Behind Barbed Wire

Used in the settling of the American West in areas where wood was not as available as some might have wished, fences consisted of a single strand of wire which broke pretty easily in the cold weather or by moving cattle.

Now the history of barbed wire is pretty thorny, many people placed patent requests so it is unclear who actually came up with the idea. 

From the research conducted, here’s what we found:

Barbed wire was used to stop the turf wars between neighboring ranchers because once farmers realized that more and more people were settling in the west, and barbed wire became more necessary to mark off territory.

In 1868 Michael Kelly invented the first double-stranded barbed wire and the first commercially successful barbed wire was patented by Joseph Farwell Glidden of DeKalb, Illinois, in 1874.

history books

Similar patents were filed that same year by Jacob Haish and Leonard Ellwood, both also of DeKalb.

After twenty years of legal battles, the United States Supreme Court decided in Glidden’s favor, and he is thought of as the “inventor” of barbed wire.


Barbed Wire Today

Barbed wire is still pretty commonly used.

There are laws governing when you can and cannot use barbed wire, but that’s up to your local municipal government.  

Here are some other common uses for barbed wire:


Prisons use barbed wire to keep prisoners from escaping. If they try to escape, they will get injured in the process.

Like we said before, farmers use barbed wire to keep livestock from roaming away. Some barbed wire can be manufactured to have electricity run through, so it makes it more efficient at keeping animals around.

prison containment of barbed wire



Keeping things from getting into an area where you don’t want things going like if you have a prized vegetable that you don’t want critters getting into, barbed wire is the choice made by farmers.



From state lines to farmland, barbed wire is a great way to divide property.

fence dividing property lines



Railway companies all over the United States use barbed wire as a preventative measure to keep people off the tracks in remote areas. Some companies also use barbed wire to keep people from getting on their property.


The Army

Extremely popular in the army, barbed wire is used in training to keep new recruits low to the ground and simulate combat conditions. Barbed wire fences are also ideal for testing equipment’s strength and rigidity.

army crawl


I’ve Hurt Myself, Now What?

Get a tetanus shot. The majority of people have had a shot to prevent it, if you’re struggling to remember it might be a good idea to get one (and keep in mind you’re supposed to get one every ten years).

Tetanus can lead to muscle stiffness, trouble swallowing and other muscle related issues.


How To Treat Yourself From Barbed Wire:

Depending on how deep the barbed went, here’s what you’re going to want to do:

  1. Clean the wound: Pour hydrogen peroxide over the wound then clean the wound with an antiseptic of some sort. If there are foreign elements in the wound like dirt, take those out.
  2. Bandage the wound: Put on some ointment and cover it with a bandage. Depending on the size maybe use some gauze and tape.
  3. Got a heavy bleeder? Apply pressure to the wound and elevate your wound above your head.
  4. Get a tetanus shot: As previously mentioned if you can’t remember the last time you had one, it’s probably a good idea to get one.


Now What?

Well, glad you asked. Barbed wire is pretty dangerous stuff and there are many different kinds of barbed wire, so be safe.  If you’re looking for an all over puncture-resistant glove, the MXHV2PB is an alternative. It’s fully linked with Punkban™ and there’s all over protection so if you’re dealing with barbed wire you’ll be safe.

Clutch Gear Hi-viz mechanic glove fully lined with punkban

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If you’re handling barbed wire, click the Get My Sample to keep your hands safe from puncture hazards.


Joe Geng
About Joe Geng
Vice President of Superior Glove