Perhaps what came to mind when you first heard hog rings is rings for pigs. Surprisingly, you are not wrong. The name hog is a British name for large castrated male pigs. Because the pigs have a natural behavior of rooting or burrowing in the pastures and feedlots, farmers attach rings on their snouts to deter them. Hence the name hog rings.
A hog ring is a large metal staple made from heavy duty wire such as steel. It measures at least 1/4 an inch in length. The U-shaped fastener loops around an object and forms a ring around that object when you press the ends together.
The difference between hog rings and regular staples or stationery staples is that hog rings are made from heavy gauge wire. Typically from 9 AWG and above. Furthermore, some hog rings have beveled ends for easy penetration through material.
Hog rings are not only useful for preventing pigs from burrowing but also for attaching and fastening objects together. In this article, I will share with you the different types of hog rings, what they are used for, and how you can use them in your project.
Types of hog rings
Hog rings are available in different types and shapes which are influenced mostly by their applications. The common shapes, however, are C, M, and D. Some have sharp ends and others are flat.
Hog ring sizes and measurements
Hog rings come in different sizes but the common ones are 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, and 1 inch. The measurements are based on the length of the base or the widest gap between the prongs.
For example, because a D-type hog ring has a flat base, its length is measured to determine the size. On the other hand, the size of an M-type hog ring is determined by measuring the gap between the two farthest sides as shown in the picture.
In addition to the length, manufacturers specify the height, size of the opening, and the wire gauge used to make the ring fastener.
Different projects require different hog ring sizes. For example, 1/4 inch fasteners are perfect for sealing sausages whereas 1/2 inch work well on upholstery projects. For that reason, I recommend purchasing an assortment of different sizes unless you specialize in a single trade.
My favorite hog ring assortment kit is by Swpeet Brand. It is available from a number of online stores including Amazon and Walmart. I have put a link to Swpeet hog ring kit on Amazon below. The kit has 1500 galvanized pieces of three major hog ring sizes including 500pcs 3/8″, 500 pcs 1/2″, and 500 pcs 3/4″.
Hog ring uses
Hog rings have many uses across various trades including but not limited to pig farming, gardening, fencing, furniture and automotive upholstery, and meat processing. They provide great holding strength on objects.
If you are a pig farmer, hog nose rings or pig rings are important hardware you should have in your store. They are useful for controlling the rooting behavior of boy pigs.
You clip the rings on the snouts of young pigs to keep them from digging around with their strong noses. But because the procedure is painful, it is best to pig ring the hogs when they are young and manageable.
Besides pig ringing, you can use hog rings in gardening as chainlink rings, or for installing wire fences, wire mesh, and chicken mesh. They are also good for making and repairing wire cages for pets. Actually, they work so well for rabbit cages. You can also use them to make wire traps for anything including lobsters and crabs. The fasteners stitch wires very nicely and strongly.
Another common use for hog rings is in furniture and automotive upholstery. They are good for attaching the fabric covers to the frames. In fact, car manufacturers use them to attach car seat covers onto the seat and car heating elements. So, chances are high that you will need hog rings when replacing seat covers in your truck.
These ring connectors are also good for attaching tags. You can use them to attach warning tags onto electric fences or on a construction site. Also, you can use them to attach labels on potted plants.
You can use hog rings to make tight knots on bungee cords for retaining the end hooks for your trampoline or kayak deck rigging. The ring fasteners also make very strong shock cord loops for attaching carabiner clips for hammocks and other outdoor gear.
Lastly, hog rings are a must-have if you plan on starting to process meat professionally or at home. They are very useful for sealing the fibrous meat bags and clamping the ends of summer sausage casings or ground meat bags.
How to use hog rings in your project
Using hog rings in your projects is as easy as pie. You just loop the open ring over the object you want to fasten and squeeze the ends together to close the opening.
You can use regular pliers to squeeze the ring fasteners but hog ring pliers are the best for the job. They have grooved jaws for holding hog rings to keep them from falling or snapping out. Hog ring pliers make installing hog rings an effortless job.
Check out my best hog ring pliers article to learn more about the different types of hog ring pliers on the market and their most suitable applications.
For big projects, however, a pneumatic hog ring gun is more effective than manual hog ring pliers. It is a commercial-grade air tool for installing hog ring staples faster. It is common among automotive manufacturers who use it to speed up upholstery work in assembly plants. Some large meat processors as well use pneumatic hog ring guns to seal meat bags and sausage casings.
So, there you have it! If you have a project that involves attaching tension wire to chain link or upholstering furniture and truck seats or building wire cages and traps, or fastening anything that has wire or fabric, hog ring fasteners are the best choice. They provide strong holding strength and are easy to install and remove. Also, hog rings are inexpensive and are available in different shapes, sizes, and quantities to suit your project needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Hog ring fasteners are made of heavy duty stainless steel (typically from 9 AWG) which provides great holding strength even when you bend it. Moreover, these steel wire fasteners are galvanized to prevent rusting that otherwise can compromise the quality of these heavy duty staples.
If you plan on reusing a hog ring staple, grab one of the ends with regular pliers and twist it open. But if you intend to install new hog clips, use a pair of large diagonal cutters or mini bolt cutters to cut the old fasteners.
However, since a pack of hog clips is cheap, I recommend installing a new hog ring staple to replace an old one.
It is not strange to wonder if hog rings work, especially if you are using them for the first time. The simple answer is that they do work but there is a caveat. You must use the right hog ring size for the job and the fasteners must be made from good quality metal. For example, 3/4 inch hog rings are the best for fencing while the 1/4″ hog rings are the most appropriate for sealing sausages. Furthermore, stainless steel hog rings are more reliable because they are resistant to rust.
The best way to install hog rings is to use a hog ringer tool as hog ring pliers or gun. Any other tool is unlikely to produce the results you desire.