The battery or DC power supply seems like a better idea to me. 60 cycle AC current does not mix well with the human heart rate.
bagman, for your kind of use, I would definately go with Lucky Lab's method. I did the same exact thing, but with a PVC frame instead of plywood and I used twisted rope to create tension on the wire.
I'd definitely go with the bowframe if I were you. It's simple and proven by now. As for wire, Stainless steel works great too. You can get it from most places that cater to ocean fishermen (and women...). I would go with AC, and take a doorbell transformer as described above to knock it down to a less lethal voltage... Buy a dimmer switch at Walmart and place it in the low voltage side. It will provide you with temperature control
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thank you verry much