Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lifeline Project Part Two

The tools I used for my lifeline project were: Vise Grips locking pliers; socket wrench;  swaging tool; Dremel Tool and cut off wheels; safety glasses; and needle and sail palm.

First I made up four 30 foot lifelines, at home where I have a nice bench vise. I put a sleeve (ferrule) on the wire rope, placed a thimble in the vise, brought the wire rope around, and brought the wire rope through the sleeve again. I put the swaging tool on the sleeve, then tightened it down firmly on the tool, so it gripped but did not yet crush the sleeve. Then I pulled on the wire rope and worked the swaging tool so the wire rope was tight on the thimble, and tightened down on the swaging tool in earnest. 1 by 19 wire needs two sleeves. Using the Dremel Tool and cut off wheels, I trimmed the wire rope so just a sleeves' length of extra wire rope stood out from the sleeve I had just installed. (To avoid nicking the standing piece - the lifeline - I guarded it with a knife blade while I used the cut off wheel to trim.) I then tightened down on that second sleeve as well. The sleeves elongate a bit when crushed, so the sharp ends of the wire are covered, see above photo. Works great, and strong.

Holding the swaging tool tight against the thimble while simultaneously tightening down on the tool is difficult. A second pair of hands would make the job much faster and would improve the result. I used a socket wrench on the swaging tool. Perhaps a portable electric drill that could accept a socket wrench would speed the work.

The Dremel Tool and cut off wheels make a fast and precise cut of the wire. Using a hacksaw would be slow and sloppy, I believe. But you absolutely must use safety glasses, for the sharp little pieces of wire go a-flying.

An alternative to a swaging tool such as the one pictured is the large tool which looks like a bolt cutters. My tool cost $30.00; the big tools cost north of $150.00. Mine works well enough and it is small enough to stow aboard, should I wish to do so.

I then threaded the wire through each stanchion, measured a point about eight inches (20 cm) from the stern pulpit termination point, and installed another thimble. You see this thimble, a solid thimble, in the photo at right, with the Spectra lashing. I would have preferred to use solid thimbles at both ends of the lifeline, as more stable under load - I didn't have enough.

Having placed the thimble, I secured the Spectra to the shackle with a bowline, brought it through the thimble, repeated, heaved the lashing taut, and tied two half hitches around all the parts of the lashing. I then sewed the tails of the bowline and the hitches with Dacron sail twine, seized the shackle pins, and called the job good. Which it is!

Once you have rebuilt your stanchions and lifelines, you will never again happily suffer anyone pushing your boat off the pier using the lifeline or stanchion. That puts a terrible load on the gear - tell them to use the edge of the deck!

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome. You are really a master


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