Sunday, 30 March 2014

Towa Active Grip Advance - work gloves

I've mentioned before my on going search for the perfect work glove, balancing durability with cost and dexterity, well the search may well be over...

These as the title may suggest are Towa Active grip Advance work gloves and they are brilliant, super grippy (even wet wet), close fitting and with good dexterity they are ideal for climbing.

The rubber grip is imbedded into the fabric and doesn't pull off or get caught up in your hitch like other gloves in the same style, I think I paid about £3.50 or something for these, so they definitely meet the cost criteria. And as for durability...

This is the ware after nearly 2 months work, wearing them for most climbing jobs, at least 4 days a week as well as some ground work. Needless to say I'm pretty impressed, I kept expecting them the start to disintegrate or for more holes to appear, but they just kept on going! 

That said I took these photos about 2 weeks ago and since then they have definitely entered into a downward spiral, but are still wearable, but for £3.50 I think they have done pretty well, especially when compared to more expensive gloves

I particularly like the long cuff on these gloves that gives you a bit more protection on those scratchy trees, and also seem to aid in keeping the gloves fitted snugly on the fingers. 

The ultimate test…would I buy them again? Well I'm currently trying to find somewhere that will sell me a box of 24, so I don't have to worry about gloves again for a long time…

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Big chogs

This is just a quick video of me using a felling lever to walk/lever a big lump of poplar off the top of the stem

Quite a useful trick when dealing with short heavy lumps as you don't have any leverage with a pull line. The trick is to make a double thickness cut facing you before you cut through the rest of the lump, this way you can get the felling lever into the cut once the weight of the log has sat down. Then its just a case of prying the log forwards until it over balances and falls off the opposite side.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

14mm Sirius Dead eye sling

Spliced this from the other end of the 10m rope I used to splice a spider leg

Should come in handy for redirects and as a top anchor for the rigging pulley on smaller rigging jobs. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Pulling over a stem/mini MA system in action

Couple of pictures of my Mini MA system in action this week pulling over a large diameter stem from a big poplar fell

3:1 below on the ISC and the mini MA on top on the pinto

Not abundantly clear from the pictures but basically I set up a standard 3:1 MA on the rigging line using a large lowering block anchored to the cherry tree, this then went back to a Pinto rig attached to the rigging line via a 14mm sirius split tail blake hitched to the line. I then attached My mini MA to the pulling end of this line. This basically meant I had a 3:1 advantage pulling on a 3:1 system, now I'm not sure what this means mathematically speaking (maybe 7:1?) but all I do know is the two guys pulling the stem over had no trouble at all.

I'm sure this is nothing new to a lot of you and setting up mechanical advantage to pull a stem over is fairly standard practice. However I know in the past setting up anything more than a 3:1 just with a rigging line and pulleys uses up a lot of rope very quickly, even with a 60m rope you quite quickly run out of rope unless your anchor is very close to the tree your pulling over.

So by being able to use the Mini MA system on the end of the rigging line this issue was negated as well as considerably cuting down on the setup time. 

I have a video of the stem coming down I will upload at some point. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

'Discing it down'

This is the term I use when you've rigged a stem down to a point where its either to big to effectively lower or low enough that you can get away without rigging but theres still no room to fell. So you do the only thing you can, cut it into discs that are small enough to push off to top of the stem.

When there is still the potential to cause damage or the ground needs protecting (patio or tidy lawn) we have found the following to be fairly effective

The double layer of logs helps to decrease the distance of fall and spread the force of impact, and the tyres are obviously there to take the brunt of the impact. You have to be accurate with discs and it works best when they land flat on the tyres. The tyres need replacing each time but it still works out much quicker than any other method I've tried. 

Once you've got lower still you can condense the tyres at the base of the tree and start to take some bigger lumps. Keeping the other blocks in place helps to contain the lumps as they come down and deflect them into the base of the tree. You'd be amazed at how well this works and how much energy the tyres will absorb. 

Certainly worked well on this Swamp cypress fell 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Rock Exotica RockO (Non locker)

Got this a few weeks ago after getting fed up with the small conventional style accessory carabinas that didn't seem big enough to hold both of the rings on my cambium saver and still function properly, making it tricky to retrieve from the back of my harness. 

Only a silly little thing but over time annoying enough for me to want to find a solution. 

This fits the bill nicely. Feels solid and well made, no sideways play in the gate and the little groves in the gate definitely aid grip. I'm a big fan of the oval carabina, they just seem to make much more sense to me, any one else agree? 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Another splice

Might be getting slightly addicted to this, here is another Sirius bull rope splice, this time in in 12mm. 

Kept the eye nice and tight on this one with the idea of it holding a carabina captive 

Not the neatest, but I'm still quite pleased with how it came out. The process is definitely getting easier, no youtube tutorial or anything this time!

This was spliced on the end of a 22m rope that I got from Honey Brothers (see post) for the princely sum of £13.50. I've been using it for a tag/pull line mostly, especially useful this week as we've been blocking down a big swamp cypress, it makes life much easier when you have a pull line on the top of the blocks. 

The idea with the crab on the end is to save tying a knot every time, and to make it easier to clip out of the way whilst rigging up the next section as I usually put the pull line in last to save it getting in the way.  

Also quite often with a tag line you need to pull the rope up in one go, attach it to the branch and then throw the rest of the rope out to where you want it, this way it makes it slightly easier for the groundies to send it up in one go. 

I'm also planning on using this line for minor rigging jobs, e.g. on crown reductions and prune aways when you just want to rig a couple of bits from the periphery of the crown. So I can either use slings and clip to the crab or just choke it round the branch (not best practice I know but a 30kn steel carabina can take a small amount of side loading lowering small branches)

Anyone else use a splice eye on rigging ropes?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Spliced spider leg

Spliced up this spider leg today

Those of you not familiar with a spider leg it's basically a dead eye sling with a much larger spliced eye, meaning it can be attached to the rigging line via a prussic and used to cradle branches.

But can still be used as a normal dead eye, this one is tied out of 14mm sirius bull rope and is about 5m long 

Locking stitch and whipping 

Hanked up for storage. 

This is definitely a cheaper way of getting rigging gear. Brought a 10m length for about £10 (Honey Brothers end of real deals) and have ended up with a 5m spider leg (retails about £50) and will make a 4m dead eye out of the other length (retails for around £40)

Thats assuming I'm doing them correctly and their not going to fail as soon as I use them, best test them out on something fairly straightforward with a clear drop zone I think!

Monday, 17 March 2014

My first splice...

So heres my first double braid splice, 14mm Sirius bull rope

Well technically this is my first (8mm sirius hitch cord)
But it looks pants so didn't want to open with this one

Well if I'm being brutally honest the first ones in the bin and this is how the second came out before going in the bin. 

Must have got the fid lengths wrong as this was as far as I could bury it. There is more to this splicing malarky than meets the eye! It is tremendously satisfying and addictive though.  More to come...

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Pole pruners storage

Its annoyed me for a while having the poles kicking around in the back of the truck and when carrying them you can never seem to hold more than 3 without dropping one, so finally found a use for those old bits of hitch cord I inexplicably keep.

Tied with a constrictor knot they are kept nice and tight together, making storage and transport much easier. 

The link above explains a bit more about about the constrictor knot and its uses. Its a really handy knot to have in the bag.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Big shot trigger set up

There are things I can do well and there are things I cant, using a throwline is most definitely one thing I can't! I think a big part of it is lack of patience, I miss a few times or the line gets stuck and I give up grab the ladders and just climb the tree. This has lead to me never developing my throwline skills at all.
So when presented with a job a few years back where ladders were going to be woefully inadequate and the throwline the only realistic option I had a choice to make: practice for hours and hours till I could hit any branch, or buy a big shot...
So this is the big shot, on its own it definitely increased my accuracy and success rate with the throwline, but still wasn't perfect. The trouble was that there is quite a bit of variation in where you hold the catapult, especially when putting it under a lot of tension, this leads to a lot of variation in where the thing ends up!
I spotted a thread on Arbtalk where someone had developed a system involving an archery trigger and a tie down strap to turn the big shot into something you could almost calibrate.

Here I've fixed the archery trigger to the business end of the tie down strap and covered it in heat shrink to tidy it up (my gear OCD again!)

The trigger clips into a 3mm piece of accessory cord tied onto the big shot pull down handle

The hook end of the tie down strap just sits in the end of the pole, I use one 6ft pole for most stuff or x2 4ft poles for really high shots.
And you end up with this:
Sorry bit of a rubbish picture
The tie down strap gives you a 2:1 mechanical advantage with the grab bit capturing progress, so you can set it to the desired tension take aim and fire when ready!
Here's a link to a video of someone else's system in operation
Then the whole lot packs into this old chalk bag for storage
Not something for every day use but it most definitely has its place and has saved me a lot of wasted hours.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Mini MA system: more pics

Just some better pics of the mini MA system I've been playing around

Set up in situ as the stein block goes on
Here you can see I've tied a small loop on the tail of the cord that attaches the pinto to the  rope grab
then its fairly straight forward to clip the rope grab to the rope and unclip from the mounting strap
Here I've hoisted up a pretty hefty lump of eucalyptus
Tying off the rigging line on the stein block in order to advance or remove the rope grab

Hope these pictures help to explain the system slightly better, will try and get a video up soon 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mini mechanical advantage system

Can you guess what it is yet?

I've mentioned in previous posts how I've been playing around with a few ideas for tensioning the rigging line. I was looking for several things: something simple that could be taught in a few minutes that was also fairly idiot proof, something that was easily installed and not too gear intensive, I wanted at least a 3:1 mechanical advantage (MA) and I wanted to avoid having to use knots to attach it to the rigging line.

This has yet to be used in anger and only played about with in my workshop so you'll have to excuse the pictures.

So if you assume the rigging line has been set as normal and the end your looking at here is coming down from the tree to the protawrap/bollard.

The rope grab is attached to the line with the MA system already in place
The other end of the MA systems clips into the top of the porty/bollard

Then by pulling on the working end of the MA system tension is applied to the rigging line, with progress being captured on the porty/bollard

Once the MA system is out of room the rigging line can be tied off
A few wraps and a couple of half hitches usually does the trick

And if needed the MA system can be advanced up the line again to add more tension/pull the line further.

When not needed or once the line has been tensioned sufficiently the rope grab is removed from the rigging line and clips into a stein mounting strap installed well above the bollard, the other end of the MA system can be left in place for the duration and everything is ready for when MA is needed again.
So this is by no means the best explanation but I hope you get the general idea. everything is pre tied and set and gets put away as in the top picture. So when your setting up first thing all you need to do is install the stein mounting strap, clip the rope grab end to it, and the other end clips into the bollard and then its all ready to be used as and when needed.
I'm going to try and get a video of it in use as I feel this will help a lot with the explanation!
Any thoughts or queries?


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Splicng Loopies and Woopies

Not an instructional post as there are plenty of those around if your looking to learn how to splice tenex, this is just a couple of pics of a Woopie sling and Loopie sling that I made recently.
Its surprisingly easy stuff to work with and both of these took me less than an hour, cost wise it probably doesn't work out much cheaper than buying ready made ones, but I was more interested in learning the process than saving money, plus I wanted a larger than average woopie sling for fixing the porta wrap to large diameter trees

These adjustable slings are really useful tools to have in the bag and open up many options for complicated rigging jobs. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

End of real deals

Recently spotted that honey brothers were having and end of reel sale for there rigging ropes...

Shouldn't have looked really! Managed to grab some bargins though, also picked up a Yale multi sling (far left) then from left to right: Samson 16mm (5m) 
Sirius bull rope 14mm (3m) 
Sirius bull rope 14mm (10m) 
Sirius bull rope 14mm (29m) 
Sirius bull rope 12mm (22m) 

The longer lengths will make good pull lines/tag lines or rigging lines in smaller trees, as it's nice sometimes not having to take out a 50m rope when you know your not going to need it. 

The shorter lengths I brought not only because there were ridiculously cheep but also because I want to learn how to splice and I've been informed it's easiest on brand new ropes, so this seemed like a good opportunity to stock up on some practise ropes, I'll keep you posted...