Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The quest for new rigging

So for some reason I decided that it would be a good idea to replace all of the standing rigging on the boat.  Well, that idea in itself isn't necessarily a bad one or a waste of time.  I have no idea about the origin or state of the existing stainless rigging, though it looks fine enough.  For all I know it could be original, over 40 years old!  Probably not, but hey, who knows?  So like all my time-wasting activities, it started with good intentions, and cheap intentions, and more than its share of the old "How hard could that be?"

After researching how much stainless cable and terminals cost, the miser in me decided that galv steel would be a fine alternative.  After all, it was more or less the same strength, and has been used extensively in the past by sailing vessels of all types with great success!  If it's good enough for them then it's good enough for me right?  Once that decision was made the whole train started a-moving.

Of course stainless rigging might be more expensive, but there is a reason it is so common, apart from its shininess.  It's relatively easy to set up and relatively maintenance free.  "Bah!" says I, "How hard could it all be?"

Well first there are the terminals.  Swages?  Nah, too much equipment required.  Poured sockets?  Maybe, maybe.  Cable clamps?  No way!  Ugly!  What about splicing?  Oooh, traditional, difficult, and oh such a waste of time!  Bing!  We have a winner.  So I gets me "The Rigger's Apprentice" for a look see.  Liverpool splice in 7x7 cable, too easy mate.

So now I need some cable.  The old rigging is all 5mm 1x19 stainless, with a breaking strength of 2100 kg.  Ok then, something stronger than that.  May as well go up a size.  After much searching I found a company in the UK (Tecni-Cable) which would ship to Norway (can't get anything here!) and had at it.  Bought 100 metres of 6mm 7x7 galv cable with a breaking strength of ~2300 kg. That'd give me a bit of a buffer to offset the slightly weaker splices.

Here it is in all its glory!
In my foresight I even remembered to get a bunch of thimbles to go with it!  Now surely there was nothing in the way of my first splice!

Failed attempts at securing with wire

Hmm.  How do I get this cable to go around the thimble?  Of course the rigger's apprentice had gone on about needing a rigging vice.  But I looked them up and they were really expensive.  That's not what I'm about.  I can make one.  More time to be wasted!

Yet another vice to be added to the long list ;-)

There we go, what a fine device.  We'll be splicing in no time.

And the Lord Brion Toss spake thus...

Reading from the good book.  That's a sharpened awl for a marlinspike.  A little beverage assistance visible in the background.


So I managed after much sweating and sweating to get something that pretty much, kinda looked like the illustrations in the book.  Now I was starting to get an idea of what I was getting myself in to. More practice required.

It was at this point that I started wondering if my splices would actually be any good.  My unshakable belief that splicing would be as easy as falling off a log was starting to be gently dispelled by reality.

What I needed was a way to test them.  A splice destroying machine!

So much time wasting later, I had something I was fairly confident would be able to exert the required tension on the cable.  I got two 2 tonne bottle jacks and mounted them on top of two columns each made of 4 45x45 mm wooden beams.  Put a bunch metal ties to brace it all, and sundry attachements for holding the victim and there it was.

If I could break it, and the break wasn't at either of the splices, we'd be right, right?  In theory anyway.

The first victim for sacrifice

Put him in the rack!

I put as much tension on the cable as the jacks could manage and...nothing.  Well, a lot of nerve-wracking sounds, but no breakage (save for a minor stretching of the cable and thimbles).  Now I'm far too cynical to rejoice at the ultimate supreme strength of my splices obviously proven by this lack of breakage.  Two 2 tonne jacks I figured, ought to be able to to put 4 tonnes of tension in the cable right?  Or was that 2 tonnes of tension?  I'll admit, it's been a while since high-school physics.  In any case, it wasn't enough.  I'd chosen the 2 tonne jacks with the same miserly attitude of all my purchases.  They were the cheapest I thought would do the job.  2 + 2 = 4?  And with the cable rated at 2300 kg I figured that'd be plenty of wiggle room.  But I guess I couldn't pump them up evenly enough, or something else in the design got in the way, or I am an idiot.  Probably all three.

Well I'd have to come back to my cable destruction later.

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