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[TowerTalk] Lifting Rope Summary

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Lifting Rope Summary
From: (David Robbins)
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 1999 14:52:20 +0000
Several of you asked for a summary of what I got about heavy lifting
rope.  This started because I need a new rope for lifting stuff up my
new 180' tower.  I used to use a fine thread polypropylene twisted rope
that was available from a local hardware store.  They have apparently
discontinued stocking that line and their catalog doesn't provide
sufficient descriptions to figure out what it was.  From checking the
Grainger catalog I think it is what they call 'High Density
Polypropylene' rope.  Its described as having higher strength, finer
texture, and when it frays it creates a soft fuzzy surface.  This
describes what I have been using perfectly and it has served me well.

my preference is for a fairly large diameter rope, at least 1/2" to make
it easy to grab by hand.  going up to 3/4" starts to get too stiff and
adds to the difficulty of tying knots around smaller objects.  I also
like a soft, smooth surface for ease of handling.  i do recommend use of
gloves when handling rope, but its not always possible so having a rope
that is easy to handle is important.

Hemp, Manila, Sisal... I stay away from these because of their
relatively short lives, need to dry well before storing, coarse surface,
and the tendency of knots to tighten up too much when under heavy load. 
I frequently leave the rope on the tower for weeks at a time which is
usually not good for these ropes.

Nylon.. I don't like the stretch of it for the lengths i need to use. 
it also doesn't normally hold up well in the sun.  when under strain
knots in it really tend to tighten up badly.  watch out for hardware
store grades of nylon, some of it looks good but is really pretty bad. 
marine/industrial grades with braid over braid or a solid braid may be

Dacron, polyester.  i have not used these in larger diameters, they have
much lower stretch than other ropes and hold knots well.  they also hold
up well in sun and handle pulleys and abrasion well.

polypropylene.  there are at least 3 common types of this.  the normal
hardware grades have coarse threads (similar to manila) and generally
don't do well in pulleys or in the sun.  they come in either a hollow
braid or twist.  they tend to fray easily and create coarse sharp fibers
that are hard on the hands.  the older fine tread version i have used in
the past has less stretch and holds up well in the sun and with
abrasion.  it is a bit stretchy in longer lengths.  i have also had fun
with the twisted variety i use when lifting things like rotors without
tag lines, when under strain it wants to untwist resulting in weights at
the end of the line spinning rapidly.


Marine dealers: Several of you suggested marine dealers.  I interpret
this to mean big bucks for little pieces of the same stuff thats
available other places in bulk much cheaper.  At least that is the way
it seems up here in the hills way away from the ocean where maybe they
have more competition.

McMaster-Carr, Grainger, nice industrial supply places that also have
local outlets in some areas.  unfortunately out here in the sticks the
local dealers don't have much of a display area to see what the
different grades of rope are.  and while i think i located what i want
in the grainger catalog i hate to order as much as i need on just a
short catalog description.

I sell Rinho Rope (trade name) for the Ginpoles we sell. It rated at
1850 lbs. breaking strength which is a 1/4 of it working load. I only
sell in mulitables of 100' and 600' is max length and it $52.00 per 100
ft. Gaylen WBØW, Inc 1-800-626-0834.  I sent him query about what
'Rinho' rope really is and its characteristics but haven't heard back

Depending on what capacity you need Dave - we handle the Dacron double
weave which runs up to 1260 BS in the 5/16 size. If you need greater,
it's Kevlar - we don't stock it but can get it for you if you specify. 
Press Jones, N8UG, The Wireman, Inc., Landrum, SC, 29356
Sales (800)727-WIRE(9473) or
Tech help (864)895-4195 or  and the WIRELINE news and bargain page.

We are lucky enough to have a coast guardsman as one of our members, who
has procured retired USCG rope for us. Mostly MUCH to big (1.25" dia)
but some of what we got is great...woven nylon braid, over nylon braid,
about 3/4"...Check with your local  coast guard. Pat, AA6EG/N6IJ.  nice
idea, but we are a long way from any coast guard up here.

The other option is FarmTek, which also does business as TechSupply. 
They are somewhere in Iowa.  I've never bought their rope, but they
havve stainless steel hardware and U-bolts at very attractive prices. 

David Robbins K1TTT (ex KY1H)   or

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