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Light rope for fiddle block set up

Discussion in 'Climbing and Rigging Equipment' started by maintainer, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. maintainer

    maintainer ArboristSite Lurker

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    I fell down a rabbit hole this weekend and figured I might as well ask here.

    Background: My partner and I volunteer doing trail management/maintenance and we do chainsaw work to clear downed (or hung-up) trees from trails. Most of what we work on is dead, but some of it is storm-damaged.

    For instance, we had planned to clear a section of the AT yesterday from stuff that came down from recent ice storms (not really storm damage, we have a ton of dead oak, pine and ash). We cancelled the trip due to weather.

    If we know we have something that rigging will make safer (or do-able vs chainsaws alone), then we bring the maasdam (with our round slings, shackles, snatch block, 1/2" arborist rope, throwline, etc... enough to get a line up in what needs it and to run a redirect or increase MA if needed).

    Shock loading: We don't climb. We are never lowering anything from being sawn up in the tree. Main use of the maasdam when sawing is to help pull a (dead) tree that fell into another tree, usually in conjunction with some saw work, to get it out from over the trail. So, we put tension on the line and, unless the thing is just stuck beyond what we can do, it comes free and is on the ground.

    We hike our gear in. It could be a 1/4 mile, could be 3+ miles. So, between bringing the saw(s), PPE, fuel, oil, chain, files, lunch, whatever else we need for the day, bringing the rigging gear is, um, not a light decision.


    New item: I was given a new set of fiddleblocks (the basic kit with two beaners and the 1/2" rope threaded through the blocks) - which is super awesome. The person giving them figured they would be light enough for me to carry for smaller tasks, but they didn't realize how set setup works (i.e. you need more than what comes in the kit).


    This has sparked a bet of sorts between my partner and me: Can I set up a light rig that is useful enough to justify hiking out with, yet is lighter than the maasdam set-up?

    Oh. And I'm 130 lbs. So that maasdam 10:1 is pretty nice vs fiddle block 5:1.

    I'm convinced I can still put together a useful set-up that will be handier than having nothing.

    I might be overly optimistic.

    So I've been obsessing over it for the last few days. Google, youtube, forums... last Monday I could not tell you what a portawrap was...

    Pretending weight trumps cost (which isn't true, but we have plenty of heavy gear already) and ease of setup (sometimes it's just me and a volunteer whom I am teaching rigging basics at the site - easier setup is better - yes I check entire rig before we pull), here is what I have so far:

    Notch medium stainless steel portawrap
    rope logic ultra sling 3/4" (for the portawrap - setup looks easy for volunteers)
    CMI RP 162 (1/2" mini block) (for redirect or MA when needed)
    OR ISC 1/2" mini aluminum block
    Rope logic ultra rigging block 5/8" sling (for the little block, tho seems the 1/2" sling would be ok)

    Unclear to me what rope would be most reasonable and light.

    That Amsteel 1/4" micro rigging line is so tempting with the weight. I think I've dug up most posts from most the forums the last few days, sounds like the WLL goes way down if I knot it at all and the low melting point is not so hot using it with a portawrap.

    Then trying to figure out a small enough diameter but strong enough prusik seems to be a dead end.

    Does that lead next to 3/8 rope?

    Question 1: What are some reasonable light rope options for use with the portawrap and fiddle blocks? Could I use the amsteel micro - could I do it with a different setup with the fiddleblocks?

    Question 2: Prusik options for said rope.

    Question 3: What setup with the fiddle blocks would you use?
     
  2. greengreer

    greengreer ArboristSite Operative

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    What are you using for a pull line, or is that what you're asking? How are you setting it?
    I'd stay away from the 1/4" amsteel. It's gonna be too small for those blocks and hard to get a grip on.
     
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  3. lone wolf

    lone wolf MS 200T King

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    Use 1/2 rope and leave the porta wrap behind!
     
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  4. maintainer

    maintainer ArboristSite Lurker

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    Yeah. Seems the 1/4" not a good fit.

    That's a good question on setting the line.

    Sitting here thinking about it, with the maasdam we usually put a bowline on each leg of the line that's around the tree (we'll have them even) then put the bow of a shackle through them and pass the pin through the maasdam hook.

    But for this seems I'll need to set the pull line so that I have a long single leg for the prusik and portawrap. Would be nice if what I set it with stays low (reachable from the ground) or is easy to retrieve (in case we can't get the tree down - which happens).
     
  5. lone wolf

    lone wolf MS 200T King

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    Not sure you need a porta wrap unless you are anchoring to a truck? I mean a tree will work great!
     
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  6. maintainer

    maintainer ArboristSite Lurker

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    Was wondering about that. I've never used a portawrap. Adds weight. Was concerned about damaging the anchor tree using rope, but I'm not going to get that much pull out this setup anyway.
     
  7. lone wolf

    lone wolf MS 200T King

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    It is a lot of weight to carry. A large carabiner or an Aluminum fig 8 could help in some instances. I would cut all the weight i could.
     
  8. maintainer

    maintainer ArboristSite Lurker

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    I've not used a fig 8 - tell me more.
     
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  9. lone wolf

    lone wolf MS 200T King

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    You can put use it like the porta wrap to slow a rope with a load or tie off its lighter. It main intent is a repelling device.
     
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  10. lone wolf

    lone wolf MS 200T King

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    I gave it a little more thought and that Amsteel Blue is very light you can use pieces of it to attach blocks or what have you to trees instead of heavy slings I mean we are talking backpacks right?
     
  11. maintainer

    maintainer ArboristSite Lurker

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    Yes, we pack it all in via our packs. Man, that would save a ton of space, too.
     
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  12. lone wolf

    lone wolf MS 200T King

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    So put up a list of what you are bringing and I will look at it. Pics are better.
     
  13. old CB

    old CB ArboristSite Operative

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    I can't see any advantage to the fiddle block. As a professional tree guy, I don't even own one. I use a comealong (the generic name for a Maasdam puller). The comealong has more power and can be set without the need for someone to pull and hold it.

    Ditto on the porta-wrap. Can't imagine why you'd need one for your application. Keep it simple.
     
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  14. lone wolf

    lone wolf MS 200T King

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    I suppose 3 or 4 small aluminum pulleys and aluminum carabiners are the way to pack !
     
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  15. maintainer

    maintainer ArboristSite Lurker

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    It's why I posted - the maasdam is so reliable. And simple. We use griphoists (TU-17 and -29) for rock work and bridges, but I don't have any experience with a set-up lighter than a maasdam, so wanted to post hear ya'll's thoughts.
     
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  16. DSW

    DSW ArboristSite Guru

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    I didn't understand the need for the portawrap either. If you're just anchoring while you tension a line you could just use a tree. I'd rather use a tree in fact.

    For pulling trees I'd definitely go maasdaam over fiddle blocks.
     
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  17. AGoodSteward

    AGoodSteward Power Head

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    I'd take a backbone instead of the portawrap. Portawraps are knobby and clunky, this would sit nice in with the ropes or clipped to a pack. Screenshot_20190309-192732.png That gives you options for tying off that a figure 8 doesn't.
    Or for more attachment points:
    Screenshot_20190309-192854.png You can attach it to a tree using a rated webbing strap instead of a rope. Screenshot_20190309-192606.png
     
  18. 2dogs

    2dogs Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I use 3/8 Stable Braid for lots a light lowering etc. It is hard to grip but it is plenty strong for what I use it for. (I have ropes up to 3/4 and slings up to 1"). I also have a set of fiddle blocks I use once a year just to say I did. I bought a remnant from Wes Spur and had them splice a tight eye in it but It's only 50' or so, too short. Now the maasdam rope puller gets way more use. I run 1/2 Samson Tree Master with totally satisfactory results. It will pull a little over 1000 lbs.
     
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