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Would love to *any* hear reasons a block > rings when it comes to rigging!!

eye.heart.trees

eye.heart.trees

arborjunky
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
64
Age
38
Location
Tampa-Area
By "rigging" I mean lowering stuff, whether shock/dynamic loads or simply lowering a limb that you had positive angle / tension on before cutting, not rigging for lifting things (which is where I think pulleys are useful, although it's really the sole area I think they're useful!)

I always refer people to Reg Coates' video when trying to make the case for why blocks are inferior devices
however I made a thread on Reddit and 3 of the 4 replies were advising me to use a block over rings!!!! https://www.reddit.com/r/sfwtrees/comments/deqdju/hoping_for_advice_on_how_to_choose_a_bullrope/ If anyone here is registered there (FWIW registration does *not* require email-confirmation you just create a name and post, great site has sub-forums for any topic imagineable, /r/SFWtrees is the most-populous arbor subreddit I think), it'd be greatly appreciated to have others join-in IF I'm not mistaken here....I've never rigged very-heavy stuff so can't speak definitively but from where I'm standing it's so obvious that rings are superior I mean if I were on-job and someone said "hey I've got the best DMM block, brand-new, want to use it instead-of your rings for this job?", I'd say no....nevermind that it'd cost $600 for that setup, whereas my anchor is $170 (I paid 130 :D ), blocks are bad because:

- no friction up-top makes the load on the top anchor's tie-in-point much stronger (the Safebloc actually helps much more here, I also got one of those yesterday although it's just the bloc I've yet to choose a sling)

- they're more 'wearable' than rings, they've got moving parts and won't last forever whereas it's hard to imagine how to make a ring fail from any amount of routine-usage (in the Reddit thread I literally have someone arguing that blocks are more durable/resilient hardware than rings, my mind is blown..) I can't imagine my rings EVER needing replacement, whereas I'd NEVER get a block and presume I could shock-load that particular block and it'd last that way for my career w/o replacement!!

- their bend-radius' suck, both for the bull-line you're running-through it (DMM's biggest offering gives your line a measly 3" of bend-radius, if running 3/4" line through it that is one hell of a sharp-turn, whereas I just measured the bend-radius my 3-ringed X sling gives and it's over 6", more than doubling the DMM's bend-radius which is super critical for the bull-line's integrity when shock-loaded!! Furthermore, so far as the anchor-rope's integrity is concerned, the bend-radius for the top sheave/bollard in a block is even smaller than the wheel giving an incredibly tight bend-radius to your anchor-rope, in comparison to the rings where the bend-radius is as large as the ring's outer-diameter!

- they're heavier/more expensive,

- Additional 'Pro' Re friction is that while all the products in the X line add friction, the Safebloc can be used anywhere (top anchor, mid-line, basal anchor etc) on the line to add fixed-level, built-in friction, hell they say you can do up to medium-duty loads without a basal friction-device!!!

~~~~~~~~~

So yeah I wouldn't trade my 3-ringed X sling for the 4x as expensive DMM product (which IMO looks to be the highest-quality block on the market), well not unless I was going to flip the DMM block and buy more ringed-slings lol, but with 3-of-4 replies admonishing me to not use rings, but blocks instead, as primary anchors just blew my mind, would really like to verify my intuition that they're wrong so here I am hoping for "a 2nd opinion", are the rings really as superior as Reg Coates says, as August Hunicke says, as common-sense makes them appear? Thanks!!

(am really curious about the longevity of blocks, with a moving wheel and movable side-plates I guess I'd have thought they'd be replaced every few years, having someone boast of their longevity really threw me I'd love to hear if the pro's here are getting 2-3yrs, or more like 6-10yrs, from their blocks!)
 
Walkdog

Walkdog

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
18
Location
Bay Area
Your arguments seem pretty solid to me. As far as the “better than” question goes, I think they both have advantages and it’s more a question of personal comfort. When there’s any doubt, go with whatever you and your ground crew most comfortable with, which will surely be safest.

I have personally come to prefer rings for my main rigging point in the majority of situations I encounter (mostly aesthetic & structural pruning jobs on moderate sized trees). Coupled with the RC2000 at the base or the rig n wrench in the tree, rings provide more than enough capacity to bring down anything I need to, and seem to provide a better control feel for the groundsman vis a vis the block.

Now, if I were trying to make a living doing big removals, I would definitely buy the DMM block and a GRCS in a heartbeat to ensure I was as flexible and prepared as possible.

I don’t own the big DMM block, but based on my experience with many of their other products, would be very surprised if it only lasted 2-3 years.

Really fond of my big Omni Block (practically pristine after 2 years), though it mostly only gets used as a midline attachable redirect or to set up a 3-1.
 
EchoRomeoCharlie

EchoRomeoCharlie

ArboristSite Guru
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
510
Age
33
Location
Midwest
I use blocks because that's what I have, but I think rings work very well as you have described. Both good tools.

I don't worry about the blocks wearing out if used within their recommended WLL. Bearings are run in industrial settings under a lot more stress and RPM's than in tree service, they should last a very long time. I feel like longevity would be pretty close. I know a couple pros that have blocks that are quite old...10+ years and they use them almost daily. I don't do this for a living, so I don't use mine daily. Couple times a weekend at best, so I expect mine to last until I'm done with this hobby.

If you get a rope that's got dirt embedded(like pretty much all rigging ropes after the first day), I can see that wearing the aluminum in the rings relatively quickly considering the pressure and friction generated by the rope. Basically like running sand paper through the ring. So in this particular situation, the block is more resistant to wear than the ring. But again, it's a trade off for more moving parts...

Also, dropping a block, no big deal. Burr on the side plate? File it off, make it mostly smooth it's fine. The wheel is unlikely to touch anything that would damage it. Not so with rings. Ding up a ring and it's pretty much done unless you have some interesting equipment to make it smooth again.

So, I don't really think it's a massive difference personally. I like the idea of having all the friction where it's accessible. A port-a-wrap and a block means all the friction is accessible to the ground crew. Rings means there's friction up top that can't be accessed...so lets say they need to pull a branch up and let it run quickly to get it through a hang up...this is going to be more efficient with a block than rings. Admittedly I'm not sure by how much.

Like I said, I don't think there's a big difference either way. Both will work well, IMO.
 

350X

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
14
Location
Wackin trees on a fire near you
Ill call you out on the bend radius of the safe block since you brought it up. It sucks. And if you need to keep moving the primary rig point around rings waste entirely too much time and Id use a block over rings anyway in that case. And if rigging with a GRCS Im not thrilled with the extra friction they provide when pretensioning lines or tip tying then pulling a limb up as its cut. Blocks are a winner here again.
 
Ketchup

Ketchup

Professional Stick Picker
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
558
Age
37
Location
Ward, CO
A good block is mid-line attachable, lower friction, and probably will survive more rope length traveled. The sling is easier to remove or replace. Many are designed to keep the rope off the tree as well.

Rings are great for middle and high friction scenarios. They have great bend radius. I like that they are simple and relatively inexpensive. I like knowing the rope can’t get out.

I went through a big ring phase 3 or 4 years ago. I especially liked the braided speed sling that allowed rapid attachment and removal.

Nowadays I mostly use a DMM mini block. It’s much lighter and still has a large enough force rating. I don’t usually want extra friction in my systems and frequently switch from negative rigs to lift cuts.

I think the rings actually DO wear out faster. Ropes saw grooves into them and they are easier to nick or burr. Our flame block is 12 years old and looks brand new.

Our Safety Block mostly just sits. It’s fine when we use it, but I don’t really see much point. I like versatility and it’s pretty much a negative rig only device. I feel like I haven’t realized it’s potential and should use it more but I hate over complicating a removal. I do like it for the occasional in-tree belay.

A lot of the time the sling on the device is as important as the device itself and I choose accordingly. Sometimes I want a speed braid, sometimes a 12’, sometimes an 18’.

Just what I do. Everybody has their own tricks and systems. Probably best not to get stuck on any one thing.
 
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