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It seems that in the world of rigging gear, there is Crosby, and then all the rest. Perhaps that is a bit unfair, but the truth is that for professionals that rely on their rigging hardware to perform when it counts the most, no other brand instills as much confidence as Crosby. Yes, there are other great manufacturers, but Crosby products have proven themselves in the toughest environments all over the world. Many of their key products--such as G-209 Shackles and G-450 Clips--use an unmistakable red component (i.e., shackle pin or u-bolt) that allows users to quickly identify Crosby product in the field.
The Crosby Group LLC provides thousands of product choices for consumers in practically all industries. In addition to putting out a great product, Crosby goes a step further with literature and education. They have one of the most robust and informative catalogs available, and of course, all material can be accessed through their website which is also thorough and user-friendly. In addition to printed and electronic resources, Crosby has trained sales representatives in the field that conduct rigging safety seminars (free of charge). This keeps users up to speed on the latest in safe lifting practices and helps to keep employers compliant with OSHA requirements.
Let's visit a few of Crosby's best-known products.
No matter the lift--from 20lbs to 1,550T--Crosby has the shackle you need. No rigging job is too big or small when it comes to Crosby's shackle lineup. Those that know rigging know that shackles (aka clevises) are used pretty much everywhere, and that's why Crosby has spent so much time perfecting their complete line of shackles. All common types--anchor shackles with pins or bolts, chain shackles, sling shackles--and many other exotic shackles are available from Crosby. Additionally, Crosby shackles feature Quic-Check(r) marks that allow instant visual indication of an angular lift beyond 45 degrees. All standard Crosby shackles are Quenched and Tempered and Fatigue Rated, meaning the shackle will stretch and give prior to breaking. This is important because the deformation that takes place serves as a warning to users that the shackle has been overloaded and will soon fail. While other shackle manufacturers may try to claim superior performance or higher Working Load Limits, our customers can attest that at the end of the day, the Crosby shackle will be the last one standing (or should we say lifting?).
Almost as legendary as their shackles, Crosby's hooks come in many shapes and sizes and offer superior performance over the competition. With over twenty types of hooks, you can surely find one to suit your rigging needs. From standard sling hooks to Shur-Loc(r), chain hoist replacement hooks and even weld-on bucket hooks, Crosby has you covered. For their most common hooks--such as the S-320AN, S-322AN and S-1317A--latch kits are readily stocked at our stores and on Crosby's shelves. This is important because for many of our customers, a hook without a latch is immediately removed from service until the latch is properly replaced. Because of their popularity, we stock Crosby latch kits and when we run out, Crosby practically always has them ready to ship. Take a look at the many types of Crosby hooks available today and you're sure to find one just right for your application. Like their shackles, most of Crosby's hooks feature Quic-Check(r) markings and are Quenched and Tempered / Fatigue Rated.
While many of our customers today opt for more economical, imported rigging blocks, there are still many that simply don't want to settle for anything less than the best. What's the best you ask? Well, most would agree that Crosby blocks offer the best build quality of all blocks on the market today. And like other popular items of theirs, Crosby offers myriad block types to meet the needs of practically every user. They have all kinds of snatch blocks, crane / construction blocks, manila blocks, sheaves and more. You don't have to buy Crosby, but if you want a block that will last and perform 24/7/365, then you may want to consider it.
Wire Rope Clips
In our shop it is most common for us to swage on end fittings, whether to make an eye or install a different type of end fitting. In the field, however, most don't have access to a $50,000 industrial swage press that weighs thousands of pounds. When that's the case, end terminations are made using more rudimentary methods. The most common way to terminate wire rope in the field is by using a wire rope clip (aka cable clamp). No brand of clip sells better nor is more recognizable than the Crosby G-450 Clip. The Red-U-Bolt(r) provides instant visual recognition of a Crosby branded clip, and instills a supreme sense of confidence in the user. In addition the G-450 Clip, Crosby makes other types of clips and wire rope end fittings. While they are all popular, I simply don't have the space to talk about all of them here.
Crosby has a well-earned reputation in their industry. They are respected by both their customers and competitors. The majority of their products are produced in ISO 9001 facilities (most here in the U.S.A.) and Crosby uses extensive third party testing to ensure consistent product quality and unsurpassed reliability.
There is a reason that when it comes to rigging hardware and heavy lift products, we get more inquiries for Crosby than any other brand. If the evidence laid out here still doesn't have you convinced, then ask around to those in your industry and they are sure to fill you in as to why Crosby products simply cannot be beaten. Or, head over to The Crosby Group website and see for yourself just how well-established, how thorough and how progressive Crosby is. I promise, you won't be disappointed!
Ropes come in many shapes and sizes, each type with specific
characteristics that make it ideal for particular situations. Price
alone does not dictate how well a rope will perform, nor does breaking strength. Therefore it is important
to understand the different aspects of each rope. Here is a brief
overview of the main types of rope on the market today.
Single Braid Rope
Single Braid Ropes are relatively easy to manufacture, and their braiding pattern--according to some--resembles the scales of a fish. Because their strands are relatively linear, single braid ropes are inherently strong. They are constructed from a variety of materials including polyester, nylon, polypropylene and specialty fibers like Spectra and Dyneema (some of the strongest fibers available today).
Double Braid Rope Double Braid Ropes are often used by our arborist customers for rigging / lowering operations. They are most commonly constructed of polyester or nylon, or sometimes a combination of the two. A double braid rope is essentially two ropes in one. The outer sleeve works together with the core to create a strong balance, with both pieces bearing the applied load. The manufacturing and splicing of double braid ropes is more complicated than with single braid or 3-strand ropes, therefore they are typically more expensive (although this is not always the case). Aside from our arborist customers, double braid ropes are commonly used by marine enthusiasts (sailboats, large boats and even ships), utility workers (underground pulling rope) and lifting slings (found on utility truck winches and used by helicopters for hoisting).
Once considered the "standard" general purpose rope, pure nylon rope is not selling as fast as it once did. A big reason for this is the advancement of rope fiber technology. Blended ropes (such as Poly/Dac), polyester ropes and even high-performance ropes are gaining in popularity as more users become aware of them and their attributes. Still, nylon has great properties like UV resistance, reasonable tolerance to chemicals and tremendous stretch. It is
typically used in towing, retrieval work and marine environments.
Nylon rope can come in many shapes and sizes, and the three most common braids are 3-strand, 8-strand and double braid.
Climbing / Rescue Rope
In recent years the development of rope fibers and braiding technologies has really taken the climbing and rescue rope market to new heights. There are many fibers being used, and the combination of braids and rope diameters seems almost endless. There are many good manufacturers too, so take your time and choose a rope that is just right for you. With our customer base, the most common climbing rope that we sell is typically a 1/2" 16-Strand product. Most devices, such as cammed ascenders, descenders and prusiks, are designed to work with 1/2" rope. The 16-strand braid style is popular because it is tight and durable, yet still knots well and has a familir handle to many climbers. Again, this is the most common type of climbing rope that we sell, but certainly not the only one. Other great new products, like Rocket Line (a smaller 24-strand product), are really gaining in popularity. Be sure to look at all the options before you decide on a climbing rope.
When it comes to rescue ropes, there really isn't anything better or more popular than static Kernmantle. And, we have some of the best American made Static Kernmatle on the market today. It is manufactured in the state of California in an ISO 9001 facility. It features a polyester cover over a nylon core and is one of the finest choices available for fire and rescue operations.
Talking about these two ropes leads me to shed some light on dynamic vs static ropes. Many people are not sure which is the right rope for their climbing application. While that question may have more than one correct answer, I can probably narrow down your choice by providing some information here. Think of dynamic ropes like strong bungee cords. They are designed to stretch and elongate and absorb the load generated when a climber falls, thus reducing the risk potential to the climber. Static ropes are not designed to stretch or elongate in the same way. Rather they are designed with strength and durability in mind, and are typically used by experienced climbers in technical and / or rescue scenarios.
Synthetic Winch Lines
A discussion about rope today wouldn't really be complete without talking about the expanding market for Synthetic Winch Lines. Use by off road enthusiasts, tow trucks, aviators and many others, synthetic winch lines are quickly gaining popularity because of three main reasons.
First, the material they are made from is stronger than steeel cable, size-for-size (make sure you are getting true Dyneema product and not a cheap knock-off). For example, our 3/8" Swift Line has a breaking strength of nearly 20,000lbs!
Secondly, they are not as dangerous as steel cable when they break. Because they don't store energy in the same manner, many users describe they're broken synthetic winch line as "falling to the ground". If you've ever wathced a piece of wire rope or chain break under tension, the violent recoil is dangerous and quite an eye-opener.
Lastly, they are much easier to handle. They weigh approximately 1/10th the same size of steel cable and because they are made of fiber, you don't have to worry about being poked by broken wires. The end result is a much more enjoyable user experience. Still, remember that synthetic winch lines are still made of fiber at the end of the day. Proper padding, clearing of obstacles and fairlead maintenance are necessary to maintain a good lifespan.
Logging is probably one of the oldest occupations in the United
States. To many, logging sounds very simple...you cut down trees and that's it, right? Wrong! Today's professional loggers do a very complicated, high-pressure and dangerous job. A tremendous amount of skill and experience is what it takes to really thrive in today's timber industry. But even those with great skill and years of experience need quality tools. Again, logging is a difficult and dangerous job. There is no reason to further complicate your day by trying to work with old, worn-out gear. While our typical logging customer is a professional logger working here in the Pacific Northwest, we sell to companies and individuals all over the country that run operations of all sizes. This post will focus on the needs of small, common loggers that are clearing their own property or working on a small commercial scale.
For small jobs, one can often get by with simple tools like Chokers, Skidding Tongs, Peavies and / or Log Jacks. No matter where you're logging, your small job can likely make use of one or all of these tools. You need to fell the tree, move it, cut it to length and sell it or burn it (assuming you're building a stock pile for your wood stove). And whether or not you buy such tools from Westech Rigging Supply, just be sure that you buy from a reputable source. You want quality when buying such tools, and saving a few dollars could really cost you down the road if your logging tool breaks when you need it most.
Our average customer knows how to use all of these tools, we realize that for some this could be an entirely new adventure. So, let us quickly describe what these tools are and how they are used. Skidding tongs are used to grab and hold logs while you drag them into place. Often, our customers will attach them directly to their main winch line. Skidding tongs are for dragging only, so be sure to check out Rated Lifting Tongs if you plan to lift logs or any kind of timber overhead in a commercial setting (e.g., setting railroad ties). Even more common than tongs are chokers, and we offer them in both Cat-Style and Skidder-Style. For most of our customers (especially Internet customers), cat chokers are the most common choice. Because there is an eye (aka loop) on one end, you can attach them in many simple ways. Once you skid a log into place, you need to cut it down to size. For simple positioning, a peavey or cant hook is very popular. These simple tools give you a solid grip and just enough leverage to manipulate small / medium logs into place. For cutting and chainsaw safety, you should really use a log jack. Their sole purpose is to raise the log off the ground so you can safely cut it without burying your chainsaw in the dirt and risking unnecessary kickback.
Now, the above paragraph is merely a brief synopsis and a sort of buyer's guide. There is a whole lot more to learn about logging before setting out to tackle even a small job. But, we hope that our simplistic explanations are helpful for you beginners. And when in doubt, consult with a true, professional logger. We know many of them, and they have all been in the industry for years and moved millions and millions of board feet of timber. They know what it takes to get the job done right, safely and efficiently. Like all industries, the timber industry is evolving. New technology promises to make logging easier and more efficient than ever before. But, before you can appreciate the latest and greatest innovations, it's helpful to understand the basics. And for small jobs, a high-tech approach usually isn't practical. If you don't already have some or most of the basic tools outlined above, then that's where you should start.
Once you have mastered the basics of small, private logging, you may want to venture out and take on bigger jobs. If that's the case, then get professional training / consultation. There are forestry programs available at the collegiate level, and there are private organizations as well that offer great training programs. Here in Oregon, one such organization is the Associated Oregon Loggers (AOL).
No matter what kind of logging job you are set to undertake, be safe, work efficiently and use quality tools. If you start off on the right foot, then you are much more likely to achieve success and enjoy your logging experience.
Tough jobs require tough tools. But getting the tough jobs done shouldn't break your back. Having the right tools means you can work smarter, not harder. Instead of breaking your back to get the job done, invest in the right equipment from the start. If your job requires heavy lifting, then you will be happy if you invest in a quality Comealong, Lever Chain Hoist or Hand Chain Hoist. In the right application, these tools can really make your life easier and the initial up front cost will be a distant memory compared tot he convenience they offer you. Like most things, there are many brands to choose from these days.
Magna Lifting Products has a very solid track record for durability, and their products don't come with a top-shelf price to match their performance. Use one of their quality hoists or pullers and you'll save time, and your back! For those that like high-quality American made products, Maasdam Pow'R-Pull comealongs make a great choice. They function well, last a very long time and are quite affordable...yet another line of rigging tools that can help you work more efficiently. Save your time, save your back!
Perhaps you're working in a shop environment, and a manually-operated hoist isn't fast enough. If that's the case, then be sure to check out the benefits of today's slick Electric Chain Hoists. As long as you have the proper power supply, you can rig up an electric chain hoist using a nice Beam Clamp or Trolley, and really streamline your material handling needs. Again, there are many brands out there so be sure to choose wisely. We have represented Harrington Hoists for years and find their products are second-to-none in terms of build quality, performance and longevity. They also offer all the replacement parts you could ever need, as well as comprehensive service options. Of course, electric hoists are more expensive than traditional manual hoists, but there really is no difference when it comes to performance.
Remember, it's 2012. High-quality tools are readily available and priced affordably today, so stop abusing your body (or the bodies of your employees) with unnecessary labor. There are no "human forklifts" despite what some may think. You are risking unnecessary injury, downtime and possibly Worker's Compensation issues with back-breaking labor practices. Not only that, but if part of your job is serving customers, they will respect the efficiency you gain by employing the right rigging tools for each job. Cost is an issue, we all look at the bottom line. But the cheapest rigging in the world is the "right" rigging the first time.
Whether your work in construction, on a farm / ranch or inside an industrial shop, you will find that you can do much more productive work by using proper lifting tools. Additionally, having the right gear could very well mean you can bid on and land jobs that used to be beyond your capabilities. It's a lot like modern technology...we can all agree that it's hard to imagine a world without cell phones. If someone took your cell phone away, you'd likely be in a state of panic. You will have similar feelings after getting your hands on high-quality rigging tools. Once you've worked with them, you'll never want to work without them. Again, we can and should be proud of putting in hard day's work. But, working too hard at the expense of your body just isn't smart. Get yourself some quality rigging tools (such as lever chain hoists and comealongs) and you will save time while protecting your body.
Tree saddles are made specifically with professional tree climbers in mind, usually consisting of straps, buckles, d-rings, leather and / or webbing. They fit comfortably around the waist and the legs and help to safely support the climber. A good, comfortable saddle is perhaps the most personal piece of equipment that a climber uses. Whether you are climbing recreationally or as part of your occupation, it is very important to have a tree saddle that fits properly. A proper fit ensures that the Tree Saddle will be safe as well as comfortable and easy to wear, supporting you in the right areas.
There are several tree climbing clubs, especially in the Pacific northwest, that offer training and equipment recommendations based on the knowledge they have gained from many years of tree climbing. Although less common, tree climbing techniques are also taught to foresters and firemen who would find themselves in situations that require being able to climb trees.
Two companies that are very popular and really stand out as market leaders in tree saddle manufacturing are Weaver Leather and Petzl. Our experienced customers have chosen these brands time and again for key features like comfort, durability and price.
Weaver has a wide selection of tree saddles to accommodate all users in all sizes. One of the most popular styles is the 4D Extra Wide Batten Seat Leather Tree Saddle. This saddle's very name hints at some of its great features. The back is extra wide and the batten seat is covered in foam and extremely comfortable. It is great for arborist professionals that log long hours in a tree on a regular basis. The saddle features forged aluminum d-rings and the black anodized finish offers great corrosion protection. The result is a d-ring that is strong yet lightweight, two great characteristics for climbers. The saddle is also easy to put on and take off, and you can adjust it to fit securely using the tongue & buckle straps. The nylon loops, used for hanging saws and other gear, are protected with clear rubber tubing. Each loop can hold at least 15lbs of accessories. The back is tanned top grain leather, and the entire saddle weighs about 6 pounds.
Now, how about Petzl? They also offers saddles in a variety of types, sizes and prices. These saddles are made from very lightweight synthetic materials. These materials are of the highest quality and the workmanship is unrivaled. Petzl Tree Saddles are constructed with comfort, efficiency and safety as top priorities. So if you want a great lightweight saddle with an innovative design, then go with a trusted name like Petzl and you won't regret it.
Weaver offers a line of tree saddles that commonly feature a durable leather construction (one exception being the Cougar Tree Saddle), yet they are a little heavier than newer synthetic saddles. Petzl, on the other hand, offers tree saddles made of synthetic materials. The result is a saddle that is lightweight, innovative and durable. No matter which brand of saddle you choose, just know that both manufacturers use top-of-the-line materials and both are extremely well-respected for producing safe, quality gear.
For any heavy-duty lifting and carrying operation, the sling matters. What does this mean? Well, it could mean a variety of different things. It could mean the complete failure of an ongoing project. It could mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the business. It could even mean the difference between life and death. Certain circumstances require certain tools, so when the circumstances are extreme, depend on Pro-Edge Web Slings. Synthetic web slings are among the most popular styles in service for industrial usage, and they are popular for personal use as well. The web sling is generally defined as a type of nylojn or polyester sling that has loops at both ends for attachment purposes. They can be arranged for use in simple straight picks or more complex multi-leg picks. They are extremely versatile, great for use in many different applications. The eye & eye style (aka double loop) is the most popular and allows for customization in building a sling system appropriate for all types of situations.
One of the greatest advantages with synthetic web slings is their impressive strength-to-weight ratio. The industrial-grade webbing used to make them is extremely light, yet tough and strong, and makes handling and transportation more manageable than when using wire rope or alloy chain slings. Another benefit of nylon web slings is that they are relatively inexpensive compared to other steel sling options. Manufacturing and proper treatment of steel used for slings is a high-overhead game, while nylon can be produced more quickly and efficiently. Nylon slings are used by many different people, from workers in manufacturing plants to soldiers on the battlefield. These slings are indispensable tools for all types of people, in all kinds of places. Pro-Edge slings are some of the highest quality slings on the market, and that is a fact. But no matter how strong the slings are, they must always be used according to specifications.
There is such a thing as the right tool for the right job, and this is an important aspect to keep in mind. In order to use web slings safely, make sure that the size and weight of a load is accurately gauged beforehand. Every piece of equipment has its limits, so it is essential to know those limits before any action is taken. Never load a sling past its maximum Working Load Limit because this is a sure way to have something go wrong. Additionally, sling angles are very crucial to the amount of weight that a sling can carry. A good general rule is to never position slings at angles less than 30 degrees from horizontal. Finally, avoid shock-loading your slings! This is a safety hazard that could result in serious injuries or death. Make sure that every precaution is taken every time you perform a pick, no matter what kind of sling you're using. This will ensure the safety of everybody in the vicinity, and also protect the load from being damaged.