Hobbs VS Stein RCW-3001 VS GRCS... vs Rope Jack vs Rigging Wrench RP292... Rig small and boring.

Tom Lynch

Active Member
Location
Brockville
The groundwork for such a convoluted post, I'm bored on a rest day full of coffee:

This is my first season solo. I work alone often and love solo rigging out problems. I avoid cut and toss if I can see a way to rig it, I rig it. Efficiency be damned (some times, when solo mostly) I love the problem solving. Still in a learning and growth phase towards technical work. I contract climb and often have poor ground support. I want to be able to take on nasty storm damage or bigger projects with critical targets (as my skills and confidence allows, I still walk away often). So half the time I contract climb, half the time I do my own projects. My own work provides way more rewards, so I will be leaning that way as I get, better clients / support staff / consistency in sales...

I'm on a budget, about half my gross goes right back into the company. So I have some money to play with but am trying to balance what makes the most sense next (save for chip truck & 6", dump trailer, replace work truck transmission, etc buying more climbing and rigging gear is an addictive problem).

Experience: I have worked a few bigger projects with a GRCS as ground support and climbing. Slick device. Kinda seems fragile, knurling wears off kinda fast. Super pricy. Never seen any other system in person.

The Stein seems dead simple and strong price point if a bit cumbersome.

Hobbs, just learning about it meow, seeking out more content. Quickly leaning towards it.

Other options, but I really think it comes down to the Hobbs or RCW https://honeybros.com/product-category/rigging/lowering-devices/

I work with a 4:1 pulley set with progress capture I cobbled together, a lot. It allows me to get away with all kinds of shit solo, both in the tree and felling. As well as span (double whip) rigging with speed line slings, the slings are consumed with each rig. Super bulky and annoying to manage, it is what I have. Makes solo rigging feasible, till a rope gets snagged up.

My thoughts: A Rope Jack and Rigging Wrench would likely be the best realistically for the scale of projects and flexibility to use in the tree. Stay with more manageable pieces, should I have an oversight. Being able to control more in the tree if ground support is brain dead.

The other side of me wants to all in on a full big tree rigging kit now. Expand my scope of work, get the most use out of such an investment. 3/4" bull rope, some large ring slings on 7/8"-1" and a Hobbs. Get a GoPro and be cool ;), maybe die. I might sit on this gear for years as the chance of larger projects falling in my lap is rather low. But if I have it, I can chase bigger work. Primarily as a contractor or the odd no clean up (happens more than I ever dare dream in my market). Or skip all that and get crane certified? Kinda scared to make the step, TBH. Looks amazing but one top heavy flip or bad twist and I get squished or flip a crane. Also, it is illegal to ride the ball in Ontario from what I gather, super lame.

Congrats if you made it this far and kinda could follow along. I have no idea what direction I'll go, so many variables. So many new tree people, companies, and clients keep popping up. This season has been unreal, thus far. I expected to scrap by my first season solo, with no investment in marketing or real business plan, not thrive. I'm in no hurry, just daydreaming here mostly.

Ideally, I'll find a used RCW-3001 with winch... I guess.
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Tom Lynch

Active Member
Location
Brockville
Very good planning!

have you skimmed through the Archives for other comparisons?
Thanks @Tom Dunlap, means a lot. I really enjoy the work you have put in here and other content, podcast!

I was dead set on the Stein, then bumped into the active Hobbs thread here. The wheels started spinning from there... dug around a bit and reviewed some youtube content I bookmarked years ago, as well explored some newer content. Now the wheels are smoking and about to fall off. So I thought I'd reach out for direct feedback from those who have used such tools.
 

Tom Lynch

Active Member
Location
Brockville
Tigers don’t meow
This tiger does. Some times I go for the kill, fold a tree in half. Some times I eat humble pie. Get up in the tree and double my hours projected. As my original plan was pure fiction of my imagination haha. Less and less, but never in a hurry. Never worry about the profit. I trust it to come with time if I let it.
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Location
redwoods
I have run a hobbs since they first came out. This thing has never wavered no matter how insane and silly the the shit we have thrown at it. Cave man simple. Built like a brick shithouse, and able to do just about anything we will ever see in our day to day tree lives...pick shit up-check. throw a massive log at it-check. Drive equipment over it and it keeps on tickin'-check...

The GRCS- Broke a new one very quickly. Tossed a good size log at it and the innards blew up. IMHO an overpriced, shiny, fragile POS.

The Stein is pretty bullet proof, relatively inexpensive, but limited. If your just lowering bigger stuff this is gonna be your best value....

I believe a friend is going to sell his 1st gen Hobbs... Pm me if your serious and I can check in and see if he is serious...The dude is turning 73 this yrs so your chances of getting a bro deal are pretty good. I would take it off his hand but I still have my 1st gen and the newer Hobbs 2....
 
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Barc Buster

Well-Known Member
I have run a hobbs since they first came out. This thing has never wavered no matter how insane and silly the the shit we have thrown at it. Cave man simple. Built like a brick shithouse, and able to do just about anything we will ever see in our day to day tree lives...pick shit up-check. throw a massive log at it-check. Drive equipment over it and it keeps on tickin'-check...

The GRCS- Broke a new one very quickly. Tossed a good size log at it and the innards blew up. IMHO an overpriced, shiny, fragile POS.

The Stein is pretty bullet proof, relatively inexpensive but limited.

I believe a friend is going to sell his 1st gen Hobbs... Pm me if your serious and I can check in and see if he is serious...The dude is turning 73 this yrs so your chances of getting a bro deal are pretty good. I would take it off his hand but I still have my 1st gen and the newer Hobbs 2....
Is the 2nd gen built to the same standard as the og hobbs Erik? I'm strongly considering one myself.
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Location
redwoods
Yep.. the 2nd gen is as bomber as the original, if not more so. Plus it a better device...
Ken Johnson in Mountain View Ca. builds them now and he does a wonderful job.
 

theatertech87

Well-Known Member
Location
Rochester
I can't comment on the Hobbs or the stein as I've never used one.

The rope jack is great for longer pulls/lifts than you can get with a set of 4's/fiddle blocks/etc at the expense of being slower and jerkier. Also takes a bit of a brain to take it off while it's loaded, not much of one once you've figured it out, but definitely not brain dead usable.

fiddle blocks are nice and smooth , but limited in the distance you can pull in one shot, and resetting to tip tie and lift is a pain after a while. easy ish to setup depending on rope grab/prussik etc

GRCS is AWESOME, but heavy, and i find i grab the rope jack more often than not if i need to carry stuff into a yard for only 1 or 2 cuts. I try not to negative rig into mine much, not that it can't take it, but I'm trying to save the knurling for when i need to lift something (never used the bollard that comes with it, port a wrap works fine for me instead). If it needs to be something big, double whip tackle works phenomenally and I've used mine to lift multiple tons of tree off houses/garages/power lines/etc in one shot. Nice and smooth, slower and less jerky so there is more control, once it's attached to the tree it's pretty brain dead easy to use

It should be mentioned that if you're primary use is going to be lifting, it works noticably better with pulleys instead of rings, and natural crotching is basically a no go for anything more than a few hundred pounds

All of these aren't single person tools, you need someone on the ground to operate them, if you want something to use in the air, that's idiot proff for ground help as well, I highly recommend the triple thimble
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
An oldie, but a goodie...Make sure and watch the entire thing..

Ok, I’m impressed with what that Hobbs can take. I knew they were solid, but wow! I still like the GRCS for lifting, as the mechanical advantage is hard to beat, but the Hobbs would be my choice if I were working with a clueless ground crew for sure.
 

Tom Lynch

Active Member
Location
Brockville
An oldie, but a goodie...Make sure and watch the entire thing..

I watch this about once a year for the last 3 years, freaking love what they do! I just started climbing three years ago, I'm now starting to enter bigger rigging projects for myself. I likely won't use anything like these toys to their fullest, at least for another few weeks ;-) I will slowly, progressively make bigger rigs... so having overkill equipment on hand is necessary in my mind. I love freaking out new parties that contract me in, by tip tieing whole trees into a larger tree beside them. Remotely, zero sweat, less time. That is with just a basic block on a rigging line Basle tied and sweating a port'a'wrap for preload. For me, it is all a game to see what I can rig, as much as being safe and productive.
 

Tom Lynch

Active Member
Location
Brockville
All of these aren't single person tools, you need someone on the ground to operate them, if you want something to use in the air, that's idiot proff for ground help as well, I highly recommend the triple thimble
Are you sure about that? While a huge, inefficient, pain in the ass, I've done some solo rigging aloft. Including progress captured lifts using pulley MA. The rope jack seems like a very efficient option for sure! Even more so paired with the Rigging wrench!!!

I do like the Thimbe.

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chris_girard

Well-Known Member
Location
Gilmanton, N.H.
I have run a hobbs since they first came out. This thing has never wavered no matter how insane and silly the the shit we have thrown at it. Cave man simple. Built like a brick shithouse, and able to do just about anything we will ever see in our day to day tree lives...pick shit up-check. throw a massive log at it-check. Drive equipment over it and it keeps on tickin'-check...

The GRCS- Broke a new one very quickly. Tossed a good size log at it and the innards blew up. IMHO an overpriced, shiny, fragile POS.

The Stein is pretty bullet proof, relatively inexpensive, but limited. If your just lowering bigger stuff this is gonna be your best value....

I believe a friend is going to sell his 1st gen Hobbs... Pm me if your serious and I can check in and see if he is serious...The dude is turning 73 this yrs so your chances of getting a bro deal are pretty good. I would take it off his hand but I still have my 1st gen and the newer Hobbs 2....
Agreed Rico. I would take a Hobbs Lowering Device over anything else out there...and yes I have a GRCS.
 

SumoClimber

Active Member
Location
Fox Cities, WI
It's interesting seeing some of the things listed on honeybros, always a few items from companies that aren't importing to the US yet. Leading me down the youtube rabbit hole, lol, gotta find out just How TF you rig something with the Courant Hulk, for example. Kinda like the look of the FTC micro cylinder as well. Appears about the size of a porty, but straps to the tree, shouldn't have as much movement.
 

MikePowers321

Well-Known Member
Location
Leeds, Ny
Hobbs is great. Intuitive and easy to use if working with different grounsmen. All in one unit is nice And simple. No changing bollards or winch add ons.

Grcs is certainly better for long lifts and especially with only one groundman, but i roll with the hobbs everyday myself. Zero complaints. Only praise
 

96coal449

Well-Known Member
Location
earth
Hobbs is great. Intuitive and easy to use if working with different grounsmen. All in one unit is nice And simple. No changing bollards or winch add ons.

Grcs is certainly better for long lifts and especially with only one groundman, but i roll with the hobbs everyday myself. Zero complaints. Only praise
You up for a competition against my GRCS?
Yunck, yunck, yunck......


Just kiddin. Kinda wish I had the Hobbs instead. I can see it handles hits better.
I have no complaints though. We pulled a white willow leader out of a lake with it. Set a block 30' up in a good sized ash with the GRCS at the base. Made a couple cuts here and there as limbs came to shore, and pulled it all out. It is great for winching and multiple lifts.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
Hobbs is bomber, short lifts or taking slack out before blocking. GRCS is limited, you can drop chunks on the bollard (like you should instead of blowing it up like rico :censored:). The capstan winch is exactly just that, a winch for lifting, basically static loads.
IF your lifting with the Hobbs I'm under the impression it really needs two on the ground. One to lift, one to tail.
I do ALOT of winching, I bought the GRCS and have yet to use the bollard. I've lifted whole trees solo, Pulled trees over backwards with it, solo... There are some tricks to set it up by my self..
Now that one in Japan looks badass, hollow bollard with the winch inside.
 

96coal449

Well-Known Member
Location
earth
Hobbs is bomber, short lifts or taking slack out before blocking. GRCS is limited, you can drop chunks on the bollard (like you should instead of blowing it up like rico :censored:). The capstan winch is exactly just that, a winch for lifting, basically static loads.
IF your lifting with the Hobbs I'm under the impression it really needs two on the ground. One to lift, one to tail.
I do ALOT of winching, I bought the GRCS and have yet to use the bollard. I've lifted whole trees solo, Pulled trees over backwards with it, solo... There are some tricks to set it up by my self..
Now that one in Japan looks badass, hollow bollard with the winch inside.
Evo, any links to the Japan model?
 

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