Which rope for home owner use?

Charrieleigh

New Member
Location
georgia
Hi all, new to the forum and a lot of great information here, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

I need some advice on which rope to buy that can be used for all around tree work by a homeowner. Most of the trees we need to cut are pine, 5 to 10" in diameter (straight across) at the base and anywhere from 50 to 75' high.
We have 5 acres here and the trees are young and very thick with a lot of them dying while competing for light and nutrients. W e are working on cutting trees from around the house and work shop and areas where they can fall on the power lines. We have already cut about 15 down and have about the same amount to go but they are gong to need to be topped out because they are top leaners and some hang over a storage building..

So I guess we need a rope that would be good for rigging light limbs, pulling small trees, and safety lines. I have an almost Buckingham lineman's belt but it has no lanyards with it so I will need to make a couple of lanyards also.

When I was younger and growing up on our farm we used manila ropes but I know there is a lot better rope out here now days.

So which rope might be good all the way around for our limited use? Would a 5/8 3 strand polyester rope be okay?

Thanks
Charrie
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
There is a lot that can be said here. My first advice is to hire a professional, and don’t risk your life just to save a bit of money.

If you feel the need to ignore the advice above, here’s a couple rope suggestions:

Do NOT, for any reason, use the same rope for rigging or pulling and for life support. Life support ropes, once used for any other purpose, should never again be used for life support.

Any 1/2” sixteen strand climbing line will likely be suitable for what you will be doing with it. You can also have lanyards spliced from the same rope.

As for rigging rope, there are a lot of options out there, and they depend on exactly what you plan to do with your rope. Three strand is not used much today as it has many limits. Personally, I like Sirius for a relatively inexpensive, but capable, rigging rope.

A good gear supplier like Gap Arborist Supply can help guide you to the right gear for your needs.
 

Charrieleigh

New Member
Location
georgia
Thanks for the reply Reach. Your first advice makes it almost impossible to reply back to without sounding like an idiot! There is another possible option. Half of the trees around the work shop could be dropped without topping them if the power lines were out of the way. I spoke with the power company and they said they could come out and drop the lines. The trees on the opposite side of the shop, we could just continue dropping them the way we did the first group. We tied a rope about 40ft up the tree to be cut and then used a come along anchored to another tree to make sure we could pull tension in the direction the tree needed to go.

Thanks
Charrie
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Thanks for the reply Reach. Your first advice makes it almost impossible to reply back to without sounding like an idiot! There is another possible option. Half of the trees around the work shop could be dropped without topping them if the power lines were out of the way. I spoke with the power company and they said they could come out and drop the lines. The trees on the opposite side of the shop, we could just continue dropping them the way we did the first group. We tied a rope about 40ft up the tree to be cut and then used a come along anchored to another tree to make sure we could pull tension in the direction the tree needed to go.

Thanks
Charrie
Dropping the lines sounds like a sensible, and much safer, option. If you can drop them without climbing, and you can do that safely, definitely keep doing it that way.

I’ve been doing this work long enough to see many of the hazards, and I can never recommend someone try something they’re not trained to do, it’s just too easy to get hurt or killed by a small mistake or unwitting lapse in judgment.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
First...don't even consider three strand. I'd have to struggle to find one positive thing to say about three strand.

Arborplex is cheap and good enough. It has some characteristics that get annoying.

Next up are any sixteen strand climbing rope. I had a hank of New England Safety Blue that was might light rigging rope for a long time. NO bad things to say about it and PLENTY strong for what you're calling for.

How long a rope do you need? I've got plenty of ropes less than 120' that still have plenty of life in them. I'd climb on them so I sure would rig on them. They are just short for my uses. My guess is that others have ropes with life in them too. Get your length down and ask...I bet you'll have your choice

Having a pro do the tricky ones is a good option.
 

Charrieleigh

New Member
Location
georgia
Reach, Agreed dropping them is the best way. In one of the pics I posted you can see where we started clearing trees so we would have room to drop the trees closest to the building. They have to fall uphill because there is a carport on other side of the gravel.
Yes I had a friend who worked for a tree company who fell.

Years and years ago I worked part time for a company that painted radio and TV towers. I had two main fears. The height never bothered me but one fear was reaching up and finding a wasp nest and two, one of the bolts giving way while swapping the lanyard line. They only provided us with one back then.

Jonny, That might be a good option. I am on a fixed income and the land is tied up in estate right now and is supposed to go to my son. The idea is to cut them now while they are small and more manageable. Perhaps we might cut all we safely can and clean and clear the area for someone to come and drop the questionable ones.

Thanks
Charrie


PS. "1/2” sixteen strand climbing line will likely be suitable for what you will be doing with it."
Around on the backside of the house is a steep embankment that goes up about 15 feet. and it is uphill from there. There are several trees right on the edge of the embankment and some of the roots are starting to show so we need to remove them, most are under 4 inches in diameter (across).

Would a 1/2” sixteen strand climbing line be suitable to use as a safety line to our harness so keep from fall off the edge of the embankment?
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Reach, Agreed dropping them is the best way. In one of the pics I posted you can see where we started clearing trees so we would have room to drop the trees closest to the building. They have to fall uphill because there is a carport on other side of the gravel.
Yes I had a friend who worked for a tree company who fell.

Years and years ago I worked part time for a company that painted radio and TV towers. I had two main fears. The height never bothered me but one fear was reaching up and finding a wasp nest and two, one of the bolts giving way while swapping the lanyard line. They only provided us with one back then.

Jonny, That might be a good option. I am on a fixed income and the land is tied up in estate right now and is supposed to go to my son. The idea is to cut them now while they are small and more manageable. Perhaps we might cut all we safely can and clean and clear the area for someone to come and drop the questionable ones.

Thanks
Charrie


PS. "1/2” sixteen strand climbing line will likely be suitable for what you will be doing with it."
Around on the backside of the house is a steep embankment that goes up about 15 feet. and it is uphill from there. There are several trees right on the edge of the embankment and some of the roots are starting to show so we need to remove them, most are under 4 inches in diameter (across).

Would a 1/2” sixteen strand climbing line be suitable to use as a safety line to our harness so keep from fall off the edge of the embankment?
It sounds like you’re getting a good plan together.

I believe any rated climbing line would be fine to use as a safety line to keep you from falling off the embankment, just keep slack out of your system; the further you fall before you’re caught the greater the force you exert on the system that catches you.
 

Charrieleigh

New Member
Location
georgia
Is a double fisherman's knot good to use when making the lanyards? I found an old 1976 Rose MFG CO safety belt in our shop and the lanyards have the heavy steel forged snap hooks. the lanyards were 3 strand rope the rope was braided on the ends. Being the rope is 44 years old, I un-braided the rope and removed the snap hooks. The old rope looks like perhaps a 5/8" nylon rope.

Tom Dunlap, right now none of the trees would need a rope over 120 feet long. 70' is probably the tallest tree we need to cut. Most have very few limbs till you get past the upper half of the tree so I will probably use our 30' ladder to tie the rope off to the trees we will be cutting. We will be falling them up hill so 30' should be more then high enough as the trees we will be anchoring to are up the hill. A professional probably wouldn't need a rope.

In the future there will be some much larger trees that we will cut to clear some land so there may come a time when we need a much heavier rope. surprisingly many of the larger pines are pretty straight up. These smaller ones with the top lean are because they are on the edge of the woods and lean towards the sunlight.

Thanks
Charrie
 

TheTreeSpyder

Well-Known Member
Location
Florida>>> USA
Would need to consider length to ground for load leg + lengthy to ground for control leg usually
2x drop plus some.
.
Should do electric drops (eventually), get good with cheap throw line kit, even home-maid kit
Place ropes w/o climbing at high leverage but rigid position on trees and pull to give lean to target.
30' ladder high rope leverage on spindly pine is immense
>>but safer, quicker, easier to use throwline
>>many guys 'round here can put one 60' fairly accurately>>after that use slingshot or compressed air etc.
>>30' almost too low for us!
Proper use of throwline and rope is immense skill and game changer.
>>lot lighter, less conductive than alum ladder that also needs more clearance.
.
DO NOT LET HEAD HANG ON FALLING
>>tree head hitting anything else is a high leverage push back against fall
>>and trapping force
plot only lean, clean, mechanically simple falls to clear area >> PLANNING
.
12 strand rope nubbier than rounder 16, as like 8 sided stop sign is rounder than square.
>>easier to hand grip the 12, as 16 is rounder slip in hand
True Blue would be my fave, long wearing, premium strength, still elasticity 12 strand.
Arbo-Plex lesser bro of same company heritage(Samson)
.
i'd think pine sap would be biggest reason to go cheaper on rope
>>but even then, experience of clearing this many trees w/rope, will come up with usages for that old rope over time!
Would get the blue and watch the pine tar>> if gets on 1 end of rope, would try to keep all on that end
>>eventually might 'spare' that last 12' to be a small dragging line to keep mainline out of that duty etc.
.
New (possible) plan triage
A>drop the easy lays as much as can
B>throwline what can w/o climb
clearing up as go >> tangled mess is like tangled rope>>much worser
>>revisit drop and throwline thinning of herd
C>consider pro-help on remaining after all previous experience
.
Do not jam trees in fall, do what can cleanly
>>if a concern>>leaving more stump as nub for ripping stumps out w/machienry
Will look to use trees by wires as wire guard
>>then dedicated time of removal of trees w/wire down minimized time.
.
Pine sap can be a major contender, floods out easier during warmer part of day from cuts
>>separate 'junk' ropes/worn ropes usually shorter are best for any dragging
>>dog them out only, always precede drag w/Half Hitch.
.
WEAR BRAIN BUCKET TO NOT DENT YOUR COCONUT!
>>will be in battlefield zones and works of unseen widow makers seeking you
>>rolled up towel across back of neck is not worst idea either .
.
Endgame?>>
How are you getting rid of wood?
>>bulldozing/dragging to burn piles?
If no heavy equipment/dragging plan for all this bulk refuse
>>may jump to pro help at least bid to start!
>>getting them down might be the easy part w/o proper 'evacuation plan'
 
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dmonn

Active Member
Location
Mequon
You mentioned using a come a long to pre-tension trees before felling. Be very careful with that. Don't overtension them. Too much tension can cause the tree to do what's called a barberchair. That can be scary and dangerous. Check it out.

Regarding using a come a long, they usually have limited range. For $50 you can get what's called a Maasdam Rope Puller. Get the rope recommended for use with it. The rope puller has a working load limit of 1500 pounds, which is plenty of force for what you're talking about. The advantage is that the range of pull is as long as the rope you get. The recommended rope is a 1/2 inch 3-strand polyester rope. Maybe the only good use for 3-strand. I love mine. I've used it for lots of things other than tree work since I got it.

The only advantage to using 3-strand rope for anything I've come across (other than the rope puller) is that it's stupidly simple and easy to create an eye splice. I can create an eye splice in 3-strand in about 5 minutes, with no tools except a roll of vinyl tape. And I'm a beginner when it comes to splicing.

Good luck, and stay safe.
 

dmonn

Active Member
Location
Mequon
One more piece of advice about using a rope puller or come along. Get a rigging block. You don't want to be pulling a tree toward you. Use a sling to attach the rigging block to a tree to pull in the direction you want it to go, then use that block to change the location you're pulling from. A little hard to explain in words, but maybe somebody could post a sketch of what I'm trying to say.
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Is a double fisherman's knot good to use when making the lanyards? I found an old 1976 Rose MFG CO safety belt in our shop and the lanyards have the heavy steel forged snap hooks. the lanyards were 3 strand rope the rope was braided on the ends. Being the rope is 44 years old, I un-braided the rope and removed the snap hooks. The old rope looks like perhaps a 5/8" nylon rope.
Yes, a double fisherman’s knot is a great knot for making lanyards. However, a splice or stitched eye is better. You can buy premade lanyards from any arborist supply. I would hesitate to reuse 40+ year old rope snaps, even though they’re steel, they’re still ancient. They’re also probably non-locking, which is another unnecessary hazard. And please, don’t use the 1976 safety belt you found, cut it up and trash it, and buy a new one. Is your life worth more than a new $150 harness?

As a big second to what @Tom Dunlap said, buy a copy of “The Tree Climber’s Companion”. It is a simple, easy read with enough information to climb for a whole career safely and reasonably efficiently.
 

TheTreeSpyder

Well-Known Member
Location
Florida>>> USA
i really meant bracing against rigging forces, only,
and tightening rig as leveraged weight comes off.
Perhaps some overtightened against anticipated hit.
.
Would totally plan to remove brace (most of time) for felling phase.
Removing same limb before storm damage would have incredible ballast against same loading forces by comparison to now (usually).
Or at least to less than present significance in ratio.
.
Growth maximized against load, relieved load makes stronger in some ways,
But not as taut between countering pulls in other ways.
Can sit up harder towards original position putting 'slop' into mechanics (than previously), making chain of support less stable/ more floppy impacting in recoil.
.
Tightening brace seeks to put back some ballast and dampner against impacts.
 

KevinS

Well-Known Member
Location
ontario
Climbing lines must be rated a minimum of 5,000lbs. MBS and always work in a 10:1 safety factor

Rigging lines should be used at a 5:1 safety factor so less than 5,000lbs is ridiculous I run 1/2” lines at 8,000lbs mbs

I like 1/2” not too heavy but easy hand grip and good strength. But what you have to do is know your equipment and it’s limit and play within it.
 

Charrieleigh

New Member
Location
georgia
Okay, I ordered The Tree Climber's Companion.

TheTreeSpider: Yes I think we will do the electric drops. and will drop about 8 trees while the lines are down. That is where the top leaner are.
I doubt I could get a throw line in the right place, slingshot, possibly.
We have a tractor and chain to move the trees out of the way that we drop across the gravel driveway with the power lines down. On the hillside, we drop one, cut the limbs off and take them to a burn pile. The stems, we cut them in lengths that we can carry or drag and have been stacking them in a pile. We have been looking into old timers method of making fence posts.
Yep we have BRAIN BUCKET and safety glasses. the towel is a great idea!

Dmonn: The Maasdam Rope Puller looks much easier then using a come-a-long! We also have 2 1.5 ton rigging blocks with a pulley for 5/8 rope and a steel hook on the other end. Good point on being careful not to pre-tension the tees too much. I have watched several videos on barber chair,, not good! WE have tied a rope to most of the trees we have cut even though they were straight up. Mainly due to lack of experience and also just as an extra safety to ensure they go the way we need them to fall. We had trouble with one tree. Turned out there were some thick muscadine vines in the top and were connected to the adjacent tree. After cutting the notch and back cut, we had to wench it over.

Reach: Yes the 1976 safety belt is trash. All of the leather sewn onto the webbing was cracked. We did cut the D-rings off. You are correct that the old rope snaps are non locking so I ordered and have received 4 double action, forged steel safety snap hook from US rigging to use for the new lanyards.

Tom Dunlap mentioned used rope. I just came across someone who is going out of the tree business and selling some used 5/8 Samson True Blue 12 strand he said is rated at 10,000. He has a 450' piece that he said he would take $190 for...

Here is what it looks like. What do you think and what else to look for? There are no nicks or cuts that I can find and wear seen in the pics is pretty much even the length of the rope. There are some places or sections where it feels a little flat but not very bad.
WP_20201029_001.jpg WP_20201029_002.jpg
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
Okay, I ordered The Tree Climber's Companion.

TheTreeSpider: Yes I think we will do the electric drops. and will drop about 8 trees while the lines are down. That is where the top leaner are.
I doubt I could get a throw line in the right place, slingshot, possibly.
We have a tractor and chain to move the trees out of the way that we drop across the gravel driveway with the power lines down. On the hillside, we drop one, cut the limbs off and take them to a burn pile. The stems, we cut them in lengths that we can carry or drag and have been stacking them in a pile. We have been looking into old timers method of making fence posts.
Yep we have BRAIN BUCKET and safety glasses. the towel is a great idea!

Dmonn: The Maasdam Rope Puller looks much easier then using a come-a-long! We also have 2 1.5 ton rigging blocks with a pulley for 5/8 rope and a steel hook on the other end. Good point on being careful not to pre-tension the tees too much. I have watched several videos on barber chair,, not good! WE have tied a rope to most of the trees we have cut even though they were straight up. Mainly due to lack of experience and also just as an extra safety to ensure they go the way we need them to fall. We had trouble with one tree. Turned out there were some thick muscadine vines in the top and were connected to the adjacent tree. After cutting the notch and back cut, we had to wench it over.

Reach: Yes the 1976 safety belt is trash. All of the leather sewn onto the webbing was cracked. We did cut the D-rings off. You are correct that the old rope snaps are non locking so I ordered and have received 4 double action, forged steel safety snap hook from US rigging to use for the new lanyards.

Tom Dunlap mentioned used rope. I just came across someone who is going out of the tree business and selling some used 5/8 Samson True Blue 12 strand he said is rated at 10,000. He has a 450' piece that he said he would take $190 for...

Here is what it looks like. What do you think and what else to look for? There are no nicks or cuts that I can find and wear seen in the pics is pretty much even the length of the rope. There are some places or sections where it feels a little flat but not very bad.
View attachment 71138 View attachment 71139
I first want to say well done on listening to criticism, many new members on here have made up their mind on what they want and how they'll do it, then they ask for recommendations. Often times the recommendations are met with a headstrong attitude and they do it their way anyways. Its a little refreshing to see tips being given and then someone doing what they can to follow those tips.


As for the rope, true blue is a climbing rope but many people, myself included, use it for a light rigging rope. Without knowing which it was used for, I would not climb on it.
*side note, I was unaware that true blue came in 5/8" (I've only seen it in 1/2") if its truly 5/8" its almost guaranteed to have been used for rigging. Climb lines tend to max out at 1/2"

Upon careful inspection for glazing and UV damage (it sounds like you did not find any cuts in your previous inspection) I would likely use it for pulling and rigging purposes. At that length it'd be easy to find a short section to break if you had any reservations in the strength of it. That said, I really prefer to start out using a brand new rope, so that by the time it gets all fuzzy you can still trust it because you've seen what its been through.
 
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