Picking Tree Rigging Gear

Posted by cale@treestuff.com BigCommerce on Apr 23rd 2021

Tree rigging is a large part of being a professional arborist - but there's so much to learn and know about it! In this video, Nick Bonner goes over the basics of rigging down a tree, and the best gear to use for the job!

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Machine Generated Transcript

Hi, I'm Nick Bonner from TreeStuff.com. And today we're going to do soup to nuts rigging or the basics of, and fundamentals of rigging a tree and all the different types of equipment that you need. And the things you might consider when you're choosing that equipment. First thing that you need on any tree care job is BP that's gonna be head, ear eye protection, the right kind of pants, not shorts, right. You need close toed shoes, and all those things, we have videos on our wrist boots, eye protection, ear protection, head protection, all of those things in depth, feel free to check them out. We also have a complete video on how to pick tree climbing gear, which is kind of the pair to this video. And that'll cover all of the equipment that you need, and the considerations that you would make if you're going to climb the tree to do aerial rigging. So definitely check out that video if you have any questions about the climbing equipment involved. Today, we're just gonna cover the ring equipment. The next thing you need is some education, you're on the right track, you're here watching this video getting the basics and fundamentals. But that's what this is, this is a quick primer, it's certainly not exhaustive training. So definitely seek out training or professional instruction if you need it, or get some books from TreeStuff. We have a whole category of books a wide selection of them. And we have Jeff Jensen's, the tree climbers companion, which is a great selection. It covers a wide variety of topics in tree care, everything from how to access the tree to how to cut the tree, the basics of bringing everything so I highly recommend that book, we want to make sure that we cover the basics of cutting a tree down and what that means what it looks like to rig out or dismantle a tree. So if you look at our model here, you might need to use your imagination. But you can imagine, maybe some more branches out here, the first thing that you would want to do when you see your tree is select the ringing point, you're going to want to get your block up as high as you possibly can. Now, obviously, this side of the trees not doing so well. So while this is really high, we probably wouldn't want to put the block there. And this looks a little thin, maybe even Storm Damage there. So probably wouldn't want to put the block here. So it looks like maybe the best place to put the block would be here. And we would call this the high rigging point, then you imagine, you know, maybe there's a branch out here, you would tie the rope, right? Cut in and let it swing down and lower it down. Easy, generally considered pretty soft rigging or lowering where you're just letting the branch hinge down. And maybe you do that two or three times. If there was a obstacle house or a structure or something here that you didn't want to allow the branch to hinge down into and hit, maybe you need to lift the branch up. So you have your rigging point out here with the rope coming down to the tip of the branch. And then as you cut lifting forces applied and the branch actually lifts up until it's cut away here and then falls or is lowered down to the ground. That's the basic of lifting and lowering and you might apply those fundamentals to taking this branch off. Maybe you notch it Tippett this way, and you know it's tied here. And it swings into the trunk and away from the climber that would be ideal. Maybe you end up winching this or lifting this backup to straighten it out taking a big single cut at the bottom. There's a lot of different options that you could use there. But eventually this branch is going to be gone. And you're going to be left with just the spar or the the pole or the stick the stem. When you're doing smart rigging. Generally, there's no rigging point above you, you don't have a tree or a crane or anything like that. So you need to cut the wood from above the rigging point and catch it so if you can imagine having a block here, the climber would notch the log the log tips over and it's caught as it falls and lowers down. sparring, negative rigging, right snatch rigging these are all terms for catching the log or catching the load. These are the hardest on the equipment they require the biggest ropes the biggest pulleys, and they put the most force on the tree and are generally considered to be the most dangerous for the climber. So you would take the rest of the stem down that way through spar rigging. When you look at a rigging system or you're selecting the type of gear I think it's best to start at the bottom. So you're going to start with how do I choose a friction brake? What's the right one? For me? The answer is probably a porter at a porter rap is the most ubiquitous style of lowering device. It's very simple, it anchors to the tree very easily. And it allows a single user to very easily control catch lower limbs, or loads of 2000 pounds or even more so it works with pretty much any rope you can think of of the right diameter and is very simple to use. There are different versions of the porter AP style lowering device or the sign RC devices which are Semi fixed. And actually we'll hold the bollard up here against the tree. That can be really great. And it has a lot of advantages like you can flip the robot and off of it does take a little more time to set up and isn't as popular here in the US for sure. But there's some great options there from Stein. And then there are also fixed bollards that will ratchet around the tree similar to the way like a grcs works, or something like that. But if you're looking for a lowering device, and you don't have a porter app, or Porter app, so first step, that's the one you want, you want to get the porter app. Because even if you're doing advanced rigging, where you're using a lifting device, chances are you probably still have a porter app involved or need one for some aspect of that rigging scenario. If you're not going to be doing if you're if you're not strictly doing lowering and you're going to be doing lifting, you're going to need more than a quarter AP, maybe you need a porter AP and mechanical advantage setup or a porter AP and a come along or a mass dam three strand rope puller, which is a great tool, you can put three strand rope directly into it, and crank and pull the entire length of the rope without resetting it. So maybe you need some of those things. You might need different straps or slings to mount those, but you're going to need some type of friction brake usually with that pulling or lifting device. But if you have say an RC w or the Stein RC w winches or a grcs you may not need an auxiliary brake because those have lifting devices built into them. The grcs which we have a video on is certainly the best lifting device available. It mounts to the tree directly it has a planetary geared winch built onto it and a single user can lift or lower or catch loads of up to 3000 pounds really easily. So the grcs is awesome. The RC is a fixed baller the RC W is a fixed bollard that goes here and has an external brake winch which operates on a crank. You can't pull infinitely through something like that, but it's considerably less expensive than a grcs. And it does pack quite a punch. And it's built in really well designed by Canadian arborist wrench coats. So the RC W is a really good lifting scenario as well. I want to talk about the slings that we use to anchor these devices. We have videos covering all of the different sling types from would be to Lupita ultra to deadeye. But today, we're only demonstrating the deadeye in the ultra. And that's because I think these represent the two best choices for you, Dennis, things are very simple. It's a large girth II that goes out to a tale of varying lengths. They can be used in a lot of different situations. They're very versatile, you can usually get around the biggest trees with them. And they have a very low weight to diameter of tree capacity. They don't aren't doubled up like what bees or lupis are, they're usually really rugged, and they last a long time. So dead eyes are great. They do require you to know how to tie a knot, I have a cow hitch tied here we have a video on that as well, you can check that out and learn how to tie the cow hitch or other knots. The next thing that you see is the ultra sling. The Ultra sling has a pocket on the end did the implementer the rigging tool is either girth hitched or spliced into. There's one of these that's the exact size for the porter app, for example, the three quarter inch ultraslim, which is like the flagship one. And it's the best choice for anchoring a portrait because it's just so easy. But you see these pockets in the sling. When I mounted this, all you do is you take it around the tree and you stick the tool through the hole that gives you the best fit and that's it no training, no knots, no anything to learn. You can't do it wrong, right? It's either honored isn't so people love these, they come in all different sizes, whether you want one for mounting a block in the tree. There's the this one that comes with the Omni block 2.6 built onto it, which is really nice. And then there are Porter wrap sized ones. There's also smaller ones that can be used for accessories for tool carrying a ton of different uses ultra slings, I think are the best slings for anchoring any of these reading devices. So we talked about the friction break and we talked about the different types of slings that are available. When you're choosing your rigging point you're going to want to consider the type of work that you're doing are you going to be doing any lifting because if you're doing lifting, you're probably going to want something with the efficiency of a pulley. Not something like a rigging thimble or rigging ring that adds friction or you know even say a triple thimble or a safe block those add friction. So if you're doing lifting, you're definitely going to want something with a rotating sheet. In fact, this Omni block is a great choice for lifting because it has a built in swivel which is going to ensure that it orients exactly where it needs to be. And then it's also with a side button plate which I can flip around to show you here. It's midline attachable, which is really nice, and it's super duper safe, I can do it without even looking at it, as you can see. And it has that audible click. So the Omni block is a great choice if you're doing lifting. It also is, you know, works for lowering and catching. But I think there might be better choices. If you're gonna just be doing some basic lowering, you might even be able to get away with a smaller pulley, they have micro pulleys designed for rigging. And here's one example this is the DMM Pinto rig. And it's built onto a rope logic sling and a configuration called the rig saver. And this is really neat, because it provides a choking rigging point that is adjustable, so you can see I'm adjusting it right here to the diameter of the tree. And now it's on there and I can run my rigging line through here, I can use this to catch lift or lower within the MBs in the safe working load of the pulley. And then when I'm done with it, a retrieval link can catch on this ring, and pull the whole device out. But this is a really cool system, it can also be used like a friction saver or like a rigging ring, which we'll talk about here in just a second. So this is the rig saver, these are really neat, you can only get this from robe logic. It's an exclusive and this is a really great product. If you're going to be catching really big logs, you want a really big block, there's no doubt about that. There's some really great options. I don't have a CMI block here to show you. But CMI blocks are really affordable. And they're really durable. And they have been sold just tons of them, they have a great safety record. It's a great American company. And I you know, I think they're pretty basic, but they do a great job in that full size block. At the other end of the price spectrum, we have the DMM impact block, this is the smaller of two sizes, these come in at the highest price point. But they are extremely premium, there's no doubt about that. And then you also have this new block from knotch. Definitely bears a resemblance is certainly of a similar quality. This is pretty cool. One big difference that you see here is this is a spring block. Right? So, so the other camera here too. But these are really nice because even if you have gloves on, you can operate this without really any manual dexterity can see I'm just doing it with the palm of my hand, which is super nice. A DMM block uses a different screw mechanism. Which, you know, it's definitely different. I think that they're both really high quality options. It's just a different approach in the design. But these blocks, the thing that sets these apart from pulleys or things like that is that they offer impact protection, you're going to see this on all of these different models. And what that means is that the side plates are going to protect the rope from impact when the block inevitably goes bang into the tree. They're also going to have really high safe working loads and minimum breaking strength, and are generally just going to be more rugged, more heavy duty and they're going to survive the repetitive bashing that you get from spar rigging. And from catching things that are rigged above them if you're not going to be doing any lifting, for sure. And you're not strictly doing spar rigging, a great choice, I think are rigging symbols. And rigging symbols come in ultra slings which you can use for spar rigging. They are for redirects they also come in would be slings and all sorts of different options. But one of my favorite configurations and I've talked about this in several videos, we have a video on rigging cymbals rigging blocks on the micro pulleys. There's separate videos for all of those. But I will talk a lot about this rigging ring configuration. And this works just like a friction saver does. It can be set from the ground, it can be retrieved from the ground, it's incredibly strong in basket strength, it's really easy to use. They're extremely rugged, you know, we guarantee these symbols for life. I don't think we've ever had to replace one for aware issue or anything like that. And it's just a super, really high quality, very simple tool that will last a really long time and you'll be able to use a ton so I definitely like these riggan ring configurations for sure. The last thing The last type of equipment that we really want to talk about today is what type of rope Do you need. The type of rope that you select is going to be dictated primarily by the type of rigging that you're doing. Half intriguing lines, like this bull rope here. This is the notch crack It's also sold in a similar configuration by Samson understable braid, those are probably the two I think most well known brands. And certainly the best quality. These half inch lines, the polyester jacket, polyester core are going to be a great option and will do most of the rigging work that you're trying to do. They are offered with a nylon core, this type of rope, you'll see that under dinosaur or other names. And when you have a nylon core, the rope is going to have a higher absorption, dynamic absorption or stretch. And that's going to be useful if you're doing let's say spar rigging, you're not so worried that they're about the load coming down to the ground or getting too close to things. And you want to lower the impact force because it has more stress, reduce the impact force on the climber, and on the rigging point. So you're gonna see less shake in the tree and things like that. If however, you have a house right underneath where you're rigging and you're letting branches swing down and catching them, you may not want to have them sagging and hitting the roof of the house, you won't want to catch that load and arrest it is in a shorter distance as possible. You wouldn't want to use a nylon cord rigging line you would use a polyester cord rigging one if you're gonna be doing lifting in oftentimes a half inch rigging line or a three quarter inch rigging line with polyester core is a good enough choice and will get the job done. However, sometimes you really want to limit stretch or dynamic absorption, right? And when you're winching, you don't want to be like winching or lifting all of that stretch out, you want to get you know, get the job done and get the item to come up. So you might find yourself using a non braided core rope like a static line like Sterling HCP or Sterling workpro are great choices. Or maybe one you end up needing something with like a high modulus score, which would be like a true winch line. There's a lot of different options in terms of that. But you may find yourself needing something a little more static for lifting operation in terms of diameter, you know, half intriguing lines are the best sellers, they do the most work, I think most normal rigging can be done with half inch lines. Obviously people need bigger ropes. But you don't need a three quarter inch rope to do all of your rigging, you don't necessarily need to just go get the biggest rope possible. three quarter inch lines are really heavy, especially when they get wet. They take up a lot of space and they're really expensive. I think nine sixteenths is a really great diameter, it will stay out a little longer than your half inch line, especially if you're thinking about like upsizing to the to the bowl rope just to make yourself feel better. A lot of times the increase in NBS as you get from nine sixteenths, we'll get you there without necessarily getting out the big rope. They also tend to wear a little slower just because they're bigger. And I think nine sixteenths ropes can be a pretty good value. Usually in terms of length, what length of rope Do you need, people will usually by bull ropes in shorter length and skinnier ropes and longer length. The reason is, is because the wood is usually bigger, closer to the ground, right? That makes sense. It's super intuitive. So you don't use your three quarter inch rope to rig the stuff that's way at the top of the tree because it's smaller. And because three quarter inch ropes or big bull ropes are again, heavy, bulky and expensive. So I would say if you are only going to get two ropes you want 150 foot ball rope and a 200 foot kind of standard rigging line. So half inch 200 foot three quarter inch or five eighths in the shorter length that covers the types of ropes that are available pretty basically, we actually have videos on the different types of ropes. It's pretty old, we should probably refilm that one. But you can check that out. And hopefully, this demo and all of the different resources that we've created and highlighted within this. This discussion today are really helpful for you when you're trying to find the right equipment and the right techniques to do tree care where you live.