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Old 02-11-2015, 00:38   #1
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Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

This follows on from a recent thread where I sought advice regarding current thoughts on soft shackles:
Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Summary: Late 2015, there are apparently two types of soft shackles that are considered most useful:

1. The "Better" soft shackle (uses a Diamond knot stopper)
Developed by Allen Edwards.
Its strength is considered to be about 175% of line strength (similar to the Classic soft shackle, which Allen calls Colligomarine style, with its long buried central portion, and also similar to the Kohlhoff soft shackle with no buried portion).
My review of it:
- As the buried portion of the Better is shorter, the loop at the end is much easier to open. Buried portions stiffen with time, making the Classic harder to open as it ages.
- The longish enclosed portion in the main body of the Better makes it a neater shackle than the Kohlhoff style with no central bury.
- There seems to be a better distribution of stress, as the buried portion does not need to be super carefully milked, as it does in the Classic (I struggle a bit to get this right, often resulting in a larger than wanted eye because I have tried to be conservative)
- Like the Classic and Kohlhoff style shackles, the tail hanging out of the end of the stopper does, however, get tatty looking with age.
- Once you have practised the Diamond knot a few times, it is very easy to tie.
- The eye is beautifully snug with seemingly no risk of the stopper slipping through.

I give this shackle 4* .

Instructions:
Better Soft Shackle
Better Soft Shackle | How to tie the Better Soft Shackle | Splicing Knots

These are a couple of Better soft shackles. They are longer than normal as I had a request for a few of these from my better half. The thick ones like the one in the right are particularly useful as they are easy to handle. No need to be fumbling with opening small nooses and pushing small stoppers through:





2. The "High Strengh" soft shackle (uses a Button knot stopper)
Coming up with this was a team effort by Brion Toss (who developed the Button itself), Allen Edwards and Evans Starzinger in this SA thread:
Rope/knot/splice load testing - Gear Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums
Its strength is considered to be about 230% of line strength (30% stronger than the Better soft shackle). This is achieved by burying the tails in the line at the base of the stopper and therefore strengthening the weak point of the shackle. The noose/loop at the end becomes the new weak point.
Allen commented that the Button stopper is "is a bitch to figure out". Trying it for the first time a few days ago, my sentiments we initially along the same lines .

This is a High Strength soft shackle:




Why bother with this stronger shackle when you could just use a thicker line and make the "easy" Better one? Well, soft shackles are extremely useful to connect the snubber to the chain. We have used them for about 18 months now with great success and general reports from other cruisers indicate the same. However, the optimal line diameter needed for strength unfortunately does not fit easily through the chain links. Using the "High Strength" soft shackle is therefore considered the better choice in this application.

Secondly, I concur with Evans - it not much harder to make once you have conquered the Button.

And last, but far from least, it is a elegant shackle with no stumpy bit poking through the top of the stopper . Many thanks to Brion for this brilliant innovation.
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Old 02-11-2015, 00:40   #2
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Instructions I have found for tying the Button
(some of these appear downright scary, and viewing is not for the faint hearted ):

Evans Starzinger: http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/button.pdf
Grog Animated knots: Stronger Soft Shackle | How to tie the Stronger Soft Shackle | Splicing Knots
Allen Edwards: How to Tie A Button Knot

One of the above may work for you, but I initially struggled. The Button is a bit complex to weave correctly the first few attempts, but that wasn't actually the hard bit. The main difficulties I had with it were:
1. In the very final step working out exactly where to poke the ends relative to the standing ends
2. Dressing (ie tightening) the knot.

I have found easy ways to overcome these problems so I thought I would photograph the steps with my explanations in case that helps anyone. The tips can be used in conjunction with other instructions such as the ones linked above if you find any of them make more sense to you. Once you know what you are aiming for, I think the Button becomes no harder than the Diamond knot to tie.

There are probably several YouTubes too, but my internet is too poor to access these. If anyone has any recommendations, I will add them here.

Instructions will follow when I set up a tripod and sort out the photography.
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Old 02-11-2015, 00:58   #3
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

But...........

Are the shackles Vegan?

You dont know do you?....no.......... you dont!

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Old 02-11-2015, 07:28   #4
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

BUTTON INSTRUCTIONS

I am starting with the Button, as that is the only complicated bit when making the High Strength soft shackle. The rest is child's play. I will post full instructions for making the shackle in the few days. It will give you a chance to practice with the Button first .

I have used thin double braid line of different colours to demonstrate this. It is easier to tie and easier to demonstrate this way.
TIP: Tie a few Buttons first in different coloured double braid to get the hang of this knot before you attempt it in soft slippery unsheathed Dyneema.

Remember that the working ends continually move anticlockwise and the knot is tightened with the lines moving anticlockwise as well. This helps if you get a bit stuck.

Step 1:

TIP: Firmly tape the two standing bits of line just below the spot where you want to form the Button I have not seen this suggested anywhere, but it makes the Button MUCH easier to tie.
Also tape the ends of the line to stop it fraying.

TIP: When you are actually making the shackle, mark one of the lines with a black texta, both on one working end and on the side of the tape binding the two bits together corresponding to this end, as I have shown. This helps identify the line as the blue one in the instructions and makes the instructions easier to follow when working with Dyneema.

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Old 02-11-2015, 07:41   #5
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 2:

Grip the line between your fingers near the top of the taped bit like this:




Remember this pattern of emerging lines, as you need to reproduce this at the end:

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Old 02-11-2015, 07:48   #6
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 3:

Pass the blue line anticlockwise under the red one and lay it over the TOP of the blue loop formed:

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Old 02-11-2015, 07:52   #7
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Quote:
Originally Posted by weavis View Post
But...........

Are the shackles Vegan?

You dont know do you?....no.......... you dont!

Vegan? Gosh, no.

They are not just meaty, but have blood dripping from them (if only because you have slashed your wrists after attempting some on the other online instructions ).

SWL
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:28   #8
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 4:

Bring the red line anticlockwise and pass it under the loop of the blue:

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Old 02-11-2015, 08:45   #9
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 5:

Cross the red over and under the blue working line in the centre:




TIP: Keep this crossing centred over the top of the taped bit while you continue working.
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:03   #10
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 6:

Bring the blue line around anticlockwise and under two bits of the red as shown:

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Old 02-11-2015, 09:05   #11
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 7:

Bring the red line around anticlockwise and under two bits of the blue as shown (make sure it passes under the working end of the blue line initially):

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Old 02-11-2015, 09:12   #12
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 8:

Open up this crossing in the centre widely by moving the red and blue lines in the crossing at the centre, as shown:



NOTE: The knot has been deliberately tied on a bit of a diagonal so that the blue portion coming out of the tape continues to look like it did in step 1.
Edited to add:
Since photographing the procedure, I found it is even better if the whole knot is tied with the initial loops oriented at 3 & 9 o'clock, not 1 and 7 o'clock. Too much trouble to rephotograph it all though . Still grip it between your fingers exactly the same way, but rotate the loops formed slightly more than shown. If you do this, the blue portion coming out of the tape will look like it did in step 1 without any coaxing.


This is what you should aim to end up with:

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Old 02-11-2015, 09:17   #13
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 9:

TIP: Arrange the two bits of the standing end that emerging immediately from the tape so they look as they did in Step 1.

You will be poking the two working ends on either side of the taped standing ends through the big gap you have created, on either side of the taped standing ends.

The blue line will go into the blue circle in this photo.
The red line will go into the red circle.

It is important that the red and blue lines emerging from between your fingers follow the same lines as they did in Step 1:

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Old 02-11-2015, 09:35   #14
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 9:

Poke the blue line down through the your fingers just to the right of the taped standing line (note, this places blue working end adjacent to the blue standing end):

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Old 02-11-2015, 09:36   #15
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re: Instructions for Tying the High Strength Soft Shackle & Button Knot

Step 10:

Poke the red line down through the your fingers just to the left of the taped standing line (note, this places red working end adjacent to the red standing end):

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