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Old 28-10-2015, 21:11   #16
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Yea, the toggles are pretty easy to make.

In my mind the downside is that you now have a piece of metal in the system which can beat on stuff - mast/deck/your face. One of the 'brilliance" of the knot soft shackle is that it is all textile with no metal.

Whether that is a real concern or not will depend in part on the specific application - for instance fir the anchor snubber application it is not a concern at all.
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Old 29-10-2015, 01:54   #17
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
SL,

The only place I found the "stronger" design to be really valuable was on chain snubber. You are limited in the size soft shackle you can push thru a chain link. The "better" one is really a bit weak for the application while the 'stronger" one is a better match with the typical strengths of the rest of the components. Once made, the stronger one is the same in operation as the "better" one.

Otherwise, the "better" one is mostly more than strong enough. And you can upsize your line, although I find using bigger that 6mm line makes for a "too bulky" diamond knot and prefer the "stronger" design if I need something that strong (stronger than the "better" design in 6mm).

The button is really no harder than the diamond once you have tied one correctly. Brion and I both had (different) photo sequences on our web sites. I have not looked recently to see if they are still there, but there was a big thread on SA where we worked thru how to tie the button which went into gory detail. I could probably find some good clear instructions if you still need them.

There has not been any significant development since the "stronger" one. I developed a few variations that were easier to tie and Brion developed one that was even stronger, but they all had drawbacks and we agreed were really not practical alternatives.
Hi Evans
Many thanks. That was exactly the information I was looking for. I will stick with the "Best" design for general use, but will tackle the Button again later. Learning the knot is is based on will help me I think, so. I will turn to Ashley first, then check you website and if I have the courage SA .

-------

For anyone interested in using soft shackles to connect the snubber to the chain, before we drop anchor I will try and snap a shot of our old one currently in use and will also later post some feedback on our experience with them.

I have a few tips for tying the Diamond stopper as well.

SWL
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Old 29-10-2015, 03:06   #18
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

So, what was the question again?
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Old 29-10-2015, 04:31   #19
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Quite a few of mine are "stupid oversize" from a structural standpoint, since if the line is smaller than 3/16" I find them too difficult with gloves or in rough conditions. Still very light, so I see no reason to down size. Bigger is easier when things are moving about.
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Old 29-10-2015, 12:20   #20
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Yeah! Success with the Button stopper used in the "High Strength" soft shackle.

It was amazingly all in the dressing! If not dressed correctly two of the ends stick out of the sides of the ball perpendicularly.

My very first attempt using Grog as a guide may well have been incorrect, but the next three attempts last night using Allen's instructions were very carefully tied and all looked exactly as his did in the loose stage, but ended up with two lines emerging weirdly when tightened.

The trick to dressing is simply to hold all four bits with one hand (the two working ends and the two standing ends) and kind of roll the the rest down with your other fingers as you tighten, pushing it into the shape you want. Just have a little faith .

Continuing to hold all 4 portions and tighten the stopper up by starting from one of the standing portions and working your way around the line tightening it. It helps to tie a bit of thread on the standing line you start with so that when it comes to tightening the other one you know which one was not done (it is not obvious).

I will photograph it in a moment dressed properly and inappropriately .
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Old 29-10-2015, 13:33   #21
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Button stopper used for the "High Strength" soft shackle dressed (ie tightened up) correctly:




And absolutely incredibly, this is how it can look if you just tug on all 4 ends, one at a time, to tighten it up. I would never have thought you could rearrange this so that all 4 bits of the line emerge together at the base of the ball in a very snug manner. This is what had me convinced last night I was tying it wrongly:




If anyone is attempting one of these for the first time, Allen's instructions are better than Grog's:
How to Tie A Button Knot
What made it a little confusing for me was that between images 4 & 5 the knot was regripped (the standing ends are suddenly between different fingers) and the knot was rotated around.

The bit that also threw me was the comment attached to photo 13:
"Now take the other tail and thread it down through the other opening."
Both ends get poked through the same opening as far as I can see .

In the next few days I will photograph each step of the Button in the way that I found easiest to arrange while tying, in case it helps anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
The button is really no harder than the diamond once you have tied one correctly. Brion and I both had (different) photo sequences on our web sites.
Evans, I searched tnrough your website, but I was unable to find your instructions for the Button (there is nothing in "Articles" or in the index on the left side).
If anyone hasn't yet discovered the wealth of information on Beth and Evans' site, here is the link:
Beth and Evans Home Page


By the way, we have never had a soft shackle fail and have used these to attach our snubber to our chain for about 18 months now, anchoring out each night all seasons and all conditions in the Aegean region of the Mediterranean during this time.

The "original" version of the soft shackle has been used simply as a few were made up early last year. It is only that we are using our last one (they have been lost rather than damaged) that prompted me to see if there was anthing new compared to the "Best" and "High Strength" versions that came out last year, before I made up some more.

SWL
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Old 29-10-2015, 14:54   #22
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Hello,

Is anyone else (but me) using the "improved Soft shackle" version which is essentially a pair of eye splices and an overhand (or a slightly fancier) knot? It has the advantage of doubling up in the area that breaks. I've not been following the soft shackle discussion for 6 months or so, did someone discover a problem with that one? BTW I've been using for my snubber for a year with 1/4 dyneema on a 50' boat.

Cheers, Eric
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Old 29-10-2015, 15:17   #23
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ejs View Post
Hello,

Is anyone else (but me) using the "improved Soft shackle" version which is essentially a pair of eye splices and an overhand (or a slightly fancier) knot? It has the advantage of doubling up in the area that breaks. I've not been following the soft shackle discussion for 6 months or so, did someone discover a problem with that one? BTW I've been using for my snubber for a year with 1/4 dyneema on a 50' boat.

Cheers, Eric
If anyone is not familiar with this version, this is the link to Evans' file:

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/improvedsoftshackle.pdf
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Old 29-10-2015, 15:18   #24
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

^^ yea, that is (one of the early) 'easier' one. It is fine, secure and very strong if you tie and tension it correctly. BUT I learned from other users there are several ways it can be screwed up, so it still looks ok/correct, but it will then invert and come apart under load. I still use it, but stopped recommending it. It is also not a symmetric ball, somewhat lumpy looking, and that seemed to offend some people.

But that one demonstrated the value of burying the tail, and brion took the core idea of burying the tail from that one and applied it to the button knot for the current 'stronger' design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Evans, I searched tnrough your website, but I was unable to find your instructions for the Button (there is nothing in "Articles" or in the index on the left side).
http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/button.pdf

Not sure how helpful it is . . . . it was really just for me, and I knew most of the moves, just needed to be reminded after I had not done one in a while. I did photos with both 2 color line and same color line, as the two color shows the moves more clearly but the one color shows what you are really seeing.
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Old 29-10-2015, 15:43   #25
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/button.pdf

Not sure how helpful it is . . . . it was really just for me, and I knew most of the moves, just needed to be reminded after I had not done one in a while. I did photos with both 2 color line and same color line, as the two color shows the moves more clearly but the one color shows what you are really seeing.
Thanks for the link.
I am still a bit puzzled by the very final step of poking the poking ends down.
Allen shows them going through one hole as far as I can see (he spreads the overhand in the centre apart), although he does imply it is two holes.
You clearly say it is two:
"Look closely at the knot, and you will see two small triangular spaces in the very middle. To finish the knot you will tuck an end into each of these spaces."

If I photgraph what I have at this final stage could you please point to where the working ends poke in? I must have that wrong still, although the knot dresses into a very neat snug ball.

SWL
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Old 29-10-2015, 16:13   #26
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Here is the knot ready for the very final bit of poking the ends down:




Allen shows that the crossover in the centre needs to be parted (see his faint red arrows), but to me that implies both ends pass through the one central hole. He does say after poking one end in the central gap: "Now take the other tail and thread it down through the other opening."




I have tied mine so my colours match his. If you trace the lines the two photos are actually the same.

Evans, where exactly are the two triangular holes you refer to? Or the two openings Allen refers to? I just have one opening in the very centre.

SWL
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Old 29-10-2015, 17:36   #27
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

^^

Take a look at this pic I have grabbed from Grog.
Click image for larger version

Name:	button.jpg
Views:	136
Size:	45.2 KB
ID:	111829

You can see the two holes I am talking about.

You have removed the separator by the way you are holding the standing parts apart.

I believe they end up the same, but Grog and my holding approach makes them a bit easier to dress - less likely the tails ending up sticking out the sides if you don't dress it all evenly

Edit 1: you know Grog takes these photo sequences by first completely tieing the knot, and then taking photos as he unties it step by step. That occasionally provides a slightly different 'look' than if you take the photo sequence while tieing the knot.

edit 2: something I never tested was whether it makes any difference if you bury the tails in the same color or the opposite color. I am guessing it might make a difference how evenly/neatly the ball tightens up under load but probably not for the breaking strength.
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Old 29-10-2015, 17:51   #28
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
^^

Take a look at this pic I have grabbed from Grog.
Attachment 111829

You can see the two holes I am talking about.

You have removed the separator by the way you are holding the tails apart.

I believe they end up the same, but Grog and my holding approach makes them a bit easier to dress - less likely the tails ending up sticking out the sides if you don't dress it all evenly
Ah, yes, I see from Grog's image. Yes, it is one hole, but if the standing ends were held together they would sort of give it a split look. Thanks .

Funny about the dressing . That was a curved ball. I was scratching my head, as it looked seemingly impossible to have all the ends emerge together until I actually held them tightly that way to start and then proceeded with the tightening. That is critical with this knot.

I have had a play with dressing. Holding just the two working ends together as I tighten, means I arrive at yet another configuration (the emerging lines made a nice crisp T shape). The knot should be called the Chameleon, not the Button .

You are right, the knot does become easy after a few goes. The symmetry is quite beautiful so I am not frowning at it any more. Thank you heaps for your help.

SWL
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Old 29-10-2015, 17:59   #29
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
edit 2: something I never tested was whether it makes any difference if you bury the tails in the same color or the opposite color. I am guessing it might make a difference how evenly/neatly the ball tightens up under load but probably not for the breaking strength.
They actually fall naturally in two pairs as they tighten up - red working end with blue standing end and vice versa. It would need an unnatural crossing with the second diagonal pair to match the same colour together. Probably with squishy Dyneema this is not so obvious.

Edited to add: Also, if you treat the central opening as two holes and split the working ends as they go in, I think that places them into an unnatural position, not that it really matters (they have never settled that way for me with tightening if the four bits are held together to dress the knot, but maybe that is pot luck).


Scrap all that, they can fall either way with pushing. There must be one way the knot lies better though. I will have a play tomorrow as it is getting late here.

Fun experimenting .

SWL
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Old 29-10-2015, 18:16   #30
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Re: Soft Shackles - What is the Latest?

^^ BTW . . . regarding Thinwaters question about failures and the regular diamond knot . . . .The single most common failure I found when testing other people's soft shackles (and this includes several from Allen and from Brion) was that the knot is not tightened up firmly enough before the tail ends are clipped off short. What happens then is that when you exceed the 'pre-tension' level the tails will slip/suck into the diamond and it will unravel well before the expected breaking strength.

This is a tricky one because the knot will feel 'firm' and will look correct, but could have a lower than expected breaking strength. I used a hydraulic puller with a load cell attached and could make exactly repeatable full strength diamonds. Few people have that equipment, but if you winch them firm you can get close to repeatability by knowing how hard you lean on the winch handle - and if you were really detail oriented you could borrow a load cell for one round so you know numerically what you were doing.

The relevance of this to the 'stronger' shackle . . . .is that when you bury the tails you prevent them from slipping and getting sucked back into the knot and it unravelling. So you have in fact eliminated what I see as the most common failure mode/ construction error of the diamond. Of course in addition to increasing the ultimate strength.
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