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Old 17-11-2008, 08:34   #46
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StaLok rigging experience

I re-rigged my Ketch catamaran completely with StaLok. Insurance had demanded replacement after 15 years and the existing fittings were a curious mix of threads and replacements.

Our shrouds fit into stainless Tee slot plates bolted inside the mast. The stainless Tees were swaged to the old wires. I arranged with a local specialist stainless welder to weld the old cutoff strong forks from the turnbuckles to the Tees cut from the swages. I was assured the complete weld was stronger than the original fittings. The stainless tee-fork fittings could then be easily slotted into the masts. This allowed me to have a complete wires with top and bottom in StaLok eyes.

I figured this would save when the wire needed replacement in 10-15 years.

A stainless specialist told me the secret in cutting the wire is to use a stainless steel (Inox) thin blade in a side cutter. These discs cost about one pound here in Europe. It has revolutionised my ability to work with stainless. One can get a good clean cut of the 1x19 rigging wire. I usually run the blade around the wire edges to round any sharp edges. I have used these blades subsequently to cut stainless plate as thick as 5/8 inch. I have triangular SS plates to split the fore and back stays to port and stern corners.

I also beefed up the plates and drilled them to take the 5/8 and 1/2 inch fork pins for main and mizzen respectively. The secret of stainless drilling I was told was slow speed. I managed to find a 24V professional drill at B&Q (a UK-base DIY store with branches overseas even in China) which had three ranges the lowest to 350 rpm with 20 different torques. I could not find any other drill that worked that low. My Sears Craftsman drill press goes lower but that is in the workshop and not always convenient to the boat.

By working up in size I was able to drill holes as large as 16mm with a hand held drill. Cutting fluid liberally applied helps keep the drill cool. If one drills at too high a speed the bit will fuse and harden and you will have ruined the work. So keep the drill bit slow and cool. It also helps to keep the drill bit sharp. Drill Doctor make a good drill sharpening tool with settings for different cutting angles.

In fitting the StaLoks I put marine grease liberally in the fitting and around the wire after putting the cones in place and replacing the outer wires so they did not jam the compression gap. When the fitting was tightened the grease was squeezed out and wiped off so I knew there was less possibility of seawater ingress. They recommend not over-tightening the fittings.

I was not happy with the StaLok securing method on the turnbuckles or bottlescrews. They require a rod (not supplied) inserted midway through a hole and some sort of wrench to tighten the nut. It was not easy to find a rod strong enough to fit the turnbuckle, at least not in my tool box.

I talked to StaLok and they agreed to machine spanner flats in the middle of all my turnbuckles free of charge if I returned them. I did just that. This way I can tighten all my turnbuckles with a couple of adjustable wrenches or spanners. One can usually find these in an emergency at sea. It is much better to have common tools than search for a specialty tool in any event. For safety I also wire them with stainless wire through the holes and slit in the fittings. This is a belt and braces safety measure. Another sailor hear uses cotter split pins through the same holes.

It should also be noted that if you have screw fittings top and bottom of a wire you must be sure to have right-hand to right hand threads at the opposite ends. This is because tightening in one direction will loosen in the opposite end and so be self correcting. The StaLok turnbuckles have an orange sticker at the left hand thread end (I have left hand lock nuts as well on mine ie lock nuts on each end). This should always be placed at the bottom next to the chainplate. This is the rigging convention in any case. This way all the turnbuckles will turn in the same direction to tighten or loosen. Again it is helpful in an emergency.

Repeated tightening and loosening when underway could result in loss of rig if the turnbuckle is put on with the left-hand thread upwards if there is a right hand thread at the top of the mast.

We have had the rigs working for three years and I had occasion to disassemble a couple this year. They showed no wear and were still full of pristine grease. I can say we are very happy with StaLoks. On our island there is no professional rigger so there is a strong DIY culture and lots of help from other professional marine and boatyard staff. We were the second or third boat to use StaLok and there are now several others re-rigging using these fittings. Potential loss of insurance is proving a great incentive.
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Old 17-11-2008, 12:04   #47
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sta-lok themselves advise using caulking.

STA-LOK Terminals Ltd - Marine - Technical Information - Assembly Instructions
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Old 17-11-2008, 12:43   #48
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Some excellent ideas there and a couple of things we had not considered in rigging, such as the thread direction on the rig ends, that's got me looking and thinking !

There seems to be more support for the Sta-Lok's, is that because more people use them &/or they are better in some way.
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Old 17-11-2008, 13:18   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbony View Post
... There seems to be more support for the Sta-Lok's, is that because more people use them &/or they are better in some way.
Readily available (accessible) , and extensive product support is the hallmark of a "smart" company,; and one of the "quality" indicators that I judge when selecting a product.
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Old 22-11-2008, 15:45   #50
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Ribbony,

Norseman and Sta-lok fittings are equals in ability, but not in availability. Sta-loks have a broader supply network and more distributors worldwide.

That said, you don't break these things often. Buy either one, get two extra terminal for all your sizes, and enough spare tension cones (or whatever they're called) to replace your entire rig + two or three. You'll have all the parts you need for a long time.

Again, I suggest sailing services. Great prices, knowledge, availability all equal a great company. I'd rather support them than Port Supply (who buys the Sta-loks from them anyway!)

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Old 23-11-2008, 22:39   #51
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Just to slide the thread a little to one side a bit but with extreme relevance. Greasing the fittings up when assembling them. We use some compression fittings from an English manufacturer. They say not to use sealant type things and here's why.

Quote:
There are three main reasons why we recommend that you do not need to use sealant:

  1. Regardless of how much sealant and pressure you apply to the terminal, we do not believe that you will completely fill the cavity, thus leaving a small air pocket which will get some water in it (usually somewhere near the centre of the cable where it is difficult to get at). Stainless steel has a very thin oxide layer which is one of the features which makes it stainless. Over time it is possible that the oxide layer next to a small air pocket may become damaged due to a chemical reaction between the stale water in the air pocket and the oxide layer. This will eventually expose the chromium which is no longer protected, rendering the material weaker. In our opinion it is safer to allow fresh water into the terminal on a regular basis which not only clean and wash away any built up salt residues but will also maintain the oxide layer of the stainless steel.
  2. The main mechanical components of the compression fittings are manufactured from stainless steel grade 316. This material has high anti-corrosive properties and is ideal for use in a constant sea-water environment. The design of the terminal and its components has been developed in such a way that it is acceptable to use this material. Other designs of this type of terminal may not benefit from these design features.
  3. The design of the compression terminal is such that you can dismantle the terminal at any time allowing you to inspect and clean the internal components and then re-assemble and use again without the need for any new parts. When you dismantle the terminals, the wires and components usually remain in place. If you use a sealant, it would make this operation very difficult and you may not be able to see all of the inner components properly.
I've always been told to grease (whatever) them up but we don't with these as the manufacturer says not too. I can't see any major obvious difference between the assorted manufacturers apart from a few smaller cone and things type design. Just wondering why one says not too and the 'common thought' is too. We use a lot of SS in some of the stuff we manufacturer and are always being told SS needs to breath.

Anyone have any thoughts on this in relation to the Sta-lock style of fitting without wandering off track too much?
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Old 24-11-2008, 01:38   #52
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Well surprisingly, I just followed Sta-Loks instructions when it came to fitting them. Although they mention sealant as an option, they certainly did not imply it was necessary. I just figured they know their product and wouldn't give bad instructions. They know the terminals are going to be fitted to blue water yachts.

Usually I think I know better that the designers and manufacturers and I over engineer the installation of a perfectly good product however experience shows me I am usually wrong. For once I just thought I might follow the instructions.
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Old 24-11-2008, 01:58   #53
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Usually I think I know better that the designers and manufacturers and I over engineer the installation of a perfectly good product however experience shows me I am usually wrong.
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Old 24-11-2008, 02:54   #54
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ALl good points. A rigger told us to not use lubricants or preservative oils on the swages and to wash regularily with frest water. Other people have told us to use vaseline or lanoline grease on them as often as possible.

It may be that both systems work if the fresh water or the lubricants are applied regularily as reccomended. Both lubricants mentioned are heat sensitive and readily melt down into the wire and swage when warm.

Point 3 in the list above (re: disassembly of fittings) is interesting. Having never worked with such fittings it would be good to hear from those that have if they had problems with the lubricated fittings being inspected and reassembled ?
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Old 24-11-2008, 07:40   #55
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Suncor mechanical fittings

IMHO the engineering data has shown time and again that mechanical are definitely superior to swaged fittings. The general rule of thumb is that with mechanical fittings the wire "Should" fail before the fitting, not so the case with swaged fittings. A point that I don't think I saw mentioned here is, with swaging fittings, the individual performing the work is a very important part of the loop and requires experience to make a strong, "Safe" installation. A very important point with the mechanical fittings is the ability to effect repairs at sea. It is a very sensible, easy idea to carry a length of wire and a rigging cutter aboard and be able to use as required.
My current boat when purchased has mostly "Norseman" fittings for the standing rig. Norseman and Staylock have been around for some time and are first generation "Old technology". For those of you who have used or are considering mechanical fittings I strongly urge you to consider reading the article published in a past issue of "Good Old Boat" magazine dealing with strength tests of first and second generation of mechanical fittings.
I have opted to swap out my "Norseman" when required with the "Suncor"
line of fittings and can attest that they are much easier to install than the older style fittings, due to the fact that there is no requirement to splay wires and no cones required. My first installation took about ten minutes, including cutting the wire.


http://www.bosunsupplies.com/GoodOldBoatQuickAttach.CFM
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Old 24-11-2008, 08:06   #56
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Possibly I will be leaving Florida soon to cross the Pacific. I am looking to replace my swages at the fitting. I liked the sta-lok, and was going to use them. I found them simple to install. About 10 minutes including the cutting too. I do not understand the claim of them being difficult? Can anyone else give some input on Suncor?
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Old 24-11-2008, 08:55   #57
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"Suncor"

Imagine2frolic please read the information on the link that I provided, gives great information from an independent engineer who took the time to do destructive "Load testing" on several of the more popular brands of mechanical fittings. The article is very informative and directly influenced my decision to utilize "Suncor" on our vessel moving forward.

"Stalok" requires that you unravel the outer strands of your wire and fit the inner core strands through what they call a "Wedge", "Norseman" the same thing. With the "Suncor" this step in assembly is not required. Additionally the older style of fittings require new "Wedges", "Cones", etc. be re-installed every the fitting is disassembled.

One of the surprising results of the bench tests was the "Norseman" fittings, contrary to their advertising, failed repeatedly and let go before the wire failed. My recollection was that the "Suncor" was the strongest of the bunch, which is really the most important thing after all?
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Old 24-11-2008, 10:57   #58
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I did read the link, and that is why I am asking. I like to hear different opinions. Same if the doc told me I was dying.

As far as spreading the cable. I don't understand the difficulty? I placed the end of the cable to the bottom of my sandal. Of course I was holding the sandal in my hand. I gave a quick twist. The wire opened, and I slipped in the cone. Took me maybe 10 seconds to commit this act.

I did like what I read, but another thing is availabilty of parts. I have saved the link, and when the time comes I will do more research, and make a decision..........thanks for the link......i2f
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Old 24-11-2008, 11:58   #59
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Im in the process of gathering material for my inter stay..If the Suncor was available in the 9/32 as that may be the size I use I would give it a go..some pretty impressive test results and I just crossed Norsemen off my list even though I greatly preferred there looks over sty-locks...Thanks for posting that.
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Old 24-11-2008, 12:10   #60
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Does anyone have a link to the suncor products ?
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