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Old 29-06-2015, 16:54   #1
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Zip ties or twine lacing

As I scratch up my forearms wrestling to create neat wire bundles with zip ties, I recall from my Navy Electronics Technician days that we would sometimes use twine lacing instead of zip ties. As nice as that technique looks and feels, it's basically a two handed affair, unlike zip ties which can be installed with one hand in tight corners.

So I'm curious -- does anyone use twine anymore on recreational boats? I think it's still pretty common in aviation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_lacing
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Old 29-06-2015, 17:49   #2
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

I have a roll of lacing twine in my electrical box. Thought I might use it for something on the boat but no. As for aircraft, I thought they had switched? I have a few rolls around because of an old airplane rebuilding project but otherwise there are more modern ways.
As to "zip tie" tension; I had always thought, just pull it tight. Well when we got back to our boat in the tropics last winter, aparently it had gotten to over 127 deg inside over the summer. A couple of ty raps around a coil of wires to the HF radio were so tight that they pinched the insulation around some shielded wires and everything shorted out and started smoking when we powered the radio up. In the heat, the insulation over the shielding broke down because the ty raps were to tight. Some of this pvc insulation is crap.
I have to add the report of how golden I am. This was a coil of excess wires to the antenna tuner, maybe 10'. I cut it apart, it was pretty much all melted together. I had no choice but to cut out pretty much the entire coil. I spliced everything back together and it all works just fine. The shorting had confined it's damage to just inside the coil
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Old 29-06-2015, 17:57   #3
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

Good one Guy!

Rusty, we use a lot of adele clamps, which are called "P clamps" here, and they are more friendly to forearms. Have not used lacing twine.

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Old 29-06-2015, 22:15   #4
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

I have a roll of lacing twine that I use for whipping (sp?) rope ends. Works great for that purpose! I use zip ties for my electrical stuff.
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Old 30-06-2015, 05:57   #5
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

Like a lot of things zip ties are very "morish" and once you get hooked on them you tend to use them for everything (this can get to extremes and I saw a guy on a building site who had them instead of boot laces) For my part I have found that the best solution is to give up the neatness fetish.
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Old 30-06-2015, 07:05   #6
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

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Originally Posted by Rusty123 View Post
As I scratch up my forearms wrestling to create neat wire bundles with zip ties, I recall from my Navy Electronics Technician days that we would sometimes use twine lacing instead of zip ties. As nice as that technique looks and feels, it's basically a two handed affair, unlike zip ties which can be installed with one hand in tight corners.

So I'm curious -- does anyone use twine anymore on recreational boats? I think it's still pretty common in aviation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_lacing
No need.Twine has been supplanted by lengths of Velcro One-Wrap. Cheap, cut to length and reusable.
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Old 30-06-2015, 11:10   #7
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

Good electrical tape can also be used as well as split cable wraps. Manufacturers have been using this stuff for cable harnesses for years.
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Old 30-06-2015, 11:19   #8
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

Zipties are terrible. I often used Spiral wrap... even just short sections of it, or the corrugated slit stuff. P clips are great too if the bundle stays together well enough between them.
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Old 30-06-2015, 13:07   #9
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

I, also, vote for Velcro. Very tidy, no heat problems, and the best reason, very maintenance friendly. There is a reason it is spec on complicated, can not fail electrical systems.
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Old 30-06-2015, 13:31   #10
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

IF, and I say if, you chose to use zip ties, clip the ends off with finger nail clippers. The ends will be somewhat rounded and not so prone to rip up your hands and arms.
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Old 30-06-2015, 14:07   #11
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

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IF, and I say if, you chose to use zip ties, clip the ends off with finger nail clippers. The ends will be somewhat rounded and not so prone to rip up your hands and arms.
It should be illegal to cut off ty-rap ends with a regular pair of dykes, about 1/4" long and at an angle to boot. I try and never cut the ends off ty-raps with anything but a flush cutting tool. Fact is, I keep a little pair of flush cutting dykes just for ty-raps.
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Old 30-06-2015, 14:18   #12
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

What are "flush cutting dykes"/
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Old 30-06-2015, 14:23   #13
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

I use only zip ties. I also only use the very highest quality vinyl tape but NEVER use it for bundling wires. It will invariably go soft and come undone. It will leave a nasty residue and is very hard to get off sometimes in tight quarters. Zip ties are the way to go.

You should use a good flush cutting pair of dyke cutters to make sure a sharp point is not left on the tie. When I work on other peoples' boats I often go in with my dykes and cut off any points before I work in an area. I have been ripped literally to the bone with the points before. I like my blood to stay on the inside of my skin and not on mine or other peoples' boats.

The best dykes are small ones, but not too small. Easier to get in to tight spots. But if too light they can break with the larger ties.

Lacing seems to me to be a nightmare. I hate installing or removing spiral wrap although it does work. Velcro would work but is not user friendly in your tool kit or to install in tight quarters. It also accumulates grease, water, dirt.

One of the best things about tie wraps is that they are also the attachment point for your wire runs. You still have to do that anyway. I sincerely hate the P-type clamps that require you to take out a screw to add or remove a wire. Once you get the tire wrap mount screwed down you can reuse it over and over again.

Just my experience doing electrical work for many years on boats. But all of the stuff will work to some degree (except tape!!!!!). I only use tape to pull wires or for temporary insulation. It always comes off before the job is done. Otherwise it will come off after the job is done on its own. It may take it a while but it will.
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Old 30-06-2015, 14:48   #14
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

I don't agree on the tape thing completely. The good quality silicone self fusing stuff is pretty good. It's expensive and it's a pain in tight quarters, and it's always sticking to itself but I like it for some stuff.
By the way, people were talking about one handed bowlines the other day; one handed ty-raping is a cool skill too.
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Old 30-06-2015, 15:45   #15
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Re: Zip ties or twine lacing

I've always been interested in the cable harness details on the Soyuz spacecraft at the National Air and Space Museum, which I always took to be done up with a Mylar tape.

I think the whitish looking connector hubs are Bakelite for those who are into that sort of thing.
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