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Old 05-03-2021, 09:30   #1
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French spiral hitching wheel?

Thinking of French whipping my wheel this spring. In doing some searching sounds like the tarred twisted twine is a good option. Anyone with any feedback or experience/ recommendations/ best sources for material? Also in quick searching I only found black available as color option. If I wanted to go natural or a color can anyone recommend a product and source? Thanks for any input and help!
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:26   #2
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

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Originally Posted by michigander View Post
Thinking of French whipping my wheel this spring. In doing some searching sounds like the tarred twisted twine is a good option. Anyone with any feedback or experience/ recommendations/ best sources for material? Also in quick searching I only found black available as color option. If I wanted to go natural or a color can anyone recommend a product and source? Thanks for any input and help!
Roger

You'll get lots of opinions. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Is it for looks?
  • Is it for comfort in hot and cold weather?
  • Is it for grip?
  • Is it exposed to weather or covered, and how long do you want it to last?
I don't like tarred or varnished line; It's not comfortable. I don't like French hitching; the knots make (to me) uncomfortable bumps. I was not concerned about durability too much because the wheel was under a hard top. I wanted the wheel increased to a certain diameter (grip).



I opted for a tight wrap of cotton/polyester clothes line. It was cool in the summer, warm in the winter, provided a good grip, and lasted 8 years before it got stained enough I choose to replace it (through I never tried to wash it). I used rubber-faced gloves to get it very tight, so it never slipped a bit (you don't need the knots). It took about an hour.




But there are methods that look prettier and last longer in the weather. Personal preference rules.
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Old 05-03-2021, 19:20   #3
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

Tarred line sounds like it would dry out and start rotting at some point, after leaving stains on hands or clothes that came in contact with it until it did dry out. We have a poly-line turk's head marking the king spoke on our wheel that has been there for at least 10 years. Seine twine might hold up well, and the internet suggests paracord. As Thinwater suggests, it doesn't take too long to do, so trying different options shouldn't be too much trouble.
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Old 05-03-2021, 20:27   #4
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

If you're talking about tarred nylon seine twine, it is great stuff. But not for a wheel, it will leave your hands black with tar. Seriously.

After the first year in the sun it isn't so bad about rubbing off tar, but needs to be re-slushed every couple years with an oil/varnish mixture. Will outlast you in that case.

My whole rig is served with it, but I wouldn't put it on something meant to be handled regularly.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:58   #5
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

Did that to mine 10 seasons ago. I used nylon mason line, still looks good. Using nylon need to be careful with the tension, you want to stretch each wrap about the same. Get a lot of compliments and I like it. But be warned it is tough on the hands when needing to steer hard a lot for a long time. Looked a little but couldn't find a picture.
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Old 06-03-2021, 10:57   #6
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

Second the vote for nylon. And a ribbed wrap, like a St Mary's hitch, will give you a much better grab on the wheel when you really need it, like if it's wet. A smooth wrap just isn't going to cut it though any cord wrap will make the wheel warmer on cold days and cooler on hot.
Below is a tutorial link.
https://youtu.be/g66LyFJmxyc
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Old 06-03-2021, 11:16   #7
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
You'll get lots of opinions. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Is it for looks?
  • Is it for comfort in hot and cold weather?
  • Is it for grip?
  • Is it exposed to weather or covered, and how long do you want it to last?
I don't like tarred or varnished line; It's not comfortable. I don't like French hitching; the knots make (to me) uncomfortable bumps. I was not concerned about durability too much because the wheel was under a hard top. I wanted the wheel increased to a certain diameter (grip).



I opted for a tight wrap of cotton/polyester clothes line. It was cool in the summer, warm in the winter, provided a good grip, and lasted 8 years before it got stained enough I choose to replace it (through I never tried to wash it). I used rubber-faced gloves to get it very tight, so it never slipped a bit (you don't need the knots). It took about an hour.




But there are methods that look prettier and last longer in the weather. Personal preference rules.


+1 on this. I used navy blue paracord which matches canvas and doesnt show dirt. Tight wrap, finish with hitches at top of wheel to mark center.

Funny thing is, I have a 42 inch wheel and just guessed on a spool size to buy. When I finished I had about 8 inches left out of maybe 250 foot spool or whatever length I guessed. Rare case where a boat project goes on the lucky side. It would have been a pain to have to add in more line and wouldnt have looked good
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Old 06-03-2021, 12:36   #8
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

I'll second or third on paracord for this job. It's 1/8" or 3mm, comes in any color you want, and the slightly stretchy nature of nylon means you can easily make it very tight. It does hold salt and mud, but you can scrub away if needed. Here's a source in whatever length/color you want. I've never used it for a wheel covering, but I went through two 1,000' reels of it in 26 years of running a summer field school.

https://www.strapworks.com/Parachute...0aAq3sEALw_wcB
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Old 06-03-2021, 12:40   #9
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

Covered our wheel with para cord type 550 have a large wheel approx 3 feet across used approx 300 feet. Love it makes for a comfortable grip
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Old 06-03-2021, 13:30   #10
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

FWIW, I've always preferred leather on a wheel. IMO, looks way better and for my hands, feels better.

Jim
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Old 06-03-2021, 13:42   #11
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

To avoid stains & wear spots, has anyone varnished or used white paint on top like the old times boats did?
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Old 06-03-2021, 13:43   #12
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

I thought I posted this: I think it was 50' of 1/4" cotton sash cord. Remember, mine was out of the weather, and cotton is comfortable. Not the right answer if in the weather. I used the same cord for some hand rails in the cabin, ad the posts at the back edge of the hard top. Better grip with wet hands= safer. I replaced it in-kind after 10 years.




For exposed locations I second (fifth?) paracord or the equivalent in polyester (better). Polyester 550 DB is my favorite on-deck lashing material.
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Old 06-03-2021, 14:01   #13
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

Not sure where you the boat will be used, and that may make a difference. But why????

I brought a boat from St John’s to Key West with a wheel wrapped with knotted line and hated it. The wrapped wheel looked yachty. After a few days when my hands were wet, it hurt to spin the wheel. And like many who sail frequently, my hands are not tender.

As Jim Cate mentioned, leather would probably be a better option.
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Old 06-03-2021, 14:17   #14
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

PO did a beautiful job with black paracord. Knots are on inside of wheel out of the way of your hands with monks head on top ( bottom right in pic). ~10 years old and still in perfect condition. Makes a slippery sst wheel much easier to grip comfortably with no slipping. Ok
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Old 06-03-2021, 15:10   #15
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Re: French spiral hitching wheel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
FWIW, I've always preferred leather on a wheel. IMO, looks way better and for my hands, feels better.

Jim
Agree with Jim, leather for me too. Nice to handle in the cold with bare hands hour after hour.

Bloke down the road does mine for £50 and lots of other local yachts too.

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