Shock Absorbing Nylon Webbing?

A large industrial supply company advertises “shock-absorbing nylon webbing”.What is it and how does it differ from standard nylon webbing?

All nylon products stretch. That is the nature of the material and if we were talking about rope, it would be described as a “dynamic” product. If you were rock climbing and fell, you wouldn’t want to be tethered to the mountain with a steel cable where there would be no give when it got fully extended. Your body would be a wreck. One climbing rope manufacturer says their dynamic ropes provide a “soft catch”. In the marine industry nylon is used for anchor and mooring lines but never as a tow line.

Polyester fibers provide little stretch. In the rope world they comprise what are known as “static” ropes. Sheets and halyards on a sailboat along with tow lines all need to be static ropes.

In the webbing world the terms static and dynamic are rarely used. If you are designing a dog leash there will never be enough of a load that the user could tell the difference. Other factors are more important, how does it feel in your hand, does it come in the right color and what is the cost are all common areas of interest. Unless you are making fall prevention or load securing gear, static or dynamic hardly comes in to play.

Now to answer the question-

All nylon webbing is shock absorbing, or dynamic. You can check out our nylon webbing options to see what we stock. The thinner the webbing, for example #630 is thinner than #7400, the more it will stretch for a given load but they all stretch- or are shock-absorbing.

Interested in ‘static’ webbing? Polyester is the way to go. It is more expensive than nylon and color options are very limited.

Berry Compliant Buckles & Webbing

The Berry Amendment mandates that the Defense Department gives preference to items made in the United States out of domestic materials when purchasing fabric products (and others).

In the case of webbing and buckles, that means that not only does the product need to be made in the U.S.A. but all of the raw materials must be made here. Nylon fiber, raw plastics for buckles, dyes, the list goes on. Once a manufacture has their raw materials they must be converted to a finished product in the United States.

Some products are easy to source. Most of the plastic buckles that we purchase from American Cord & Webbing (ACW) are Berry Compliant. Webbing is more difficult. Polypropylene webbing is for the most part imported. Manufacturers will import nylon fiber and convert it in to webbing in the US. That product is not Berry Compliant since the fiber is imported. It can be labeled as Made in the USA which only requires that the majority of the cost is based in the USA.

All of this started in 1941 by Representative Ellis Yarnall Berry and it has been amended several times since then. In 2009 Congressman Larry Kissell brought similar requirements for textile and apparel products purchased by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • If your customer is asking for Berry Compliant products they should come with a Certificate of Compliance.
  • Made in the U.S.A. is not a guarantee that the product is Berry Compliant.
  • If your supplier does not know about Berry Compliance it is doubtful that their products make the grade.
  • Expect to pay more for Berry Compliant products, especially webbing.
  • You might run in to minimum order quantities greater than for non-Berry products.

Pew Straps

Social distancing is a fact of life now. Keeping our “customers and employees” safe is a requirement. A few days ago I was contacted to see if we could make webbing straps to block off pews in a church. The customer sent the above photo to show what he was looking for (he already had the signs).

Together we designed a strap that was adjustable from 33″ to 59″ with snaps on each end to attach to the pews.

Pew Wrangler

1″ standard weight polypropylene webbing with a black oxide coated snap on each end. Simply adjusted using the slide and there are no components that can get lost.

Screw Stud

The strap connects to the wooden pews using a screw stud at each end. This makes it easy to move from place to place or remove when social distancing isn’t a requirement.

We can make them in all the colors of standard weight polypropylene webbing we stock and we can change the length to suit your needs. Churches, courtrooms, meeting halls all could use these straps. Different attachments are possible either out of plastic or metal.

Give us a call at (253) 627-6000 to discuss your application.

It’s better to be safe

Seems we have a mask thief at Straps to Go.

Yup, our boat show Husky found a mask that fits and immediately put it on. Now if we can get our shop cat to follow his lead that would be something.

Our sewing machines are not designed for working with light fabrics but they are easier to use than a home machine. Automatic thread trimming and back tracking rather than doing it all manually.

The big question is when we get to work in the morning will our Husky have made a bunch of masks and if so will they all be in purple and gold, University of Washington’s Husky colors?

Need a plumber?

COVID-19 has kept us pretty well isolated. The good news is we can walk to work and live in a beautiful area. The other day a neighbor had a leaky sink. Wow, a reason to do something a little different.

First I had to convince the owner of the leak that I should be able to fix it. When I was really young I remember that my dad was in the plumbing business. That was enough to get the “job”.

This got me thinking, what if my memory was incorrect? Brought up Google and checked for Denny’s House of Plumbing. If figured that there might be something but wasn’t expecting much. It had been in the early 1950’s after all.

They are still in business! A third generation business which in itself is amazing. I contacted them and a response was rapidly sent back. Yes the current owner knew my dad and my memories from the early 50’s were correct.

While this is interesting, coupled with a recent experience while on jury duty the rapid response to my email is atypical for a plumber.

I was called for jury duty but had an appointment with a plumber at the same time. A call to the court to get excused was met with the clerk saying “your got a plumber to schedule an appointment?” I was immediately excused.

So if you are in Marin County and need a plumber, give Denny’s a call. 1-415-479-1655 or http://dennyshouseofplumbing.com/

I was able to fix the leaking sink but think my time is better spent in the strap world.

DIY bird savers

Until recently DIY stood for Death In Yard, our yard was not a safe place for our feathered friends. We live in a pine forest and have a window wall which was being struck by fast moving birds daily. It wasn’t nice and we knew something had to be done.

Looking out from our living room

We had tried everything we could think of. Streamers outside. Large cardboard stars hanging inside. Nothing worked. Finally we found a web site, www.birdsavers.com that had a DIY way to help.

Parachute cord is easy to come by, just head down to our shop. However we have a serious wind issue so we actually used some left over black elastic cord. This was coupled with a restraint at the bottom of the windows so that the cords would not get blown around and tangled (we had that problem with our streamers).

Just a cedar 1×4 both at the top and bottom of the windows was all it took. Actually that isn’t quite true- our grandson drilled all the holes and is now an expert with the cordless drill!

Here you can see the top of our windows along with the “enticing” reflections that used to draw the birds in. Yes, used to draw the birds in! Fingers crossed, after a week we have not had a single bird strike. The yard is full and the bird air traffic control is working overtime but the BirdSavers are living up to their name.

As you can see in the last image we did not install them on the upper two windows. I don’t like heights and getting the first two levels done was all the ladder work I could handle. If necessary we have the parts but so far I have been allowed to stay on terra firma. You know the old saying, the more firma, the less terra.

Footman’s Loops

Footman’s Loops, Webbing Guides, Tie Down Eye Straps- whatever you call them they are a useful way to connect webbing to a rigid surface.

We stock the following options:
1″ webbing size in stainless steel, white nylon and black nylon
1½” webbing size in black nylon
2″ webbing size in stainless steel

Side view of a footman’s loop

Those that we stock are designed to be used with #10 fasteners (which are not included). If you need dimensions go to our site and search for “footman”. Choose your option and the detail page will have a full set of dimensions.

Now for the $64,000.00 question; where did the name “footman’s loop” originate?

Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and other search engines are no help. Neither is Wikipedia. This must be one of the few topics not yet addressed on the internet.

Here is my guess-
Wikipedia says that “footmen” were attendants who ran beside or behind the carriages of aristocrats. Carriages often had mountains of luggage strapped to the back, most likely with leather. A low, flat loop would be useful in securing the load. That’s my guess.

When searching, the entry for “footman” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary caught my eye.
Recent Examples on the Web 
Nowhere is this more on display than in Thane’s Aunt Mabel, an aging widow who devours footmen (and any other attractive, available men in her vicinity) for breakfast.

This brings on a whole new question- what is the proper side dish when one devours a footman?

YUK! It’s A Hand Strap

Boarding your transit train you find it’s standing room only and you need to hang on to a hand strap. Is it clean? Who knows.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) polled their riders in March 2020 regarding the use of “Personal Hand Straps” and here are the results:
“BART’s Twitter poll asking riders their opinion about personal hand straps was available for voting until 2 pm Sunday. The final results are in: with 4,082 total votes on Twitter, 74.9% of the voters said yes to the personal hand strap idea. Other feedback from Facebook and Instagram showed similar levels of support for the personal hand strap.”

We started thinking about making a personal hand strap but two issues kept creeping in to our conversations.
1. How does one remove it without touching the grab rail?
2. How does one disinfect the strap after use?
Without solving those issues, using a personal strap would not be an improvement over just grabbing on to the bar with your bare hand.

After some testing we found that a simple loop sewn to the top of the strap would allow a user to disengage the strap without touching the grab rail.

Disengage the hand strap by pulling on the extra loop

Solving the second issue was easier. We turned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and learned that immersing the strap in a bleach solution would do the job. A bit more research and we knew that polypropylene webbing would not be harmed by a room temperature bleach bath. The same is true for the polyester thread used in sewing these straps.

The end result is our Personal Hand Strap, an economical way to keep your mudhooks (one of my father’s favorite phrases) off of the grab bars.

Resources:
BART Survey scroll down to the March 16, 2020 posting

CDC Bleach Solution

DIY Winter Hummingbird Feeder

Wintertime feeding of hummingbirds has been a family goal for quite some time. Providing food in freezing conditions was something my father-in-law solved years ago. You can read about that winter freeze in an article written by my mother-in law.

Winter hummingbird feeder

This is our current model made from a plastic pot and some Christmas lights. With all three lights lit it will keep the food from freezing down to around 20 degrees.

Inside of hummer food heater

You want to use old fashioned Christmas lights, not LED’s. The heat the bulbs produce is what keeps the food warm. We took three sockets from a string of lights and wired them to an extension cord.

Nothing fancy and in warmer weather the pot/light assembly retires to the garden shed. Everything we used was lying around so our total cost is just in time.

When we used to live in Tacoma with a more moderate climate our winter feeder hung over a Sasanqua Camellia (which blooms in the winter) and the hummers would perch on a branch right under the feeder. Close to food and probably soaking up a little heat.

Safety tethers for sailors

Many marine safety tethers sold today are not safe.

We have known for years that many of the snap hooks used on the “boat end” of safety tethers can come unclipped rather than doing their job. I was reading an article in Scuttlebutt Sailing News that brought this issue up yet again.

A few years ago we looked into making tethers and determined that we did not have the resources to do it right. We consulted sailors (other than ourselves), equipment suppliers and folks with engineering backgrounds. It’s not like we just took a quick look.

Since our decision, sailors continue to die due to safety tether issues yet suppliers continue to sell products that are questionable and others provide DIY advice for a tether that does not make any sense.

We encourage sailors to research their purchase fully. Practical Sailor has a number of articles on this subject. Look at the racing rules and the ISO specification they reference. Do your homework, this is a life and death decision.

We encourage the industry to stop peddling products and DIY advise that does not, at a minimum, meet current thinking within the safety industry. It is a good sign that some manufacturers have quit supplying products that were poorly designed 20 years ago but it shouldn’t take that long to get crap off the market.