Playing with Wire

Posted on August 9, 2012 by Jack Kelly
Tags: windeward_bound

During the off-season maintenance period, there’s a lot of simple work, like sanding and painting. In addition to that sort of work, there’s also a number of traditional skills to learn. This is one from last week:

Wire Seizing

It’s a wire seizing. It looks neat and tidy, but actually making one work is fiendishly difficult. In “The Rigger’s Apprentice”, it is introduced with the words “there is no more subtle knot than this one”.

Wind the wire around the stay, but not so tight that it breaks. If you wind it too loosely, the riding turns will force the wire apart and you’ll get a mess. Once you’re done winding it around the stay, make a 90-degree turn and bind it together with some frapping turns. Oh, but you have to catch the final turn in your fraps so it doesn’t work loose. And don’t lose any tension! Once you’ve done that, put a couple of half-hitches on to finish it up, hauling tight with the mallet until the wire snaps. Don’t accidentally break the wire before then, or you’ll have to start over.

Before getting that one right, Matt and I spent hours practicing with old scraps of seizing wire, learning how to wind on the turns before even trying to turn up a real seizing. Even then, it took a couple of tries and turning up a successful seizing is not yet a sure thing. Fortunately, there’s heaps of them on board to replace.

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