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gthomann


Oct 19, 2010, 11:32 AM
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Sewing your own slings
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I have seen previous threads in 2001 & 2004 on sewing slings but am starting a new one. I have always been interested in sewing slings; I once tried with my 30 year old Kenmore but was not very successful. Recently I got a Brother Project Runway PC-420 computerized machine and decided to try again. I bought some SpiderWire Stealth Braid spectra 10 lb test fishing line. Its diameter is about 0.01 inch, supposedly about the maximum diameter thread you can use on a home machine. I got the braided line because it seemed to be the most flexible.

I used regular 1 inch tubular webbing. I started with a No 8 needle and broke it and switched to a No 10. I used a zig zag stitch and tried stitching both across the webbing and parallel to the edge. The webbing is pretty bulky and initially I had some problems but by sewing slowly I got to where I could stitch without any problems.

The problem in making slings is testing; it is hard to figure out a way to put one or two thousand pounds of force on them. So what I did was make some loops with just a small amount of stitching and test them using my 180 lb body (in the living room, not on the cliff). The attached picture shows a test loop with 37 stitches; it held my weight with no problem. The red webbing with the loop on the end is a finished project; it has a couple of hundred stitches. I am not making slings to fall on, just stuff for top roping. After my testing I have complete confidence in the loop on the red webbing.
Attachments: slings.jpg (137 KB)


acorneau


Oct 19, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Re: [gthomann] Sewing your own slings [In reply to]
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gthomann wrote:
I have seen previous threads in 2001 & 2004 on sewing slings but am starting a new one. I have always been interested in sewing slings; I once tried with my 30 year old Kenmore but was not very successful. Recently I got a Brother Project Runway PC-420 computerized machine and decided to try again. I bought some SpiderWire Stealth Braid spectra 10 lb test fishing line. Its diameter is about 0.01 inch, supposedly about the maximum diameter thread you can use on a home machine. I got the braided line because it seemed to be the most flexible.

I used regular 1 inch tubular webbing. I started with a No 8 needle and broke it and switched to a No 10. I used a zig zag stitch and tried stitching both across the webbing and parallel to the edge. The webbing is pretty bulky and initially I had some problems but by sewing slowly I got to where I could stitch without any problems.

The problem in making slings is testing; it is hard to figure out a way to put one or two thousand pounds of force on them. So what I did was make some loops with just a small amount of stitching and test them using my 180 lb body (in the living room, not on the cliff). The attached picture shows a test loop with 37 stitches; it held my weight with no problem. The red webbing with the loop on the end is a finished project; it has a couple of hundred stitches. I am not making slings to fall on, just stuff for top roping. After my testing I have complete confidence in the loop on the red webbing.


I do believe the most appropriate response would be...

"Yer gunna die!"


That being said, I'm glad you're interested in something climbing related like sewn slings.

Assuming your interest lies in the process and the engineering behind the process, and not just a desire to save money, why not contact some of the smaller companies that sew climbing gear (like Yates, Mountain Tools, Misty Mountain, etc.) and ask them some specific questions as to why things are done the way they are done in the professional gear manufacturing world. You might get some great insight and information.

Honestly, it would suck very much if you were to get hurt or killed by something you thought you had figured out.

Good luck.


(This post was edited by acorneau on Oct 19, 2010, 12:25 PM)


gmggg


Oct 19, 2010, 12:26 PM
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Make sure you use a blunt needle so that you are displacing the nylon weave and not ripping through it.


jt512


Oct 19, 2010, 7:30 PM
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gthomann wrote:
I have seen previous threads in 2001 & 2004 on sewing slings but am starting a new one. I have always been interested in sewing slings; I once tried with my 30 year old Kenmore but was not very successful. Recently I got a Brother Project Runway PC-420 computerized machine and decided to try again. I bought some SpiderWire Stealth Braid spectra 10 lb test fishing line. Its diameter is about 0.01 inch, supposedly about the maximum diameter thread you can use on a home machine. I got the braided line because it seemed to be the most flexible.

I used regular 1 inch tubular webbing. I started with a No 8 needle and broke it and switched to a No 10. I used a zig zag stitch and tried stitching both across the webbing and parallel to the edge. The webbing is pretty bulky and initially I had some problems but by sewing slowly I got to where I could stitch without any problems.

The problem in making slings is testing; it is hard to figure out a way to put one or two thousand pounds of force on them. So what I did was make some loops with just a small amount of stitching and test them using my 180 lb body (in the living room, not on the cliff). The attached picture shows a test loop with 37 stitches; it held my weight with no problem. The red webbing with the loop on the end is a finished project; it has a couple of hundred stitches. I am not making slings to fall on, just stuff for top roping. After my testing I have complete confidence in the loop on the red webbing.

So, let me see I've got this right: You guessed at the type of thread to use, you guessed at the type of stitch to use, you guessed at the number of stitches to use—and then you tested it under body weight. That about right?

Jay


Express


Oct 19, 2010, 8:33 PM
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Yeah, there is actually some science behind textiles engineering. Different stitch types and lengths have different strength, based on a few different factors. My buddy designs military tents for a living and there is a whole design process to ensure the stitching and the material together provide the required strength for the application.


moose_droppings


Oct 19, 2010, 9:37 PM
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Express wrote:
Yeah, there is actually some science behind textiles engineering. Different stitch types and lengths have different strength, based on a few different factors. My buddy designs military tents for a living and there is a whole design process to ensure the stitching and the material together provide the required strength for the application.

Russ?

You trolling us?


marc801


Oct 19, 2010, 9:41 PM
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gthomann wrote:
I am not making slings to fall on, just stuff for top roping.
Which means you have no fucking clue about what you're doing.

gthomann wrote:
After my testing I have complete confidence in the loop on the red webbing.
I don't, nor does anyone sane who has even a minimal understanding of the forces involved in climbing. Here's hoping you don't kill any unsuspecting partners. You on the other hand appear to be a contender for a Darwin award.


russwalling


Oct 19, 2010, 11:29 PM
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moose_droppings wrote:
Russ?

You trolling us?

I wouldn't say that dude is "gonna die".....

I would say he is "already dead".

(T1- at best)


jt512


Oct 20, 2010, 12:25 AM
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russwalling wrote:
moose_droppings wrote:
Russ?

You trolling us?

I wouldn't say that dude is "gonna die".....

I would say he is "already dead".

(T1- at best)

Ugh. It's so obvious in retrospect.

Jay


wiki


Oct 20, 2010, 12:56 AM
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I would start by actually looking at a sewn sling... The stitching goes the other way mostly...

Get it pull-tested... report the results.


ozoneclimber


Oct 20, 2010, 1:42 AM
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OK.......

The obvious question:
Why not just use tubular webbing and a water-knot? You, and everyone else, know that it is tried and true. Why complicate things when you don't have to?

-B


sandstoned


Oct 20, 2010, 6:38 AM
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Ah, just a bunch of haters for no good reason. I doubt they really care about your safety anyway; they probably just want to be able to say "Hah, told ya so!" I say go for it, but back it up of course, twice, with some webbing purchased from a reliable manufacturer. Done with patience, diligence, and a small bit of intelligence, there is no reason not to pursue making your own gear.


Express


Oct 20, 2010, 9:15 AM
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sandstoned wrote:
Ah, just a bunch of haters for no good reason. I doubt they really care about your safety anyway; they probably just want to be able to say "Hah, told ya so!" I say go for it, but back it up of course, twice, with some webbing purchased from a reliable manufacturer. Done with patience, diligence, and a small bit of intelligence, there is no reason not to pursue making your own gear.

I'm not saying the OP shouldn't give an earnest go at making his/her own gear, it's that if you're going to do something your life potentially depends on, you should do it right. As some others have said, the stitching usually runs perpendicular (in several parallel tacks) to the direction of tensile forces in the sling. The way it's set up now, if the stitching begins to fail, it could cascade until the whole thing pulls apart. With isolated bar tacks, you'll have redundancy in the system.

What's the point of carrying a load of extra gear up the route if you can make one piece that will do the job right? By all means go for building your own stuff, it's been done many, many times in the past, but, for your own sake, do your homework first and do it right.


jt512


Oct 20, 2010, 10:16 AM
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russwalling wrote:
moose_droppings wrote:
Russ?

You trolling us?

I wouldn't say that dude is "gonna die".....

I would say he is "already dead".

(T1- at best)

Never overestimate your audience, Russ.

Jay


rock_fencer


Oct 20, 2010, 10:24 AM
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actually the bartacking on my arcteryx harness belay loop has 2 strands like that. But i get the feeling that a bartack is slightly different from a normal zig-zag stick on the home sewing machine.

T


erisspirit


Oct 20, 2010, 11:02 AM
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jt512 wrote:
gthomann wrote:
I have seen previous threads in 2001 & 2004 on sewing slings but am starting a new one. I have always been interested in sewing slings; I once tried with my 30 year old Kenmore but was not very successful. Recently I got a Brother Project Runway PC-420 computerized machine and decided to try again. I bought some SpiderWire Stealth Braid spectra 10 lb test fishing line. Its diameter is about 0.01 inch, supposedly about the maximum diameter thread you can use on a home machine. I got the braided line because it seemed to be the most flexible.

I used regular 1 inch tubular webbing. I started with a No 8 needle and broke it and switched to a No 10. I used a zig zag stitch and tried stitching both across the webbing and parallel to the edge. The webbing is pretty bulky and initially I had some problems but by sewing slowly I got to where I could stitch without any problems.

The problem in making slings is testing; it is hard to figure out a way to put one or two thousand pounds of force on them. So what I did was make some loops with just a small amount of stitching and test them using my 180 lb body (in the living room, not on the cliff). The attached picture shows a test loop with 37 stitches; it held my weight with no problem. The red webbing with the loop on the end is a finished project; it has a couple of hundred stitches. I am not making slings to fall on, just stuff for top roping. After my testing I have complete confidence in the loop on the red webbing.

So, let me see I've got this right: You guessed at the type of thread to use, you guessed at the type of stitch to use, you guessed at the number of stitches to use—and then you tested it under body weight. That about right?

Jay

What could possibly go wrong Unimpressed


gthomann


Oct 21, 2010, 6:20 AM
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gmggg, thanks for the information on needles; how did you know that? Are you a manufacturer? I actually used an Organ 90/14 universal so it has a slightly rounded point, although maybe not optimal.

The previous body weight test I did was with a loop. I did another test on just a single strand of webbing, picture included. I cut a piece of webbing in two, overlapped it and sewed it together. Each side has 20 stitches, 16 with 2 back stitches at each end to try to lock the thread. I tied one end to the pull up bar over the door, put my harness back on, clipped into the other end and weighted it. It didn't seem possible that those few stitches could hold 180 lbs, but they did; I sat suspended for about 30 s; the picture was taken after the test. Spectra is strong stuff!

PMI has released accessory cord that is sewn together at the ends, the middle item in the photo is a 6 mm cord from them. I sewed together a loop of 4 mm cord shown at the top; not quite as neat as the PMI job. It was somewhat hard to keep the stitches straight on the cord. This loop also held body weight.

That about concludes my experiments; I am done unless somebody wants me to try something particular. Back to work cleaning cliffs and finding climbs. Thanks to everybody that offered information.
Attachments: slings2.jpg (108 KB)


gmggg


Oct 21, 2010, 7:20 AM
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gthomann wrote:
gmggg, thanks for the information on needles; how did you know that? Are you a manufacturer? I actually used an Organ 90/14 universal so it has a slightly rounded point, although maybe not optimal.

The previous body weight test I did was with a loop. I did another test on just a single strand of webbing, picture included. I cut a piece of webbing in two, overlapped it and sewed it together. Each side has 20 stitches, 16 with 2 back stitches at each end to try to lock the thread. I tied one end to the pull up bar over the door, put my harness back on, clipped into the other end and weighted it. It didn't seem possible that those few stitches could hold 180 lbs, but they did; I sat suspended for about 30 s; the picture was taken after the test. Spectra is strong stuff!

PMI has released accessory cord that is sewn together at the ends, the middle item in the photo is a 6 mm cord from them. I sewed together a loop of 4 mm cord shown at the top; not quite as neat as the PMI job. It was somewhat hard to keep the stitches straight on the cord. This loop also held body weight.

That about concludes my experiments; I am done unless somebody wants me to try something particular. Back to work cleaning cliffs and finding climbs. Thanks to everybody that offered information.

No expertise whatsoever. Just looked into sewing this stuff before and have sewn a lot of clothes and upholstery.

I don't think it's quite the death sentence some of the above people make it out to be but I do think the utmost care is necessary. Here's some other observations:

1.) I'm not sure that the braided spectra would be the best thread to use. This is just a hunch though - based on likely wear to the stitch.

2.) Your stitches are really sloppy. A bartack is just a really tight zig-zag stitch but it it should be tight and ordered. You might try going slower when stitching or maybe your machine has a buttonhole setting. You also might try adding some appropriate adhesive between the webbing prior to sewing so that the piece is easier to handle.

3.) you should listen to people about rotating your stitch orientation 90 degrees. I believe someone used to make a screamer by essentially stitching webbing together the way you have. Of course that sling would have been correctly bartacked into a closed loop, your sling would just fail. Rotating the stitch should also make the piece easier to handle.

4.) Testing with bodyweight is completely meaningless. Figure out a way to conduct some "real" tests that can be replicated and have some degree of known or, at the very least, completely overestimated forces.


steinmethod


Oct 21, 2010, 7:55 AM
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gthomann wrote:
gmggg, thanks for the information on needles; how did you know that? Are you a manufacturer? I actually used an Organ 90/14 universal so it has a slightly rounded point, although maybe not optimal.

The previous body weight test I did was with a loop. I did another test on just a single strand of webbing, picture included. I cut a piece of webbing in two, overlapped it and sewed it together. Each side has 20 stitches, 16 with 2 back stitches at each end to try to lock the thread. I tied one end to the pull up bar over the door, put my harness back on, clipped into the other end and weighted it. It didn't seem possible that those few stitches could hold 180 lbs, but they did; I sat suspended for about 30 s; the picture was taken after the test. Spectra is strong stuff!

PMI has released accessory cord that is sewn together at the ends, the middle item in the photo is a 6 mm cord from them. I sewed together a loop of 4 mm cord shown at the top; not quite as neat as the PMI job. It was somewhat hard to keep the stitches straight on the cord. This loop also held body weight.

That about concludes my experiments; I am done unless somebody wants me to try something particular. Back to work cleaning cliffs and finding climbs. Thanks to everybody that offered information.


Please keep your home made gear at "HOME". If you plan on using this at the crag, you might want to warn others!!!


shoo


Oct 21, 2010, 8:06 AM
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Have you ever seen someone given a wedgie so hard they were lifted off the ground?

That is the equivalent level of strength testing you have given to your homemade slings.


Dirtdart


Oct 21, 2010, 8:18 AM
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Great job! I'm impressed. The money you've saved over purchasing pre-made slings should more than cover the cost of your funeral.


acorneau


Oct 21, 2010, 9:36 AM
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Dirtdart wrote:
Great job! I'm impressed. The money you've saved over purchasing pre-made slings should more than cover the cost of your funeral.


The OP never stated that he was doing this to save money.


Another thought for the OP:
You could always tie the webbing with a water knot with very short tails and then do a single line of stitching on the tails to keep the knot from untying. Sort of like what Metolius does for their Prusik cord set:
http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/prusik_cord_set.html


markc


Oct 21, 2010, 10:31 AM
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shoo wrote:
Have you ever seen someone given a wedgie so hard they were lifted off the ground?

That is the equivalent level of strength testing you have given to your homemade slings.

+1

I have a couple of friends who were killing time at work. They started experimenting with keychain biners to see how much weight they'd take. It took both of them bouncing on one to kill it. When it was just 350+ pounds sitting on it, the jive biner held fine. In climbing, body-weight tests are worth next to nothing.

Have it pull-tested. If you can't do that, devise a system where you can put real-world climbing forces on it, but where its failure won't compromise safety. The real problem is that your work isn't consistent. As such, your results won't be, either.


the_climber


Oct 21, 2010, 10:39 AM
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The Beer Knot is also another great alternative with no tails to get in the way.

As for sewing load bearing sling. I have access to some of the proper equipment, but even with that there are limitations, for example the bar tacker I use isn't 42 stitch, and has a slightly different pattern than those most commonly used for climbing. I'll use that for making slack line sling, not climbing slings. Only exception is some of the slings on the hooks I use aiding, however I use extra bar tacks for those.

As for repairing equipment, and haulable items, I've always been a fan of box stitching with #69 or #92 Bonded Nylon thread. Like I said though I have access to some equipment that most don't.


Khoi


Oct 21, 2010, 10:44 AM
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ozoneclimber wrote:
OK.......

The obvious question:
Why not just use tubular webbing and a water-knot?
You, and everyone else, know that it is tried and true. Why complicate things when you don't have to?

-B

gthomann

I'd really like to know your answer to this.

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