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  #1  
Old 04-22-2013
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Cordage wrap on helm wheel

The leather wraps on our helm are worn and I've struggled to decide what to replace them with. I've considered the kit from West Marine, but it looks like a pain and doesn't seem to cover the spokes.

I've also considered wrapping in small 3-strand line, which I think looks nice but gets dirty. I'm also wondering how tough it would be to do and look half was decent. Probably needs some technique I should learn.

They I considered whether wrapping in paracord made sense. It won't rot and, if colored, may not get as dirty looking. I suppose it could be cut off for a survival need, but that's not terrible likely.

How about Amsteel and have some rigging backup? I'm estimating that it will take 110 feet of 1/8" to wrap one wheel or could use a little less 3/16". Two or three lengths of the stuff could temporarily replace a broken stay!

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

I used paracord to make my king spoke Turk's head knot on my 2 wheels. I used dark blue paracord and while it is holding up very well it has discolored dark from the dirt in my hands and it won't wash out. So doing the whole wheel in paracord might be a fun project and look very nice initially, I don't think it will withstand the test of time.
My wheels are covered with a leather-like covering that is easy to wash off and seems to be impervious to UV, saltwater and rain.

Amsteel would discolor even more than paracord.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

Another too good to be true idea.

Thanks.

The leather wraps on our wheels have lost most of the coloring in blotches, but the leather is holding up. Perhaps I should figure out how to re-stain them. Although, I have a bad feeling about how that would work.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
The leather wraps on our helm are worn and I've struggled to decide what to replace them with. I've considered the kit from West Marine, but it looks like a pain and doesn't seem to cover the spokes.

I've also considered wrapping in small 3-strand line, which I think looks nice but gets dirty. I'm also wondering how tough it would be to do and look half was decent. Probably needs some technique I should learn.

They I considered whether wrapping in paracord made sense. It won't rot and, if colored, may not get as dirty looking. I suppose it could be cut off for a survival need, but that's not terrible likely.

How about Amsteel and have some rigging backup? I'm estimating that it will take 110 feet of 1/8" to wrap one wheel or could use a little less 3/16". Two or three lengths of the stuff could temporarily replace a broken stay!

Any thoughts?
I have used the white 1/8" "Messenger Line" that WM sells, usually in 50' lengths, to wrap the steering wheel on our prior boat and to create chafe guards on our whisker pole and reaching strut at the points where the poles might come into contact with the shrouds on our current boat. I used a fairly simple over-under single clove-hitch wrap that stays tight and creates a spiral effect as the length of the wrap extends. A 3 or 4 strand Turks Head knot at the start and finish of the wrap--or at the point were the ends meet on a wheel--makes a good start/finish and is easy to do. I have also used this wrap method on the grip of our emergency tiller and on the grab rails we fitted to the pilings on the key where we keep our boat. Many have complimented us on the look of these wraps although one friend opined that I obviously had "too much time on my hands" as it is a time consuming process (and will give you blisters if done without a glove!). Upon finishing the wraps, I gave them a very thorough soaking with "Scotch Guard" which prevents them becoming unduly soiled. Since then, a periodic scrub with a kitchen brush using warm water, 409 and a little household bleach, and a reapplication of Scotch Guard when they've dried has kept them quite clean and white. It is a particularly nice look on an older, more traditional looking, yacht but does look good on almost all. The wrap process does take time however so patience is required.

FWIW...
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Last edited by svHyLyte; 04-23-2013 at 11:10 AM. Reason: Addendum--correct name of knot
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Another too good to be true idea.

Thanks.

The leather wraps on our wheels have lost most of the coloring in blotches, but the leather is holding up. Perhaps I should figure out how to re-stain them. Although, I have a bad feeling about how that would work.
I would talk to an upholstery shop that can deal with leather. They can probably do things to that leather you and I never even thought of
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

How much time did it take you to wrap the entire wheel?
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

I did 1 wheel with a medium blue paracord using simple wrapping, held up well for 6 years and was fairly easy and fast. Also using four 3 strand "mason's" twine doing "French Braid", that's half hitches over and over and drawn tight, makes that diamond pattern. That's extremely tedious and you can get a blister quick pulling it snug, takes forever.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

Our boat's wheel was very decoratively wrapped with line, it did look nice and was a nice, warm grip.. however in our climate it quickly got dirty and green and was a pain. The wheel was on the small side and we were lucky enough to swap with another boater for a slightly larger one, overall I think I prefer the bare SS wheel, esp for around here with the elevated humidity most of the year.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

My wheel came wrapped with very thin 3strand line. Almost certainly it's "net line" that is sold in spools by the pound and is dirt cheap. Speaking of dirt, they used white, and now it's taken on a permanent grey-ish color. Doubt it would be easy to clean.

The net line comes in an unattractive green, and also black. I'd think the black would look real nice, hide the dirt and hopefully you'd get quite a few years before the color started to fade. Even if it did, I bet a black permanent marker could touch it up nicely.

Despite the grey it sure does feel nice under the hands and provides good grip. I'd think amsteel could be slippery when wet.



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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

Wasn't there recently a post about someone who was doing a delivery of a boat with cord covered wheel and they complained about how it ripped up everyone's hands, don't remember if it was due to waves covering it in salt water or what, but I think the owner finally took a knife to it much to everyone's relief. But if you wear gloves it should not be an issue.

They do look nice though. There was a recent article in Good Old Boat about how to do it.
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