Swaged fittings vs. mechanical fittings - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-22-2010
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Swaged fittings vs. mechanical fittings

I am going to be replacing the standing rigging on my PSC40 soon and was wondering what the group had to say about using mechanical fittings. I currently have swaged fittings and was contemplating using swaged fittings at the top of the rigging but changing to mechanical (Norseman) at the lower end. Any pros and cons? I know there is the cost factor to consider and I can install them myself? I'm sticking with 1 x 19 wire. Thanks for the comments!
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Old 06-22-2010
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I prefer the Norsemen fittings as they can be reused (and considering the cost, should be). You don't need special tools to put them together, you can disassemble them completely for detailed examination, and can be reused.

I've never had a swaged fitting fail even after a Cat 5 hurricane passed through the anchorage (the rigging broke well above the fitting).
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Old 06-22-2010
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Here's an article you might be interested in.

Good Old Boat, Quick Attach, Sta-Lok, Norseman, swasless fittings

A couple of excerpts.

(Test 1), you will see that the swage fitting held onto the wire to a peak load of 4,112 pounds before slipping. The wire did not break; it pulled out of the fitting. This was a successful test as the wire breaking strength was rated at 4,000 pounds, and the fitting exceeded that load. The other two fittings were tested to verify the baseline. One test was satisfactory, and one tested well below the braking strength of the wire (This terminal brand was retested at a later time with an assembly made up by the supplier. It also failed the second test.)


The swaged terminal, as well as the Sta-Lok and the Suncor swageless terminals, passed the initial round of tests by breaking at a load slightly in excess of the wire’s rated ultimate breaking strength.. The Norseman terminal failed at 69 percent of the wire’s rated ultimate breaking strength. When the supplier was contacted concerning this, they offered to supply another terminal and wire assembly made up by their own staff. This terminal and wire assembly also failed the test, breaking at 80 percent of the rated breaking strength of the wire.


Here's a thread on the same topic.

Sta-Lok or ?

I'd like to point out... that I still prefer swage fittings over mechanical for the typical rerig. Even those where the owner is doing the actual installation. The money that you save by doing the lower terminals yourself will not be enough to offset the cost of the fittings.

Mechanical fittings are great for emergencies and I think that every wise cruiser will carry enough to make repairs in far off places, but to me it doesn't make sense to use them for rerigging when you have access to a rigging shop with a swage machine.

Mechanical fittings are significantly more expensive v swage fittings.
Mechanical fittings may have a longer life, but the life of the wire is the limiting factor on most rigs.
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Old 06-22-2010
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rerigging

For what it's worth:
When I replaced the wire rigging on our C37 (1982) 5 years ago my rigger suggested and I concurred that I would use swag fittings at the top end and Hayn mechanicals at the bottom.The reasoning being that swag fittings can and do fail when seawater penetrates deep into the swage running down the lays of the wire and can cause corrosion in the air starved atmosphere.The Hayn mechanical fittings dont present the same situation and were very easy to install.In my riggers opinion and in my experience the Hayns are the superior fitting.
Hope this helps,
Dianne and Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers C37 #139
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Old 06-23-2010
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As knothead said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
...
Mechanical fittings are great for emergencies and I think that every wise cruiser will carry enough to make repairs in far off places, but to me it doesn't make sense to use them for rerigging when you have access to a rigging shop with a swage machine....
you might consider this relatively new option from Colligo for emergency repairs:

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Last edited by arisatx; 06-23-2010 at 06:15 AM. Reason: fixed hyperlink
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Old 06-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niftynickers View Post
swage fittings can and do fail when seawater penetrates deep into the swage running down the lays of the wire and can cause corrosion in the air starved atmosphere.
By the time that happens, the wire has served it's recommended life and should be replaced anyway.
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Old 07-22-2010
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FWIW I favour Staloks
- I can buy a roll of wire and redo my stays for a few hundred dollars
- We broke a forestay off shore, and could repair it without removing the profurl. It broke at the top.
- I have seen more failed swages than swageless failures (none)
- You can inspect inside them
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Old 07-23-2010
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There's a bunch of anecdotal 'evidence' on both sides.

In the end, using modern polyfabulous fiber rope (dyneema et al) for emergency desert-island type repairs is the way to go. It's inexpensive, effective, stores _extremely_ easily and takes up little space. It also stores much better than stainless anything, because the fiber rope is most susceptable to UV, while wire rope is most susceptible to corrosion. Corrosion is going to happen on a sailboat.. UV can be controlled. (yes, fiber rope can be damaged by saltwater given enough time, but not nearly as quick/easy as stainless).

So given that the 'emergency repair' option is taken care of, it rather simplifies the conversation. Sure, 10 years ago before dyneema and it's cohorts weren't available, that wasn't the case. but these days, using mechanical fasteners because they can be repaired/used in a repair is unnecessary.

Given that you can machine/hammer swage an entire shroud for the cost of one stalok fitting, and given that machine swages have worked for a few decades, it's hard to argue that it's unwise to use them.

I think, in the end, we really are lucky that we have a number of good options. Which one is best? Frankly, all modern 'good' swage options outlast the wire they are attached to. So it seems to me that simply picking the one that feels good and running with it makes sense.

It's not unlike debating which gauge of shotgun to use when assaulting soda crackers. They all do a pretty good job. The debate is more religious than factual.. pay your money and takes your choice.

One last thought... inspecting the fittings every month does way more for security than spending a ton of money on 'bullet proof' fittings and never looking at them again...
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Also, while manufacturers of mechanical fasteners claim their products last a long time, most of them have yet to prove it. I mean, a product that's only been widely used for 5 or 10 years has a hard time proving that it has a 20 year useful life, you know? (sure, they've been used by a small segment of the population for a long time.. but the widespread acceptance they have now is pretty recent)

So if you are in the camp of "I don't replace it till it's broken", then keep reusing those mechanicals when you replace wire. But if you try to replace things _before_ they are broke.. such as replacing port shrouds when the starboard shrouds give out (even when the port shrouds look fine), then you are probably the kind of person who wouldn't be reusing those mechanicals too many times anyway.

New wire, new fittings.. keeps me sleeping soundly at night.

and you can hammer on machine swages two, three, or sometimes even four times before you spend enough to buy a single mechanical swage.

So there's that. For me, I guess it just comes down to cost. the 20 gauge is cheaper than the 10 gauge. They both make powder out of crackers just fine.
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Old 07-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapTim View Post

Given that you can machine/hammer swage an entire shroud for the cost of one stalok fitting, and given that machine swages have worked for a few decades, it's hard to argue that it's unwise to use them.
And when you're on the receiving end of a mast toppling towards the water, on a 12 year old vessel in well off shore in the fall on the cold and stormy Northern Atlantic, you might think other wise. Lower swage failure, wire was still fine, mast furler and sails were all toast and had to be cut away to save the vessel.

In the NE we get temperature cycling which when water gets into a swage can cause it to freeze and eventually split and/or crack. I've seen lots of cracked or split lower swages. I have four stays in my shop right now where three of the four lowers are split but the wire is still serviceable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapTim View Post
I think, in the end, we really are lucky that we have a number of good options.
Thank god!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapTim View Post
Which one is best? Frankly, all modern 'good' swage options outlast the wire they are attached to.
Please, if you are going to state something as a fact, to prove your point, the least you can do BACK THE FACTS UP WITH THE EVIDENCE or don't state them as factual. I for one would love to see some data on this because it has not been my experience here in the NE. It is out of line with what myself, or the four riggers I am friends with, see here in the NE and why none of them want to install swages on the bottom unless specifically asked to. Their preference, based on real world experience, here in the NE, is mechanical on the bottom swage on top.


Quote:
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So it seems to me that simply picking the one that feels good and running with it makes sense.
I guess it all depends where you sail and what you've seen and whom you've spent time talking with. For me I will never again use swages on the deck end of a stay in the NE. Been there done it seen and experienced my own failures. Even being the weakest mechanical fitting I have yet to seen a Norseman fail though I am sure some have. OTOH I have seen LOTS of swage failures. My rigger has seen one failure of a mechanical fitting but it was due to installer error.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CapTim View Post
One last thought... inspecting the fittings every month does way more for security than spending a ton of money on 'bullet proof' fittings and never looking at them again...
So you have a dye kit to catch these weaknesses at their earliest? I agree 100% that visual inspection is good to do, but you'll never see it all. The boat I was delivering had JUST gone through a complete rigging survey and showed no signs of failure until the mast went overboard..

Outlast the wire, maybe, maybe not..




If I was in an area where it never froze then I would probably consider swages on the lower end but not up here. Once you personally experience the loss of a stick due to a swage fitting failure you begin to consider all other options. I have been using mechanical fittings since 1991 and still re-rig every ten years and I don't re-use them..
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 07-23-2010 at 11:37 PM.
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