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rockfordwoods 04-12-2012 10:34 AM

Spectra lifeline confusion
I am getting ready to change over this weekend, but in thinking about the work to be done, I became confused. I will be using Johnson fittings throughout. For each length I had planned to splice the line to the closed end fitting on each end. This morning I realized that I could only do that for one end of the line using a brummel of the open variety poking each end through the other. Since for the second splice I will not have both ends of the line available, I will be unable to make a locked brummel of any sort as it would require passing the fitting through the rope. Looking at the Johnson advertising, they show splices on both ends of the rope. So would they have used a plain bury on the second end just to show how pretty everything is? Am I thinking correctly that the only way to accommodate the second end is with an empty locked splice ring hitched through the eye of the fitting or with a deadeye and lashing? If using a ring hitch, does that not create as much loss of line strength as a knot?

Stumble 04-12-2012 12:22 PM

I can't tell you how they made theirs, but this is how I would have made mine had hardware instead of lashings.

Using amsteel blue
1) tapered bury splice with lock stitching both ends of the life lines.

2) luggage tag one end around the bow pulpit. I did it around the bow pulpit tubing, not the stainless rod by the way.

3) run the lifelines

4) luggage tag the other end onto a stainless eye bolt

5) thread the eye bolt onto a Johnson snap gate hook

On the non-gate hook side of the lifeline, the last splice is made over a sailmakers thimble that the gate hook attaches too.

Personally I just found that eliminating hardware was too seductive when faced with the option, and it really drove the price down too.

Alternatively you can use a McDonaly method brummel splice, that only requires one end of the line. See instructions at

Joe Henderson 04-12-2012 03:34 PM

Endless Locked Brummell , grommet, lifeline securing.
Dear All,

I have just realised when reading the last few posts, on lifelines particularly, that no-one on here seems to be aware that a way to achieve a locked brummell when you cannot pass the other end of the line, whether in a grommett or other closed loop, to join long lengths of inaccesible rope, or indeed around a fitting that is too large to pass, ( like your complete boat when securing lifelines to the pulpit ) has existed for at least 40 years.

In 1972 I was a spotty-faced 16 year old appretice at Spencer Rigging when the problem arose of how to strop some timber blocks using the inner core of some 16 mm Braidline ( the British ropes version of Sampson Braid.)

I had been using the core that was discarded when making covered wire spinnaker braces and genoa sheets ( I shudder at the memory! ) to secure my trials bike in the back of my mates Ford Transit, securing one end to the load rails utilising a rudimetary form of the splice/hitch that has become known as the Locked Brummell.

Mine had the two interlocking tucks but I left the short end unburied and just put a whipping on said end about 3 inches from the two interlocking tucks.

This held for the job it was doing for many years. When the van was finally scrapped the tie lines were still swinging merrily from the upper inner corner of the roof.

When the block strop problem came up all the time-served men were scratching their heads a bit and I, as only an arrogant youth can, piped up with " Why dont you just tuck them through each other like I do for my lashings?'

Much scowling and dismissive gestures until I persuaded them to have a look at what I was doing.

The problem was, of course, how to acheive the same security in a closed ring/grommet.

More scratching of heads and I was a bit nervous about suggesting it, but went ahead anyway ( I was much more arrogant in those days, if that is possible to believe ) and proposed that we tucked one end as per usual then unlaid the braid of the other end, passed half each side of the line to form the interlock, and then re-laid up the strands into the sennet that comprised the material in the first place.

( As an aside, it may be a trick of the photographs, but every time I see a step-by-step explanation on how to do a locked brummell the demonstrator seems to just stick the two parts through each other at 90 degrees.

I have always, from the very beginning, followed the angle of the braid making sure that there is an equal number of strands each side of my pull-through. This seems to make for a fairer lay of the two parts together. )

-Back to Cowes cica 1972-

Graham " Curly " Floyd then grabbed the fledgling grommet out of my hands and tapered and buried the two ends and with a couple of whippings and a few tweaks on length and taper cofiguration the join was sorted out.

I have been doing them in the UK and Australia ever since.

I got hold of some ex America's Cup spectra core and used it for some blocks on a smallish gaffer here in Sydney in 1987 and since the advent of Spectron 12 and it's ilk, I have used the join, in dacron, spectra and kevlar to taper and repair halyards on site.

The most recent joins I did were out on site at a large electrical cable installation where they had to gulley-pull 2 kilometres of cable in one go, and I joined-up several lengths of 16 mm Lankhorste Euronete Dyneema to make one length of just over the required 2000 metres.

Of course, they broke the pulling line and I had to return and make a join standing up to my waist in water down in an access pit.

Well I was the one who said I could do it - natural arrogance you see.

There again, as my mate Mike Vester says, " If your'e not arrogant enough, you never get anything done! "

Apropos of that, the Dynex standing rigging for the 200 ton charter schooner is progressing.

Photos to follow.


Joe Henderson, Henderson Rigging.

rockfordwoods 04-12-2012 05:48 PM

now i am really confused
Joe, I have read your explanation more than once, but obviously I will need to study it and see if I can do the same thing. I do not quite understand. Forgive my thick head. It is always a pleasure and informative to read one of your posts. Thanks for the information.

Joe Henderson 04-12-2012 10:05 PM

Dear Rockfordwoods,


Now I am going to have to delve into the alchemy of taking and posting digital images on this forum.

Do not hold your breath, but I will try my best.

I know it is not strictly kosher on this forum, but you could email me - - and we can discuss more fully


akochen 04-13-2012 05:10 AM

Brummel splice with one end
Here is a video from New England Ropes of how to do a Brummel splice with one end only. gqYF24JCxzQ=

rockfordwoods 04-13-2012 07:09 AM

Anne, thanks for that link, but the issue here is how to use a locked Brummel to splice in a closed eyelet, such as a Johnson lifeline eye, without having access to both ends. I think it is not possible without passing the offending hardware through the rope. Joe has come up with something very interesting involving un-laying and reweaving the rope.

Stumble 04-13-2012 08:18 AM


Both the link I posted above, or the video akochen posted have instructions on how to do a locking brummel with only one end of the line available. It absolutely is possible, and a pretty easy splice really.

Brion Toss 04-13-2012 08:26 AM

Great minds run in the same ruts
And here I thought that I had come up with the unbraid/rebraid technique, after a friend told me it was impossible, some years ago. For those of you who aren't following Joe's description, you can find drawings of the process in our Working Rope 5 book, in the section on grommets.
Getting back to an earlier question, a Ring Hitch (I refuse to call it a Luggage Tag Hitch) does not have the kind of weakening effect of knots; the load distribution and balance is different. For lifelines, a Ring Hitch is important, as it allow one to attach and detach the eye. The Johnson hardware is proportioned to accommodate the hitch. Not clear on why one would need the unbraid/rebraid technique for lifelines.
Fair leads,
Brion Toss

Joe Henderson 04-14-2012 05:37 PM

Many, many men with greater skills than I, and there is nothing new under the sun !

The more I think about it, the more certain I am that that I must have seen the essence of the Monkey Grip / Locked Brummell somewhere in the copy of Ashley that my mother bought me on the occasion of my entrance to the ranks of an indentured apprentice..

Without getting that bloody heavy thing down from the upper level of my bookshelf ( the only one it fits on, of course ) I reckon that here is something similar in the leather strap / thong department and I have seen it on the end of belts etc. so I have no great claim to it.

There again, as per the title, most of what we do has already been done, or at least thought about, either years ago or at the same time.

Vis the "invention" of the multihull and the development of the Windsurfer etc. etc.

There again I do love the syncronicity of it all, and the existence of the entry in your book saves me a lot of head scratching whilst I attempt to - 1) actually take the pictures, and 2) post them up on here.

By the way, I agree, luggage tag is just a lazy way of describing the hitch for uninformed users, and "great minds" can be set on their ways..

The correct nomenclature, and the correct tool, always.

Unless I really HAVE to use that Crescent wrench and cross head screwdriver as an adjustable hammer and pin punch --- quick !, while no-one is looking.



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