Friday, January 16, 2009

Video Blog: Paraloc

Having given you a nickel tour of our cordage selections, we're going to start focusing a little on our most interesting types of line. Everyone knows the most popular brands like Yale's Crystalyne, New England's Endura Braid or Maffioli's Swiftcord, but we have some very interesting options that tend to fly under the radar.

One of those options is Paraloc by Mamutec. Mamutec is based out of Switzerland, a country known for its quality products. These are the people that brought you Rolex, Swiss Bank Accounts, the Swiss Army Knife, Swiss Cheese and, appropriately on a day where it's unsafe for anything short of a polar bear or penguin to go outside, Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate. That's a murderer's row of cool stuff, so you know Paraloc is going to follow suit -- and they do.

We're going into our third season with Paraloc, and the more we work with this line, the more we like it. In broad strokes, Paraloc is the next generation of line; it is manufactured such that core and cover fibers are parallel braided and interlocked with some of the stress-bearing core fibers braided into the cover and vice versa. Through this process, technical fibers of the core and sheath are also reinforced by cross fibers.

As a result, the rope structure forms an integrated whole so that individual elements cannot move relative to each other, and the cover is prevented from slipping or being compressed. All other covered lines on the market start with a separate core (braided or parallel) then braid a cover around it; neither is connected to the other so covers can slip and bunch. Paraloc eliminates this and in turn, many other problems found in traditional lines.

Over the past year, we've really seen a jump in the popularity of this line. Some of that has to do with time on the market -- it's been around for awhile now, and people are getting familiar with it. Personally though, I chalk a large part of this increased usage up to our understanding of how to work with Paraloc now.

Obviously, one of the issues with weaving the cover and core together is that splicing becomes a nearly impossible challenge. With time, we've come up with ways of splicing Paraloc -- for instance, we can use a brummel splice with this line, which weaves the line in on itself creating a solid eyesplice that won't pull out. Unlike a normal splice though, Paraloc estimates that you'll only retain about 70%-75% of the normal breaking strength when you do this.

The other option that we commonly use for Paraloc is applying a tippet. This involves milking a 12-strand line over the Paraloc, whipping and siezing it down, and letting the old Chinese Finger Trap effect firmly connect the 12-strand and the Paraloc. I've had customers question this method, but we've used it with great success on halyards and outhauls.

This is supposed to be a video blog though, so let's get to the video. James was off getting his hair did, so I stepped up to introduce you to Paraloc and its four different options. In spite of this, watch anyways...

Keep an eye on Paraloc in the future -- it really is the next generation. Let us know if you have any questions!

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