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Hemp set.

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by TecDirTN, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. TecDirTN

    TecDirTN Member

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    We have a new hemp set at the Bijou in knoxville. All pipes, ropes, head blocks, sheaves and sand bags are brand new. Nice right? Well not so much. I have been dealing with twisting ropes for the past month. What I mean is from the head block to the clew the 5 ropes become one tightly twisted mess. What I am wondering is .....what is the most efficent way to untwist each line? I have tried loosening the clew and physicaly untwisting each line seperaetly but it is time consuming and not 100% effective. If anyone knows a trick or a resource that can point me in the right direction please let me know.

    Thanks in advance
    Jason Fogarty
    Production Manager
    Technical Director
    The Bijou Theatre
    Knoxville Tennessee
    www.knoxbijou.com
     
  2. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    For a start, all rope, cable or wire gets un-wound from the underside of the spool. If installed other than this, you are in for a world of problems.

    Can't say that other than having had done some hemp in the log past that I have ever noted much twisting you describe..

    I know that one should weight a lineset and let it un-twist but it's unusal that over time linesets should cause problems.

    Get a certified rigger and or rigging company to have a look at what's going on. Beyond the pain in the rear, something might be going on that is not safe.
     
  3. TecDirTN

    TecDirTN Member

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    I am a certified rigger, I know whats going on, they used the cheaper style rope instead of the more expensive rope that would not twist up under load. I have already untwisted a couple of the hemp sets but was looking for a more efficent way to do it.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Having worked several hemp houses, God I hate them, Your'e statement of hand un-twisting them is the only thing I've ever been able to come up with. It's another one of those save a dollar on the install pay for it in labor down the line things.

    Just for clarification.... Why would anybody install an "all new" hemp system. Is it an historic site that requires original equipment ? Or was someone just feeling nostalgic ?
     
  5. TecDirTN

    TecDirTN Member

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    Van to answer your question, The Bijou is almost a hundred years old. It's an old Vaudville house that has been renovated about 10 times. The people paying the bills are not technical theatre "savy" they only see the numbers if you know what I sayin. Also I agree HEMP HOUSES SUCK! but it's more of a love hate relationship! Love em when they work hate them when they don't!

    The best solution that I can come up with is to tie a stopper hitch knot just below the head block and tie that off to the rail at the "loading Rail" At this point I am able to remove all the weights and adjustable rope clew. I will then let the ropes untwist them selves and assemble everything. I think I may have to do this several times a month to get it perfect. It's alot better than slicing up the ropes as they untwist at the head block!

    I am still open to suggestions but at the moment I think this solution will do.
     
  6. kingfisher1

    kingfisher1 Active Member

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    um last i check the clew it the part of a sail that is opposite the tack. clearly it haas another meaning here. i'm just asking out of curiosity...

    also, i assume the rope is not braided, and that's whats causing the twisting.
    to me it would seem a lot easier to bite the bullet and spend the money to get some good line in there. Can you use Spectra? (more curiosity here, are fly systems supposed to be static or dynamic?) for the quantities you be buying i'll bet you can get a reduce price.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Stretch factor of spectra is killer in a hemp house by way of a number of feet. Contact the place that sold the product and toy with their brains and or contact Bill Sapsis in figuring out what's up.

    Still I'm thinking it that you have the weighting and un-twisting solution at hand. This after perhaps the rope was just un-rolled from it's spool in the wrong direction which would than cause a twist in the coil needing to un-coil.
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    A clew is a square metal block with ,typically, 4 to 5 "slot's" inside it. In each slot there is <typically> a small rachet device , similar to an ascender, which is spring loaded to allow movement of the clew "up" the rope but not down. A clew ,Typically, has a loop on th bottom side which is what you use to attach sandbags to.

    http://www.tiffinscenic.com/html/stage_rigging.html

    I did a google search on clew and couldn't find a picture of one. If I can find one in a stagecraft book I'll post it for you. The above link is to a short article whisch discusses some of the coincendence between stage rigging and sailing terminology. When theatres first started to be riggd in what we think of as "traditional" Sailors were tapped to operate them as they had the best command of rope rigging. Terminology therefore made the journey with these early sailors. This is where we get terms like "deck", "Line" , Boom, batten,cove, bay, etc. etc.
    it is also where we get the superstition of "no Whistling backstage", on ships orders were often whistled up to the rigging since a whistle carries better than words in a squall. So when Sailors were working as flymen backstage you didn't want to be whistling for fear of winding up with a sand bag accidently dropped on your head, or inadvertantly cueing a scene change.


    A Hemp fly system is called a hemp fly system because it is rigged with Hemp. The use of any other kind of rope could have disasterous results. Hemp is much more static than other ropes. In a hemp house, you typically have five hemp ropes running to each batten. It's not like a double or single purchase counterweight system you might be familiar with. On a counterweight system your hemp rope, or spectra rope, is only moving the arbor up and down and the arbor is connectedd to the batten by 5 - 6 wire ropes or cables. Since you keep the arbor balanced with the load the rope doesn't really do any lifting, it only tilts the balance enough for the arbors wieght to kick in, or be over come. The cables on a counterweight system are pre-set to desired lengths and is necessary you can lengthen or shorten them by means of the toggle-bolt located on top of the arbor or at the connectoin to the batten. On a hemp system each rope runs to the batten individually. Imagine trying to pull evenly on all 5 ropes at the same time. the clew helps distribute the down force of one rope to all the other ropes on a given lineset < lineset that's where where the name comes from, a set of lines for each batten > to all of the ropes.
    On a Hemp system the counter weights are sandbags suspended from each line or lineset either by the clew or a sunday < I really want to know where the rigging term "sunday" comes from. if anybody knows let me know> and therefore each hemp rope is exposed to much more stress than on a counterweight system. Which is why it needs to be hemp not a synthetic.

    Sorry for the punctuation and capitalization, I'm not use to my wifes laptop.

    Hope that answers some questions and inspires you to do some more reseach about the history of theatre. It's a really fascinating story.
     
  9. kingfisher1

    kingfisher1 Active Member

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    a sunday was a knot, not sure what else its called, i'll have to ask that to the internation guild a knot tyers....
    it got it name because it helped keep batten from slipping betweent eh sunday matinee and the next show (that could be total BS....i though i read that somewhere.)

    Also, i have never ever ever ever heard that hemp has less stretch then spectra. spectra however is a lot more expensive, and was invented a wee bit later then hemp...but (under load) streches alot less.
    again i could be absolutly making up this number, but i thought that braided line has up to 85% less streach then any three strand.
    p.s. thanks for the reply now i have a clew....hahahaha jk
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    You are right, I was thinking back to spectrum rope I once installed in a 27' x 46' high Hemp house. Stretch on it was amazing. It's load rating was much more than that of spectrum which is why I did not choose it. Spectra was rated better or the same as manilla, spectrum didn't as memory holds - like 10 years ago the last time I specified such a thing, didn't have the load rating sufficient but could potentially have.

    PS. sorry if I insulted or incinuated any lack of rigging cert or ability to TecDirTN, no offense was meant, it was a general warning or advice.

    Ever figure out about the twist?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2006
  11. TecDirTN

    TecDirTN Member

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    Ship....no worries man!

    AS far as the twist.....It's a never ending battle...Once a month I will have to untwist the lines and hope that someday it will slowly stop twisting. I am still trying to find the most effiecient way to accomplish this, I will keep you all posted.
     
  12. Dcdjdrew

    Dcdjdrew Member

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    is changeing the rope possable, i am the technical director in a hemp house and we use stage set X rope made by JR Clancy it will not twist. also they are allways happy to help with any rigging problems.
     
  13. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Sorry I just got back to this one. The Sunday <sundae> I'm referring to is sometimes called a choke, although not always < Knot always ?> it is not a knot it is, typically, a short 18" or less chunk of wire rope with a eyelet on each end. Eyelet meaning, thimble and two crosby's or nico's. It wasn't till I got out here , oregon, That I heard them reffered to as Sundays < or most pronouce it son-dee >Just wondering if anyone else has heard the term. Sorry didn't mean to Hijack the thread.

    How're those lines comming ? Rigging problems just tie me up in knots ! :mrgreen:
     
  14. JollyRigger

    JollyRigger Member

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    Hello Folks,
    I realize this is an old thread, but I have an answer to the instigator's question about what causes this spinning phenomenon. I am a flyman in an old hemp house in Seattle Washington. With 34 linesets, we're told we are one of the largest operating hemp houses in the country. Our system is one of mixed components, old and new. We don;t use clews, but rather, use spectra runners as sundays and from them hang rod arbors with 1/2" shackles. Our pig weights are in 22# cakes. Additionally, we use roscoe sandbags to suppliment when necessary.

    Back in 1997, RENT came to our theatre and at that time it was a huge deal. The whole theatre was renovated. This included all new rope in the rigging system. New England Theatrical was used (the exact name escapes me). We encountered excessive twisting immediately upon introduction to our system. We are blessed to have Jay Glerum living 10 miles away and with a simple call got a lead from him about checking the lay of the rope. As it turns out. That was th eissue. The rope came to use, brand new, but manufactured incorrectly and so the 6000ft. of rope ordered was replaced was deemed defective and replaced by New England Rope Company at their expense. Interesting that they never confirmed directly, nor in writing that they had manufactured rope incorrectly. The new stuff has worked great since. Our biggest isues today are replacing blocks, particularly head blocks.

    best wishes to all that responded here.

    Andy Venegas
    Moore Theatre - Seattle WA.
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Welcome to the booth Jolly Rigger. It's great having someone else from Sea-town here in the booth! Be sure to stop by the new member board and introduce yourself.
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I can't right now locate the source, but here's the story I heard fairly recently. "In the olden days, theatres would present a special 'one-off' production on Sunday, possibly for religious purposes. Thus the temporary knot they used to get the week's regular production scenery out of the way came to be known as a sunday."

    In the same vein, most communities would not allow soda or carbonated beverages to be sold on the Day of Our Lord, so ye olde ice cream shoppes created the "sundae" which was only sold on Sunday. History is fascinating, isn't it? With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I'm looking forward to Gafftaper telling us all the details of the true story of the Pilgrims and the Indians, and which kind of Kliegl ERS they used to light the pageant.;)
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    If your a good boy Derek I'll tell you the story. But first it's time for you to make your turkey costume.

    Your story of the origin of the Sunday sounds oddly plausible.
     
  18. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Hmm sounds good to me.

    That's Native Americans. And I think they used Century or maybe Mole but I don't think Kliegl was around yet. :mrgreen:
     

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