Friday, June 27, 2014

That Was Easy! Adventures With Hayn Hi-Mod Compression Fittings

Throughout this entire rebuild, I've had the rigging in the back of my mind, but it never really mattered until now because there was soo much else to be done.  Well, there's still much to be done but time is getting short and this needs to be done. 

Originally I planned on replacing all the standing rigging, but somewhere along the way I decided that I would just replace both uppers, the forestay and backstay (read: I can't keep spending money).   I figured that this would be the safest way to replace part of the rig and will replace the lowers next year. 

I'm not sure why I decided to do the rigging myself; I had falsely thought it would be cheaper than having a shop swage everything, but in reality, the cost of the mechanical fittings eats up any labor savings. The nice thing is that they will be reusable in the future should I need to replace the rigging again.

In the end I had a shop swage eyes on the top of 1/4" 316 stainless 1x19 wire and bought Hayn Hi-Mod compression fittings and turnbuckles to do myself on the bottom.  I chose Hayn over Sta-lok or Norseman mainly because I heard really good things about them and that setting them up was a bit easier because they use a castellated nut that locks each strand of wire in position. 

Anyway, I've had the rigging bits and pieces sitting in my shop for over a month now waiting for a good time to get it done.  I was a bit apprehensive having never done any mechanical rigging work before, but I really shouldn't have been.  I invited my friend Mike to help me out (he is a fellow serial boat restorer like myself and was interested in seeing how mechanical fittings work as well) so we met up early this evening in my day job parking lot after it had emptied out for the weekend. 

To make sure the new rigging was cut to the right length, I screwed a couple of 3/8" machine screws into a board and backed my truck wheel on it so we would have a secure platform to straighten out the wire.  Next we hooked the eyes of the old stay/shroud and the new wire onto the board and straightened them out. 

Then it was just a matter of marking the wire where the new stud and turnbuckle would be the same length as the old ones.  I wrapped a piece of painters tape around the wire and marked it with a sharpie and we took it back to the liftgate of the truck and cut it with a hacksaw.  I bought a new 32tpi hacksaw blade because I was worried that cutting the 316 stainless wire would be difficult.  This went extremely easy, I'm guessing the new blade made a big difference because it only took 30 seconds or so to make a nice clean cut. 

I pulled the tape off where I cut and then used one of those grippy rubber jar openers to twist the wire against the strands to separate the core.  Again, surprisingly easy, but it took a few pieces to get the hang of it and make it lift off the core in an orderly fashion.  Oh, before you do this step, make sure you slide the body of the fitting onto the wire or you will have to undo what you've done.  Don't ask me how I know this....

After the core is separated, slide the cone (small end first) over the core with about 1/4" of core exposed on the bigger end.  Next, slide the castellated crown ring (concave side first) over the exposed core and then use the end of the stud to push it into place. There is a little divot in the end of the stud (or whatever fitting you are installing) that allows you to use it to get the proper depth for both the cone and crown ring.  I'm not explaining it well but it is super obvious when you see it.

Now for the hard part.  The outside strands that were previously separated now have to be laid back down and seated in the castellated ring with each strand going into each 'cove' of the ring.  In reality, it's not that difficult, but it takes a bit of practice and I think that once you figure out how to smoothly separate the strands from the core initially it goes much better.  The first one we did took about 25 minutes from laying out and measuring the wire to completion.  By the third one, it only took 10 minutes for the whole thing. 
Once each strand is seated nicely then it's just a matter of pulling up the body and twisting it with the direction of the wires and then screwing the stud (or whatever fitting you have) and tightening it down.  Hayn recommends lock-tite (I think blue, non-permanent) on the threads but I didn't have any tonight, so I didn't fully tighten them down until I get some lock-tite. 

All told it took 1.5 hours to do three pieces including everything. They were really easy to do, and that never happens to me.  I had never done any type of mechanical fittings before so I had zero experience and by the second one I felt like a pro (except when I forgot to put the body on before I split the core out).   I would say that even a child could do this, but it does help to have strong fingers, a helper, and a little dexterity, but other than that you barely need directions.  I guess the proof is in the pudding, so if the rig collapses when the mast is stepped, I may have something else to say, but I suspect that it won't be the fault of the Hayn terminals.


  1. Did this same thing to my Alberg 30s standing rigging 2 years ago, only difference is that I used Sta-Lok fittings and did it in kitchen:)
    Looking good!!

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