What is a good winch line for a chipper??


Don't make me chop you
Feb 4, 2006
N.E. Illinois
I am almost committed to saying yes toward the purchase of a different chipper. A used 18 " Morbark 2400 diesel chipper. We tried it out yesterday and a little today. Monday will be the big test if it doesn't rain to much. This chipper is awesome compared to our other Morbark 290.

I haven't crunched any real big wood with it yet that is for Monday doing a Honey Loucust removal. If it does good with this tree it will be good for anything we can throw at it. Tough tree.

Anyway, part of the deal on this chipper is the installation of a used winch with new rope of my choice. I am kind of limited on choices, wire rope which I am going to stay away from, Stable braid, Amsteel, which I am kind of favoring or some brand I haven't heard about called All Gear ( I think). The guy I trust suggested this as they have a nice tighly bound wrapped splice for the hook and chain that holds up good according to him.

I don't have a clue here so this is why I am getting a couple second opinions.

Just on a side note this chipper has a JD turbo in it. This is the smoothest running and sounding diesel I have ever heard. Hardly any vibration while the machine was running from start -up to wind down, it is a very well balanced engine for a diesel and quiet too compared to the Cummings in my other chipper. It has a nice sounding pitch to it also.

Which rope would be good for a winch line???
Samson is the brand, Amsteel is the product. They have a few suitable products although I'd go with Amsteel or Amsteel II. Some other mfg's have similar products as well.
me too...300 feet on the spool. I use the 5/16 on the BSG grapple, 13700 break
Ax, we had a thread like this when I was trying to decide which rope was best. I have looked for it, with no success. I think, at the recommendation here, we bought Amsteel. The coolest thing I found about it was that it floats. I also could not believe the strength of it. We have really put it to the test and it is still holding up fine.
yale is making a rope called 'Ultrex'.

The biggest problem with these ropes is 'picking'. So a tight cover is mandatory IMO. Also the covers help the rope to hold it's roundness so it doesn't flatten out on the spool too much
And Dyneema is the "active ingredient"

A product similar to Samson's Warpspeed would extend the life (albeit a bit weaker) of your dyneema product with a braided polyester cover.

I didn't know if the cover would be in the way on the spool or not. On that note, Vallidator would also work. I've used both for some heavy lifting with the GRCS (6-7k lbs on a 3:1).
Careful, with a used winch that had cable on it you need to debur before using a rope line.

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Amsteel seems to be the majority vote here, which is my choice also.

What about this splice holding issue that the sales guy brought up?? How well does Amsteel hold a splice?? Can it be spliced at all ?? I don't have a clue as I can't splice and have to rely on other peoples work. Is there a different way other than slicing to form a union to the chain and hook?? Other than some kind of knot or using clamps.

I have only seen Amsteel on a spool up at the Morbark dealer who also sells arborist supplies. If memory serves me right Amsteel reminds me of that poly rope you see in the hardware stores. I am not doubting it's strength but it appears to be a loose open weave that wouldn't hold a splice all that good. To me it appears that way. Like a 12 strand rope won't hold a good splice compared to a 16 strand or 24 strand rope.

I guess you guys are going to have to enlighten me a little more.

V- I remember that thread now, probaly over at the old TH. I am going through the same thing. The winch is kind of an expensive option, I know you and your hubby had doubts at first but have found it indespensible now that you have one. Hopefully it will work out for me also. Anything to save on extra labor and hopefully be able to do more, different kinds of work with it and save on the back. I know it would have been nice to have one for projects in the past.

Yes, good point about the deburring, Tom. I'll check it first thing. I have seen the winch but can't tell weather it had cable or rope. I was more concerned with how big this winch was and how much it weighed because of the additional counterweight on the rear affecting my tongue weight on the hitch of the truck. Whatever line was in the winch wasn't a concern at the time. I think it had rope in it. It has been about month now since I have seen the winch.
Amsteel NEEDS to be spliced, it won't hold a KNOT very well. I'm not a splicer either,, but I would guess that if you bury enough of it, it would hold just fine. Nick?

Amsteel was specially designed to be spliced using the common three strand splice.
It is easy to splice and holds the splice perfectly.

But I would not buy it without the cover as the major drawback is picking
Larry, I'd use a locking brummel with a decent tail. You can splice it, we can walk you through it no problemo.

Frans, I've never heard of using a tuck splice with amsteel, it seems specifically designed not to use that kind of splice due to its innate slipperiness.
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Thanks LJ and Frans, I have to call them tommorow anyway. Let me find out some more details. The chipper has to go back anyway to have the winch put on. I"ll have more time to get some more details.

I think I know what your talking about LJ. Mike Maas showed me that splice only I didn't do anything with it. Maybe it is time for me to learn some of these simple splices.
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I got my new to me chipper back today with the winch and line installed.

Like I said I had three choices to pick from the Amsteel, New Englands equivilent and this other brand Husky ( I think) . They were all the same as far as tensile strength or close enough let's say that pulling strength wasn't an issue.

All the ropes came pre-packaged and were pretty much the same as far as price goes.

Contrary to all the good advise I got I chose against Amsteel and the New England rope. My decision was based more on how the end of the rope was finished with the splice. The Samson and N.E lines had a plastic thimble on the end and the splice was very loose and open with a few strands of the line interlaced along the side of the thimble to keepthe line attached to the thimble to keep it in place. It was still very loose and kind of sloppy.

It reminded me of a 12 strand True -Blue climbing line I had spliced way back from Sherrill with with a thimble on the end. That didn't last at all because it was a bad idea to begin with, it started to fall apart in no time.

Here are some pics of this other line. Time will tell if I made the right decsion or not as this is a new experience using a winch on a chipper with rop0e verses other winches I have had or worked with using steel cable.

The line I got is a very good seller for the dealer, the chipper - winch guys prefer this one over the Samson and N.E. according to the dealer that is. Like I said time will tell, if this doesn't pan out I"ll have to punt and try again.

First pic shows the splice with an inner sheath, no plastic thimble

Second pic shows the almost 3 foot long protective sheath behind the splice, the other lines didn't have this feature.

The other pics show some custom things I had the dealer put on the chipper. Quickie rig points for a porta wrap or maybe a speedline if needed on the bottom of the chute. A place for a couple of rakes, safety cones , just above the that danger decal is a place for D handle shovel and pitch fork. Maybe someone can get a few ideas from this set-up. Anything to keep tools out of the back of the chip truck.

Another pic just showing the winch mounted on the back of the chipper

Another question?? What is the most common piece of hardware on the end of these winch lines. That chain I asked for is way to long. Too me it is anyway, if the reverse on the wheel doesn't work for some reason, I already have visions of that chain getting sucked into the chipper.:O A shorter chain with a grab hook is what I had in mind. The dealer said the most common thing on the end of these winch lines is a biner. That didn't exactly settle to good with me either. Any comments on this????


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I think a good carrabiner should be fine. Thats what I've always seen on rope winch lines.
Boy Larry, I see what you mean about that chain! I'd look for some rope to replace all that steel with, and I would go with a cheapish biner, an aluminum one for certain, to hook back on to the rope. I'd consider that short length of rope and the alu buner as sacrificial, and keep a couple of replacements on hand all the time.
Back to deburring a winch that has been used for steel cable. What would you be looking for and what would be the best way to get the job done?
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Another good point Burnham, I never gave having a short piece of rope a thought along with one of those cheap aluminum biners. I guess that is the old school in me. Overkill in the hardware department. All I asked for was just a few links of chain and small grab hook, I like the idea of a soft aluminum biner.

Canuck, If you can start from scratch look at the reel that does the winding check for dings or sharp little points , next would be the rollers in front of the winch. A steel cable will wear grooves in a roller if the pull is hard enough and rollers are aren't turning from lack of grease. Have to replace them then Small scratches and dings in the rollers if not to severe can be sanded down and polished with some elbow grease or an air tool with fine grit metal polishing sanding disks.

You should be able to feel grooves,rough or sharp point with your fingers