What type of hitch?

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What hitch do you guys use when lowering a heavy limb or section of trunk?
A running bowline, or timber hitch.

For lighter limbs a clove hitch
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Thanks. i gotta help my Uncle this weekend. he is cutting a large limb from a tree and i am going to try to keep him from dropping on his house.
Running bowline mostly. If you're pushing the limits of your rope, take smaller pieces. If there's enough drop for me to be concerned about shock loading, I'll wrap the rope around the limb twice before tying the running bowline. This helps reduce the load on the knot. In my experience that's where the rope will break if overloaded.
ALWAYS a running bowline. Sometimes with a half-hitch (marl?), sometimes knot.

This is what I do, but I tie a marl or a half hitch very rarely, normally on pieces that could tip/flop around, otherwise I don't see how adding another 90* bend in the rope does much good in a typical setting.

Pics from back in the day, the half hitch and the marl can be tied so that its tail pulls either direction. The idea as I understand it is that it pulls in the direction that tightens the bowline.


Half Hitch:
While neither would be anywhere near good, if I had to choose one to slip off, it'd be the half hitch.
ALWAYS a running bowline. Sometimes with a half-hitch (marl?), sometimes knot.

I cannot add anything to this....

A marl takes the load. I saw this when dropping 2-3 ton euc. limbs. The marl would fail.

So in taking reasonable limbs, 1, you want the knot to stick to the limb and not have it slip off the end of the limb. so a marl is kind of a back up to the real knot.

After the marl, I usually tie a clove hitch. LumberJacks method of tieing a bowline is a perfect way of doing it because you can untie the knot after the limb is on the ground.

For some reason I tie a clove hitch after the marl.

The clove hitch grabbes the limb better than a running bowline, but can be impossible to untie after it sinks into the wood from a heavy limb.

Take from these posts what you will, but the main point is to DONT OVER LOAD YOUR ROPES OR ANCHOR POINT.
...and Frans can definitely be considered an industry expert on overloading rigging. Have you seen his video with the Volvo? It's fantastic!
My biggest nugget is certainly short of a Volvo. 22-2500lbs, dropped and caught on a 20-25' spar. Probably used a half hitch.

A half hitch is like a loop thrown over the mount/load to precede the Running bowline; if yo slip the Half Hitch off it melts to nothing. A Marl is like making an Overhand and slipping it over the load to precede the Running Bowline etc.; so if a Marl is slipped off the end you will be left with an Overhand knot in the line.

Each gives a 2nd grab on the load; but also places the trapping pull inline. When we just have a Running Bowline that goes to a fence rail and we pull perpendicular to the rail; the 'stop' of the line is inline/not perpendicular to the pull of the Standing Part's pull. But; if we pull pairallell to the fence rail; we are then pulling the 'stop' of the 'knot' at an angle to the Standing Part's pull; leveraging the knot's grip. Most lowering is like a pull pairallell with the rail/load.

Preceding with a Marl or Half Hitch; makes it the main grip; and the tail of the line between the Marl or Half and the Running Bowline becomes the main 'stop'; that is now inline properly to the initiating pull of the Standing part. A Marl will be harder to set, but should hold better. Both the Running Bowline and the preceding Hitch should be before the CG for them to pull close most firmly, and not be tempted to flip or unsettle.


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I use a clove hitch more than I do a running bowline it seems. Ties faster for me.
The Marl makes an Overhand knot when slipped off the end, a Half Hitch melts to nothing. So, either could be maid left or right. It takes more to properly set a Marl; as it will self set a lil'less surely if left tooo loose IMLHO for it must pull through the Overhand; qwhereby a Half Hitch is more 'transparent'/slips tight easier. But, then once set, a Marl is more secure, especially for intermittent jerking/loading; for the 'tightness' is more set and maintained behind the Overhand.

i would think that a Marl/Overhand would bend/leverage the force in the Standing Part more; so be less efficient/'weaker' IMLHO.
Holy crap! I just now finally understood what Palmer and Tompkins were talking about on the Art & Science of Rigging video when they were describing the difference between a marl and a half hitch. Those guys make it sound like molecular biology or something. All I needed was some plain english. Thank you Kenny!
I use a marl with a cow hitch above it, then I tie a half hitch under the cow.
I prefer a running bowline, myself.
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