Safety, property protection and quality of manufacture:
Safety for the serious professional is job one. The safety of this device has been job one. Safety is why the device has been engineered and every component machined so that there are no sharp edges to cut, chafe or severely damage ropes, there are no difficult to inspect pins that can develop microscopic stress cracks that can cause unexpected failure, no moving parts to wear out, no un-inspectable hidden welds, no crucial component of the device is reliant on a singular weld for strength, all components have been machined to fit perfectly, crucial weld points have been machine chamfered for maximum strength. The primary brake drum tube has been inserted through the one half inch thick back plate and welded on both sides so as to best strengthen the attachment as well as the structures of both the plate and the drum. The rope guides are one piece of machined aluminum and have also been inserted through the primary plate and welded on both sides of the plate. They are also tightly inserted through the machined brake drum to further strengthen the attachment of the drum to the plate. The plate has been tightly inserted one half inch into the solid “T” bar at the top with the rod having a machined chamfer for strongest weld attachment. With two opposing attachment points on the “T” bar, when the attachment rope is secured around the tree once or twice, there is an inverted basket hitch formed that serves to effectively double the strength of the attachment rope. (Making it a safer attachment than with a pulley). The open ends of the “T” bar with bollards on either side enable frictionless hitches at each attachment point to further maximize the strength of the attachment rope. With enclosed rope guides, there is no way for the lowering rope to ever slip off of the device regardless what direction the device might end up in. (Upside down, or backwards for example). The device will not cause twisting of rope and prevents excessive rope against rope wear. The enclosed rope guides usually prevent the rope from ever overlapping on itself when properly used, but in those cases where this does happen, it doesn’t cause a significant problem and it is very easily resolved, regardless of the weight of the load.
As the rope guides are highly visible and aligned as they are, it only takes a few seconds to make the initial one, two or three raps. The raps on the device are also entirely visible so that an operator error in the number of raps being desired is as unlikely to occur as is possible. Strength wise, the device has been tested and certified to hold #9,500, which is over twelve times the rated capacity of the device without failure at that weight. With safety foremost in mind, the weight rating of the device was not derived from the strength of the device, but from the ability of a smaller than average person to safely secure and lower 750 pounds under normal conditions for the industry. The brake is made of aluminum to keep weight down, so that it can be left outside and not rust and so that it doesn’t need the painting that can somewhat diminish welding inspectability. Safety advantages are further boosted by the fact the worker in the lift (typically the most experienced and capable person on the crew) can control the descent of the load. As it is easy to move the device around the tree, it is also easy to mount it in locations that serve to pull and carry the load away from the lift and operator whenever this is beneficial. The proficiency advantages of the device (to be discussed later) make the job safer by reducing fatigue throughout the day as well as reducing cumulative seasonal fatigue due to ease of usage and by shortening the day for the whole crew. Finally, the rigging job is made safer because the safety benefits will be realized more regularly because of the many advantages it offers. The brake is designed to be used with one half, five eighths or three quarters lowering line. You can go up to one inch rope to secure the device to the tree in severe applications.
“For a key part of the rigging process, it’s like having an extra man. Usually that requires something with an engine and four wheels”
As quick and easy as Mcdermott’s Rope Brake is to use, there is no reason and no excuse for the aerial lift operator to take risks, calculated or otherwise with valuable property. Put a rope on it and remove doubt… Clearance over roofing or fencing when tying off limbs is frequently an issue and you’ll find that there is much less elevation drop when using the device because with the short distance between the stopping power of the rope break and the attachment point on the limb, there is much less rope to stretch. With one hand on either side of the rope brake, this short distance enables the cutter to significantly cinch up the rope and do it more quickly than it can be done with a base mounted rope break. (Granted a base mounted unit with winch has more power when needed in certain situations.) After the cutter has grabbed the rope to lower the load, the groundsman is fully free to use a tag line if needed and see to it that the log or brush material that was over the roof, is carefully laid to rest in a spot in between the house and cherished rose garden for example. Once the brushy tip of a limb is pulled slightly toward the house and then lowered to rest lightly on the ground, the butt will naturally pivot away from the house and generally be easily guided left or right toward the chipper by the groundsman.
Ease of use, production, shorter days and profit:
McDermott’s Rope Brake is the rare type of tool that can pay for itself in one day or a week or two. A fair question to ask is: how? The answer begins with usability. The device was designed to be small enough and light enough (under ten pounds) that it can be taken up with the operator as he enters his bucket and proceeds to do any necessary pruning of small lower branches in preparation for the rigging process, or it can be passed to him when he is given the lowering line, or it can be left in the bucket after use from the day before. Being aluminum, it can be left on the trucks deck in a milk crate because rain won’t bother it. Again with ease of use in mind, it was made to attach quickly to the tree. With the attachment rope left affixed to the operators weak hand side of the devices attachment “T” bar, it takes less than half minute (less than ten seconds sometimes) to have the device mounted and then the rigging process is ready to begin. And the brake can be moved around the tree in seconds just as easily, or used with a pulley installed before the rope brake, or between the rope brake and material to be secured. If the large limb hanging down while being lowered from way over a roof is too large to be laid down in the small open area below it, is easy to just rap the rope around the “T” bars a few times to secure the hanging section of tree, and then the secured hanging limb can be pieced out as necessary. Another advantage of having the rope brake in the crown of the tree is that as soon as brushy material reaches the ground in the direction of the chipper, the groundsman can proceed to untie the knot and remove the limb from the area with no need to go over and remove the raps from the drum at the base of the tree. The cutter can pull the rope, tie off the next limb, cinch it up and prepare for the next cut with or without assistance from the groundsman. This makes it easier for the groundsman to keep the area at the base of the tree uncluttered and safe. It also means that the operator can often be ready for the next cut when the groundsman returns. The aerial lift operator will be using the device all of the time, even for two or three limbs because of its ease of use. Productiveness advantages further the amount of times that it will be used. For example, the operator will find himself roping down limbs instead of piecing them down because it translates to so much less effort being used in the lift as fewer cuts are being made in the tree. On the ground, there will be fewer pieces of brush to drag to the chipper and far fewer twigs to pick up or rake up as brushy material is not crashing to the ground, it is being laid down and pointed at the chipper and much more easily moved nearer to the chipper avoiding the creation of a rats nest under the tree. Instead of slicing and dicing smaller removals that cannot be felled into many pieces because setting up a base mounted rope break doesn’t seem to make sense on smaller jobs, quickly install McDermott’s Rope Brake and cut down on the number of cuts to be made and the pieces on the ground from four to one or ten to one, or even greater. Get back on the ground quickly and give a hand chipping.
As the device is easy to move around and there is no required anchor point at the base of the tree, it is frequently advantageous to install the brake out at the far perimeter of the tree. This can be done to carry the material away from the bucket and operator, or away from the house, or as a near effortless means to transport brush closer to the chipper. If the strength of the perimeter attachment point is a concern, it only takes a minute of easy work to attach a gusset rope from rope brake attachment point back to a higher, stronger central point in the crown.
If wood is to be chunked down later to the base of the tree, the brake can be used advantageously also. With the cutter controlling descent of limbs, the cutter can direct the groundsman to place limbs on the ground in such a way so as to build half a birds nest or half a bowl around the side of the tree were the logs are to be dropped to either protect the lawn or prevent logs from bouncing or bounding away from the base of the tree. If done properly, most of the brush will be pointing toward the chipper and remain mostly intact and ready to be brought to the chipper after the wood is down.
Regarding the single 5/8 post at the end of the brake’s drum. The post is unnecessary in many applications such as for when loads are light or when the device is tight against the trunk of a vertical part of the tree, but, it is there for those times when the rope brake is attached to a less than vertical part of the tree and is going to be used for a fairly heavy load and the operator wants the drum to be horizontal. Attach short rope to the post and rap rope a couple times around horizontal limb in such a way so as to hold the brake horizontal, or use long enough attachment rope to accomplish the task. The component is needed because it is such an advantage to have the brake at the perimeter of the crown on horizontal limbs for reasons previously discussed.
If there are two groundsmen, it just means that they are both freer to drag, stage, or chip brush during rigging operations.
“I rarely use my base mounted rope brake because it just isn’t as fast .”
How well does it work for climbers?
It depends on the structure of the tree, what’s under it and how much help you have. If you have one helper on the ground, the brake can be of great benefit and more beneficial than if you have two or three helpers on the ground. If the climber is a long way from the brake, it will be difficult to pull up the rope if three raps are being taken on the drum. That being said, in many or most situations, two raps are sufficient. Because a climber has less mobility than a bucket operator, it’s often beneficial for the climber to use a small sling and micro pulley so as to keep the lowering line within easy reach. (So as to be most able to assist in the lowering process and help in pulling the rope back up for next tie off.
Think of your top handled chainsaw… Just like it, you’ll find yourself relying on McDermott’s rope brake all the time.
How well does it work on big wood?
First, though big wood rigging is sometimes necessary, the reality is that there are very few jobs where big wood cannot be chunked out into a very small area (that has been boxed in with wood and brush) quicker, with less effort and safer than rigging huge sections down. On those occasions where chunking down wood is not an option, a crane can often safely and cost effectively accomplish the task of getting the final standard to the ground. If neither of those options are options for getting big wood to the ground, a base mounted rope brake is a better option than a crown mounted rope brake.
Either by saving labor or increasing revenue, it will pay for itself in a few weeks, if not a few days.
Value of product.
There is only one way to judge the value of McDermott’s Rope Brake and that is to simply ask yourself what will it do for you? It will make your job safer, it will save you time, money, effort and get you home earlier. Imagine you’re going to be rigging down a tree next door to another company that is going to be rigging down a tree of the same size. Your skills and equipment are in all ways equal, but the company next door has a McDermott’s Rope Brake. As you prepare to go about your job, you notice an old geezer take the brake and a rope up in his bucket and in a minute he has tied off a limb, has instructed his groundsman to secure the rope and stand in a safe spot and is starting to make his cut. After the cut is made, you watch as he puts his saw in his scabbard, then you watch as the bucket operator grabs the rope and instructs the groundsman to direct the tip of brush toward the house and away from the chipper so that as the bucket operator lowers the limb, the butt lays down pointing toward the street. You watch as the bucket operator pulls the rope back up as the groundsman or groundsmen as effortlessly as possible drag the limb and stage the limb for later chipping. When it is time for logs to come down, the grounds man drives a small tractor with forks under the tree and the old guy lowers the logs right onto the forks. By the time the groundsman has deposited the log in the dump trailer, the bucket operator has tied off the next log and is ready to make the cut as soon as the groundsman is ready and the process is repeated. You watch as they drive off at 2:30 and ponder how little effort they expended as the sun goes down. How much would you pay for a chainsaw that would save you a half hour or an hour a day by cutting faster, needed no fuel, no servicing, wouldn’t break down, would last a long time, didn’t take up much more space than a shoe box, could be left out in the rain and weighed less than all of your other saws?