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Letter To The Editor

Warren Cottage,
Station  Road,
Flax Bourton.
1st August 1974.

I was interested to see in the June B.B. that a tackle refurbishing programme was in progress. As the person who, I think, produced the first ‘C’ links for the club (from an organisation with a not dissimilar abbreviated name) perhaps some comments might be of interest.  I know that much water has flowed down holes since the early days and probably the links have been the subject of considerable study, but if some of the originals are still in use, as I believe they may be the original criteria that some of us decided upon for the originals cannot have been too wide of the mark.

First and foremost, remember that not all chain links can provide suitable raw material for ‘C’ links, although chain links are probably the best part-finished starting point. The links that we used were from high strength steel chain hoist links.  High strength, that is, in relation to the average link and not to steels in general.  Many chains are too malleable and 'C' links from them are liable to open up progressively in use.  Also, do not go from really high strength steels.  The weight saving does not outweigh the handling problems or other nastinesses during prolonged life.

Second, subject each link to a proof load test.  I cannot remember the figure we used, but I know it was related to the range of cable strengths we envisaged.  It was also rather less than the heaviest failing load of cables, as we argued that links would not see the same stress concentrations and abrasion as the cables.  If any are still in service, their markings will give you the figure we used.

Third, mark the safe working load (which was half our proof load) by light stamping on the side of the curved end of each link.  It could be argued that this should be done before proof testing, but I recall that we found that we did not affect either the proof or failing loads of the links we made by stamping afterwards.

Fourth, protect each link by some form of surface protective treatment such as zinc or cadmium plating.  It will wear in time, but will prolong life and can be replaced as necessary.

Finally, as a check, take a sample of the links and load them, in pairs, to failure. This failing load should be at least 50% above the proof load.  It normally will be.  I am sure that the B.E.C. still has access to such normal facilities as test machines and plating baths.  If not, I may be able to help.

Yours Sincerely,
Tony Johnson.

Editor's Note:     Tony may be surprised to learn that all the links at present in use, as far as I know, are from the original batch - although I am not sure if they were all stamped.  Present day members may be surprised to learn something of the care which people like Tony put into making things for club tackle.  I am sure that this information will be of great use in tackle making.