Excerpts from the 1996-97 Samson Ropes Product Brochure.

SamsonFor well over 100 years, Samson has been the leader in developing and manufacturing braided ropes. During the 1800's, Samson perfected the unique concept of incorporating reinforcement cores within braids to significantly enhance product performance. In 1957, the engineers at Samson took this innovation another step forward and developed the modern synthetic double braid. By combining newly developed fibers in their patented construction, ropes could be engineered with those characteristics critical to the applications for which they were designed. Performance factors, such as strength, elongation, flexibility, and abrasion resistance, could now be engineered into the rope.

With this heritage, it's no wonder that Samson ropes excel in workplaces as tough as those encountered by the professional arborist. Samson's line of Tree Ropes are specifically engineered to maximize performance where ropes are expected to provide a margin of security for climbers working in the tree, running against bark and through crotches, support and control of descending loads, while providing a reasonable working life.

The most complete line of products in the industry.. Samson's line of Arborist ropes includes both climbing and bull ropes, 12 and 16 strand braided constructions, double braided, and three strand twisted ropes. Each construction and combination of fibers offers its own mix of performance characteristics. Strength, elongation characteristics, abrasion resistance, and snag resistance are all factors to consider in choosing the appropriate line for a given task.

To help make the decision making process less intimidating, this catalog has been designed as a complete reference on Samson Arborist products. In it you will find specifications for each product, which allows comparison between products to ensure that the product chosen will function in its role in the workplace. In addition, we have included reference materials on usage and inspection techniques for ropes in general.

In order to promote safety on the job site, and ensure that our products are used most effectively, Samson has teamed up with the arborist community to promote and provide current information on effective and safe climbing techniques. The section beginning on page 12 presents information on basic techniques, rigging and knots, as well as a rope inspection and retirement guide to assist the arborist in assessing the condition of his equipment. While not intended to be a comprehensive guide to this demanding aspect of the arborists profession, it will introduce a few basic concepts, and hopefully encourage the search for more information on this critical aspect of the arborist's occupation.

Our commitment to the arborist industry is evident on two levels. First, to each and every arborist, by supplying a wide variety of high quality products that can be trusted to provide consistent performance. Your performance, as well as your safety, depends on the choices you make in selecting the tools you work with. At Samson, our goal is to make our products your first choice for quality and economy. Along with our distributors and dealers, we are committed to providing information which helps you use our products in a safe and effective manner. This catalog, as well as other important publications, contain critical safety and usage information. Second, our commitment is directed toward the professional advancement of the industry.

Our support of effective training programs like those sponsored by the NAA and ISA, "ArborGames" and others is critical to informing and educating arborists everywhere. Our support and attendance at trade exhibitions as well as "hands on" seminars helps us better understand your needs and preferences. This process of feedback and involvement helps everyone and improves our value to the industry as well as yours.


New rope tensile strengths are based on tests of new and unused rope of standard construction in accordance with manufacturer's Standard Test Methods. It can be expected that strengths will decrease as soon as a rope is put into use. Because of the wide range of rope use, changes in rope conditions, exposure to the many factors affecting rope behavior, and the possibility of risk to life and property, it is impossible to cover all aspects of rope applications or to make blanket recommendations as to working loads.


Working loads are for rope in good condition with appropriate splices, in non-critical applications and under normal service conditions. Working loads are based on a percentage of the approximate breaking strength of new and unused rope of current manufacture. For our arborist rope products, when used under normal conditions, the working load percentage is 10% of published strengths. Normal working loads do not cover dynamic conditions such as shock loads or sustained loads, nor do they cover where life, limb or valuable property are involved. In these cases a lower working load must be used.

A higher working load may be selected only with expert knowledge of conditions and professional estimates of risk, if the rope has been inspected and found to be in good condition, and if the rope has not been subject to dynamic loading (such as sudden drops, snubs or pickups), excessive use, elevated temperatures, or extended periods under load.


Normal working loads are not applicable when rope has been subject to dynamic loading. Whenever a load is picked up, stopped, moved or swung there is an increased. force due to dynamic loading. The more rapidly or suddenly such actions occur, the greater the increase will be. In extreme cases, the force put on the rope may be two, three, or even more timess the normal load involved, Examples could be ropes used as a tow line, picking up a load on a slack line, or using rope to stop a falling object. Dynamic effects are greater on a low elongation rope such as polyester than on a high elongation rope such as nylon, and greater on a short rope than on a long one. Therefore, in all such applications normal working loads as given do not apply, for more information see pages 14-16. (in the Samson Products Catalog)

A heavily used rope will often become compacted or hard which indicates reduced strength. The rope should be discarded if this condition exists.


All rope will be severely damaged if subjected to rough surfaces or sharp edges. Chocks, bitts, winches, drums and other surfaces must be kept in good condition and free of burrs and rust. Pulleys must be free to rotate and should be of proper size to avoid excessive wear.


Rope is subject to damage by chemicals. Consult the manufacturer for specific chemical exposure, such as solvents, acids, and alkalies. Consult the manufacturer for recommendations when a rope will be used where chemical exposure (either fumes or actual contact) can occur.


Heat can seriously affect the strength of synthetic ropes. The temperatures at which 50 percent strength loss can occur are: Polypropylene 250 degrees F, Nylon 350 F, Polyester 350 F When using rope where the temperature exceeds these levels (or if it is too hot to hold), consult the manufacturer for recommendations as to the size and type of rope for the proposed continuous heat exposure conditions. When using ropes on a capstan or winch, care should be exercised to avoid surging while the capstan or winch head is rotating. The friction from this slippage causes localized overhearing which can melt or fuse synthetic fibers, resulting in severe loss of tensile strength.


All rope should be stored clean, dry, out of direct sunlight, and away from extreme heat. It should be kept off the floor on racks to provide ventilation underneath. Never store on a concrete or dirt floor, and under no circumstances should cordage and acid or alkalies be kept in the same vicinity. Some synthetic rope (in particular polypropylene or polyethylene) may be severely weakened by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays unless specifically stabilized and/or pigmented to increase LTV resistance. UV degradation is indicated by discoloration and the presence of splinters and slivers on the surface of the rope.


For dynamic loading applications involving severe exposure conditions, or for recommendations on special applications, consult the manufacturer, for more information see page 15.


Braided rope can develop a twist when constantly used an a winch. This makes handling more difficult and the rope should be relaxed and rotated in the opposite direction to remove a twist, To avoid this condition the direction of turns over the winch should be alternated regularly.


Splices should be used instead of knots whenever possible because knots can decrease rope strength up to 50%.

When splices are used, always use the manufacturer's recommended splicing procedures. When knots are used, be sure to take into consideration the knot's corresponding reduction to the rope strength and adjust your working load accordingly. For more information please see the knots and Rigging section, pages 17 - 19.


Avoid using, rope that shows signs of aging and wear. If in doubt, destroy the used rope.

No type of visual inspection can be guaranteed to accurately and precisely determine the actual residual strength. When the fibers show wear in any given area, the rope should be re-spliced, downgraded, or replaced, Check the line regularly for frayed strands and broken yarns. Pulled strands should be re-threaded into the rope if possible. A pulled strand can snag on a foreign object during rope operation.

Both outer and inner rope fibers contribute to the strength of the rope. When either is worn, the rope is naturally weakened. Open the strands of the rope and look for powdered fiber, which is one sign of internal wear.

These excerpts are taken directly from the Samson Rope 1996-97 brochure with their permission. There may be references to pages in the text. Please understand to find these you must contact them for the entire brochure. We are going to be running the brochure information over the next few newsletter issues for you education. This is a very informative piece.

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