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Old 01-20-2019, 12:55 AM   #1
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Default Wire lacing technique

Any body out there willing to share any knowledge on building harnesses with lacing thread. I like a lot of old technology and traditional skills so I have been researching it a little bit. Seem like it would still be a good way to do control panels if you didn't care about how long it took.

Id be particulary interested if there are any former navy, air force, nasa, airplane, or general industry guys out there that actually had to do it and would be willing to share some tips. I can find old navy manuals and stuff that show how to do it, but the picture doesn't seem to quite match how I'm understanding the text. They all say to start a single line laceing with a clove hitch with an additional knot on top but what they show doesn't seem to quite be a standard clove hitch. Most of them aren't a great pictures though.

I would just like to have a discussion of its uses, how to do it, advantages, disadvantages, etc. I just think it would be a neat and useful skill to have.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:12 AM   #2
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Clove hitches the run of the lace

I use a small roll of twine and pass the role through the loops rather than guestimating length and cutting, but it's cheap you can guesstimate when you get used to knowing how much extra it will take, some scenarios ask for it.

You will never look at cable ties the same way, I look at them and put them in the same category as those factory boxoffset things, factory elbows and people that use unions everywhere.

I think it is beautiful, you couldn't create a sharp edge if you tried, I have seen cable ties cut through wires and shut down a plant(panduit makes better cable ties with rounded edges). And I think it takes less time sometimes after you get the hang of it. I like to run the parallel line on the backside so you don't see it. And you don't need ten different size ties, just one type of twine. A little bit larger string/rope but it works for big wire as well, look up truckers hitch if you get into that.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:36 AM   #3
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Clove hitches the run of the lace

I use a small roll of twine and pass the role through the loops rather than guestimating length and cutting, but it's cheap you can guesstimate when you get used to knowing how much extra it will take, some scenarios ask for it.

You will never look at cable ties the same way, I look at them and put them in the same category as those factory boxoffset things, factory elbows and people that use unions everywhere.

I think it is beautiful, you couldn't create a sharp edge if you tried, I have seen cable ties cut through wires and shut down a plant(panduit makes better cable ties with rounded edges). And I think it takes less time sometimes after you get the hang of it. I like to run the parallel line on the backside so you don't see it. And you don't need ten different size ties, just one type of twine. A little bit larger string/rope but it works for big wire as well, look up truckers hitch if you get into that.
If you can find it... I always liked the WAXED nylon twine.... super strong... stays in place better and not bunch up. I certainly agree with @Wiresmith about the beautiful part... like conduit bends that match perfectly.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:46 AM   #4
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I like learning about old methods too and occasionally find modern uses for them.

There's actually tons of info available by Google. The two places I know of that were really big on cable lacing are NASA and the telcos. So if you google "cable lacing telco" or "cable lacing NASA" you'll find lots.

I have never seen NASA work, but some of the old work still in use in telco CO's is really impressive. There was work way more impressive than what you see in "cable ****" threads on reddit etc. these days, in telco offices 50+ years ago.

Waxed string was used for cable lacing, the wax gives the string a little tackiness and makes it work better. I think you can still find it if you look. Of course you wouldn't use it inside enclosure with line voltage terminals or connections, it's combustible material - pretty much a fuse. Like cable ties, but more so, if you over tighten it, it could mess up cat 5 / cat6 cables.

I have used it here and there over the years, it still works fine, not much different from making a cable tie bundle, except it's smoother - you don't have the burrs from the cable tie heads on the finished bundle.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:47 AM   #5
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If you can find it... I always liked the WAXED nylon twine.... super strong... stays in place better and not bunch up. I certainly agree with @Wiresmith about the beautiful part... like conduit bends that match perfectly.
Thanks, looking for it now. I never heard of it although I have had some bootlaces like that and I see how it would be better.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:57 AM   #6
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I've cut a chit ton of it out and tossed it on the floor. It looks nice, but it is just pointless in the cut throat market of today.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:58 AM   #7
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I've cut a chit ton of it out and tossed it on the floor. It looks nice, but it is just pointless in the cut throat market of today.
What did you cut it out of?
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:03 AM   #8
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What did you cut it out of?
I worked at a mill that had a ton of old machines. They never upgraded, just kept repairing. A lot of control cabinets had the wires laced. By the time I got there, there was a good mix of old lace and new hack.
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:10 AM   #9
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I worked at a mill that had a ton of old machines. They never upgraded, just kept repairing. A lot of control cabinets had the wires laced. By the time I got there, there was a good mix of old lace and new hack.
I see it in some old alarm systems around here, I wonder if there was one company doing all the old work. Some pretty impressive work. Some of these systems still have old window foil glass break alarms, where the foil survives, it still looks nice. I thought that foil was decorative until I learned it was part of the alarm system.
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:11 AM   #10
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This company is usually a decent source for telco stuff:


https://www.specialized.net/installa...les-twine.html
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:24 AM   #11
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Cable lacing is a art that can not be taught a few lines on a forum. It is still done and a quick check with google there are many pages devoted to it.
The old school cable twine can be hazardous to work with. some were impregnated with rat poison to keep mice from chewing on it. Tugging on you could push it into the folds of your skin.
Lacing twine has been replaced with lacing tape in most modern installs, it has a flat surface and does not dig into wire jackets as much.
Learn it practice it and will have a marketable skill.
Needles are even available from Amazon.
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:35 AM   #12
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I left out, you can use those bigger black screw on cable tie mounts as cleats for the twine, or if you don't pass the roll through the loops like me you could pass the twine through the holes for the cable tie. You can get very fast and efficient at it and not take more time than cable ties, just like anything else, just because there is a shortcut used by the incompetent doesn't mean the competent can't get good enough to be efficient.
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:52 AM   #13
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https://www.amazon.com/waxed-nylon-t...d+nylon+thread
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:23 AM   #14
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I left out, you can use those bigger black screw on cable tie mounts as cleats for the twine, or if you don't pass the roll through the loops like me you could pass the twine through the holes for the cable tie. You can get very fast and efficient at it and not take more time than cable ties, just like anything else, just because there is a shortcut used by the incompetent doesn't mean the competent can't get good enough to be efficient.
Yes, because using zip ties is a sign of incompetence.
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:35 AM   #15
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The pic @splatz posted I think uses half hitches the length of the run except at the ends. I recommend clove hitches because if you move the wires around the halves will move one direction and the twine gets loose, cloves won't do that.

And if you want to bundle a lot or big wires, truckers hitches Will let you cinch down like a cable tie. I actually use ropes and trucker hitches instead of ratchet straps, I'm a knot and rope lover, it drives people crazy.
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:38 AM   #16
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Yes, because using zip ties is a sign of incompetence.
I knew we could agree on SOMETHING
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:10 AM   #17
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I've had to lace cable once. I felt like it was a total waste of time considering the man hours.

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Old 01-20-2019, 09:11 AM   #18
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The issue with ty-raps is they will leave a sharp edge if not installed correctly and they will get hard and brittle over time. Lacing is an art using #7 waxed polyester. The tool to get under the stitching for a new row is called an Evans Needle. They are made by P.K Neuss Co. Yes you can make better time with cable tys but when the customer specs lacing they want lacing.
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Old 01-20-2019, 10:08 AM   #19
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I have never done it or tried it myself but I sure can appreciate a good looking neat job of it.


Closest I've come is wire ties.
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Old 01-20-2019, 10:51 AM   #20
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Clove hitch to start and at every intersecting point were a wire drops out. Use 1/2 hitches for the run.
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