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Thread: Hawse fairlead- what material is best?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Drouin East, Vic
    I found an online article that gives a reasonably detailed explanation of the pros and cons of various types of fairlead. Kinda confirms my original assumption that a hard surface is kinder on the rope, whatever type of rope that may be. This guy recommends an aluminium hawse with type iii anodised finish, which he describes as having near-diamond hardness. Grit picked up in the rope will damage soft material, which will in turn damage the rope.
    Winch Fairleads: How to Pick the Best One

    - Roundforge

    However he does not state any sources for his information. So just more opinion, but with more detail.

    The whole 'cast vs billet' thing is a bit amusing; I suppose I could go and cast a billet and then machine from that. How is something machined from a 'billet' of unknown material made by unknown processes and of unknown quality, better than something cast from unknown material by unknown persons and of unknown quality? As far as I can determine, a 'billet' is just a chunk of material that does not yet have the shape that you want.

    Thanks to those who offered opinions, I guess it keeps a forum going.
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  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Northside, Brisvagus, Qld
    I would argue that the smoother the surface the kinder it is on the rope, but I think that is probably just semantics as harder materials usually maintain a polish better.
    Cast alloy is often full of manganese to make for easier casting, but it corrodes easily, which is why people talk about billet being better.
    Again semantics, but if you cast a block of metal you would usually call it an ingot, it becomes a billet once it's rolled / forged to size. The rolling / forging should increase the hardness and create a more uniform crystal structure in the metal.

    Based on the above, the bee's knees material would be polished forged stainless knife steel. But that might be a bit of an overkill.

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  3. #13
    p38arover's Avatar
    p38arover is online now Major part of the heart and soul of
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    Jan 1970
    Western Sydney
    Quote Originally Posted by POD View Post
    I'm planning on making the hawsers myself- just because I can.
    You can make heavy rope?
    Ron B.

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  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Yarrawonga, Vic
    Ive just put 60m x 14mm Synthetic on my PowerWagon project , I think the 'fairlead' on these are more suited to synthetic than steel rope .
    People in the USA are bolting a Hawse to the front of these if they use synthetic, I cant understand why they think they need it.

    I just need to fill the gap between the cable guide and the bumper with JB Weld or Devcon.

  5. #15
    350RRC's Avatar
    350RRC is online now YarnMaster Silver Subscriber
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Bellarine Peninsula, Brackistan
    On cray boats (which can haul maybe 14kms or more of rope a day pulling their pots in Vic) the winch 'pulley' is always ally because it grips the rope and slowly wears, but can be machined easily to keep working properly.

    Think of a horizontal vee belt pulley up to 900mm in dia. None are stainless because it wouldn't grip the rope as well. The winch wears the rope over time but it's a business cost.

    All the other surfaces the rope might run over before the winch are 316 stainless...... hard as. They will wear a tiny bit, but only after years. Wear surfaces become highly polished.

    They can be a roller, or a tube, etc but all are stainless.

    The point is using something hard and polished if in a rubbing / friction situation won't wear the rope as much as something soft which creates more friction and hence heat.


  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    The new Gold Coast, after ocean rises,Queensland
    nobody seems to use a roller fairlead/hawse these days , but if I was fitting a winch , that's what I'd consider

    I'm not sure whether you are confusing a hawse with a fairlead.

    a hawse is an opening for a hawser to go through a hull, panel or bulkhead.

    a hawser is a heaving line or cable

    a fairlead is a guide to protect the cable/hawser from damage while passing through the hawse.

    if I'm wrong here maybe one of our able bodied semen can correct me.....I know fairleads from aeroplane control cables.

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