Well, not from scratch exactly. I purchased the end terminals and wire and assembled the stay, which is definitely more expensive than having a stay made up by a rigger with swaged terminals. However, as I gradually replace rigging wire, I want to replace each piece with shrouds and stays that I built with Sta-Lok fittings. I want the knowledge and skill required to re-rig without having to hire out work to a rigging shop, and the expensive terminal fittings are reusable.
I learned some interesting things during a phone call to riggingonly.com. Tom was very helpful and knew all the products, sizes, and orthodoxy like the back of his hand. I had questions for him regarding sizing of eyes and pins, because what I found on my rig didn’t make sense:
- 1/2″ eye at the masthead
- 7/16″ stemhead pin hole on bow chainplate with 1/2″ toggle on the old Harken furler (which I did not reinstall)
Why were they different? Tom suspects that when the boat was built, the rigging contractor didn’t talk to the builder or designer, so there were some missed cues and make-dos. Tom feels like the rig should have been designed with 3/16″ wire – and most of it was – except for the forestay and backstay: these are 1/4″. Apparently 1/4″ wire typically called for larger 7/16″ eyes, but the boat was already built with 3/8″ chainplates. . . so there was a make-do fashioned, and it turned out okay – after all, the rig has stood without mishap for 34 years as designed. Best rigging design, however, matches pinhole with pin size exactly. Why 1/2″ eye at the masthead? Not sure. It didn’t match anything up there (7/16″ toggle and pin). And it turns out that simply using a different toggle to up-size the was the wrong approach too. Not knowing that, I asked about reusing the toggle, but Tom said different wire size required a larger turnbuckle, and a different sized toggle. Not only do the pinholes and pins have to match exactly, so do the toggles for the same reason: point loading or stress risers where the size is mismatched will weaken the ultimate strength of the stay or shroud at the terminal fitting. Instead of the mismatched pins and eyes, I will now have 7/16″ pins and eyes at the mast and stem on new 1/4″ wire.
Assembling the stay was fairly straightforward. I installed the eye fitting on one end of the wire after reading the instructions several times, plus consulting other on-line resources.
I’m realizing now that I didn’t take enough photos. . . that’s the danger of being a reporter/blogger and project doer at the same time – I get too involved in the project to take the correct kind of photos to complete the sequence. The next photo should have been of the wire loosely unlayed around the cone. Unlaying the wire isn’t easy. It’s stiff and stubborn, and you don’t want to completely bend it all out of whack – you will have to relay the wire around a small conical fitting that slides over the core of the wire, so it’s best to keeps the general direction of the lay of the outer layer.
There is a slot in the cone that allows it to compress as the body of the fitting is screwed on. It must remain clear of the outer strands – that is, a strand shouldn’t lay right into the slot, because that will keep the slot from compressing closed.
After I had the eye installed, I could measure against the two old forestays I had, so as to cut to proper length.
Altogether, this took about two hours, because I didn’t know what I was doing. Had I to do many more, I would have gotten a lot quicker. I am also confident in the strength of the fitting. The design is such that is impossible to pull the wire out of the fitting. It just can’t happen. I think the most difficult part is unlaying, and re-laying the wire to properly form around the cone. But it’s not hard, just a bit fiddly.