Sunday, 19 June 2011

A very handy tool

Today I tested a tool I bought recently on the recommendation of a friend. Do you know these ratchet lashings used for securing cargo on a lorry or trailer? They are flat sturdy belts with a hook on one side, and then a separate ratchet mechnism with a hook. Have you ever thought you could use that to pull or lift some heavy stuff just a little bit?

Well, it does not work, because the belt is wound up on a small roller, and since this is only meant to tighten just that last bit to secure a load, the roller can only hold very few turns of belt.

Now, here comes the Swedes, who invented just the tool that can do both:
It comes with a 10-m long belt, and then a ratchet mechanism that's slightly more complicated than the usual setup. It has two alternative ways of feeding the belt through it, thus turning it into a cargo lashing system, or a small hand winch. The best part: it packs into a very small space due to soft belt instead of stiff steel wire, and it is very lightweight. In fact a lot of people here carry it under the seats of the snow mobiles as recovery equipment.

Today I had to pull a euro palette loaded with over 200 kg of stuff about a metre on the wet flat bed of a trailer into a better position. Easy as pie with this thing.

Here are the instructions, which are in Swedish, but the pictures basically tell everything that's important.
Another very nice feature of this winch is that the loose end can just be pulled straight through the mechanism. The locking system auto-releases and thus makes it possible to pretighten very quickly before using the handle for doing the tough stuff.
Is there any minus to it? — For heavier loads (I don't know yet how heavy, this is rated up to 400 kg), the lever of the handle is a bit short and it might get too hard to operate. But that just serves as an over-load protection.

Click on the images for larger version.

You want this? — You can get it in well-stocked tool shops across Finland and Sweden, and I guess elsewhere in the Nordic Countries, too.