Possibly my best block and tackle actually is older than I am. I bought it used in 1981 and up till then it had been hanging in a barn, having outlived its original use by several decades. I’d hate to lose this tool because I’ve used it for all sorts of things, especially for giving trees near buildings a little extra incentive to fall in the right direction when I take them down. That’s pretty much what I need to do tomorrow, because I have a tree in the fence row out back that’s leaning out over the neighbor’s field and I want to take it back in this direction. The old block and tackle can handle it.
Last time I used it was to pull the pump out of the well, and when I was stowing gear afterwards I noticed that I got pretty lucky on the well project. Two of three strands in the anchor eye of the block and tackle had burst. I have no idea when that happened but once you see this you shudder at all the disasters that might have been, had this given way in use.
Today I cut the old eye of the rope loose, and as I was weaving the end of the rope into a new eye splice I realized that this may be one of the few actual skills I acquired in public school. Math might count as a skill and I have used that, as I have used reading and writing, but so far as hand skills I would think that learning to splice ropes in various ways was the only practical skill I acquired there. It’s a shame that we weren’t taught more of these things in school. It certainly came in handy today.
The new splice looks pretty much like the old one did sixty or seventy years ago. The black silicone tape is different, the old tape was a tough cloth tape I doubt you can get any more. The new tape is good though, it’s the stretch activated flexible epoxy bond tape that is embarrassingly good at fixing all sorts of stuff. Drain pipes, cracked tool handles, missing tool grips — I’ve even tried to patch leaking pressurized pipes although as yet that has never worked. Manufacturer says it’s good to 700 psi so I’ve been doing something wrong, hmm. Says in the instructions it takes 24 hours to cure, and when a pipe has been leaking I’ve never waited that long. Can’t fault the product if you don’t follow the instructions. In my own defense I will say that if you call this tape “Emergency tape” then it shouldn’t take 24 hours to cure. Generally if I can wait 24 hours on something, it’s not really an emergency. But I still like the silicone tape. Like Duck Tape, it’s something I always have handy.