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Thread: Walltent rope tensioner

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Default Walltent rope tensioner

    Hi All,

    I need to cut 30 guy rope tensioners for my tent/flys. I notice in all the old pics they are most often made of wood and cut in a peanut shape. Is there a regulation size for these? Since there are wooden stake regs I figure there must be tensioner specs too!

    Harry
    Member 5th Texas Co. A/1st NC Artillery. Disabled Viet Nam veteran, 1970. I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4UcaLHaabY

  2. #2
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    Jun 2011
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    Simi Valley, CA
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    Default

    Hi Harry,

    are tensioners necessary? what about using a triple hitch? I love that knot! learned it as a Scout and have been using it for 43 years.

    to those unfamiliar with the hitch it is easy to tie and once tied, completely adjustable. just slide it up or down. Depending on which type of rope used, it makes a strong bite.

    i'll bet that it, or something like it was used.
    Gerald Henry Calderone Jr.
    Simi Valley, CA

    sponger and rammer of cannons

    Richmond Howitzers

  3. #3
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    Default

    I have been a Boy Scout type since I was 10, Camp Ranger, Scout Master, Camp Staff, Eagle Scout, the whole works, so I know what a "taught line hitch" is. The problem is that you don't see them used in period pics, only the peanut tensioners. I also use genuine hemp rope too. Costs more, but nobody can gig me on authenticity.
    Harry
    Member 5th Texas Co. A/1st NC Artillery. Disabled Viet Nam veteran, 1970. I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4UcaLHaabY

  4. #4
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    Dec 2007
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    Spring Hill, FL
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    Default

    Couple points here: one, rope tensioners were commonplace during the war as most larger tents and flies kept the ropes together and attached to the grommets and rolled them up in one convenient roll. That way you weren't fumbling around in the wagons trying to find the boxes with ropes and then sorting them out as to length. There were several types of tensioners, of which the "peanut" type is one. That being said, when they broke, which was frequently, many times they weren't replaced and the good 'ol knots do come into play - both are authentic. Now as to rope, there is a reenactor legend/myth that one must use only hemp rope. You'll find plenty of sisal and some manilla line as well, particularly with flies and large tents. If you can score some high resolution scans of Federal camps, you can make out alot of twist and strands, making that sisal or manila (hemp has less definition of the different strands when twisted; they look as if they are blended together often).
    Ross L. Lamoreaux
    Tampa Bay History Center
    www.tampabayhistorycenter.org
    On Facebook at: Tampa Bay History Center Living History Programs

    "The simplest things, done well, can carry a huge impact" - Karin Timour, 2012

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    214

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    "Tent slips --- to be made of cherry, birch or other close grained and suitable wood. For hospital tents to be 7-5/8 long, 1 inches wide at each end, and one inch thick throughout, with a hole at each end, inch in diameter, to receive the tent cord. For wall tents, 5 inches long, 1 inches wide at each end, 1 inch in diameter in the middle, and 1 inch thick throughout: a hole at each end, 3/8 of an inch in diameter, to receive the tent cord."

    Zooming in on some camp photos, it is pretty clear that most of these were cut into a peanut shape from 1 inch thick boards as per the regs. The sharp corners appear to have been sanded smooth on most. See the attached photo.

    And since rope came up, the regs call for manilla, not hemp. From the specs for a wall tent:

    "Eave lines 9 feet, in the clear, 6 thread manilla; foot lines same, 16 inches long; door lines the same, 1-1/2 feet long. All lines to be well whipped, 1 inch from the ends, with waxed cotton twine, and properly knotted."

    -Craig Schneider
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    That, Craig, was impressive. You just put some dimensions on stuff I've heard people asking about for years.
    Bill Watson
    I write about history for people who regret not being there when it happened.

    Books
    Brother William's War, Illustrated, about a Southerner's war
    The Ludlam Legacy, Illustrated, about a young Yankee orphan's war.
    Seize the Day! A best-practices guide to wringing more satisfaction from your Civil War weekend
    The Little Book of Civil War Reenacting: An introduction for those who want to try it out

  7. #7
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    Ross, real quick, sisal wasn't invneted until the 1880s. hemp as a common liine (rope) passed out of favor in the navy (and Army) in the 1850s, being replaced by Manila. manila was cheaper and sturdier than hemp, therefore, great for military use. hemp continued in use in both the Navy and Army, but for very small uses such as "Small Stuff", (closuers for bags and such)

    Steve Hesson

  8. #8
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    Does anybody reproduce the brass version you so often see as a dug relic?
    Tom Bramlette


    Glad you asked that question! It is vital to the core of the hobby!
    Fill that rusty canteen with apple cider vinegar, cork it, and leave it in the back of a cool, dark, closet for 16 weeks. That will fix everything.
    Glad to be of service!


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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by sigsaye View Post
    Ross, real quick, sisal wasn't invneted until the 1880s.
    Do you mean a more efficient process was invented in the 1880s? It was inefficiently processed by Yucatan natives in the 1860s and before, along with some attempts at machine processing, and was imported as a very minor fiber.

    Tropical fibres imported into the United States for the year 1860. (Custom-house valuations.)
    Manilla Hemp... 347,431 cwts...$1,631,884
    Sisal Hemp...5,630 cwts...$25,114
    Coir, etc....113,585 cwts...$163,039
    Source
    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@gmail.com

  10. #10
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    Jan 2007
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    Bowling Green Kentucky
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    Yes, what you said

    Steve Hesson

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