Trying to identify a mechanical device – ratchet for nylon rope

When I was growing up we did a lot of land-clearing, including tons of small trees. One safety device we used was to run a long nylon rope higher up around the tree, anchor it to something nearby (often another, larger tree), and then hand-ratchet it tight with a device specifically designed for that purpose to lean the tree a little bit.

I have a need to do something similar now, the problem is, I can’t find that device. I can find lots of lockdown ratchets for nylon straps, and I can find lots of anchoring devices for nylon rope, but I can’t find some thing that will let me manually winch it tight. Anybody know what I’m talking about, and can help me extract it from a morass of Google searches?

I think you want a come-along, though they’re generally fitted with wire rope instead of nylon rope/strap.

That’s it! No wonder I couldn’t figure out how to search for it. Thank you!!

On a related note, ever see a banner across main street for an upcoming festival; a wire cable run across two buildings with a banner hanging from it?

We used to put them (the cable) up with a come-along & a “pork chop”, a metal device that looked like a, you guessed it, pork chop. It was hinged on one side; you’d open it up & lay the wire inside, where there were ‘teeth’ to grip it, when you pulled it shut then hooked up the eyelet on the other side to the come along to pull the wire taught. What is the real name of this & where can I get another one?

Is this what you mean?

This sounds useful, but must be done with care. Putting too much “pre-tension” on a tree before felling it risks the dreaded “barberchair” failure (tree splits vertically / control is lost).

You can get all kind of ratcheting tie-downs with nylon straps at Harbor Freight Tool.

Yes, I’m pretty paranoid about what happens when a tree starts to crack. They don’t even always barberchair backwards, sometimes they split and then recoil sideways if they have a lot of branches.

I’m really only comfortable doing something that’s at most 20’ to 25’, with clear routes to run away.

It will depend on the rope’s sheath, but often nylon ropes have enough friction so that you can ratchet them using a Magnus hitch, adjustable grip hitch or other friction hitch or related technique (incorporating mechanical advantage if necessary) without having to resort to any toothed metal devices. Especially if you use a simple tackle.

I have only actually done this to really small trees, so disclaimer. If you are pulling stumps or chopping down giant trees you may need to plan carefully and pay extra attention to safety as people have said.