The Blue View- Carpe Compedem (Seize the Shackle)

The topic of this week’s Blue View is how to seize a shackle. (Okay – maybe I took a few liberties with my very bad, very rusty Latin). Seizing a shackle prevents the shackle pin from working loose, and on Nine of Cups, we seize most of our shackles. Any shackle that will be in place any length of time, any that are hard to get to or inspect, and any that would result in injury or catastrophic damage if they came loose, are routinely seized.

Depending on the shackle size, I use 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) of .032” (.9mm) monel seizing wire. Monel is a lot more expensive than stainless safety wire, but I prefer it, and a 33’ (10m) roll lasts me a year or two. There are special tools available for twisting the wire, but I find pliers and heavy wire cutters work fine.

The technique I use is shown in the illustrations below.

There are a couple of caveats.

  • If the wire is twisted too tightly, it will break (duh). If and when it does, the only recourse is to remove the broken wire and start again.
  • Make sure the ends are clipped close to the twists and tucked tightly against the shackle body to prevent it from snagging on a line - or a body part.

When the seizing is to be removed, I grasp the twists with pliers and work the wire back and forth a half dozen times or so until the monel fatigues and breaks. The remaining wire wraps are then quite easy to remove.