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Use and Care of Line
Seaman - Military manual for the Seaman rate
Synthetic Fiber Lines
called a hawser. Remember, it is the size around (the circumference)  the  line  that  is  measured,  not  the diameter. SIZE  OF  SMALL  STUFF To find the size of a piece of small stuff, open a strand, count the number of threads it has, and multiply this result by 3 for three-strand stuff. The largest small stuff is 24-thread, with three strands each containing eight  yarns. USE  OF  SMALL  STUFF Certain small stuff used for special purposes is designated by name, with no reference to size. Marline is the most common stuff of this type seen aboard ship. Dark brown in color, it is two-strand, left-laid tarred hemp.  It  is  inexpensive,  fairly  strong,  and  protected against  the  weather  by  its  tarring. Housing line is three-strand, left-laid tarred hemp. It is used for light seizings, serving pennants, riggings, and  outside  work  exposed  to  weather. Round line is three-strand, right-laid tarred hemp. It is  used  for  seizings  and  servings  on  ships  where neatness  is  required. Sail twine is small stuff laid up right-handed by machine, like regular line, but it is not much larger than fishing line. It is used for servings when a fancier job than can be done with marline is desired. Cod line is the light, white line formerly used in hammock clews (lines for suspending a hammock). It now is used for decorative purposes. Rope yarns for temporary seizings, whippings, and lashings are pulled from large strands of old line that has outlived its usefulness. Pull your yarn from the middle, away from the ends, or it may get fouled. Keep an old strand about a fathom long hanging in the boatswain's locker for this purpose. Small coils of line may be loaded into a cargo net and hoisted aboard. Large hawsers may be hoisted in a sling placed around the ends of a piece of pipe or a crowbar shoved through the center tunnel of the coil. The large hawsers may also be rolled forward along the deck, hoop fashion, and jiggered into place by the same rig. STOWING SMALL STUFF Coils of natural fiber line should always be stowed on shelves or platforms clear of the deck. They should never   be   allowed   to   become   covered   with   an accumulation of junk that may prevent the evaporation of moisture. Always remember that line composed of natural  fiber  is  susceptible  to  mildew  and  rotting. Arrange  the  coils  of  small  stuff  along  a  shelf according to its size. Set each coil up with the inside end at the bottom of the center tunnel so it come open properly. The burlap wrapper should be left on each coil. You will find that the stoppers for securing the coil are inside the wrapper. Cut these stoppers and draw up the inside end so the line is started properly. It is a common custom–and a good idea–to set up a narrow, flat strip of wood horizontally over the shelf containing the small stuff, with a hole bored in the strip over each coil. The starting end of the line is drawn up through the hole, and is prevented from dropping back by an overhand  knot.  This  method  ensures  that  anyone coming down for a piece of small stuff need not grope around inside the tunnel for the end, with the possibility of getting hold of the wrong end when the coil is pretty well  depleted. The most commonly used sizes of small stuff should be put on reels; then you will not have to worry about  somebody  fouling  up  a  partially  used  coil. Once the stoppers of the coil are cut, bights of tightly wound coils of marline have a tendency to work off the ends of a coil and become hopelessly snarled. To prevent snarling, transfer the marline to a reel. Take a short length of pipe or a squeegee handle, and shove it through the center of the coil. Block it up so the coil is free to turn. In this case, take the outside end of the marline, secure it to the reel, and start laying it up. You will need help with this job because the coils must be tended  carefully  to  prevent  bights  from  slipping  off  the ends of the coil. Coils of large line should be stowed with their proper side up for opening. Line from 2 to 4 inches or so, which is needed in various lengths on deck, should be opened and a few feet of the end led out. When a new coil of line is to be opened, give it your personal attention. Five minutes of your time here may save  hours  later  trying  to  work  kinks  out  of  an improperly  opened  coil. Whenever  possible,  wet  line  should  be  dried thoroughly  before  stowing.  Sometimes  drying  is impossible, as with mooring lines that must be sent 3-3

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