Privacy Screens and Snow – Is It a Good Idea?

With fall a few weeks away, temperatures will begin to drop sooner than we realize. The end of summer is a good time to revisit & assess methods to safeguard property during the colder months of the year. Blowing and drifting snow can be a real problem during the winter months. Snowdrifts block driveways, hamper work on construction sites, make driving unsafe, and create many problems in parking lots. Preventing drifts and other accumulations of snow is, therefore, a high priority in many parts of the country. We have been asked whether our privacy screen mesh will work as a snow barrier. The answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

A privacy screen mesh is primarily intended to be a visual obstruction. For example, a construction company may not want the general public to see what is being built until the final stages of the project. A homeowner may want a certain amount of privacy around his/her property until such time as trees and shrubbery can be planted.

As a snow barrier, a privacy screen mesh would work to some degree. However, it might not be ideal when there is heavy snowfall. Allow us to explain the rationale behind it.

Blowing and Drifting Snow

The biggest problem with snow is the blowing and drifting. Wind picks up snow and carries it great distances, dropping it seemingly indiscriminately in locations where it is most inconvenient. Nevertheless, how, and why, does this happen?

Winds high enough to blow snow must also be relatively close to the ground in order to be problematic. The blowing snow remains airborne only as long as wind speed remains consistent. If wind speeds slow down, even momentarily, the snow loses its momentum and falls to the ground. This is what creates snowdrifts. This natural law of physics is behind the design of the orange and yellow snow fences you can buy at the DIY store.

If you have seen one of these snow fences, you know that they do not look as if they would be very effective because the gaps between individual ‘links’ are so great. Nonetheless, those gaps are the secret to the success of the snow fence. They allow the wind to keep blowing through, yet they slow it down just enough to cause the snow to lose its momentum and fall to the ground. Anyone who has used a snow fence knows that a drift will form a few feet in front of the fence while the area on the other side remains clear of snow.

Privacy Screen Vs a Snow Fence

Privacy screen mesh is obviously a much denser product. It will not slow down the wind as much as stop it in its tracks. Therefore, as a snow barrier, there are a couple of things to consider. First is the wind speed. If the wind is strong enough to cause blowing and drifting snow, will it be strong enough to damage privacy screen mesh? Perhaps. That is why a privacy screen product is installed using heavy-duty metal posts spaced appropriately. A snow fence, on the other hand, can be supported by just a few wooden strips placed every 8 to 10 feet.

The other thing to consider is where the wind will go once it hits the privacy screen. Some of it will go through, or up and over the screen, while the rest will travel down the fence line until it finds an escape route. This will likely result in the majority of the snow piling up in a single location. Interestingly enough, you will see the snow pile up on both sides of the fence line as well.

It should be clear by now as to which situations are better to utilize a privacy screen mesh when it’s snowing. In a pinch however, it can be useful to some degree.

3 Things You Should Never Do with Bungee Straps

Bungee straps have been compared to duct tape in terms of their versatility. Truck drivers use them for everything from securing tarps to replacing a broken curtain rod in the sleeper cab. Their extreme flexibility, resistance to weather, and ease of use, make bungee straps one of the most important tools in the flatbed trucking industry.

Here at Mytee Products, we are thrilled to be able to offer bungee straps in various lengths along with solid core rubber bungee rope. You can purchase straps or rope in bulk to save on our already reasonable prices. And don’t forget replacement hooks; we carry those as well.

Given the popularity and necessity of bungee straps in flatbed trucking, we thought it might be helpful to address some key aspects of using these versatile tools. Below are three things you should never do with bungee straps. Avoiding them will minimize the risks associated with bungee strap use.

1. Shortening Strap by Tying Knots

There are times when the amount of distance between hook points is so short that the average bungee strap is too long. You might think about getting around this by tying a knot or two before deploying a strap. Don’t do it. Tying knots in bungee straps increases the stress on them while at the same time decreasing usable life. It is better to stretch the cord to a different anchor point on the trailer or load.

Bungee straps are designed to evenly distribute tension from end-to-end. When you tie a knot in the middle, that portion involved in the knot is only subject to minimum tension. You can tell just by observing how the strap stretches. The part tied up in the knot barely stretches at all, signifying there is very little energy or tension in the material. The free material on either end stretches more as it absorbs more of the tension and energy.

2. Hooking More Than Two Straps Together

The other side of the knot-tying coin is hooking multiple bungee straps together to create a single chain long enough to span the gap between hook points. We recommend never hooking more than two straps together. Even under tension, the hooks on the ends of bungee straps constitute their weakest link.

Remember that metal ‘S’ hooks do not stretch. To make up for this, bungee straps usually have to be stretched a little further to prevent the sag that results from hooking too many together in a single chain. This creates a safety concern as well as reducing the usable life of all the straps in the chain. If you need length, use bungee rope.

3. Cutting an End and Making a New Hole

Bungee straps wear out and break over time. Sometimes, the hole into which the metal hook is inserted breaks clear through. Do not be tempted by the idea of cutting off the end and making a new hole. Doing so compromises the strength of the strap.

If you look at the average bungee strap, you will notice that the two ends are thicker. They are reinforced with extra rubber material to absorb the additional tension placed on the material by the hook. Cutting off a broken end and making a new hole for the hook results in too much tension on the rubber at the point where the hook is inserted. This is just asking for trouble. Bungee strap altered in this way can easily break without warning.

Bungee straps are an invaluable tool for the flatbed trucker. Used correctly, they offer a tremendous amount of functionality and flexibility.

Save Money on Bulk Purchase of Corner/Edge Protectors

We know that flatbed truckers have many different choices when looking for a supplier for their cargo control supplies. It is our job to give them a reason to shop with us. We work hard to do just that. One of the things we do for our customers is to strive to always offer the best possible price. Our corner and edge protectors are but one example.When you buy them in bulk from Mytee, you can save quite a bit of money.

Our 4-inch red and blue corner protectors designed for webbing between 2 and 4 inches normally sell for $1.49 per piece. If you buy at least 10, the price falls to $1.19 per piece. That works out to $11.90 for 10 or $23.80 for 20. One of the largest online retailers (whose name you are very familiar with) sells the exact same corner protector in a pack of 20 for $41.90. Their price is almost twice our price.

Both products are the same except for the color of the plastic. Both are designed to protect ratchet straps and cargo from friction damage, and both are suitable for webbing up to 4 inches wide. They have the exact same shape – down to how the outside corners are molded.

Stock Up on Them

As a flatbed truck driver, keeping an ample supply of cargo control products on your truck is all in a day’s work. You buy straps and bungees because you need them to secure cargo to the bed of your trailer. You buy corner and edge protectors to protect both straps and cargo. More importantly, you buy them because they are required by law whenever load conditions could potentially harm your straps. Since you are buying them anyway, it makes sense to purchase in bulk and save money at the same time.

Why purchase in bulk? Because things happen. The flatbed trucker will go through hundreds of corner and edge protectors during the course of a 40-year career. It’s not like you are going to buy half a dozen and expect them to last for decades. As long as you are going to need hundreds, you might just as well buy in bulk and pay less for each piece.

For the record, Mytee does not sell just one kind of edge protector. Our inventory includes more than a dozen different products ranging from the 4-inch plastic corner protector to the 4-inch rubber protector to the steel corner protector with a built-in chain slot. We even carry oil edge protectors appropriate for coil loads of up to 26 inches in diameter.

The Right Protector for the Job
Corner and edge protectors are extremely simple to use. The real trick is choosing the right protector for the job at hand. Some of the smaller models are ideal for things like brick and crated building materials while a larger v-board corner protector would be more appropriate for a piece of industrial machinery.

In closing, we want to offer couple of reminders, including the importance of using corner and edge protectors to prevent your straps from tearing or fraying. The last thing you want is to have to invest extra money in new straps because a lack of corner protectors is reducing strap life. Purchasing corner and edge protectors costs a lot less than constantly replacing your straps.

Also remember your legal responsibility to properly secure cargo. You could be found in violation if you’re not using corner protectors on a load for which an inspector deems them necessary. It is better to just not take any chances.

The Secret to Preventing Tarp Billowing

After spending 20 to 30 minutes tarping a load, nothing aggravates a flatbed trucker more than looking out the mirror 25 miles down the road and seeing one or more of those tarps billowing in the wind. Billowing tarps reduce fuel efficiency and risk both straps and cargo. Truckers hate billowing tarps.

The question many new truck drivers struggle with is how to prevent billowing. After all, moving down the highway at 65 mph creates a lot of air movement around a flatbed load. Any natural wind added to the equation just makes things worse.

So, what is the solution? The secret to preventing tarp billowing is in how tarps are applied at various points of a load.

In the below post, we will explain how to secure tarps that will not billow as you drive down the road. You can use ratchet straps, bungee straps, bungee rope, or even nylon rope as you see fit. A combination of bungee straps and ratchet straps is the best way to go for efficiency and speed.

Tight at the Front

Physics and common sense dictate that air flows across a load from front to back. Therefore, common sense also dictates that tarps should be getting the most attention at the front of the load. Veteran truckers who tarp well, will tell you that the front of the load is key.

The most important thing for preventing billowing is to make sure the tarp at the front is as flat and tight as possible. If you do not give air a clear path under the front of the tarp, you will reduce the likelihood of billowing across its entire surface. So think tight and flat.

One suggestion from veteran truckers is to start by securing the front corners of the tarp with bungee straps. Pull the tarp tight and secure the rear with bungee straps as well. Then go back to the front of the load and apply one ratchet strap across the top of the tarp as far forward as possible. You can then use bungee straps or bungee rope to go around the front edge of the tarp, hooking to a strap on either side, to keep the vertical surface of the tarp lying flat.

Work Your Way Back

Once the front of the tarp is flat and secure, work your way back. Use additional bungee straps at key points to secure the tarp to either your trailer or the load itself. Another ratchet strap across the middle of the tarp will keep that section flat. Finally, wrap the entire perimeter of the load using bungee rope from corner to corner. This keeps the edges of the tarp secure against the load.

The advantage of using bungee rope here is that you can apply fairly large sections of rope without creating a safety hazard or risking damage to the load.

One veteran trucker we know offers another tip that makes sense. He says that it helps to take a few extra minutes to make sure tarps are applied evenly. An uneven tarp is harder to keep flat and tight because you are working with different amounts of material at various points across the load. An even tarp gives you the same amount of material at the critical points, making it possible to apply even tension with each bungee or ratchet strap you use.

Remember, the secret to preventing tarp billowing is to concentrate on the front of the load in order to ensure the tarp is flat and tight. If you can conquer the front of the load, the rest should be fairly easy.

A Guide To Maintaining Your Mytee Products Tool Box

You have invested in a brand-new aluminum toolbox for your truck. Congratulations. Your purchase of a toolbox from Mytee Products means years of reliable service from a great product that has been manufactured to the highest possible standards. We assume you are going to want to keep your toolbox looking as new as possible for as long as possible. We want to help you do just that.

Cleaning and polishing aluminum toolboxes used to involve a lot of elbow grease and valuable time that could have been spent on other things. Not so in the modern era. We now have access to a number of excellent cleaning products that make it possible to restore your aluminum toolboxes to like-new condition with minimal physical effort. In this post, we will describe what those products are and how you can use them to keep your toolboxes looking like they just came from the show room.

Why Cleaning A Tool Box

Before we get to the actual cleaning and polishing process, let us talk about why cleaning tool boxes is necessary. It boils down primarily to the metal – aluminum’s natural tendency to oxidize.

Aluminum is a great material for all sorts of applications that involve exposure to the elements. Aluminum naturally oxidizes when exposed to the air, creating a thin film that protects the metal from corrosion. This characteristic is one of the reasons things like canoes and rowboats are often made of aluminum.

That dingy coating that seems to cover trucker’s toolboxes and wheel rims is nothing more than the film produced by oxidation. You can leave the film alone and your aluminum toolboxes and rims would be just fine. But it does look dingy and old, which is why we clean and polish. The idea is to get rid of the film without exposing the metal to environmental damage.

Deoxidize First

The first step in cleaning your aluminum toolbox is to deoxidize. There are numerous products sold in liquid form for this purpose. You simply apply a small amount to the surface of the aluminum and then work it in. Many experienced truckers use a scrap of old carpet so as to avoid scratching the metal during the process.

Work in the deoxidizer or until the surface of the metal shows a uniform, whitish color across the surface. If you are working with diamond plated aluminum, you will need to apply the deoxidizer in four different directions: clockwise, counterclockwise, and then in each direction of the diamonds. This removes the oxidation build-up on the diamond edges.

Polish Second

Once you’ve achieved that uniform whitish color, you know the deoxidation part is done. The second step is to take some liquid polish to the metal. Apply a small amount and then work it in with a piece of carpet (or whatever else you used) in the same four directions. Working the polish in will create a dark, almost black film. When you start seeing bright aluminum shining through that film you will know that the polishing process is complete.

Finally, take a rag or towel to the metal to remove the polish. Work in the same four directions until all the polish is removed. You will be left with bright, beautiful, and protected aluminum.

Here’s one last tip: do not try to do the entire surface of the aluminum toolbox all at once. Work in small sections so that you don’t give either the deoxidizer or polish any chance to begin solidifying. This will create a uniform finish when you’re all done. Between cleanings, a little cooking spray can help remove dirt and bugs without harming the protective layer of polish.