Beveled Hardwood Lumber Better Than Scrap for Coil Loads

Hauling steel coil requires a different approach to cargo control for obvious reasons. When coils are loaded with the eye either to the front or side, the rolls have a tendency to shift back and forth on the trailer. To prevent this, drivers use lumber pieces as chocks to hold coils in place. We recommend beveled hardwood lumber rather than relying on scrap dunnage.

Mytee carries a selection of task-specific lumber with beveled edges in sizes ranging from 4 to 6 feet. These boards are ideal for hauling loads of steel coil up to 30,000 pounds. Lumber pieces can be used for cargo control of other types of cargo was well. Being that they are hardwood, they should last much longer than scrap.


Loading with Beveled Lumber

Shippers all have their specific requirements when it comes to how they want to load their coil onto trailers. Regardless of their chosen procedures, the finished product on any coil load must meet federal safety standards. Coils must be secured in such a way as to prevent movement in any direction. Beveled lumber is utilized on either side of the rolling edge.

Loading typically starts with placing lumber pieces in their approximate location. Coil is then lowered onto the trailer and held in place long enough for lumber pieces to be adjusted appropriately. Then it is a matter of securing the coils using chains, pieces of rubber for protection and additional pieces of lumber to create what is essentially a coil rack surrounding the load.

More often than not, drivers will have to use rubber pieces over the top of the coils and in the eyes to protect the material from damage caused by chains. Some shippers are very particular about their loads, being more than willing to refuse drivers who do not have appropriate dunnage or tarps to cover steel coil. It is always best for a driver to check with a shipper he or she has never worked with before arriving at the yard and finding out the trailer will not be loaded due to a lack of appropriate equipment.

Loading with Scrap Lumber

Drivers who choose not to invest in hardwood lumber for steel coil loads may choose instead to settle for scrap lumber the shipping yard may have in store. A driver may keep that lumber for future use until it is no longer up to the task. Having said that, we do not recommend this practice.

First of all, scrap lumber is just that. Even if a visual inspection would make it seem as though lumber pieces are undamaged, there could be internal damage that could seriously compromise the wood. Second, scrap lumber tends to be more prone to warping and cracking when exposed to the elements. Any such warping or cracking reduces integrity.

Task-specific hardwood lumber with beveled edges is always the best choice for hauling steel coil. When used properly, it meets federal standards without question. Shippers also like to see this kind of lumber used as well. When they know a driver is willing to invest in hardwood lumber, they rest more comfortably in the knowledge that said driver will take better care of the load.

Beveled hardwood lumber for steel coil loads should be part of the flatbed trucker’s equipment supply at all times. Individual lumber pieces will last for years if used properly and taken care of. For a small investment in task-specific lumber pieces now, the trucker can virtually guarantee he or she always has the dunnage necessary when arriving to pick up a load.

EPDM Tarp Bungee Straps for Flatbed Hauling in any Weather

The trusted bungee strap is one of the most commonly used tools in flatbed trucking. Straps can be used to secure tarps or provide an extra measure of support combined with other cargo control equipment. In light of varying weather conditions and other environmental factors that bungee straps are exposed to, we recommend EPDM rubber straps for best performance.

Mytee carries a full line of EPDM bungee straps in various sizes ranging from 10 to 41 inches. They come with ‘S’ hooks made of strong galvanized steel and crimped at one end to protect tarps from tearing. bungee-strap

Beneficial Properties of EPDM

EPDM is a synthetic rubber in the M class of rubbers widely used for industrial and manufacturing applications. The ethylene content of EPDM products is usually between 45% and 85%, depending on how the rubber is eventually synthesized to form the finished product. Where bungee straps are concerned, EPDM has some very beneficial properties that make it ideal for purpose.

For example, EPDM rubber holds up very well against most temperature and weather extremes. During the cold winter months, it is not prone to brittleness or cracking, remaining flexible even in temperatures well below zero, and does equally well in hot weather. Good quality EPDM can withstand temperatures of up to 300° F with no compromise in structural integrity. Finally, EPDM offers excellent resistance to diluted acids, alkalis, and ketones.

The only time drivers have to be careful with EPDM tarp bungee straps is with loads involving petroleum products and some solvents.Items such as gasoline and oil will cause the rubber to break down more quickly than it otherwise would. Concentrated acids can also be a problem.

Just Strap and Go

All of the technical aspects aside, EPDM bungee straps are loved by truckers because of their ease of use. You just strap and go. The flexibility of the straps makes it easy to secure tarps to just about any area of the trailer with more than enough tension to keep those tarps in place. Smaller straps are also very handy for holding down tarps under windy conditions while larger straps or chains are applied over a load. At the other end of the haul, removing bungee straps is as easy as applying them. They are a ‘quick and dirty’ solution with so many applications.

We recommend flatbed truckers keep an ample supply of bungee straps on board at all times. However, quantity alone is not the only consideration. Multiple lengths should also be addressed. Truckers should have an ample supply of 10- and 21-inch straps to start with, then add other sizes depending on the kinds of loads normally hauled. Over the years, the average trucker will accumulate a selection of all of the most common lengths.

Replacing Worn Straps

Truckers should understand – especially those new to the flatbed world – that even EPDM bungee straps do not last forever. Every strap will reach its end-of-life when it loses its flexibility or the eye at one end wears out. It is a good idea to give bungee straps a visual inspection before storing them away after a journey. Those that are worn or losing significant flexibility should be replaced immediately.

Mytee’s range of EPDM bungee straps are ideal for flatbed trucking. All of our straps are made from high-quality rubber that is UV resistant and tested for high tensile strength. Our straps come in boxes of 50 for the best possible pricing.

Using Tarp Repair Tape to Extend the Life of Tarps

America’s flatbed truckers rely on waterproof tarps to protect loads as they transport cargo from shipping yard to receiver. They cannot afford to use tarps that have tears or small holes which let in dirt, debris and the exposes the cargo to the elements, which in turn, could potentially cost the trucker his/her reputation and a paycheck or two. Keeping a supply of tarp repair tape on board goes hand-in-hand with always having reliable tarps to cover a load.

Today’s tarps are made from high-quality materials designed to withstand the harshness of trucking. Yet every tarp can still wear out over time depending upon, its exposure to weather conditions and the shipment is protects. Resilient tarps too can suffer punctures or tears caused by just about anything. Tarp repair tape is valuable to truckers because it makes repairing seams, holes, and tears easier, thereby reducing the amount of money truckers have to invest in their tarps.

To be clear, repair tape is not intended to fix extensive damage that compromises the integrity of a tarp. For example, you would not use it to join two halves of a tarp that separated at the seam. Such a repair would be far too stressful to hold up, even under normal conditions. But for everything else, repair tape is a less expensive option than buying new tarps.


Repairing Small Holes and Tears

Tarp tape is designed to be strong and waterproof. Therefore, a single-sided repair is usually sufficient for small holes and tears no bigger than a few inches. Repair tape is cheap enough that you could hit both sides if you were concerned about repair integrity.

There are factors to making sure your repair is watertight. First, the surface of the tarp should be clean and dry. The trucker must be careful to remove all dirt, grease, and anything else stuck to the surface. Second, the repair should be made on a flat, hard surface to ensure the tape can be applied with no wrinkles or bubbles. Tape should be pressed firmly into place so that no air is trapped between it and the surface of the tarp.

Repairing Larger Breaches

Larger breaches can still be repaired with tarp tape as long as the overall strength of the tarp has not been compromised. Gashes and seam tears are routinely repaired this way. Before applying tape to a larger breach, make sure to pay attention to the same two factors listed above. Start by applying tape to the outside first, then flip the tarp over and repeat the tape application on the inside.

Double taping larger breaches ensures strength and provides a near-impermeable waterproof seal. Having said that, tape applied to the inside of the tarp has a tendency to suffer damage from cargo over time. These kinds of repairs should be checked regularly to make sure the inside surface remains strong and waterproof.

In closing, some truckers recommend using a heat gun on tarp repair tape to ensure better adhesion. This is not recommended by manufacturers. The tape is strong enough by itself to adhere to tarp material without any need for additional heat.

Tarp repair tape offers an excellent option for repairing damaged tarps in order to extend life. Unless a tarp is severely damaged, you can add years to its life by repairing minor holes and tears with tape. Mytee now carries 2-inch tarp tape from BAC Industries in both black and silver. We recommend you keep an ample supply on your truck. You can use it to repair your tarps as well as making similar repairs to other materials at home.

Many Ways to Use Pipe Stakes: Do What Works for You

Among the many tools flatbed truckers have at their disposal is the trusted pipe stake, used for securing pipe loads by creating a barrier to prevent a loss over the sides of the trailer. Pipe stakes are affixed to the trailer using sleeves that fit into stake pockets built into the trailer by the manufacturer.

Truckers may use steel pipe stakes because shippers require them, or simply because they prefer the extra security the devices offer. There is some debate as to whether any states require the use of pipe stakes but, in the end, it comes down to the driver’s legal responsibility to properly secure the load before starting a journey. There are multiple ways to do this.



Securing Pipes Over the Top

A general rule for pipe stake height is 48” – you can purchase both taller and shorter stakes. When a load exceeds the height of the stakes, some drivers have been known to secure them over the top of the load by connecting opposite stakes with chain or straps. The extra tension pulls the stakes together and creates a secure load.

A benefit of this setup is that it provides a natural frame on which to place a tarp if tarping is necessary. On the other hand, securing pipe stakes in this way does take time that could be spent turning the wheels. A less time-consuming method of securing stakes is to run chain or straps around the perimeter of the trailer and winch everything tightly together.

Securing Pipes at the Base

Because pipe stakes tend to be made of galvanized steel, there is little worry about them bending or cracking as long as the pipe load itself is properly secured. The real concern is that stakes might break loose from their pockets during transport. Some drivers address this risk by securing pipe stakes at their base.

To do this, a chain is wrapped around the base of the stake, run down through the rub rail, sent back up the other side of the stake pocket, then run across the bed and repeated on the other side. This method is effective for pipe stakes of 48” or shorter. For longer stakes, securing at the bottom is sometimes complemented by additional securement at the top.

Shippers Ultimately Have their Say

The question of whether to use pipe stakes may not be so difficult to answer in light of shipper requirements. For example, a brief perusal of a number of trucker forums reveals that multiple shippers will not allow pipe loads to leave the yard unless drivers use pipe stakes. Shippers obviously have a vested interest in making sure their products arrive safely; they may not be willing to take a chance with a trailer that is not staked.

To keep shippers happy and loads secured as well as possible, pipe stakes are a good idea. The average trucker’s tool box should accommodate 48” stakes without issue, along with the associated hardware and hammer chocks. We recommend our own 48”, 7-gauge stakes with a 6” flat bottom that easily sits into most pockets

You may be tempted to make your own pipe stakes out of scrap, but we would advise against doing so. Purchasing a manufactured product ensures the integrity of the steel and the individual pipes themselves, offering you maximum stability, security and strength.

If you haul pipe loads, you need to keep a selection of pipe stakes on board. Doing so will give you access to more loads and more pay.

Protecting Seed Cotton with Hay Tarps

Hay tarps protect baled and rolled hay from the weather, thereby reducing the likelihood of bacteria growth, mold growth, and potential spontaneous combustion. However, hay farmers are not the only ones who benefit from these tarps. In other parts of the country, hay tarps are also used to protect seed cotton as well as post harvest alfalfa.

The only caution with tarping seed cotton pertains to the materials used to provide UV protection. HALS and Carbon Black stabilizers used for UV protection are harmless to seed cotton. Conversely, BHT stabilizers are another matter. Farmers are better off avoiding hay tarps treated with BHT stabilizers unless they do not mind the seed cotton turning yellow.


Moisture Protection

Prior to the introduction of mechanized harvesting equipment, there was little need to store seed cotton prior to sending it for ginning. The manual harvesting process was simply not fast enough to keep up with the speed of cotton gins, so farmers could harvest and immediately transport their crop. Things have changed since those days. Now, seed cotton must be harvested and stored in modules until they are ready to be transported.

As with hay, one of the primary enemies of harvested seed cotton is moisture. Moisture decreases the value of the cotton by proportionally increasing the cost and time of ginning. If a cotton gin has to spend more time processing raw product, they will pay less for that product. Moisture also reduces the overall yield of the ginning process by causing discoloration.

A cotton farmer wanting to make the most of his harvest needs to keep moisture away. This means tarps should cover the tops of modules and at least a portion of the sides. Hay tarps are perfect for this task. They are available in a in a variety of sizes along with appropriate anchor pins to keep them in place.

Protection from Wind and Sun

Seed cotton has two additional enemies who are kinder to hay – wind and sun. As seed cotton is very light in its unprocessed form, it is subject to damage from the wind even when stored as modules. A moderate, steady breeze can gradually reduce the size of the module by blowing away the material on the exterior surface. Think about soil erosion as an example to this situation

Sun can be a problem for seed cotton by causing it to dry prematurely. In other words, some moisture content is required to prevent damage to seed cotton prior to ginning. Exposing a module to direct sunlight for an extended period of time does reduce the size of the yield by drying out the outer layers of cotton.

Applying Tarps

Applying a hay tarp to a cotton module is by no means a difficult task. It is applied the same way it would be used for hay. Perhaps the only difference is the fact that cotton modules are rarely stacked three and four high like hay, while they wait to be transported. Cotton modules are generally covered individually in the field or stacked side-by-side in a staging area.

Knowing this, the tarp should cover the entire top surface of the module stack and as much of the sides as possible. If the sides cannot be completely covered, the wind facing side takes priority and should be protected. Tarps can be secured with pins or with ropes tied around the perimeter of the module stack.

Protecting harvested crops is as important to a cotton farmer as is to a hay farmer. At Mytee Products, we encourage farmers choose and invest wisely in their hay tarps. The old adage that you ‘get what you pay for’ applies in most cases and heavy-duty tarps are no exception. For maximum yield and longevity, an investment in quality now will pay off over the long term.