Recoilless Lever Binder – What You Need to Know

There are two kinds of binders used by flatbed truckers in America: the lever binder and the ratchet binder. The latter option is increasingly becoming the preferred kind of binder because it is generally considered safer and easier to use. Yet there are times when the lever binder is the better tool for the job.

Mytee Products carries several different binder models that our customers can choose from. If you are new to the trucking industry, we certainly want you to be safe and It is for this reason that we decided to put together a blog post providing all the basic information you need to know about one of our more popular products: the recoilless lever binder from Durabilt.

recoiless lever binder

How Binders Work

Lever binders, in general, use the principle of leverage to tighten chains attached to cargo. For all practical purposes, both ends of the chain have to be fairly close together at the point of blinding in order to tighten them appropriately using the lever handle. Think of it in terms of an oil filter wrench or vice grips, if that helps.

By contrast, a ratchet binder uses the same principle as a pulley system. By combining the power of the lever with the energy distribution properties of a ratcheting system, the user can apply less force to the mechanism while still tightening chains to the same degree. There is also considerably less danger with a ratchet binder because resistance is distributed across a larger area.

We say all that to say that the first thing you need to know about recoilless lever binders is that they store a considerable amount of potential energy once chains are tightened down. That potential energy can do an awful lot of damage if it is released too quickly. This is why you have to be extremely careful with these binders.

Tips for Safe Use

A recoilless lever binder is safer than a lever binder without a recoilless handle. Still, you have to be careful. Below is a list of tips for the safe use of our recoilless lever binder:

  • No Cheater Bars – Never use a cheater bar on any lever binder, especially to loosen the handle. That potential energy we talked about could cause the system to come apart quickly and violently enough to injure you.
  • Stand Clear – Whenever tightening or loosening a recoilless lever binder, make sure everyone else is standing clear in case something goes wrong. Neither you nor anyone else should be standing on the load either.
  • One Man Job – You should be able to secure your load properly using a recoilless lever binder alone. If it takes two or more of you to tighten down chains, you need to rethink what you are doing.
  • Wear Protective Gear – It is a very good idea to wear gloves and safety glasses while tightening and loosening loads. Better safe than sorry should something give way.
  • Conduct Regular Inspections – Be sure to check every recoilless lever binder in your inventory before and after each use. Regular inspections make it easier for you to spot problems before something unfortunate happens.

There are times when the recoilless lever binder is the only tool appropriate for the job. Should you decide to use these binders, just be careful and let common sense prevail. You should have no problems as long as you do so.

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The Difference between Tarp Repair Tape and Duct Tape

Mytee Products is happy to be able to supply truck drivers with tarp repair supplies, which include high-quality tarp repair tape. As with all of our products, customers can rest assured that this tape delivers as advertised. It is a product uniquely designed for its intended purposes which ideally should not be replaced by duct tape.Why, you ask? because tarp repair tape and duct tape are not the same things.

 

tarp-tape

What Is Duct Tape

Duct tape is a pressure sensitive tape with a cloth or scrim backing for extra strength. The outside surface is usually coded in polyethylene while the glue on the inside surface is a rubber-based adhesive. The combination of all of these materials provides a relatively strong tape that holds up well to moisture. Interestingly enough, duct tape was a military invention created in World War II to seal ammunition boxes against the weather. However, that does not mean duct tape’s water-resistant properties make it appropriate for repairing tarps.

What Is Tarp Tape

Tarp repair tape on the other hand is better suited to repair poly and vinyl tarps. Rather than being a cloth backed tape coated in polyethylene, tarp repair tape starts as a poly fabric weave that is as strong and durable as a tarp. The manufacturer applies a strong, waterproof adhesive that provides maximum bonding between the tape and the tarp surface.

Not only is a tarp repair tape stronger than duct tape but it also tends to handle weather changes better. Tarp tape is UV resistant as well as being flexible under all kinds of weather conditions. Tape applied to a tear or hole according to manufacturer instructions will create a nearly permanent repair that should last as long as the tarp itself.

By contrast, duct tape tends to break down very quickly. It does not do well in the sun and gets rather brittle in cold temperatures. Additionally,it is subject to dry rot once the rubber adhesive ages long enough.

Repair or Replace

With the tarp repair tape question out of the way, you might be wondering whether you should repair or replace your tarps. That is a call only you can make. Having said that, tarp repair tape is fairly reliable for small to moderate holes and tears. You can even use it as a reinforcing measure if you have to join separated pieces of fabric by sewing them back together.

Common sense dictates that larger repairs require quite a bit more care when using tarp tape. You should check any such repairs often to make sure they are holding fast, especially during your journeys. Any repair that is not holding may need to be sewn or repaired a second time using tape and glue.

When it is time to eventually replace an older tarp, we recommend cutting it up and saving the pieces for future repairs. You never know when a piece of old tarp will come in handy to create a patch to get you to the end of a trip. A good, sturdy patch with a couple of pieces of tarp repair tape makes for an excellent emergency repair when you have no other options.

Mytee Products proudly carries a full line of tarp repair supplies durable enough to stand up to the punishment of the trucking industry. Feel free to browse our entire inventory at your leisure. You’re certain to find everything you need in our online store.


Tips To Remove Flatbed Tarps Easily

Applying and removing tarps is part of the job for the flatbed trucker. It can be a bit tedious when the wind is blowing or loads have sharp edges to contend with, so the best thing any trucker can do in this regard is pay attention to what works for other drivers and learn the little tricks that make flatbed tarp application and removal easier.

We have addressed applying tarps in other posts, however in this post, we will concentrate on tarp removal. Needless to say that most truckers get better at tarp removal with time and practice. Below are a few examples of little things you can do to remove tarps easily.

flatbed

Fold Sides up First

After 500 miles of interstate driving, there is a big temptation to undo your straps, grab one corner of the tarp and start pulling. You may get lucky on a load that has no sharp edges and is not oddly shaped but more often than not, the “yank and hope for the best” method can cause more trouble than imagined. Before you do anything, your best move is to fold the sides of your flatbed tarp up onto the load.

Folding creates a flat surface on the top of the load that is much easier to deal with. As a side note, you may have to get on the load to do this. Be careful.

Move from Front to Back

The second thing you can do to make your life easier is to move from front to back as you pull the tarp. There are two ways to do this. First, if you have someone willing to help, you can both grab a corner on either side of the trailer where it meets the cab. Then walk toward the rear of the trailer, pulling up and pushing forward as you go. This will essentially fold the tarp on top of itself as you pull it off the trailer.

If you are working alone, start at the rear of the trailer and grab your tarp (with the sides already folded up) at the center. Slowly drag it off the load in an even, continuous motion. The idea behind both of these methods is to cause the tarp to move from front to rear across the top of the load, thus avoiding sharp edges that can rip tarp fabric.

Get Some Air Underneath

Experienced truckers know that getting some air underneath flatbed truck tarps can help considerably. This is obviously not a problem on windy days, but what if the weather is still or you in an enclosed terminal? Grabbing one corner of your tarp and flapping it a couple of times gets just enough air underneath to separate the fabric from the cargo. This will make dragging the tarp off a bit easier.

Always Use Edge Protectors

New flatbed drivers tend to stay away from edge protectors unless they have reason to believe they are in danger of ripping their tarps. Why take the time to apply edge protectors if there are no real sharp edges? There is actually a very good reason: it makes tarp removal a lot easier. Edge protectors create space between your flatbed tarp and the cargo underneath. That extra space reduces friction and makes it easier for you to get the tarp off.

Flatbed tarp application and removal are an integral part of the job for those who hauls flatbed loads. So rather than continuing to struggle, the trucker is better off learning all those little secrets that make tarp application and removal easier.


Remember Air Circulation When Using Hay Tarps

In a previous blog post, we talked about using hay tarps to cover seed cotton. If you read that post, you might remember that tarping seed cotton is very similar to tarping hay – both in practice and in terms of the reasons why you might choose to use tarps. We even talked about things such as wind and moisture. The one thing we did not address in that post is air circulation.

When it comes to deciding whether to use hay tarps or not, the underlying concern is mold. It doesn’t matter whether you are working with hay, seed cotton, or any other agricultural product, mold growth reduces profitability by reducing some of your stock to waste. The whole point of tarping is to prevent as much waste as possible. This requires a two-pronged approach that considers both moisture and air circulation.

hay-tarps

Moisture Content in Hay and Cotton

Harvesting both hay and seed cotton starts a reaction in the grain that causes it to release moisture. Because moisture can promote mold growth, common sense would dictate creating some sort of way to release that moisture into the surrounding air without allowing it to be trapped under the tarp. Therein lies the challenge.

When you lay a hay tarp directly over bales of hay or cotton with nothing in between, you are limiting the ability of the product to ‘breathe’. In fact, this is exactly the reason hay tarps are considered superior to standard blue tarps for protecting agricultural products. Hay tarps are made with breathable fabrics where blue tarps are less breathable by virtue of being constructed of poly or vinyl materials.

The challenge for the farmer is to figure out that proper balance. In some climates that do not see excessive rain during the summer months, it is possible to get away with simply laying a hay tarp across a bale and securing it to the ground with stakes. The tarp itself should provide enough room to do the trick. That may not be the case in locations that get excessive rain or suffer from high levels of humidity.

Both excessive rain and high humidity interrupt the process of evaporation. In such an environment, the farmer may have to find a way to support the hay tarp in order to create a little bit of space between the top of the bale and the tarp fabric. This can be accomplished with small blocks of wood, old tires, or just about anything else the farmer can find to act as a prop.

Create a Tarp Frame

Another way to address the air circulation issue is to create a frame on which the hay tarps will rest. A simple ‘A’ frame can be constructed with some rope and a few stakes pounded into the ground. Of course, a farmer can get more sophisticated by building a frame out of aluminum or steel that is heavy enough to be self-supporting. Such a frame is essentially a carport for hay or seed cotton.

We have also seen some farmers create open-air pens using cinder blocks. Turned sideways, the cinder blocks allow for plenty of air circulation while several hay tarps laid over the top keeps rain from coming in direct contact with the product underneath.

Suffice it to say there are a lot of creative ways to address the air circulation problem when covering hay or seed cotton. At the very least, purpose built hay tarps should be used rather than blue tarps. The hay tarps we carry here at MyTee are the right tools specifically designed to do the job right.


Cinch Strap Method – An Emergency Alternative to Pipe Stakes

The flatbed trucker who frequently hauls loads of different size pipe might choose to use pipes stakes as his/her primary method for cargo control and preventing cargo from falling in the event of a strap failure. This is an excellent strategy that should be practiced by anyone who normally hauls pipe or tubing. But there are times when doing so is just not impossible. What do you do then? A trucker can use the cinch strap method of control as an emergency alternative.

Consider the trucker who arrives for a contracted load and, due to some kind of misunderstanding, is not prepared to carry a collection of odd-sized pipes. He has no pipe takes on board and no desire to spend valuable time hunting down and purchasing those stakes. His load can still be properly secured with the cinch strap method of pipe securing.

winch-straps

How Cinch Strapping Works

Winch straps made of durable webbing material are usually run over the top of pipe loads and secured by winches on either side of the trailer. This method of strapping keeps the load firmly on the trailer. However, it doesn’t keep different sized pipes from spreading apart. Shippers try to do their part by tying multiple pieces of pipe together using nylon straps, but those straps are not going to hold up for the entire duration of a long journey. Cinch strapping is the solution.

Before piping is loaded onto the back of the trailer, run a winch strap across the bed and secure on one side using the appropriate winch. Position two or three additional straps, evenly space, the same way. Then step back and wait for the pipe to be loaded by the shipper. Once loading is complete, each of the cinch straps you laid down can be run over the load, back underneath the load, and then secured on the opposite side of the trailer. You are essentially creating a loop that, when winched tightly, keeps all of those pipes together. Then apply your winch straps across the top and you are done.

Combining Cinch Straps with Pipe Stakes

The process described above works well in an emergency situation when you really need pipe stakes but do not have them. But you can also combine cinch strapping with pipe stakes when you have loads that do not extend fully to the sides of your trailer. What would be the benefit of doing so? Protecting your pipe stakes in the event the load was to break loose.

Without cinch straps in place, those nylon straps that shippers use to tie pipes together could break and send the load falling toward the sides of your trailer with tremendous force. Pipe stakes should prevent the load from falling off the trailer, but they could be dented or bent in the process. Then you would be left having to purchase new stakes to replace them. Cinch strapping reduces this risk.

It’s a good idea to use pipes stakes whenever hauling mixed loads of odd sized pipe or tubing. An even better idea is to combine pipe stakes with the cinching strap method of securement for extra protection.

Mytee Products carries a full line of cargo control equipment, including both pipe stakes and winch straps. Each of our products comes from brand-name manufacturers and is made with reliable, durable materials you can trust for long life and maximum security. We invite you to take a look at our complete inventory while you are here on our website. You are sure to find everything you need for safe and secure flatbed trucking.