Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: Fishbones - Fishbone gear ties

Having covered the most excellent Piranha (which was their v2 product, but I got those first), I wanted to give the little sibling a trial before showing them to you, to get a better feel for their utility and differences.

These are the Fishbone gear ties (v1). You can see from the picture here that there are in fact three metals offered 1) 6061 T-6 Aluminum 2) 304 Stainless Steel and 3) Titanium. The aluminium and steel versions share the same exact geometry, where as the titanium is a little more "rounded".

The guys from Fisbones were good enough to send me a few of each to play with, but I've mostly focused on the steel ones. Why three options? well, in their own words:

  • Resists corrosion
  • High strength to weight ratio
  • Can be anodized in different colors
  • Non-magnetic
  • Nonsparking
  • Light weight

Stainless steel:
  • Resists corrosion
  • Bright appearance
  • Normally non-magnetic
  • Great fatigue and impact resistance
  • Durable

  • High strength to weight ratio
  • More than twice as strong as aluminum
  • Almost half as light a steel
  • Non-magnetic
  • Excellent corrosion resistance

Measuring in at 14mm by50mm (½" x 2") and 3mm (1/8") thick, the Fishbones are smaller and thinner than their bigger siblings, weighing in at 3g  for aluminium and 9g for steel. When subjected to strain testing (by the makers), the aluminium slightly deforms at 36kg (80lbs) and has major bending at 72kg (160lbs) Note: projected total failure is only (135lbs). The stainless steel Fishbone only took a slight bend at 72kg (160lbs) in initial prototyping. Subsequesnt  That's a fairly impressive static load for a gear tie. Obviously, as with the Pirahna, these are not climbing rated, but for tying down gear, rigging tent flys or washing lines, that is heaps. 

As with the Piranha there are numerous ways to tie and apply the Fishbones. I especially like the detail given by Brent and Eldrick in their Kickstarter proposal in their examples of how to use them.

The geometry of the Fishbone lends itself to tie-downs, with a wrap and tuck type locking, using a Prusik-like friction bind on the paracord, and sharing the load between the ribs of the tool.

The eye-hole, and "gill-slot" give solid "head-forwards" ties, whilst the forwards facing pelvic-fin and ventral ribs before the tail fin give you three separate attachment points. On the dorsal side of the Fishbone, there are four shallow notches, and one deep one, all allowing purchase of your cord, and letting it bind tightly in a variety of configurations.

One of the things I really liked about these, are the clean straight lines, which enabled me to rig them to act as a zipper pull without having to worry about snagging, in such a way that I could also quickly detach them and use them to rig a line, or tie a bundle.

The stainless steel versions acted as a nice plumb-bob when rigged correctly, the nose pointing down, in a clean straight line.

I usually have a couple of lengths of 40cm paracord in my pocket, and idly fiddle with these at meetings and on the train, working out new combinations of ties and looking for new uses. Alas I had oped that the tail would fit into the A/C vents on my train, to enable me to latch myself in when there was no hand-hold but no.

I've found the Fishbones to be very handy little gadgets to have on hand, especially when, as often happens, I have had to bundle something up that I know I will need to unbundle shortly and quickly. Blankets, jackets and jumpers. Tactical Baby's favourite woobie and the like.

I think these will make a good addition to my cord and carriage kit, giving me quick-release tie options, and keep all my things snug and squared away without having to worry about knots binding up and keeping me from my fit when I need it. They make great gifts too!

Unlike the Piranha, the Fishbones didn't interlock neatly, so a 'head to head" clasp wouldn't work. No great loss though, there are plenty of other options.

The guys behind these even posted their original concept built to Instructables so you can have a go at making your own low-strength wire prototype version.

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