Amazing wot google will come up with..[img]/forums/images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]
Roping & Sheeting Loads..
In my early days of lorry driving, many companies still didn’t have forklifts. Most of the loads were manhandled (called ‘hand-balling’ by the drivers) on and off the lorries, or cranes were used for the heavier (now pallet-sized) goods. But gradually, as more and more companies purchased forklifts, the manhandled loads became less, until it wasn’t often (usually causing a big groan from any driver unfortunate enough to get one by that time) that we’d have a ‘hand-ball’ load.
The job of ‘roping and sheeting’ (as it was called - actually the opposite, sheeting and roping, should apply if the words are said as the job is done) loads was a very important part of lorry driving. The ‘sheets’ are tarpaulins that cover the load to keep the weather out (and also to help stop any of the load being blown onto the roads by the slipstream). Then the whole load is tied down with ropes, using special knots (‘dolly-knots’) for tightening the ropes to prevent movement. With the different types, sizes, and shapes of loads that need to be covered, roping and sheeting is an art that can only be gained by experience, and most lorry/truck drivers are proud of that art.
But it doesn’t just end at covering and tying the load down, then happily forgetting it until the destination is reached. The load, sheets and ropes must be watched (through the rear-view mirrors, or the reflection of the lorry in shop windows that are being passed, or a quick glance back at the load (if driving an articulated vehicle) while turning corners or going around roundabouts, etc.), and checked fairly regularly, usually at lunch-stops, etc.
For example: In rainy weather the old natural-fibre (sisal) ropes used to shrink and tighten over the load. Then, after the rain had ceased and the ropes had dried out, they stretched back and could become loose enough for the load to shift. So it was worth stopping to check if the load was still secure, even re-tying the whole load if needed. Loads can even ‘settle down’ through the vibration and movement, causing the ropes to loosen.
There are also other considerations to take into account, for example: Many drivers used the clove-hitch knot (‘yorkie’ to some) on the hook (we had hooks, not bars) below the dolly-knot to secure the rope while they threw a loop over the next section of the load, and, in icy weather when spray caused these knots to freeze, they were almost impossible to undo until they’d thawed out.
Another thing that gradually crept in while I was driving lorries in the UK were containers. At first containers were a novelty, lifted up onto the deck and clamped down with a lengths of chain over the container and tightened up with ‘stretcher-chains’ (adjustable devices with a short chain and hook at each end, and a ‘locking’ lever in the middle that can be pulled down to make the distance shorter between the two hooks, therefore tightening the chain over the container - or load). But we soon realised that the use of containers saved the extra work and worry of roping and sheeting, and many of us eventually began to look for containerized loads rather than ‘open’ loads.
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