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Unknown Homemade Ascenders

Version A Version B
Homemade
Version A
Homemade
Version B
 
LWO Homemade Version A Version B
LWO Homemade Unknown "S",
Version A
Unknown "S",
Version B

Overview


Homemade Version A
(#111)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I have no record of when or where I acquired this ascender, but it was before 1991.

Version A is 109 mm. tall, 65 mm. wide, 38 mm. thick, and weighs 161 g. The shell is bent from 1/8-in aluminum. The cam is handmade from 5/8-in aluminum plate. The cam teeth are particularly crude, consisting of a number of hacksaw cuts spaced about one blade-width apart. Many of the "teeth" are broken. When I received this ascender it had no pivot. It is shown with a 5/16 inch bolt, although the holes are drilled to accept a 3/8 inch bolt.

Comments

I have no information on the history of this ascender. This ascender was clearly patterned after an early Gibbs Ascender. The shell looks like it was professionally made, but the dimensions are not the same as a Gibbs shell, so I assume it isn't one.


Homemade Version B
(#137)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I bought this ascender at the NSS Convention auction in 1999. Bob Thrun got the other one of the pair, but I acquired it in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version B is 103 mm. tall, 58 mm. wide, 39 mm. thick, and weighs 409 g. The shell on this ascender is made from 2.9 mm steel sheet bent to form a U-shaped channel. The cam is cut from 1/2-in (13 mm.) steel plate. The eye was drilled, countersunk, and then rounded. The cam face has 5 V-shaped grooves, forming 5 distinct teeth. The cam pivots on a 3/8-in bolt which is secured by a hex nut. The bolt and nut were drilled to accept a cotter pin.

Comments

I don't know this ascender's history, but one glance at the cam and one cannot help thinking of figure 1 in Henshaw & Morehouse's article in the November 1965 NSS News.

This ascender is quite functional, but being made of steel, it is also heavy.


LWO Homemade
(#90)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I have no record of when and where I acquired this ascender, but it was before 1991.

The LWO is 101 mm. tall, 68 mm. wide, 47 mm. thick, and weighs 270 g. The shell is bent from 1/8 inch aluminum plate. It appears that either a scrap piece of aluminum was used, or the lowest grade sheet metal was sought, because the finish is horrid. The cam is built from two pieces of 3/8-in aluminum plate made into a 3/4-in thick cam by clamping the two pieces together, drilling and tapping them, bolting them together, and then cutting the bolt heads off. The cam teeth are formed by a series of hacksaw cuts, done with more care than on the preceding or following ascenders. The axle is a steel pin with a hole at the end. It is secured by a spring wire retainer that appears to have come from a Gibbs ascender.

Comments

I have no information on the history of this ascender either, but the initials "LWO" are engraved in the shell.


Unknown "S," Version A
(#250)

Front Rear Open for Rigging
Front Rear Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired two Unknown "S," Version A ascenders from Bill Boehle at the 2008 Old Timers Reunion.

The Unknown "S," Version A is 102 mm. tall, 69 mm wide, and 29 mm. thick. Mine weighs 139 g.

The shell is made from 3.2 mm. aluminum sheet bent to form a 15.7 mm. semicircular rope channel on one side. There is a 6.4 mm. hole drilled near the top of the shell for attaching a bungee. The cam is cut from 12.5 mm. aluminum plate. The cam radius, measured from the axle (and ignoring the rounded toe and heel), increases from 25 to 38 mm. over an angle of 40°, giving a 30° cam angle. the attachment point is a 10.3 mm. chamfered hole centered 18 mm. from the axle. The axle is a 1/4-20UNC slotted round head machine screw. There is a steel washer on the outside of the cam, a plastic washer between cam and shell, and a hex nut behind the shell.

The cam safety is cut from 3.1 mm. aluminum angle. It pivots on a countersunk #12 machine screw held in place with a hex nut. When closed, the safety interferes with opening the cam.

Comments

What a clever little design! This ascender has an open side like the Paquette, but the cam safety is much easier to operate. Using aluminum for the shell makes this ascender much lighter than the Paquette, but the Paquette is undoubtedly stronger. Assuming a reasonable weight caver using this as an ascender (like it was designed to be), the strength is sufficient.

Bill did not know who made these ascenders, but there was an "S" painted on some of the other equipment in the gear set that these came from.


Unknown "S," Version B
(#251)

Front Rear Open for Rigging
Front Rear Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Unknown "S," Version B from Bill Boehle at the 2008 Old Timers Reunion. The Unknown "S," Version B is 101 mm. tall, 70 mm. wide, and 30 mm. thick. Mine weighs 143 g.

Version B is a left-hand ascender. Aside from being a mirror image of Version A, it adds a plastic guide epoxied to the top of the cam safety.

Comments

The plastic guide helps keep the ascender from tipping when pulled upward by the cam eye, as it might be, for example, when tied to the foot as a foot ascender. This is a nice idea, but I would have drilled and tapped the plastic and used a machine screw to hold it in place rather than relying only on epoxy. Bill believes that one of the Version A ascenders used to have a guide glued to it, but I'm not so sure, I don't see clear evidence of this.