Students at Picton Castle‘s Bosun School have been learning to splice wire this week.
Captain Moreland started by demonstrating the method, then the students paired up to work on splicing their own wires together. After each pair had completed their splice, Captain Moreland did a second demonstration of the technique, now that the students had a frame of reference. After that, they worked individually on practicing splicing.
The wire they are using is 5/8″ trawl winch wire that has been used on local fishing vessels. The wire can’t continue to be used for that purpose because there are parts that are worn, but we can cut away the worn parts to find short lengths of good wire that are suitable for practice. Because it has been stretched and pre-formed by going through the fishing winches, it’s particularly difficult to work with. As Captain Moreland would say, this is a good thing. If you learn using materials that are more difficult to handle, you’ll be better at it when you’re using smaller or more flexible wire. The wire we’re using is 6×24 and has a fibre heart.
Students started by learning to measure the wire, how to bend it, how to seize it, and how much of a tail to leave to work with. They have been making eye splices and each student will make at least five splices during their time at Bosun School.
Today, the Captain inspected each student’s splice individually, providing feedback on their work. For many, the first tuck needs to start sooner so there is no gap at the start of the eye.
More practice is on order for next week. Students will continue using the practice wire until their skill is determined to be good enough to work on a real project. By applying their skills immediately to a real piece of rigging on board a working ship, they can not only see the practical purpose of the skill, but they also know that their work has to be good enough to be counted on as an integral part of the rigging.