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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Swigart


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The drop should have a couple of extra feet of material along the bottom.


You will need 2 single sheaves and a double sheave (or 2 more singles) for the size rope you are using. Hang the single sheaves above the tube, a distance apart slightly shorter than the tube's length. (You may want to use a double sheave (or two singles) above the end of the

drop close to the operator's position.) The double sheave (or 2 singles) is hung above the operator's position.


First piece - Estimate enough to go from the operator's position on the deck to the hang point above, over to the sheave above the near end of the drop, down to the deck and back up to the sheave.

Second piece - Add the width of the drop to the length of the first piece.

Add some to both lengths. A bit too long is better than a bit too short.

Something to tie the running lines off to at the operator's position.


I've usually used a 5" - 6" diameter aluminum tube approximately 24" to 36" longer than the width of the drop. Smaller diameter tubing can be used for narrow drops. The larger diameter tubing is needed as it is only supported at the ends and, while the drop itself supports the tube along its length, I have seen the tube sag from the weight. The tubing comes in 20 lengths. If a longer piece is needed, an additional piece of tubing is attached by means of a long insert that spans the joint. This insert is essentially an "x" in section and must fit in the tubing snugly. Both sides of the tube are attached to this insert with screws.

The ends of the tube should be capped with a disk with a radius an inch or so larger than that of the tube. This cap is to prevent the lines from running or slipping off the end of the tube. I usually make a hole or notch near the exposed edge of the cap through which the end of the running line is threaded from the "drop" or "on stage" side of the cap to the "outer" or "off stage" side of the cap. Tie a stopper knot in the end of the rope or secure it to the cap.


gaffer's tape


Dead hang the drop. There should be a couple feet of excess material on the deck. Place the tube on the deck, upstage of the drop. I usually elevate the tube on blocks to make attaching the drop a little easier. Bring the bottom of the drop under and upstage of the tube and tape the it to the tube first with tabs of gaffe tape, and then with several full runs along its edge. Rotate the tube in a downstage direction to take up the slack in the drop and "bury" the tape attachment with a turn or two of the drop. The tube will be upstage of the drop. (It can be

rigged on the downstage side if desired as a design element.)

Run the ropes from the operator position, through the sheaves and down to the ends of the tubes. Thread them through the holes in the caps and either tie knot in the ends or attach them by other means to the outside face of the cap.

Estimate the number of wraps (pi (3.14159) x diameter of the tube) around the tube you will need run the drop from its "out" position to its "in" position. Add a couple of additional wraps to this number. Wrap the line around the tube starting at the cap in the direction so that the rope runs up to the sheave on the side of the tube opposite the drop. Make the wraps neat. Repeat at the other end of the tube.

From the operator's position take slack out of the rope and run the drop a foot or so of the deck. Check the wraps and the levelness of the drop. Run the drop a few times to let it "settle".

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