Thread: Wood cribbing

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    Default Wood cribbing

    Looking for input. We need to update our cribbing. What type of wood are people using? Hardwood vs PT syp?

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    One thing to remember about cribbing. Hardwoods tend to fail catastrophically, where soft woods such as southern pine or douglas fir will compress and not shatter. The plastic cribbing is ok in a situation where there is not much chance of a shift in the load, but I personally do not recommend it because of the cost to replace damaged pieces.

    I have a very good resource from Billy Leach on the uses of Cribbing in Rescue. If you would like a copy, you can e-mail me and I will be glad to send it to you.

    benford1@netzero.net

    Most of all, be sure to train on the use of cribbing in every situation imaginable, and then some. The more training you do, the more efficient the department will become at stabilizing a vehicle.

    Good Luck!
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    We use and recommend F7 grade Oregon....
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    As I just posted in another thread.I would recommend Dura Crib by Turtle Plastics. www.turtleplastics.com

    They are stronger, last longer and do not absorb any fluids.

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    Arrow Not a fan of plastic cribbing

    I give plastic cribbing two big thumbs down.

    We're sold back on wooden cribbing.

    *It is far more expensive
    *It can not be "bitten" like wood
    *The cribbing gets slippery and dislodges easier
    (Note: to those that say they have some type of interlocking pattern that prevents this, I say it STILL is not as good as wood. Half the time the pattern forces you to use the cribbing in only a few orientations so that the pieces interlock. Plus, for the models that interlock like Lincoln Logs, you lose storage space)

    Yeah, the plastic cribbing doesn't absorb most fluids. For the cost though, most places can replace their wooden cribbing several times over.
    Last edited by Resq14; 11-24-2003 at 03:26 AM.
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    Red face

    Synthetic usually works good for stepchocks but for other cribbing hardwood you can find the cheapest. Let's face it most cribbing eventually ends up being disposable at one time or another. When you start using chains across it I would rather chink up some piece of wood I got as left over than a synthetic that I paid serious bucks for. Check with contractors and landscapers in your area for left over pieces that could be cut into something useful. If you can afford it some water seal treatment doesn't hurt. Get a little bit longer use out of it. But I am in the humid tropics.

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    I don't like hardwood for cribbing.Soft wood will crush and has a predictable crush factor.Hardwood will fail suddenly and with little warning.Synthetics same way,slippery,unpredictable fail rate,expensive when compared to conventional cribbing.You want a little more stiff try using PT wood.Synthetics on snow/slush;now that's an adventure.T.C.

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    You might even be able to get a quantity of 2x4's and 4x4's donated by local lumber yards. Free and proven.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I don't like plastic, for the above mentioned reasons.

    I don't like pressure treated. No need for it. It's much heavier than you need for cribbing, it's too unpredictable to use for shoring.

    For cribbing, soft or hard doesn't matter to me. But soft wins on the utility that it "bites" better, weighs less, and is cheaper and/or free in bigger quantities. You're not likely to see catastropic failures of wood in cribbing use -- it's pretty well supported. A few pieces of solid oak hardwood aren't bad to have handy if you see the right situation for them.

    For shoring, softwood. It's lighter in the big lengths, and as pointed out gives more warning before failure. Shoring is definitely more a danger for failure -- you're talking about long, unsupported lengths, and a shifting load can really change the forces.

    BTW, we use old Chestnut salvaged from torn down barns. It's essentially a softwood, especially 150+ years old, but very strong so it makes excellent cribbing. I wouldn't use that old stuff though for shoring!

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    Chestnut?Dal you're showing where you live.How about some Locust or Hemlock?I've seen cribs "fail"therein lies my caution about the predictable softwood.I don't find PT that much heavier(I use it on all my tow trucks),it's just a bit tougher,lasts a lot longer when stored outside,and has the same warning characteristics of softwood.There is a bit of an artform to "correct"cribbing,very few failures if done correctly but a huge safety factor if you don't.Being in the emergency lifting business we learned the right way real quick.The only commodity we can't quickly replace is our people,their safety is my TOP priority.BRR has a lot of great tips on these subjects as do a number of the TOWING trainers I work with around the Northeast.Everyday is a learning day and established procedures get "tweaked" every year.This session Billy's going to ruin some Rigs,should be another interesting event.T.C.

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    Ah Rescue101...but sometimes factors are a bit different.

    I'll bet the cribbing you use on your tow trucks is probably used a lot more than the average fire department (thus the durability of pressure treated is an advantage).

    Weight is one of the big challenges on most fire apparatus, so saving weight on your dunnage pile that only sees rain rarely is a good thing.

    Plus I must admit, it's new "fresh" PT that hast the biggest weight difference, not the older stuff.

    And concern for it snapping is probably again more a shoring issue -- and yes, I'm personally prejudiced. The few times I've seen PT snap, I didn't like the way it blew -- especially the time a 4x4 snapped at a knot and dumped me, my big @ss, and my hammock on the ground! (There's now a 6x6 PT that I spent a half hour selecting in it's place!)

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    Talking

    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    ... especially the time a 4x4 snapped at a knot and dumped me, my big @ss, and my hammock on the ground ...
    lol
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    Add another vote for wood here. I am always hearing that "we just don't have enough room for all we need to carry on our squads", so why would you carry something that takes up the same amount of room but does less work? I have often wondered just how much that little notch on the stackable plastic cribbing cost us and I finally got a chance to prove it to myself. I am attaching 2 pictures to prove this point. The first shows 10 pieces of wood cribbing next to 10 pieces of stackable plastic. The wood pile is 18.5 inchs high while the plastic pile is 12.75 inchs. We lose almost 6 inchs with the exact same number of pieces, yet the ends of the plastic are still 4x4, so they require the same storage space as the wood. The second pic shows what it takes to make equal height stacks. 16 pieces of plastic to equal the 10 wood. Hmmm ... Let me see ..... it gives me less, it cost me more, I need more of it to do the same job, and it fills up my compartment just as fast as wood...... Call me a tight dutchman, but I just can't justify that.

    Zmag

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    Our department uses soft wood (usually spruce) exclusively. It’s cheaper than fir, and easy to replace. We have found that has more to do with technique, than material. To date we have never had cribbing fail. Heavier loads and higher lifts require heavier timbers at the bottom.

    We are in the process of implementing a pick-up trailer box converted to a utility trailer with a cheap canopy on it to carry heavy timber (12x12, 8x8, 6x6, etc) and extra cribbing (4x4, 2x6, 2x4, wedges, etc). Another great spot to carry extra cribbing is under the hose bed on a pumper. You can store long lengths of 4x4’s under the hose and cut them up with a chain saw as required. At least it’s on site and you don’t have to waste a lot of time looking for it.

    We’ve found that plastic cribbing is not only more expensive and heavier, but slipperier as well (especially in cold weather). Another drawback to plastic cribbing is that it’s next to impossible to nail and/or screw it together for added stability (only when required). We carry a carpenter’s hammer and nails with us, and blunt the nails before using them to avoid splitting.

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    Sorry for the delay, had a slight "file size" problem
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    Ok, try again
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    Default Wooden cribbing pieces

    Regarding wooden cribbing pieces, it is important to seek out information regarding the load rating of compression perpendicular to the grain. This figure is typically expessed in 'psi' and varies greatly among various woods. Best sources for information are engineering books and timber resource associations. I've done considerable research on the topic and have included it in a handout given to students. There is lots more than simply "stacking wood"!

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    Wink That will teach ya not to hammock

    Dal,thanks for the laugh;I needed that.Mebbe you SHOULD have used a piece of chestnut.I think the reason I favor PT is I don't mind the weight(keeps the front wheels on the ground)and it doesn't go bad(rot)nearly as quick.Leave it to Z-mag to give us a great visual image.T.C.

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    So I take it that you guys are not to fond of plastic cribbing. Alot of the points you've brought up are good points that I haven't experienced. I guess you could call it " Good Luck"!!

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    Wood Rules! We have found Versa-Lam, to work very well for step chocks, and cribbing. It is a little heavy, but it's durability is second to none, the stuff doesn't break. If it does break it bows and streches, it does not snap. If anybody wants a pic of it e-mail me and I will send you one.

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    Hmmm...

    Dalmatian's Laminated Dunnage Company...I may have to insulate by garage/workshop before winter now

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    The plastic cribbing is ok in a situation where there is not much chance of a shift in the load
    *The cribbing gets slippery and dislodges easier
    but slipperier as well
    Reading these comments, and many more, in 12 years of rescue I've used a majority of timbers and more recently (5 or so years) the plastics.

    I've never seen plastic slip or dislodge if placed correctly....

    As Grandmaster101 said, there's a fine art to cribbing correctly. Incorrect cribbing can be just as dnagerous as no cribbing as it can give you a false sense of security.

    As for you guys operating in snow and cold conditions, we're we operate, we'd be lucky to get below 5 degrees celsius! (It does happen, but not all that common) To me that's cold!!!!
    Last edited by lutan1; 11-21-2003 at 02:54 AM.
    Luke

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    Talking Working in the tropics

    5 C?That's shirtsleeve weather.T shirt that is.Come see me the end of Dec. or the first of Jan.,we'll go ice fishing.Watch the fish flop about 3 times before he's flash frozen.At still air temps of -40F,you do the wind chill factoring.How's your watermelon factor?Must be getting noticeable by now.Congratulations dude!T.C.

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    Thumbs up Plastic Cribbing's Un-Planned Benefit

    "THE USE OF CRIBBING DURING AN ACTUAL RESCUE IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THE PERCENTAGE OF TIMES THE DEPARTMENT USES CRIBBING DURING EXTRICATION TRAINING!"

    That said, I'm reminded of the 20 something firefighter who, during a break at a regional fire/rescue school, admitted: "none of the fire departments in our county cribbed at MVA's. It takes to much time, and besides, cribbing takes up to much room on the pumper."

    Upon hearing this, the lead instructor and I decided to ammend the course content slightly by expanding the vehicle stabilization block. After a late August Saturday afternoon of working every scenario twice; once without and once with cribbing in place, the collective opinion was that they all needed to go back to their FD's and preach the virtues of stabilization through cribbing. Wood and plastic "locking" cribbing was put to extensive use that afternoon. Both types had believers and non-believers. But something I heard from a local fire chief who was observing the class opened my eyes to an un-planned benefit of the plastic "locking" cribbing:

    Holding an 18" length of plastic "locking" cribbing in his hands as he spoke, he boldly stated:

    "This stuff is fast and easy to use! The way it locks together, it's almost firefighter proof. And besides, IF I CONVINCE OUR FIRE DISTRICT BOARD TO SPEND MONEY ON IT, THEY'RE DAMN SURE GOING TO USE IT AT EVERY WRECK OR THEY'LL BE EXPLAINING TO ME WHY NOT!"

    Many of the contributors to this forum may not agree with the reasoning, but if "spending money on it" results in the expanded use of cribbing at MVA's, I'll take it and we'll save lives.

    FYI:
    "Nothing manufactured for use in fire and rescue can be produced to the universally desired standard of FIREFIGHTER PROOF. Within the limits of modren engineering, the best we can strive for is to produce a product that is at minimum FIREFIGHTER RESISTANT!"

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    Question

    Uh, how does owning plastic cribbing mean you are going to use cribbing more in training, and thereby use it more on actual incidents?

    Look at the pictures... look at what you lose in available height when you use the lincoln-log type.

    I already feel we don't carry enough. I don't want to lose stack height by switching to interlocking plastic unless there is a really good reason to do so.

    I'm certainly not convinced that one is "easier" than the other. Spending a lot of money on something doesn't always translate into it being used more routinely, or it being a better product.
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