Tying a Marline Hitch

(Article Posted in How-ToNOVEMBER 2013)

Lacing tape is an inexpensive method of wire dressing. It is used extensively throughout the aerospace, electronics, medical and many more smaller specialist manufacturing industries. In use, lacing tape does not create sharp obstructions along the length of the cable, avoiding the handling and safety problems of cables groomed by plastic cable ties, and the resulting harness is much easier to manage and maintain than if other management solutions, such as convoluted tubing, were used.
There are two common techniques for grooming wire harnesses with lacing tape. The first is a single knot technique, where individual short lengths of lacing tape are tied and knotted along the length of the harness. The other is a Marline Hitch, where long, continuous lengths of tape are used with running lock stitches along the length of the wire bundle. Either one is generally acceptable, and both will result in a properly dressed harness.
Depending on the length of your wire bundle, you can work comfortably with a piece of lacing tape up to 20 feet long. For shorter bundles, start with a piece about 2 or 2 1/2 times the length of the wire run. The length needed will vary with the thickness of the bundle, and the spacing of the stitches.

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Start the installation on one end with a locked clove hitch or other secure knot, leaving most of the length on one end of the knot, and just enough to finish the knot on the other.

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Snug the knot tight and trim the short end to about 1/8" or so. Keeping the lacing tape as flat and free of twists as possible, move down the wire bundle about 4 inches and form a simple lock stitch.

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Continue along the bundle, repeating the lockstitch at regular intervals.

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When you come to the end of the installation, take a couple of extra turns into the lock stitch, and tie the lacing tape off with a square knot. Trim the end, and you're done. Some people will put a drop of glue on the knots for extra security, but this is completely optional.

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