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How You Use Turnbuckles Will Be Exactly the Same

Turnbuckles are helpful in taking up the slack, applying tension to rigging assemblies. They are used to load in straight pull and inline applications, coming in various types, coatings, and sizes to suit suspending, tensioning, and tie-down applications.

Handling them can be a bit daunting, especially when it comes to adjusting them to suit particular applications. It can leave you wondering how you can use turnbuckles more efficiently. Fortunately, it’s pretty straightforward!

Whether you use stainless steel turnbuckles or any other material, read on to learn about how to use these efficient tools!

How to Adjust Turnbuckles

When learning how to adjust your turnbuckles, it actually depends on the type of turnbuckle you have. There are generally three styles, and while there are more, the concepts I’ll explain below can help you get the gist for most, if not all, turnbuckles.

The first thing you should do with any turnbuckles is to ensure that you take out the cotter pins and any old tape. Furthermore, understand that tightening and loosening turnbuckles is the reverse of the way we learned when it comes to other items. Instead of “Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey,” it is “lefty-tighty, righty-loosey!”

Now, on to adjusting the turnbuckles based on its type:

  1. Open Body Turnbuckle

With open body style turnbuckles, they are one of the most common styles, requiring an adjustable wrench and spike (or a “beefy” screwdriver works, too). You can also use an adjustable wrench.

If it has a swag stud on its top end, locate its wrench flat, which is either machined or pressed in the stud by its manufacturer.

Some may have a close body or tubular style. When adjusting this one, you can use a properly-sized ice pick or purpose-made tool, sticking it in the small home in the middle of the turnbuckle’s body. Don’t use vise grips or channel locks!

  1. Double Jawed Turnbuckle

These turnbuckles can accept an eye fitting attached at the end of their stay. Make sure you prevent the upper jaw or eye from spinning by using a screwdriver or spike.

Note that these turnbuckles are usually installed upside down and inconsistently. You’ll need to do trial and error when figuring out which way would tighten or loosen it, as it would vary from stay to stay.

  1. Mechanical Studs and Rod Studs

If your rigging uses mechanical studs from the top end of your turnbuckles, then these are similar products used for the open body variety. I recommend that you follow similar reactions to that of the open body turnbuckle.

But be wary, as this mechanical stud would have two wrench flats. One is used for tightening the mechanical stud’s cap (NOT what you should use, as this can cause your fittings to come undone), while the other would hold the stud in place as you turn your turnbuckle’s body. Its wrench flat wouldn’t be as noticeable sometimes, but when looking closely, you can identify which flat would hold the stud instead of the cap.

  1. Turnbuckle Using Rigging Screws (or Rod and Wire)

This type of turnbuckle is usually provided from Navtec. It’s like an open body turnbuckle, but a reverse of it. Rather than one body with two studs, it has two bodies and one stud. You can find this on rod rigged boats, so follow similar guidelines.

Just make sure that you take extra care to make sure that the turnbuckle’s upper end won’t spin. When doing so, hold the upper body in place using a spike or adjustable wrench. Use another wrench when turning the rigging screw, using the wrench flats on your screw.

  1. Coquille/Stem Ball Turnbuckle

When you have an unconventional chainplate (like this type of turnbuckle), the connection of the turnbuckle at its deck is ball-and-socket type, spinning freely. Here, you’ll need to have a friend helping out, as both top and bottom screws may spin, requiring upper and lower studs to be held down using wrench flats.

When doing so, use large vise grips, gripping your lower stud, then placing your knee near it (you’re in a crouched position doing so), so your vise grips are wedges when they begin spinning. Afterward, hold the upper stud with the adjustable wrench, turning its body using the spike.

Wrapping It Up

There are so many things to learn about when it comes to turnbuckles, as it has different types to choose from. But once you know how to install, attach, detach, and adjust them, you’ll be able to take advantage of the many benefits it has.

I hope that this article taught you how to adjust a turnbuckle properly! So, if you need to use a turnbuckle, make sure to double-check and take these tips into consideration. Good luck!

Do you have any questions or want to share tips and experiences on using turnbuckles? Share them in the comments section below, I appreciate all your insights!


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