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Thread: "Norseman Or Sta-Lok?"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Norseman Or Sta-Lok?

Mike McCoy

Which do people recommend?

I'm about to make some mods to my rigging (roller furling, backstay insulators) and need to decide between Norseman & Sta-Lok.

If for reliability/strength they're 6 of one, half doz of the other, which one would be less troublesome to install properly?

Steve & Vanessa

I'd go for which is more readily available. Look at a West Marine catalog and see which they carry. When you are down there in the Rio Dulce, which one is easier for you to get your hands on?

Norm Rhines

Good day Mike:

I have both and My preference is for the Sta-lok as they seam a bit easyer to install and seam marginaly better in quality.

also the Norseman once had a recall on the 9/32 stuff as the material they used was substandard (1998-2000 ) I think +/- on the time.

But for the most part it will not make a big difference eather way if you are buying new.

Best of Luck

Dave King

Ahoy Mike,
I have used both the Sta-lok and the Norseman. I prefer the Sta-lok. They are more forgiving during installation if you were to just slightly mis-cut or mis-measure the wire. The Norseman are more likely to bind up during assembly. Of course if you do them exactly perfectly there would be no problem either way. I have not been so perfect in the past.
Good Luck, Dave

Rich Morpurgo

I just was in a yard working on my rig. There was a guy who was rerigging a Van DeStadt 50 foot boat that had the rig come down. It is an older boat. ALL but one of the norseman fittings had falures! NONE of the saloks were bad.

I was blown away. I saw it, and would never have thought.

I will never use another norseman.

Crevice corrosion.


Just found my boat W32 has Norseman fittings, that I thought, erroneously, were Stalocks.
My dock mate, Bob, tells me they are an older model like he had on his boat (Allied 36 ketch). He said his old fittings looked like mine. He could not get new cones for his.
So, Bob bought Stalocks and has been very happy.
My research has guided me towards Stalocks.
Bob and I did take apart an old Norseman fitting at the bobstay 3/8" yesterday, sort of exploratory surgery. With a butane torch I was able to easily disassemble the part, except for ruining several inches of the wire rope. The cone looked good to me, but Bob cautioned that it really needed its grooves to hold the strands of wire, which were not very well defined after the surgery.

Jim Focha and Julie Gwin

We have used both, but after installing Hayn failsafe isolaters we will now use Hayn. The main advantage is they can be disassembled and reused without replacing the cones. The quality of the isolaters was better than anything else we looked at.

Gary and Charlotte Burton

The cones on the norsemans are not reusable Randy. The cone is the smallest part of the 3 part norseman that the wire wraps around...it does not have grooves. At least mine do not

Thanks for the very quick responses.
I got a ham radio on the boat and afterwards the license to broadcast from it. So, isolators are a very Big deal to me. Another dockmate/ham operator, Mike, also USCG Capt. has Stalock isolators and I dunno, but they look darn good.
Hayn, never heard of that. Would ask why you went that route. Sounds like you know something I dunno.
And, thanks for the advice that the norseman cones are not reusable. I always heard that. So, now, I suppose I'll see if I can just get one Norseman or Stalock so I can make my rendevous date in a few days.

Rich Morpurgo

Try Hi-mod. Hayn.

I have the insulators and they are really good. Jim is correct that they are failsafe. The rig cannot come down even in the event of a lightning strike.


George and Rayna Shaunfield

Two years ago when I needed to replace a boomkim whiskerstay that had a cracked swaged fitting I decided to try a mechanical fitting. Then if I needed to replace the standing rigging in the future at least I would have a little experience. I looked into Sta-Lok, Norseman, and Hi-Mod.

Rigging Only http://www.riggingonly.com/ carries all three and had the best pricing at the time. They said they had had good experience with Hi-Mod. I liked that design better than Norseman and the cones are reusable. I have been pleased thus far with my choice of Hi-Mod.

Hi-Mod mechanical fittings are manufactured by Petersen Stainless Rigging in the UK (who seems to have a good reputation) and are distributed in the US by Hayn Marine. The Hayn website http://www.hayn.com/marine/rigging/himod.html has picture and video assembly instructions and information about Hi-Mod's failsafe insulator. Someone who has used all three type had this to say, "I've used Stalock, Norsesman, Hayn and swage; Hayn wins hands down for ease of use and re-use."


Wow, thanks, guys, did I nearly make a mistake.

Michael McDiarmid

I'll second George's recommendation on both Hayn and riggingonly.com. I've used the Hi-Mod fittings and am very satisfied with the ease of installation and the finished product. Rigging only has a very helpful staff and delivery is quick. Check the prices, I think you'll find that they are quite fair.

Installation report, Staloks, replaced to date.
Got wire precut from Bud. Very nice.
Yesterday was day four of my standing rigging replacement project. My dock mate, Bob, warned me that it would be a lot of work. So, I targeted to replace one wire a day. Bob sort of looked at me. Knowingly, pathetique.
So, now on day five, all beat, tired and hungry, and feeling like a hard-used steel worker, I have a report on my experiences with Staloks. Frankly, they are bugger bears in my opinion. Taking them off can be worse than reassembling them, and reassembling them is no picknik either.
We've got new boomkin stays and two stbd lower shrouds done (9/32" wire, one size larger than factory original, I believe). It took virtually every tool in the box, including the expensive Felco Swiss made wire cutters that the prior owners left. Even with Them, it ain't easy cuttin' that stuff. The instructions call for the operator, that's me, to set the 2 ft. long cutters on the ground and jump upon it with one's derrier. Fearing a broken tail bone in the eventuality of misguiding the rocket, it was necessary to engineer an alternate method.
So, the real problems begin when disassembling the two halves of the fitting. Oh, they unscrew just fine, but you have to get the lower nut off the cone/splice (and it is a splice, as far as I am concerned, an easy one over a cone, but you still have to unlay the 12 out strands of the wire rope, and do it in such a fashion that they lay is straight, and the spread out arms equally spaced, etc...). Do you like aching fingers and hands, embellished with various scratches, gashes and burns? If so, then you'll love this product. So, I almost always had to use a propane torch to get some cooperation in freeing the lower portion of the fitting. Plus, after the first day or two I hit my real problem fitting (still not freed up despite all reasonable efforts) and had to break out the vice, something I should have could have done in the first place. Also had to engineer a mount for the vice to the steps to the boat and lay out a work space at the dock. That took me out of the heated, electrically lit marina club house with TV and hot drinks from the microwave while I labored. Ummph. All the tools came out (on the dock, thankfully it was dry weather or we'd have had a real problem). Sometimes it was necessary to use the grinder on stuff.
Long story short: Given the expense of the Staloks plus the pure manual labor and considerable outlay of time and tools required to disassemble them and reassemble them (I did lose/wear out a cheap grinder), I don't know if I would install them new.
Results to date: four wires installed (eight fittings), all fittings salvaged and reused, except one which after over an hour of every conceivable approach still shows no signs of giving up the ghost. I had one spare fitting to match. Now I have none. I managed to reuse all the cones except one or two out of eight. Once the butane torch is handy, it's easy to get the old cone out in good shape.
Looks like I have six wires to go, the more difficult, longer ones, although I did manage the lower boomkin stays with the boat in the water and me not.
Here's the rub: the cost of the cones is $8-10 Each, only ones I could find. Stalok recommends new cones which I am sure makes installation a little easier but not much. Just do the math, with at least 20 wires for standing rigging, you've got 40+ fittings, approaching 400$ in cones alone, not to mention your time and abuse to your body.
I had the good fortune to order some wire rope for standing rigging from Bud complete with swages. I really think Bud's swages are among the best on the market, from what I see. I ran a survey on my dock, and only 1 in 10 boats had Stalok/Norseman type terminal end fittings throughout. Most have swages, alot of them look sorry. The ones Bud makes look good, heavy, and straight. I may be wrong, but I think it was something like $16 per swage a year or so ago from Bud. So, my conclusion is: it ain't worth the sweat and pain to use anything else. There is very little to be saved money wise, as a practical matter, and a sailor could always carry a few Stalok type terminals fittings for emergency repairs and even figure out how to do it on the spot. It's simple but it ain't easy. The trade off is supposedly some relatively small percentage of wire strength loss due to the splice, if the literature is true.
Don't get me wrong, it's great to have the Staloks and I intend to use them to their capacity. I just don't think I'd spend upwards of 2 grand plus labor and sweat installing them new. At least, I would not do that when I can make measurements and call Bud and probably do the whole boat in three days of relatively painless labor.
So my experience is one of three at the marina, that I know of. Poor old Bob had old Norsemans and had to ditch them all. He is still very unhappy about it. He went to Staloks and likes them. Mike installed new standing rigging on a Columbia 36 and I believe reused his Staloks. He reported no problems.
Also, there are a bunch of Norseman fittings ahead of me on this job. I hear some reports that their cones may be reusable, as I found the Staloks to be, if they can be removed undamaged. That is the key for Staloks, too, I hear. It appears that the Norsemans I have are the second generation product that will be salvagable. We'll see.
If it was easy, everybody would do it.

Gary and Charlotte Burton

Randy, use a chop saw with a cut off wheel to cut the wire. Two of us managed to do all the standing rigging on my boat in about 4 hours (conservative figure)
I also got the wire with the upper swaged on from Bud and then just cut to length on the boat with the upper ends already attached to the mast. We put the chop saw on the cabin top with a large piece of cardboard underneath to protect the new paint job. Every wire reached while still attached to the mast.

Bud Taplin

I use a 4" high speed grinder with a thin blade cutoff wheel for metal. Works fine. You can also use it to smooth off the cut ends so they fit nicely.

Great ideas. Thanks. I was wondering about whether one could pull wires from attachments at the top of the mast and cut on board.
Also, though I tried using the 4" grinder (hi speed, I'm sure), it did not occur to me to make sure it was a thin blade. The one I had was okay, but sorta slow compared to the Felco cutters.
Anyway, am currently sidetracked with the teak steps tied into the lower spreaders like ratlines. Have a bit of servicing to do. Hard to believe but the teak is still fine after 20 years. I was going to replace it, but no need. Cleaned up nicely with some quick shallow sanding, too. Once I get the stbd steps in place I'll move on to the port lower shrouds. Meanwhile, old man winter is making a rare appearance in these parts.
Thanks for all.

Michael McDiarmid

We used some Hayn Hi-Mod fittings when we did some recent work on our standing rigging. The fittings are completely reusable and are easy to assemble. My wife assembled one and was amazed at the ease that it went together. You might give one a try if you haven't already put out the cash for the other fittings.


Brian Duff

The correct tool to cut the wire is a hacksaw, or a thin cutoff wheel (as Bud said).

This is because all these fittings use pressure against the end of the wire to 'form' the strands around the cone. Well, the Hayn doesn't 'form' the wires but it still pushed against them. The Felco do not cut all the wires at the same length, typically 'mash' some of the strand ends or pinch them which can make the fittings gall or seize while putting together.

You would be very smart to fill the Hayn fittings with sealant, to protect the stainless. I know they say not to, but you will NEVER get enough air moving though there to keep the stainless healthy, so best to try and keep the water and salt out. Ask Sta-Lok or Norseman why after many decades of production, they still recommend filling the fitting with sealant

Brian Duff
BVI Yacht Sales

They were onboard, from what I can gather, in the 1991 Halloween storm, and Hurricane Ike. They held through both. So, I'm going to quit complaining. Now, back to work!

Am progressing nicely albeit very slowly with the cutoff wheel. In the lower shrouds, alot of the old Staloks have had to be drilled out to free the old cone. Still, with the vice set up and the tools out and handy (now at the house) it goes pretty quickly. At $50 a pop or so per fitting, it adds up fast and seems to make sense. I am pretty sure they've been there at least 20 years.
Thanks for the tips.

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