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I Swear It’s Not A Shiv

Posted by Tom Benedict on 06/05/2012

Apparently I bought a retractable shiv.

I went in with the best of intentions. I’d busted my seam ripper trying to repair the straps on my son’s backpack, and I needed another. Specifically I needed one that could rip about fifty feet of zigzag off of a sail. The zipper on my foresail had apparently died a horrid UV death some years back and needed to be replaced. I had the new zipper in hand, but had no way to get the old one off.

While I was ordering new thread and needles, I saw that Sailrite sold a Ghinger seam ripper. Hey! I love my Ghinger shears! The picture in the catalog didn’t really make all that much sense, but I ordered it anyway. I figured if it was anything like my shears, it’d be awesome.

When I opened the mail today, I was excited to see spools of thread and bags of needles. WOOHOO! And there, at the bottom of the box was… a… um… It said Ghinger.

Honestly, it looked like something a surgeon would use if he decided to turn mafia hit man. Either that or it’s what an alien probe would look like. In short, it’s beautiful. But I’ll never look at seam ripping the same way again. Like ever.

The Shiv

When I approached the sail that night I felt like I was cornering it in an alley. “I’m going to cut you, mang!” As it turns out that feeling was a little too close to the truth.

The dacron cloth in the sail is in remarkably good shape considering it’s almost as old as I am. Even the stitching is in great shape. The zipper? It was like rotting mummy wrappings. Or wet tissue paper. A normal seam ripper had some difficulty cutting threads but not cloth. But the new Gingher? At one point it felt the need to escape, and without any effort at all it sliced a two inch gash in my sail. Luckily the body of the sail wasn’t harmed. It was the forestay pocket that took the brunt of the attack. Nothing some dacron repair tape and a lot of stitching wouldn’t handle. But it sure made me wary about waving around my new seam ripper!

I finally broke down, drove the local hardware store, and bought a fistful of everyday seam rippers. (Yes, our hardware store carries seam rippers. Think small town.) I got the rest of the zipper off without gashing any new holes in the sail, and the dacron repair tape is on the way.

Meanwhile I’m trying to find some sensible, non-sailing project to try this thing on.

– Tom

One Response to “I Swear It’s Not A Shiv”

  1. A great looking tool in a nasty kind of way…I have no idea what its ‘safe’ use would be!

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