Need Help Sealing and Guying Out a Tent

3:39 p.m. on April 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Hello I just picked up a Eureka BackCountry 1 tent for $114.95 from SunnySports. I have questions on Sealing and guying out the tent.

Here is a picture of how they say to guy out the tent. http://store.eurekatent.com/media/document/BACKCOUNTRY109.pdf

Here's a picture of the tent with and without the fly.

http://store.eurekatent.com/products/347437/Backcountry_1_Tent

 

I will use this tent for kayak camping along lakes which can be very windy along the shoreline. I was going to go with the star pattern. I purchased 4 MSR Groundhog stakes and I purchased some Kelty TripTease Lightline which is pretty thin at around 2mm? I believe. I purchased some other guy line which is 3mm and quite a bit thicker that the Kelty triptease. Which do I use? This thin Kelty stuff seems adequate thickness for such a small 1 person tent. The other 3mm stuff seems like it would be better suited for maybe a 3-4 person tent.

My next question is on actual guying the tent. The tent has a Fly with 4 material loops. I will attach 2 guy lines to each of the 4 points to form the star pattern. Which knot should I use to attach the guy line to the fly?

I was thinking about using  2 taut line hitch knot on both ends of the guy line. One by the end of the stake end and one where the guy line attaches to the fly. OR SHOULD I use some other knot on the fly end of the guy line?

What is the standard knots used for each end of a guy line? I realize at least one taut line hitch knot needs to be tied....what is the other?

 

ALSO how long do I make these guy lines for a little 1 man tent like this? How far away from a tent like this should the guy line meet the ground and be staked in? The instructions say 3 feet to 4 feet? how far? I guess that will determine the overall length I need to cut these guy lines as the further away will increase the overall length. What distance would be best and length would be best?

 

These are the stakes that came with the tent. I had to purchase 4 additional stakes for the guy lines. I bought 4 MSR groundhog stakes. These stakes that came with the tent seem just as beefy and strong as the MSR's and I was going to give them a try and see how they do? Or do you recommend tossing them and getting another 6 MSR's for staking down the tent and fly?

http://store.eurekatent.com/products/364910/6.25%22%20DAC%20Aluminum%20Stake%206%20pack?pid=595a781d09cde25e3dea7547d58562ba

 

 

Next issue sealing the tent.

I just picked up some Seam Grip seam sealer and finished up. The underneath of the fly has taped seams so I applied the seam grip to the outside of the fly. The lady @ Eureka said to just apply it to seams that aren't taped and not to put the stuff on the tape. But to just put it on the outside of seams that are taped on the inside. So that is what I did. The inside of the tent has taped seams so I did the outside with the seam grip. There was a few spots on the inside which forms a V underneath the window which were not taped on the inside so I did those areas both on the inside and outside, and around the door which wasn't taped, which she said to do.

Question. Is one coating enough? I pretty much slopped it on there thick and covered all the stitching. I'd hate to have to apply a second coating of this nasty glue.

AND is it enough to just cover the stitching? Or do I have to cover the edges of the seams also? I hope someone can comprehend the following.....>>>>The fly for instance has folded over seams(maybe a half inch wide) which aren't very flush with the fabric next to it. There is a slight elevated edge which would be a bear to try and cover up completely. Does that need to be covered.

 

Thanks.

4:50 p.m. on April 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I think that you are over killing. Your seam sealing is done for at least the rest of the year. As far as doubling up on the tie outs, I dont see that necessary. A one man tent is low profile and for the most part just stakes will hold the tent without tie outs. But I always use mine, becouse I never know when a freak storm will move in. One line from each point will keep you dry and save. As far as the stake to be used, I dont know what the soil would be like there. If it is very rocky you might have to tie lines to the stake loops, then tie to rocks or limbs. Alot has to do with the spot you are camping in.

5:22 p.m. on April 4, 2011 (EDT)
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The star pattern will interfere with you getting in and out of the tent if you go by their diagram. Use two half-hitches to secure the line to the fly and the tautline hitch on the stake end.

A great knot site:

http://www.animatedknots.com/

6:00 p.m. on April 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I always thought that star pattern was for high mountain passes and rip roaring storm fronts. For most camping, I've just gone with staked corners and minimal guy lines on the fly.

As for knots, my personal favorite is the bowline. It won't pinch up on the fabric loop, holds fast and has minimal effect on rope strength.

And +1 on not needing to seam seal for at least a season or two.

6:07 p.m. on April 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I was going to do that star pattern as the instructions said it was the most secure in the wind and the kelty triptease is 50 feet of rope so I have plenty of rope to do 4 more pieces. I will be camping lake side and winds can blow a solid 30+ mph with gusts over 50+ mph.

I purchased this small tent to keep in a dry bag in my kayak as an emergency shelter if I get stranded in high winds and can't return to my 4X4 camper van to sleep. I also want to use it for some lakeside kayak camping as on certain lakes I have lengthy paddles to get to where the fish are. I also picked up an  Cabela's Bivy for $69 just in case the wind is too strong to set up the tent.

I guess since I have 50 feet of rope I will just cut the 8 pieces and give it a try and see if it interferes with entry and exit of the tent.....it seems like it would be just as easy to flip 4 more lines over a stake and not much additional hassle.

 

....I am new to tents....I usually just crash lakeside in my van.

The lakes are in the Ca Sierra's at around 5700 feet and I fish them into December when half the lake will be frozen but part will still have open water. Not much if any snow lakeside....lots of lava rocks though.

 

10:28 a.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Go with what makes you feel comfortable. If having it bomb-proof gives you peace of mind -- then it's worth it. Last thing anyone wants to see upon returning from a day hike is the sight of theiir tent sailing toward the other side of the lake ;)

For some of us, part of the fun of gear is coming up with your own solutions and approaches. You could always start with the star and then re-route or eliminate any lines that seem to be a barrier to comfort.

12:18 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Triptease is made of Spectra, which is extremely strong. I use it on most of my tents, including the expedition tents. It has never failed, even in 70 knot winds. One of the big advantages of Triptease is that it is highly reflective - you can spot the tent at night from a really long distance with your flashlight or headlamp. The name comes from the idea of your not tripping over the guys at night - of course, it doesn't help if you don't use your headlamp, and it won't show you stuff between you and the tent if you try to walk toward it in a straight line.

12:49 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I think some of my questions got lost in my original post so I'll simplify things...

 

 

#1.) So  2 half hitches or a bowline knot at the top of the guy line to attach the line to the loops on the fly and a taut hitch knot on the bottom?

 

#2.) So the guy line should touch the ground and be staked in at roughly 3 to 4 feet away? I'd think 4 feet might give me better entry with the star pattern.

 

#3.) Is this stake going to be ok or should I toss them and buy 6 more Grounghogs? They seem pretty beefy.

http://store.eurekatent.com/products/364910/6.25%22%20DAC%20Aluminum%20Stake%206%20pack?pid=595a781d09cde25e3dea7547d58562ba

I will be using this tent in potentially very windy situations, ...trying to at least. If not then I will bivy. Let me explain the conditions. I flyfish Pyramid Lake and the wind can go from 0 to 50+ in seconds and blow that hard for days. We had gusts over 70+ a few weeks ago.  The soil around this lake is sandy. I flyfish another lake Eagle Lake which the soil I would describe as rocky. I have never tried to pitch a tent around this lake but there is lava rock all over the place. On this lake winds can blow 20-30+ on average, certainly much higher. Another lake I flyfish is Davis Lake and that lake has dirt/muddy soil surrounding the lake. On Davis winds regularly blow 20+ in the afternoon with gusts of 30+ common. It can blow a lot harder than that and it does. Although I try and avoid being out on a lake in windy conditions that is not always possible. I got pinned on a bank there once when the wind came up unexpectedly and started to blow a solid 25/30 with gusts over 50+ and I was not able to return to my vehicle. Even though I am a strong experienced paddler, paddling back was impossible as I was unable to even cross a few hundred foot sheltered cove as the wind was blowing so hard. I am not ambulatory, I use a wheelchair so walking back/hiking back to my vehicle was not an option. I had no gear and was soaked to the bone in 45-50 daytime air temps (with night approaching) with water temps around 52, night time temps would have been around 30. I had to strip down bare ass naked and put my pants on my paddle holding it up to let it blow in the wind to dry out. Same for the rest of my clothing. I would like to avoid a repeat of this scenario.

SOoooooooooo now I want to keep a dry bag with a shelter(tent) and a sleeping bad for emergency situations at all times. Also I want to do some lakeside camping as I have lengthy paddles and I can spend a night off a point instead of having to paddle all the way back to my vehicle. I attempt to be safely at my vehicle on windy days but I realize that I may get caught again and I want to be prepared to deal with it. I recently purchased a nice -20 bag for winter, Jetboil, Katadyn Hiker Pro, The Tent, Exped Downmat, Bivy, and miscellaneous other necessary odds and ends. I have no experience with tents but I would rate the wind conditions I may encounter as being pretty severe.

 

 

 

 

 

4:02 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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There is no one size fitts all as far as staking is concerned. In the rocky area stakes might not go into the ground, so you would need to tie off the tent. In the sand, sand anchors. In dirt the cheap stakes might be fine.

It sounds to me that you are doing fine thinking this out. As you say being wet and cold is no fun. Would rather be ready for most anything than to be unprepaired.

8:15 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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The solution for loose sand is to use "deadmen". Here is a diagram of how to do a "deadman".  The basic idea is to bury your stake with it oriented at right angles to the guy line. It turns out that even one of the "coathanger wire" stakes will hold very solidly in loose sand or powder snow if you bury it deep enough. Sticks or branches found locally work just fine. In fact, even a flimsy deadman will hold better than the "sandhog" stakes. That's what we use all the time on expeditions where we have multiple days of continuous 50-70 knot winds (and use the TripTease guy lines as well). Some people carry along thin wood slats for loose sand/snow camping. Or 4" squares of 1/8" plywood with a hole drilled at the center for attaching the guy line.

There are some other alternatives in soft sand (or snow, even though you aren't planning on snow camping, but other readers of this thread might). One is a "parachute" shaped cloth anchor (square piece of nylon with cord coming from the 4 corners). You bury the "parachute" in the sand. Be sure you recover the "parachutes" though (do the same for metal or plastic stakes you use as deadmen, too, though you can abandon locally found sticks and branches).

Rock is a different story. There aren't any stakes that can be pounded into rock (well, ok, concrete anchor bolts, but those are expensive and definitely not within LNT guidelines). Typically what people do is to gather some large rocks and wrap the guyline around those, then pile more rocks on top of each guy line. Or, find a location that is more sheltered.

One question - how did you determine the wind speeds? By actual measurement with a wind speed guage? I am not questioning that the winds are strong (I've been to Pyramid Lake). But people tend to overestimate how strong the wind is. A 40 knot wind will have you leaning well into the wind, and a sudden unexpected 40 knot gust will knock most people off their feet. I carry a pocket wind speed device (actually a pocket weather station that includes a wind meter along with temperature, humidity, and barometer). I have stood alongside people saying that the wind "must be a hundred miles an hour" when the meter actually is reading 20 to 30 mph (17-21 knots). In December, we spent 6 days and 8 nights in winds that were pretty continuously measured at 30 knots with gusts measured to 50 knots - you really can't stand very well in those winds. And yes, a improperly guyed tent will blow away in 15 to 20 knot winds.

The directions you linked to for your tent has one direction that I strongly differ with - it said to first spread the tent out and NOT put in any stakes, unless the wind is blowing, and then put in one stake. Based on lots of experience, orient the tent with the long dimension aligned with the wind, and stake the 2 (TWO) upwind corners, even if there is only a light breeze, and very solidly if it's more than a slight breeze - that way, you won't be surprised by your tent floating away in the wind if a significant gust comes up, and you can still easily pitch the tent.

9:04 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Bill, I never thought of dead men in the sand.... And to think I was a landscaper buildind walls at one time. Great thought! Thanks

10:35 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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So are those good all around stakes?

10:44 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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NOAA

http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=NVZ003&warncounty=NVC031&firewxzone=CAZ272&local_place1=Reno+NV&product1=Wind+Advisory

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=rev&smap=1&textField1=39.52972&textField2=-119.81278

Yes the way you describe staking a tent in wind is the procedure I just logically planned on following. It seems like common sense to stake down both up wind stakes, I do not know why Eureka would advise doing it differently.

 

 

 

One question - how did you determine the wind speeds? By actual measurement with a wind speed guage? I am not questioning that the winds are strong (I've been to Pyramid Lake). But people tend to overestimate how strong the wind is. A 40 knot wind will have you leaning well into the wind, and a sudden unexpected 40 knot gust will knock most people off their feet. I carry a pocket wind speed device (actually a pocket weather station that includes a wind meter along with temperature, humidity, and barometer). I have stood alongside people saying that the wind "must be a hundred miles an hour" when the meter actually is reading 20 to 30 mph (17-21 knots). In December, we spent 6 days and 8 nights in winds that were pretty continuously measured at 30 knots with gusts measured to 50 knots - you really can't stand very well in those winds. And yes, a improperly guyed tent will blow away in 15 to 20 knot winds.

The directions you linked to for your tent has one direction that I strongly differ with - it said to first spread the tent out and NOT put in any stakes, unless the wind is blowing, and then put in one stake. Based on lots of experience, orient the tent with the long dimension aligned with the wind, and stake the 2 (TWO) upwind corners, even if there is only a light breeze, and very solidly if it's more than a slight breeze - that way, you won't be surprised by your tent floating away in the wind if a significant gust comes up, and you can still easily pitch the tent.

 

4:29 a.m. on April 6, 2011 (EDT)
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I would cut my cords to accommodate the 8 line star pattern you reference, except I would use a single length to serve both guy lines that are attached to a single stake.  Find the mid point of the cord, then tie a figure-eight knot to attach it to the stake.  The tag ends of the rope are attached to their respective anchor points on the tent, and tied off with the taut hitch. I leave my cords permanently attached to the stakes.  A hole drilled in the stake facilitates keeping the cord in place, passing the cord through the hole.  Be sure to dull the edges of the hole.  The reason I use double length cords is a desire to leave rope lengths as long as possible, since I often use them for other tasks, like setting up a clothes line, etc.  Longer rope = less knotting to assemble a long cord.

Usually I don’t bother fixing the guy lines to the tent at all.  But I often preset the stakes with the attached lines, positioning them according to anticipated wind conditions, then attach the cords to the tent only when conditions warrant.  The idea is why tie up tent lines and risk tripping over them if they are not warranted by current conditions? 

The four point pattern will get you through most winds, but a full blown storm or a sundowner can really blast and require all eight lines.  You can always collapse your tent for a sundowner; they dissipate shortly after dark.  I also collapse my tent when I leave camp, to minimize any wind issues, covering it with a light plastic tarp weighed down with stones to protect from rain.

As for seam sealing, I don’t even bother.  Been without DIY seam sealing for decades.  OEM sealed rain flies do a good enough job shedding water, that at worse I had to deal will just a couple of table spoons of water in my tent, nothing a small sponge can’t manage.

Ed

7:57 p.m. on April 6, 2011 (EDT)
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OK you lost me with this first sentence and pretty much the rest of the paragraph? What does that mean? , """""except I would use a single length to serve both guy lines that are attached to a single stake.  Find the mid point of the cord, then tie a figure-eight knot to attach it to the stake.  The tag ends of the rope are attached to their respective anchor points on the tent, and tied off with the taut hitch."""""

 

I would cut my cords to accommodate the 8 line star pattern you reference, except I would use a single length to serve both guy lines that are attached to a single stake.  Find the mid point of the cord, then tie a figure-eight knot to attach it to the stake.  The tag ends of the rope are attached to their respective anchor points on the tent, and tied off with the taut hitch. I leave my cords permanently attached to the stakes.  A hole drilled in the stake facilitates keeping the cord in place, passing the cord through the hole.  Be sure to dull the edges of the hole.  The reason I use double length cords is a desire to leave rope lengths as long as possible, since I often use them for other tasks, like setting up a clothes line, etc.  Longer rope = less knotting to assemble a long cord.

Usually I don’t bother fixing the guy lines to the tent at all.  But I often preset the stakes with the attached lines, positioning them according to anticipated wind conditions, then attach the cords to the tent only when conditions warrant.  The idea is why tie up tent lines and risk tripping over them if they are not warranted by current conditions? 

The four point pattern will get you through most winds, but a full blown storm or a sundowner can really blast and require all eight lines.  You can always collapse your tent for a sundowner; they dissipate shortly after dark.  I also collapse my tent when I leave camp, to minimize any wind issues, covering it with a light plastic tarp weighed down with stones to protect from rain.

As for seam sealing, I don’t even bother.  Been without DIY seam sealing for decades.  OEM sealed rain flies do a good enough job shedding water, that at worse I had to deal will just a couple of table spoons of water in my tent, nothing a small sponge can’t manage.

Ed

 

8:48 a.m. on April 7, 2011 (EDT)
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OK you lost me with this first sentence and pretty much the rest of the paragraph? What does that mean?  

 Perhaps my crude illustraion will help. (Click on diagram to enlarge.)


Tent-stake.jpg

Ed
 

12:23 p.m. on April 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks that made it clear.

6:11 p.m. on April 7, 2011 (EDT)
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NOAA

http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=NVZ003&warncounty=NVC031&firewxzone=CAZ272&local_place1=Reno+NV&product1=Wind+Advisory

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=rev&smap=1&textField1=39.52972&textField2=-119.81278

 

Those are forecast sites, not observations. Plus Reno is a fair distance from Pyramid Lake. As my Young Son, a professional atmospheric scientist said when asked why he chose atmospheric science, "Ther are few other fields where you can be wrong 90%of the time and still get paid!" Forecast wind speeds are usually wrong.

9:14 p.m. on April 7, 2011 (EDT)
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http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=rev&smap=1&textField1=39.52972&textField2=-119.81278&mp=1

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale

Flags and wind socks(found on every runway) are pretty accurate wind speed gauges. Believe it or not it is easy to gauge wind speeds accurately within  + or - a few MPH's  by visual observation.

 

The wind does blow 50+ mph around here fairly regularly just like the 4/6 forecast predicted, Trust me and NOAA on that.

 

NOAA

http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=NVZ003&warncounty=NVC031&firewxzone=CAZ272&local_place1=Reno+NV&product1=Wind+Advisory

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=rev&smap=1&textField1=39.52972&textField2=-119.81278

 

 

Those are forecast sites, not observations. Plus Reno is a fair distance from Pyramid Lake. As my Young Son, a professional atmospheric scientist said when asked why he chose atmospheric science, "Ther are few other fields where you can be wrong 90%of the time and still get paid!" Forecast wind speeds are usually wrong.

 

5:42 a.m. on April 8, 2011 (EDT)
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The people I know who speak figuratively about their weather experiences, prefer colorful expressions, such as "It dumped bucket loads." over the numerical pseudo factual "It must have rained twenty inches."  When I hear folks use discrete descriptions, they usually are trying to provide an estimate.  Your experiences may give you to the skills to guesstimate more accurately, but like Bill I also see people over estimate wind speed; it is quite common among weekend warriors and those who don't spend lots of time outdoors.

Ed

12:09 p.m. on April 8, 2011 (EDT)
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http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=rev&smap=1&textField1=39.52972&textField2=-119.81278&mp=1

The site you link to is Reno airport, not Pyramid Lake. Yes, Pyramid is often windier than Reno AP. I am well aware of weather, having a few thousand hours on my Commercial license (much of it mountain flying to unofficial airports located at 9000-11,000 ft, but a fair amount into large commercial fields as well), and having been Chair of a Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science. One of many things I learned by actual experience in the plane was that windspeeds reported at airports may be accurate for the airport, but they differ greatly in even short distances from the airport. Plus having the experience several times when passing through Tradewinds Airport near Amarillo of seeing the windsocks at opposite ends of the runway pointing almost 180 deg apart. One gets very sensitive to the wind question when mostly flying a taildragger in and out of grass fields and sandbars.

By the way, while windsocks used at major airports are built to a standard that does allow a fairly accurate windspeed estimation, and the old "leaves of grass" trick works fairly well, a lot of smaller airports and most boat marinas put up very non-standard windsocks. One of the local parks that I hike at a lot has windsocks at the 2 launch points and landing area for the hang-gliders and parapentes that are way off from the standards (straight out at 10 knots) - just as well, for safety purposes.

Remember, too, that even at major airports with full FAA facilities on the field (many of which are now closed), winds change by the minute. While current windspeeds may be accurate at the time of observation and at the anemometer, a few minutes earlier or later, they change in speed and direction, and a few miles away they will be different - recall the DC-10 that was slammed to the ground just short of the DFW runway a decade or two back, just a few minutes following the plane ahead which reported calm and smooth.

If you want to go by the Beaufort scale (which was designed for open ocean, not lakes), whitecaps appear at 15-20kts, lower than the wind speeds you were ascribing to whitecaps. 30 kts is where it becomes difficult to walk easily. I do agree that 15-20 knots is time to get a canoe off the lake, though. 4 foot swells are in the 10-15 knot range, okay for a kayak or closed-top canoe and skilled paddler, but time to get an open boat off the lake. Debris is being pulled off the ground by 40 knots.

My main point was not to question your veracity with respect to wind, but to point out that tents need to be staked down at much gentler winds than most people think. We had a fellow here on Trailspace a year or two back who was advocating facing a hurricane on the beach in an expedition tent, poopooing the suggestion that storm surges, flying debris, and such would be any problem. His claim was that something like a TNF 25 was more than adequate at 100++ knots. Since this was in the Beginner Forum, after all, a caution that people frequently greatly overestimate the capabilities of their gear is always in order. I have seen unstaked "free-standing" tents blown away at a measured 10 knots or less. So people should not get the idea that they don't have to worry until 40 or 50 knots - stake the tent down, even though it is calm when you are setting up.

 

2:47 p.m. on April 8, 2011 (EDT)
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LOL

11:31 p.m. on April 8, 2011 (EDT)
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482.jpg

11:32 a.m. on April 19, 2011 (EDT)
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SnowGoose, thanks for the knot site.  Good stuff.  This entire thread has lots of great stuff in it.  Thanks all.

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