Here is a bit of info that will help many whom own and use API treestands
As to the shrink wrap on the chains that came originally on the API stands ? Cover them with Vinyl tubing
The factory stuff was pretty much useless since it would wear to a frazzle with only a few climbings of rough/hardwood tree's but there IS a much better solution to covering the chains that will last for many years of hard use and it's easily done. Best of all it is cheaper than buying the shrink wrap which only wears out !
Here's what you do to fix the chains by covering them with Vinyl tubing instead of heat shrink :
Go to your local hardware store and buy 12 feet of clear vinyl tubing as the chains used are only 5 ft. 6 inches long the size you need is .625 I.D.(5/8 ths of an inch) by .750 O.D.(3/4 ths of an inch) use a 6 feet length of tubing for each chain of your stand , one for the climber section and one for the seat section .
Next take the chains out of your stand and lay them to the side
for the moment.
You will then remove the plastic bushings in the ends of the stand where the chain goes in the tubing, this plastic bushing will NOT used any longer which you can throw away. to remove the bushings , make yourself a tool to ease removal of these bushings by taking a 1/4 inch allen wrench and clamping the longer end with vise grip pliers to pull them out . the plastic can easily be removed by using the short end of an allen wrench to hold inside the inner edge of the bushings and pulling them out, sometimes you may have to use a few hammer blows against the pliers to aid their removal.
Next take a small hand file and debur the inside edges of the aluminum tubing where the plastic bushings were removed, by doing so you are only removing very small amounts of metal from the inner square edges to smooth them up a bit and this step prolongs the life of the tubing on the chains when done correctly.
Next get the chains that you previously laid to the side and then
remove the factory heat shrink from them.
it is advisable to save each end section(ends with holes) of the shrink wrap from the chain which makes it easier to know where to place the holes needed in the tubing your fixing to replace on the chain .
This is easily done by just cutting a slit along the length of the wrap and then simply peeling it off to save the hole positions .
Next step is a bit tricky but well worth the time
Place a large pan of water on the kitchen stove and heat it to a
note: (do the following step after removing the water from the stove using no heat)
The pan needs to be large enough to take one of the 6 foot sections of the clear vinyl tubing and make a coil of it and still be able to submerge it into the hot water to let it heat up by soaking it for a few minutes. by doing this you are making the vinyl tubing soft and flexible which helps when getting it over the chain as it is a tight fit
Next while the vinyl tubing is heating up in the hot water , you will need a section of wire to be used for pulling the chain through the tubing, it only needs to be a foot or so longer than your tubing but longer is ok.
I used a single strand of 12-2 solid copper wire which is easily available, it is best to strip any plastic coating from the wire on both ends as the plastic coating will slip if not removed . to make the wire feed thru the vinyl tubing better take one end of the wire and form a J shape by folding it over onto itself approx. 1/4 to 3/8 inch and pinching it together with pliers which will enhance feeding it thru the tubing without hanging . pick up one of the chains for the stand and take the opposite end from the J bend of the wire and tie it securely to the last link in one end of the chain. its best to go thru the link with enough to form several loops around itself to hold better and not slip undone while pulling the vinyl tubing over the chain.
Now take the clear vinyl tubing from the hot water and feed the J formed end of the wire through it until it comes out the other end of the vinyl tubing and then take the end of this wire protruding from the tubing and tie it off to something that will not move while pulling the vinyl tubing over the chain.
with the section of tubing over the wire which it tied off to something stable, all you have to do is pull on the clear tubing to get it to slide over the chain covering it , the more chain you get covered with the tubing the harder it is to pull so this is why it is a big benefit to heat the tubing prior to doing this.
Note : if having trouble getting the tubing to slide over the chain , you can easily reheat the tubing with it partially over the chain by untying the end to whatever you are using as a hold and form the chain and tubing into a coil to place both back into hot water to soften it back up which makes it easier to get over the chain .
Once you have the tubing completely covering the chain you simply
untie the wire from the end of the chain you had it tied to and your almost
Do the other section of the chain the same way to get the vinyl tubing over it as well.
Now that you have the chains covered with the tubing let them cool off as they will become stiffer and shrink a bit(back to the original stiffness of the tubing prior to heating)
Now the next step is to drill holes in the vinyl tubing between
the proper links to allow the pins to go through. This is where the old sections
of shrink wrap come in handy, you can align the old wrap with the ends of the
chain as it is easily seen through the clear tubing as to how it was covering
the links of the chain previously
after aligning up the old wrap with the chain ends simply mark the locations for the holes to be drilled in the vinyl tubing
Note: be sure to drill the holes to where the load will be held against a cross pin in the chain links and be extremely careful not to let the drill bit ride against any part of the chain links as you do NOT want to weaken the chain links with any nicks from the drill bit.
Using a 7/16ths(.437) drill bit , drill the holes in the tubing
and after drilling these holes trim off the excess tubing you have that extends
beyond the length of the chain. then place the chains into the stand making sure
the pins go in correctly through the holes you just drilled(you may have to do a
small amount of deburing on the vinyl tubing where the drill left vinyl
below is a picture as sometimes a pic is worth a thousand words.....hehe
YOUR DONE !
You will find that the vinyl covered chains fit well in the square tubing of the stand and will last for many years to come .
Myself and several others have been using this Vinyl tubing now
for many years and it is still as good as new , just like it was when i put
another benefit to doing this is that it is a bit stiffer than the old shrink wrap and it makes it much easier to climb with(especially when climbing irregular shaped trees)
The vinyl tubing holds much better than the old shrink wrap ever did , which is a big plus
This tubing even makes it easier to place the stand onto the tree due to the chain being stiffer and making it easier to reach around the tree base to get ahold of when placing your stand on a tree.
Another great benefit to using the Vinyl tubing is that it also quietens the stand while carrying it
NO more rattling chains while walking with the stand on your back
Also if wanted you can paint the tubing to camo it a bit if needed as I have painted several after placing the Vinyl tubing on, the paint seems to stick very well and only wears off where the chain meets the tree whilst climbing .
You can paint the clear tubing with a quality spray paint such as Krylon and it will adhere well to the Vinyl tubing and last for a long time
I have a couple of stands with the tubing painted on them and they have held up well in the last few years of hard use, if the tubing becomes scuffed a bit just touch it up with a bit more spray paint.
About the only place mine has shown any major wear off with the paint is the part of the tubing that meets the tree while climbing and i most always climb hardwood trees which are much rougher barked than pines are.
Be Safe and Have Fun !
back to links page