Unlike many other pieces of technical hardware that have peculiar names, a stainless steel turnbuckle is exactly as its name implies, a buckle that turns. It connects the ends of two lengths of rope/cable/wire/rods, and can tighten or loosen that connection by being turned.
Although they come in various shapes and sizes, turnbuckles are usually oblong or rectangular and they have a screw hole and a threaded insert at each end. The screw holes are threaded in opposite directions, therefore when the turnbuckle is turned one way both ends will tighten and tension will increase, when turned the opposite way both ends will loosen and the tension relieved.
Turnbuckles are used widely in countless engineering or construction projects that need cables, rods, etc. joining in a manner that can be flexible, literally by the turn of a screw! One of the great advantages of a turnbuckle is that adjustments in tension can be done in tiny increments.
The common uses of turnbuckles are:
- in aircraft construction to adjust the tension on the wires bracing the wings,
- in the shipping industry to tension a ship’s rigging and lashings,
- in theatres to adjust the rigging on a stage,
- in piping systems, where the lay of the land may be irregular but can be compensated for by the flexibility of turnbuckles,
- and, perhaps the most well-known use, in boxing and wrestling rings to secure the ropes that form the ‘ring’. These turnbuckles have to be hefty ones, some wrestlers stand on them!
The turnbuckle is one of the most essential products manufactured today, it would be difficult to walk along a street and not pass several on the way, for example the telegraph poles we’ve been used to seeing for years all have turnbuckles connecting their wires!