Figure 8 Descender - What is a friction brake in the tree care industry? It's a tool, that when wrapped with a rope, gives you the ability to control a falling object's rate of descent using varying degrees of applied tension. Methods for creating friction in tree work include wrapping the falling end of a line around the base of a tree, or simply having ground men hold back a line to lower a section of wood.
In lowering one's self to the ground, most tree climbers ease down on their friction hitch, being especially careful not to burn the hitch with too much speed. Among the many advantages of a Figure of 8 Descender are that, anchored to a climber's saddle, a descent can be made faster, without burn. Or, when used as a portable lowering device, friction is consistent and determinable every time, unlike the different diameter and textures of each trees that are used.
And for rigging work, the Figure 8 Descender can be used in almost any situation without harming the anchor tree, or caking rope with mud and grit.
An important point to be made for the sake of your rope is that when a fall is made, it is best to keep the motion. In other words, avoid shock loading your tools by jerking the falling object to a stop. Care must be taken that objects aren't tangled in the line behind you and that the line will feed smoothly. The reason for creating friction is to slow the descent of an object, be it person or thing. Like other life support tools that have multiple uses, it is important that no single tool serve both functions. Colored tape or paint make good markers to keep your personal support gear separate from rigging gear. Always wear gloves while running ropes! All of SherrillTree's Figures of 8 work on 1/2" to 5/8" diameter ropes. 8,992 pound tensile, aluminum.