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Sword End vs Hook End Wiffletree

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    Sword End vs Hook End Wiffletree

    My "new" wood cart has a sword end wiffletree and my traces have slots, but they are smaller than the sword ends. I had not seen sword ends before because I'm ignorant. Rather than enlarging the slots, my guess is to get a new hook end wiffletree and adapters with hooks-and-chains for the traces to connect the traces to the wiffletree hooks. Does that sound OK, or am I really missing something? Thanks for your patience with my inexperience.

    IIWM, I'd enlarge the slots in the traces.
    Per my harness repair guy: never make them wider from top to bottom, weakens the leather.
    Rather make them longer - end to end.
    I've done this successfully on leather, biothane can stretch to accommodate the swordend clip.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


      Somehow I am missing the need for chains and adapters to be able to use the S-shape hooks on a singltree/whiffletree? This not common in driving. Chains might be on a draft horse harness at the trace ends, which would call for a different singletree ends than sword end or s-hooks.

      We never cared for sword end singletrees because using them enlarges the slot in trace ends. So we changed our singletree to a S-hook ended one to use on our vehicles. The front of the hook should be slightly above level, so traces don't come unhooked when they have slack, when standing, halting.

      As long as you are "fiddling around" with the singletree, check the anchor bolt and nut for tightness, maybe add a second nut, to prevent nut working loose and falling off. Are there straps around the singletree to limit motion? Singletree should easily move forward and back a couple inches with each stride, prevents soring the horse shoulders in breastcollars. Unlimited singletree movement can cause problems, moving too far, so that is why the thin straps are used.


        but if you go to the expense of getting a new singletree, just get the one that uses quick release shackles and the slot to ring adapter for your traces, then you have the best of all worlds!
        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


          Original Poster

          So the slot in the leather trace goes over the hook-end on the wiffletree that I am going to order. And Goodhors answered my next probable question about the limit straps. I'm in the middle of nowhere here so your responses are golden. Thanks.


            Do look at the S-hooks when singletree is installed. Front tips should be slightly up above level in front. Think 10:30 to 11 on a clock face. You put the trace slot over the S-hook in hitching to vehicle, then trace turns down slightly, allowing front and rear of S-hook to show on the outside of slot. Front of hook is above the slot, middle is across the slot, while tail of hook is below the slot.

            You will need to lift the trace to get S-hook aligned with slot to remove the trace when unhitching.

            When standing, halting and cart rolls a bit forward until breeching works to halt forward, traces can get slack, wrinkle a bit with extra slack. I have seen the slot come right off the S-hooks that are level and aligned. Angled up slightly wIll allow the traces to wrinkle with slack, but not align with the S-hook to come off. At least that is the theory, with horses nothing is guaranteed! Ha ha


              Original Poster

              S-hook Orientation: That's hard to describe with the written word but you did it. Thanks.


                I'd like to piggyback on this post because I too just purchased a older, but not antique, wooden pony cart and it has the swordtail singletree. I spent all day on Friday learning about this style because I had never seen or heard about it before. How does one keep the traces in place when using it- the most I've heard is run a piece of raw hide through the hole and tie a knot.

                I've seen some things online you can add to the swordtail to keep the traces in place and not use the hole. I may switch out the singletree but until then what do you all recommend to use?


                  SLW, there are some clips you can use instead of that piece of leather thru the hole. The clips screw to the singletree. Some are made of a folded, springy piece of metal. The free end goes over the top edge of the trace, holding it on the singletree. The other clip model has a hinged piece with a prong end pointing down. There is a flat piece of metel under the hinge end, which acts as a spring providing tension to keep the clip end down over the trace top on the singletree. This model also screws to the singletree. Both seem to work equally well, not too expensive, though I have only seen them in brass. I am sure that Witmers Coach Shop, Narvon PA, or other suppliers would have them in stock.


                    Thank you goodhor!