SPLicing TimBeR PiLeS

SPLicing TimBeR PiLeS

SPLicing TimBeR PiLeS

Monmouth, NJ By Harold Schmidt
A davit is a small crane-like piece of equipment used in a marina or yacht club. Many davits used in ma- rine environments are fastened to existing timber piles because piles provide a strong attachment at a reasonable cost.  A good installation includes sizing the davit correctly for the intended use and mounting the davit high enough for sufficient clearance when lifting long or bulky objects such as boats.  Members of the Atlantis Yacht Club in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey found the club’s davit especially useful for re- trieving small boats and dinghies from the Shrewsbury River — but there was a problem.Because the davit was installed too low on a short timber pile, the davit did not have sufficient clearance between the dock and davit boom when hauling a standard eight-foot dinghy.  Dinghies were lifted to the davit’s height limit and then “muscled” and dragged ashore over the dock.

Hal Schmidt, LoClear Piling Systems managing partner, offered their timber pile splicing system to increase the length of the existing attachment pile and raise the davit 18 inches.  After removing the davit, the first eight inches of the existing pile was planed into an 8-inch cylinder using the LoClear proprietary timber pile planing machine.  An extension piece of pile was planed in a similar fashion.

The two planed pile butts were then joined using epoxy resin, a one-inch steel rebar, an inch by 9 inch by 16-inch steel sleeve, and 1 inch by 3½ inch lag screws. The davit was remounted using through bolting and additional lag screws.  Soon after the splice was completed and davit reinstalled, club members used the davit to haul a water logged timber pile floating in a nearby slip. The lift was successful, but the system was overloaded causing the davit boom to flex severely. The newly-spliced pile did not budge.

LoClear Piling Systems performed engineering testing on similar splices and achieved lateral loading of five tons before failure. A virgin 10-inch butt pile also failed at five tons when subjected to a similar test.  In recent years, governmental regulations have set new high water marks. Houses built on timber piles present an especially difficult challenge to meet the new high water marks because increasing the length or height of an existing timber pile has always been impractical and very expensive.  The LoClear system was developed because there wasn’t an effective way to splice timber piles.  Splicing timber piles has become increasingly necessary to repair and lengthen existing piles to repair storm damage and adjust for rising ocean levels.
The LoClear system allows structures, including bulk- heads, to be raised by extending the height of piles rather than replacing them.
Additionally, bridge pile repair is now possible because special fittings are available for attaching steel girders and jacking equipment to planed-pile butts.  Fittings are also available for installing cross bracing between piles.  H.A.L. Manufacturing LLC, LoClear’s parent company, holds three U.S. patents on the system and equipment.



LoClear® Piling Systems is Here to Help

LoClear Piling Systems is Here to Help


New Jersey businessman invents device to help restore the shore.

Necessity has always been the mother of invention and Hurricane Sandy produced the mother lode of necessity. Thousands of homes along the New Jersey shore were damaged in the storm. In order to restore those homes and make them safe for the future, it will be necessary to raise them above the new high water mark set by Superstorm Sandy. Such a solution is both time consuming and expensive.

New Jersey businessman Harold “Hal” Schmidt looked at the situation and developed the patented LoClear® Piling System that saves both time and money. It all started when a friend called Schmidt about his home in Holgate on Long Beach Island. Even though the home was raised on timber pilings, water had come within inches of the first floor. The friend was looking for a cost-effective remedy that would offer protection against future storms. Schmidt advised against removing the existing piles and replacing them with longer piles, wood framing or structural steel. There had to be a better way. Front and center in his mind was the need to design a way to make the old piles longer, and so that’s what Schmidt accomplished with the LoClear® system – making it cost-effective and time-efficient to add length to existing pilings while retaining structural integrity.


Front and center in his mind was the need to design a way to make the old piles longer, and so that’s what Schmidt accomplished with the LoClear® system – making it cost-effective and time-efficient to add length to existing pilings while retaining structural integrity.

Traditionally, a building being raised is moved temporarily from its original footprint while a new foundation is constructed, since large pile driving equipment cannot otherwise gain access. Many of the Jersey Shore homes are owned by families unable to afford such costly upgrading. With thousands of homes needing repairs, the construction industry has been unable to meet the need with traditional methods and equipment. The LoClear® system is about to change all of that.

The LoClear® Topp Machine® (The Original Pile Planer) mills the butt ends of new and existing nine to 11-inch piles to a perfect cylinder and planes the end surface. The system connects the newly milled piles with structural steel sleeves utilizing bolts or epoxy resin and steel rebar. All of this can be accomplished in a low clearance work site – regardless of whether the existing foundation is timber pilings or is being replaced by timber pilings. The TOPP Machine® is paired with a pneumatic driving hammer capable of running off a small air compressor. The LoClear® system can be used to remediate foundations on any raised structure, to repair butt ends of timber piles under bridges and buildings and in marine construction. The best and most economical solution for replacing a traditional foundation in flood zones is still, and always will be, timber pilings. With the new LoClear® system, the tradition continues. At the age of 69, Schmidt comes to the pile driving industry with a varied background of life experience. He worked his way through the Industrial Arts Education program at Trenton State (now the College of New Jersey) and taught metalworking and woodworking for 11 years in New Jersey public schools. During that time, Schmidt established a construction business that provided jobs for a number of his former pupils. In 1981, he left teaching for Wall Street and started an investment advisory business in which he continues working along with his wife, Elizabeth, CEO of LoClear® Piling Systems. In 2006, he put his tool belt back on and built a home on Long Beach Island.

Contact LoClear® Piling Systems at (848) 444-9013 or P.O. Box 301, Colts Neck, NJ, 07722. W



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