Some reviews are simple. You take a product, use it a couple of times and that’s sufficient to form enough of an opinion. Other reviews take a while, especially when you want to put a product through its paces. That was the case with the Bido Objects Traditional O Rigger and Cat Paw Rigger Cat Paw Rigger, as my review period turned into a year of testing out possibilities with the gear.
I received the O Rigger and Paw from my friend Métis Black at a past Woodhull, who told me she had something she wanted me to check out. When I saw what it was exactly, Ms.P and I quickly made a suspension happen…..
Initially, I was impressed with the Paw, which is what I used for the Woodhull suspension, but I wanted to take time to learn a little more. I let Métis know I’d hold onto each piece of gear for a while, with the hopes of putting each piece through its paces. Graciously, she agreed.
First, a bit about my rigging style. For one to say I tie a lot would be an understatement. At my last event, a lady greeted me by saying, “There’s the bondage guy”. I tie a variety of full and partial suspensions on a variety of humans. I also rig complex predicaments that involve partials, which demands reliable gear that can be easily configured mid-scene. Rope is very much about improvisation. This variety of experiences is why I took a while to test out the Cat Paw and O Rigger.
There are some standard similarities in the gear. Both the Paw and the O Rigger are made from single billet aluminum. In layman’s terms, the gear is carved from a single block of aluminum, with no joined or welded pieces. This process maximizes the strength of gear and eliminates any welded points. This is important because welds on rigging gear can create jagged friction points which can abraid or tear rope.
The aluminum composition means that the Bido O Rigger and Cat Paw are extremely strong while being relatively lightweight, in comparison to other metals like steel.
All of the points where the rope is passed through are beveled at an angle, which prevents pulling rope over 90-degree angles which would also be abrasive to rope over time.
The surface of the rings are anodized, which gives the gear a sleek black coating but also protects the aluminum surface from scratches. After more than a year of storage and use, the gear only has a few minor cosmetic scratches.
Both the O Rigger and Cat Paw are segmented, with a dedicated hole for hardpoint line rigging and separate slots for upline rigging. I’ve used natural and synthetic fiber rope, rated webbing and carabiners respectively to put each piece of gear up securely. This versatility is important because it’s fairly common to encounter various hardpoints when rigging bondage gear. For example, the hardpoint I used for the Woodhull suspension was a concrete support beam. I have rigged suspensions off of dedicated frames, structural frameworks, scaffolding, and even tree limbs, to allude to the diversity of hardpoints that someone may encounter.
At this point, let’s cover the differences between the Bido’s Cat Paw and the O Rigger. The purpose of any suspension rigging gear is basically rope management. Simply put, gear provides an intermediary point between the hardpoint and the uplines, the ropes which connect to rope harnesses on the body. The Traditional O Rigger was named as such because it’s essentially an update to steel suspension rings, which were some of the earliest pieces of rope bondage rigging gear. The large O shape allows multiple pieces of upline rope to pass through easily, making the process of tying full and partial suspensions clean and efficient. I tend to prefer O rings for the majority of my suspensions and have easily run four to five uplines through the O Rigger without a problem.
The Bido Cat Paw takes its name from its resemblance to the beans on a real cat’s paw, but people with climbing gear will also notice its resemblance to climbing plates. The Cat Paw is a much larger version of a climbing plate, which is specially designed with rope bondage rigging in mind rarer than climbing. There are four ports on the Cat Paw, which are large enough to pass lengths tangle-free, making the use of carabiners optional.
The Cat Paw is my go-to piece of gear for rigging partial suspensions quickly at rope demos. I’ve also used the Bido Paw to rig tensioned hogties and some wicked predicament bondage. I’ve also used the Paw as a reliable rigging point for wrist bondage and support lines in tandem with impact play.
My favorite configurations have been when I’ve used both the Bido O Rigger and Cat Paw at the same time. I’ve been able to tie some complex suspensions with transitions by using both pieces of gear with complete confidence while mitigating the stress on a rope bottom’s body. I’ve come to prefer this rigging method over other alternatives like using bamboo rods.
In the time I’ve used Bido’s O Rigger and Cat Paw I’ve had virtually no issues using them for various ties. For a price of $100 each, the Traditional O Rigger and Cat Paw offer technically sound and reliable pieces of bondage rigging gear which will perform well over the long term. I highly recommend the products to anyone who is serious about working with great pieces of rigging gear that will certainly assist your experiences working with rope bondage.