AskDefine | Define ropework

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The making, repairing, knotting, splicing and storing of rope, and the manufacture of devices from rope, mostly by use of the marlinspike
  2. A form of raised convex or painted decoration in the form of twisted rope applied to architecture, ceramics, metalwork and furniture

Extensive Definition

Ropework or Marlinespike Seamanship is the set of processes and skills used to make, repair, and use rope. This includes tying knots, splicing, making lashings, and proper use and storage of rope.

Making a rope

To make a rope, take a long length of twine or yarn and tie it to a rod of strong material. Loop it around a second rod, held at a distance. Take it back to the first rod, loop it around, and then once more back to the second, to which it is then tied. There should be three lengths of twine running between the two rods. Each person holding a rod then moves backward until the lengths are taut and then begins turning his rod counterclockwise. This continues until the twine has been tightly twisted; at this point, the securing knots are untied. The twine is then secured to the rods again (as if the piece of three twisted lengths is one) and run between them as before was, with three lengths between the rods. The holders again pull the material taut and begin turning, this time in the opposite direction. When the rope is tightly twisted, each end is whipped (see below) and then cut between the whipping and the rod.

Whipping frayed ropes

A whipping knot is a type of knot used to hold the frayed end of a rope together. Constrictor knots can serve as temporary whippings while cutting ropes, as can a few layers of adhesive tape.
The simplest sort of proper whipping is the common whipping. It is made by taking a two-foot-or-greater length of strong string, forming a loop with it, three or four diameters of the rope in length, and lying it on the rope near the frayed end. The rest of the length is then tightly wrapped without overlapping around the rope, moving up the loop. When the end of the loop is nearly covered, pull the remaining free length of the string through the loop and then pull on both ends, which will pull the end of the loop under the whipping. Cut off the end of the rope close to the edge of the whipping and then cut off the two free lengths of string.

Fusing frayed ropes

Fusion is a method of treating the end of synthetic fiber rope through use of heat. Make a clean cut near the end and hold the newly cut end a few inches above a flame until the fibers have melted and fused together. Allow the end to cool before touching it or setting it down.
Another method of fusing is used for ropes from non-melting fibers like cotton and aramid. In this case the method is simply to cut the end of the rope, coat or dip the exposed fibers in glue, resin or paint and allow to dry.

Daisy chain

In many applications of rope work (i.e. canoeing/boating), rope may be stored by tying it into what is referred to as a daisy chain. This is accomplished by the same process that backpackers use, only for a storage purpose instead of utility. A loop is pulled through the rope on the first link, then the process is repeated for the length of the rope. At the last link, a half hitch is tied to stop the rope from coming undone. To undo the daisy chain, simply undo the half hitch and pull - the knot will slip apart.

See also




ropework in Dutch: Schiemanswerk
ropework in Japanese: ロープワーク
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