Week 7: The Rope
Building a rope kit involves a lot of personal preferences. It is interesting to observe the spectrum of rope properties, talk with others and see what they like and why. Many people at rope events will be happy to tell you everything about their rope choices and let you try. As our style evolves, the characteristics that are important to us also change. The best way to discover what we prefer is to try different ropes, experiment with it and see for ourselves. What is important for you when choosing your rope? What can you try that might challenge your current rope choice?
The goal of this week is to become more conscious about the different rope properties when trying things out and discover what type of rope and processing really fits your need.
Day 43: Size – Find your perfect rope size. Acquire a very long rope, tie your favourite tie with it. Then cut it a little shorter, tie the same thing. Then cut it again, retie again. Repeat! At what point does the rope feels too short? Try different rope diameters as well.
Day 44: Material – Make a trip to the hardware store, compare different kinds of rope material. Compare the weight of the rope, burn speed, friction, smell, etc. Which kind of ropes floats in water?
Day 45: Ends – Try different rope ending techniques. Melting (synthetic only), whipping (sailmaker whipping, french whipping etc.), knots (overhand, flat overhand, thistle knot, Mathew Walker knot, etc.). Can you make each rope of your kit different?
Day 46: Construction – Get a few samples of different ropes and take them apart to observe how the rope is constructed. Twisted or braided? How many strands? How many plies?
Day 47: Conditioning – Try different things: baking, boiling, stretching, polishing singeing, freezing, solar heating, oiling and/or waxing. Keep an untreated rope as your comparison tool.
Day 48: Maintenance – Break a rope and fix it, pull on one strand to create a high stranding problem, then retwist it and massage it to get it back into place.
Day 49: Colour – What is your favourite colour of rope? Try dyeing a rope and combining different rope colours together.