Fri, 10 Nov 1995 08:08:21 CST
On Tue, 31 Oct 1995 John Hall requested some information about making
Earlier this year I requested information from the list on this very
subject. Many Scouters were very helpful. So if I may I would like
to pass back to all the art of making rope.
The primary booklet we used was BSA's "Knots and How to Tie Them."
It provides an adequate description and diagram for making the
Some building tips for the winder. Make it out of hard wood. After
a few hours of winding the holes become very oversized in pine. Use
3/16 or 1/4 dia rod for the j-hooks so they won't flex. Rod threaded
on one end with jam nuts and washers is helpful to secure the common
handle on the 3 rods. All you need is boy arm-strong to make it go.
The machine is made up of two boards at right angles. Make the
winding base very wide, so as to bridge across two saw horses. This
will provide stability when you have 50 to 75 feet of rope out in
front. Use c-clamps to fasten it to the saw horses.
The Y-tool, or spreader that is used to keep the twisted rope under
control also needs to be made from hard wood to prevent an ear from
The rope was made from 'binders twine'. I had to search far for a
feed store that carried it. Here in Dallas, it is not a big stocking
item. It twine comes in a ball about the size of a basketball. It
holds about 5 - 6 pounds for 8 to 10 dollars. I never could get an
answer to how much that was in feet. I would guess about 1000 feet.
Now the good part. Get a couple large plastic buckets, and packs of
common clothing dye, (ie. red, green, yellow, blue, etc. ) Take the
bale and let it soak in the dye for a couple of days. It takes a
long time to soak thru the tight windings. Let dry for a few days
also. Use multiple colors.
To set-up the machine. Determine how long you want the finished
rope. Say 50 feet. Take a boy or step ladder and place it 60 to 65
feet away from the machine. The rope shrinks about 20 percent in
length due to the windings. Starting from the boy wind three times
between the boy holder and the machine j-hook, repeat the process
with the same or different color binders twine for each hook.
Secure the boy end of the rope with an overhand knot to keep the
lengths the same size and so he can hold onto it and keep the rope
taught as the winding process is going on. He will walk in the 20
percent we talked about earlier. If you want larger diameter rope,
put five loops per j-hook.
As each strand twist clockwise, the lay of the rope twist
counter-clockwise. The packing tool is important for keeping the
rope from getting tangled and packing the lays neatly. Continue the
winding process until you complete the length of the rope.
It is better if you can stretch the rope between two fixed points
with a lot of tension so as to set the lays of the rope. Do a
backsplice or whip the ends of the rope. You can use a candle to
burn off the 'hairy' part or leave it.
It takes alot of boy power, we did it at two all day shows, had lots
of visitors, that remembered they did it once in their youth. The
multi colors on the same rope were an eye catcher. Our Christmas
ropes could be woven into a wreath or ??.
It was fun and a big cost savings for our troop. The rope box over
That was a long winded explanation, but hope it helps.
Rick Covington, UC,ASM,MC
T713 / P874
Circle Ten Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City