Farm Collector Blogs > Looking Back

Whipping a Rope

by James N. Boblenz


Tags: rope trick, rope binding, whipping knot, James N. Boblenz,

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It is a shame how many farm-related tasks have not been passed on to our younger farm folk.

There are many, but whipping a rope is an important one. It is useful and can be used today.

So, what is whipping a rope? It is simply a method of securing the end of a hemp or sisal rope so it does not unravel. Today, many of us use a piece of tape or a hog ring or some other device to keep the end together.

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Occasionally, a knot was tied in the end of the rope and the end simply unraveled. I saw this recently on the rope of a corn planter row marker at the Museum at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion at Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Instead, here is how our fathers and grandfathers secured the end of a rope. They cut the rope, then tied the end with a piece of heavy string. Here’s how:

Cut the string so you will have enough to completely secure the end. Let’s say about 12 inches for a half-inch rope. For 1-inch ropes, such as those used in hay mows for hay forks and such, you will need at least 2 feet of string.

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Lay about 3 inches of string lengthwise along the rope. Hold it in place and start wrapping along the rope, starting at the cut end.

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Wrap the string tightly for about 3/8 inch, then fold the end back upon itself making a nice loop. Make sure you have about an inch of string outside the bottom wrap.

Continue wrapping the string tightly around the rope until you have about an inch of a wrapped rope end.

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Now, thread the loose end of the string through the loop. Pull the loop tight. Keep pulling until the loop and loose end are down into the wrap.

Take your trusty Barlow (or whatever pocketknife you have) and cut the loose ends.

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There, you’ve just whipped a rope. You have a nice, neat rope end that will never unravel or come loose.