Rope Splicing

Eye Splice

  1. Unlay the three strands at the end of the rope, enough to make at least three tucks — about one turn for each tuck — and form an eye by laying the opened strands on top of the standing part of the rope. (See Fig. 1.)
  2. Take the middle end (A) and tuck it, from right to left, underneath the nearest strand of the standing part.
  3. Pick up the left end (B) and tuck it — again from right to left - under the next strand to the left of the one under which (A) is tucked.
  4. Turn the whole splice over, then take the third end (C) and lead it over to the right of the third strand, so that the third tuck can, again, be made from right to left, as in step 3.
  5. There should now be one end coming out from under each strand on the standing part. If two ends come from under the same strand, the splice is wrong.
  6. Pull each end tight enough to make a tidy and snug fit. This completes the first round of tucks.
  7. For the second round, take each end over one strand and under the next towards the left. Pull each end tight.
  8. Repeat for the third round. Never use less than three rounds of tucks if the eye is to bear any strain.
  9. If desired, for neatness, the splice can be tapered by adding additional rounds of tucks, first with halved strands and then by halving again before the final round.

Short Splice

For joining two ropes of the same size together.

  1. Unlay the two ends to be joined-at least one turn for each round of tucks to be made.
  2. Marry these ends together, so that the strands of one rope lay alternately between the strands of the other.
  3. Hold firmly while making tucks. Tucks are made toward the left by passing each end, in turn, over one strand and under the next, in the same manner as described for the eye splice.
  4. If the line is to bear any strain, make at least three rounds of tucks each way.

Long Splice

Seldom used, but very useful as a temporary measure; that is, until the rope can be replaced with a new one - for a line that is required to run through a block because the splice does not thicken it (See Fig. 2.)

  1. Unlay the ends of two ropes to at least four times the distance required for a short splice.
  2. Marry the ends together as though about to begin a short splice.
  3. Select two ends that cross one another from opposite sides, unlay one of them for some length, and lay into its place the opposite strand from the other rope until only a short piece is left. Cut off surplus from the end that is unlaid.
  4. Repeat with two more strands but work in the opposite direction.
  5. The third pair of strands (at 'a' in the illustration) are left in their original place, so that there are now three pairs of ends. Make an overhand knot with each pair so that the ends follow the lay of the rope and do not cross it.
  6. Pull very tight and then taper off by reducing the yarns in each strand.

Back Splice

Where a line is not required to run through a block - when whippings are preferable - a back splice may be used to prevent the strands unlaying.

After unlaying the strands for the estimated distance, form a crown by interlacing the strands at the rope's end. Then tuck the strands "over one and under one" backward toward the standing part of the rope. This splice is only good with natural fiber ropes. With manmade fibers the rope ends can be fused together by heating.

Eye Splice with Braided Rope

There are several ways to eye splice braided rope. (See Fig. 3.)

The illustration below shows how you can tuck an eye splice into double, four-part braid. The eye splice used is based upon the construction of the rope, which employs both "Z," or right-handed lay strands, and "S," or left-handed strands. After whipping or stopping at the point of splice, divide the various Z and S strands as shown and tuck in two pairs front and back of the work. Thereafter the paired strands are divided and tucked separately. Finish by seizing ends as illustrated on the previous page.

Another technique for eye splicing braided line is "sew & serve," illustrated below. It is important that stoppings, sewing, and finally serving are tight and neat, otherwise the eye splice resulting will be loose and weak. Pass the sail needle right through the rope each time and tug the stitch home tightly. Taper the unlaid rope yarns or it will be impossible to apply a serving to the decreasing diameter of the splice. Set up taut before attempting to serve. Use waxed whipping polyester twine.

Note that the serving mallet shown in the illustration is not absolutely necessary, but is a great help toward getting a tight serve.

Sew an Eye Splice in Braided Rope

The third, and most commonly used, method of eyesplicing braided line is with a special fid that permits you to insert the end of the line back into the core of the braid. It works much like the braided bamboo Chinese finger puzzle that children play with. It is important to have the rope manufacturer's instructions and the right size fid to make one of these splices. (See Fig. 4.)

Rope Whippings

Whippings are extensively used with natural fiber ropes to secure the ends from unravelling, but with modern manmade fibers the ends of smaller ropes are usually fused together. There will always, however, be occasions when it is useful to be able to whip the end of a rope or seize an eye or thimble in the middle (e.g., double sheets).

Common Whipping (See Fig. 5.)

  1. Cut off a suitable length of twine and lay one end (D in of the illustration) along the end of the rope.
  2. Then take half a dozen or more tight turns around the rope and the twine, working toward the end of rope and against the lay. Pull each turn tight as it is made.
  3. Now lay the other end of twine along the rope and over the turns already made.
  4. With part A of the twine, continue to pass turns round over part B.
  5. When the loop remaining at E becomes too small to pass over the rope's end, pull tight on C, which should pull the twine tightly under the whipping. Cut the ends off to finish.

An alternate method is to make the D in the illustration a loop with the twine end above the whipping. Then just wrap down with A until you have almost run out of twine, stick the A end through the loop, and pull it and the loop under the whipping with D end. In either case, these whippings will not stand up to much rough use.

Palm and Needle Whipping

This is more secure than the common whipping and is suitable for reef points, mooring lines, sheets, etc.

  1. Thread a suitable length of twine through a sailmaker's needle.
  2. Pass the needle under one strand and draw through most of the twine.
  3. Take about a dozen or more turns of twine round the rope, working against the lay and pulling each turn tight as it is made.
  4. Now stitch, by following round between each strand in turn with the needle and thus tightly frapping the turns in between each strand.

West Country Whipping

Useful when required to whip the bight of a line.

  1. Place the middle of the twine against the rope, bring the two ends round in opposite directions, and make an overhand knot.
  2. Now bring the ends round (again, in the opposite direction) to the opposite side and make another overhand knot.
  3. Continue overhand knotting the ends alternately on opposite sides of the rope.
  4. Finish with a reef knot when sufficient turns have been made.