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Rope making question

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Well, the holiday season is upon us and my Admiral and were talking about things.  She brought up the question/suggestion of my making my own rope.  I can sense what's going to happen....   So a question.  Is there a formula or table of what size threads to use to make rope of a given size? 


I figure I got to be prepared.

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Hi Mark, sorry to complicate the issue but also take a look at the article re threads for ropemaking in our articles area.


Unfortunately, in the research I have done so far (at least here in Australia), many of the thread manufactures do not comply with the general sizing standards.  For instance some number 0-100 as smallest to largest, and some vice versa, some use another system all together.  Depends on the manufacturer.  Also, some manufactures only make the full range of sizes in a limited number of colours - I have found blacks to be most affected with the good quality stuff limited in size range, forcing me to dye the white/ecru. 


The other part of the equation, depending on the ropewalk you use is whether you wish to maker Right-Hand-Lay (RHL) or Left Hand-Lay (LHL) scale rope.  I have found a lot of RHL thread, but very little LHL to use as the start point for RHL (with the design of ropewalk I use); otherwise (as like me) you may need to make up some LHL first, then re make this into RHL.  This too will govern the final output (especially consistency if not evenly tensioned each run etc).  However, it appears that with some other designs of ropewalk, this is not as problematic.


I have also found that anything with any polyester/man-made in it (poly-cotton blends etc) tends to stretch depending how much tension you put on it; this can also change the output size.  I have found that 100% cotton (especially Egyptian  or long strand) cottons have worked best, and that if they are mercerised (no fuzz) they make better rope with consistent size, little stretch and very little fuzz.  As Chuck has also pointed out, minimal tension on completion to 'set' the rope should be all that is required and that only for some thread.


Just some food for thought :)





Edited by BANYAN
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