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Rope Walk - tracked top or looper, advice wanted

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Hi everyone, I'm prior to (at last) getting my Underhill Leon underway, building

a rope walk. I've been collecting the bits - track, gears, and old linen thread for

some time. And was going to copy the ideas incorporated in Nepean Longridge's

rope walk in The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships.


I then read Phil Krol's article on building his rope walk which is very similar to Longridge's

other than the top or topper is tracked and the looper is slowed by a trailing weight, whereas

in the Longridge version the top is supported by an overhead wire, and the looper is tracked.


Both produce excellent rope, is there any particular merit in either method. I favour Longridge,

or am I missing something? Your observations and any other advice on building a rope walk

would be greatly appreciated.


Regards, Nick



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I ran the line from my tailstock out and to a weight, in the final version.  My top is suspended from two lines running the length of the ropewalk.

Pics and some text are here:




There are links also to model ropewalks and real ropewalks.  It is fascinating to watch the rope 'make up' full size.

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A very good question that I am coming up to so I am very interested in the input.  I have decided to go for it and build one myself like you have said.  So many options.


I did pick up a Model Expo rope walk when it was on sale.  Good for learning the ropes (pun intended) and to understand the forces at play, but limited length.  The rope produced was still excellent quality to their credit.  



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Hi, thank you for the replies. Joel, many thanks for the details of your rope walk.

I've not really had time to look in detail, other than the method of making the

whirls is very neat - I may put together something similar.


I'm not too clear about the looper. I can understand the rubber band to act as

resistance, but you mention this item sliding as the rope is formed. I presume

you disconnect the looper mount, but then the looper looses the tension caused

by the rubber band. What am I missing here?


Whoops hadn't read it properly! Given me a lot of food for though, and I am aiming

to copy very nearly your ideas, particularly the support of the top.


As a sort of post, similar to the one on 'where do you do yours', a few photos of members rope walks

would be of considerable interest - maybe?


Cheers, Nick.

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Glad it made sense to you, Nick.  At present my ropewalk is clamped to a board about four feet long.  If I go to a longer walk, all I have to do is reset the two strings supporting the top to the new length.  I have used this setup to worm anchor cables also; that can approach the proverbial mare's nest if things get out of hand.  :-)

I think it could be used for serving, but haven't tried that yet.  If the swivel at the tailstock end is sufficiently free I don't know why it wouldn't work.

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