Fancy being a bit tied up?
Processing your own rope can be rewarding but also time consuming or even a nightmare.
More rope for the money you invest.
Control over its outcome.
Sense of satisfaction.
Takes a lot of time to produce a usable outcome.
Need plenty of space to dry out.
If it goes wrong you have wasted a lot of time.
Can be physically draining to do large lengths at a time.
Rope, its all over the BDSM scene. You will likely know someone who knows someone who likes to tie or be tied up with rope in various different ways. The popular types of natural rope are Hemp and Jute. Natural fibres are preferred as they don't tend to slip, they hold against skin well, smell good, hold knots well and just as easy to untied. If prepared properly there is very little stretch to them and they can hold heavy weights such as people. - Depending on thickness and quality.
Many people like looking at rope ties and many people have tried to tie various different techniques for the desired outcome.
There are plenty of people selling nice, soft, treated ropes. Cost is a factor with this mostly due to the time and effort that goes into treating raw produced rough natural ropes into the type of rope that people like to tie with.
This is in no way a complete guide on how to make the perfect rope. It is my take on various observations and advice on how to craft my own rope from a roll of freshly produced raw Jute straight from a manufacturer.
I chose Jute over hemp as the advice I have been given is that its a nicer, easier to break in, (soften up) natural rope. It is not as strong as hemp kilogram for kilogram in weight strain, but does the same job so long as you use more for what ever application you intend to use it for if weight is a factor when lifting is the goal. Crafting your own rope has the major benefit on cost. A considerable difference compared to buying already processed rope from a popular BDSM supplier. But why is the cost considerably more for processed rope?
My simple guide here is for my 6 mm raw Jute rope. Different ropes have different processes and you should research and cross reference information from various sources to get an instruction sheet that you are happy to use.
As with most raw ropes, you start with boiling the rope in a large pan. Some natural fibres need 7 hours +, I found my Jute only needed an hour as Jute is not greatly fond of long periods in water. The boiling helps to make it a bit softer but it also gets out dirt and machine oil used to produce it in the first place.
I drained away a brown oily liquid from the rope after I had cooked it. The rope had gained a lot of weight, got thicker and bunched up really stiff.
Once the rope has been cooked you need to stretch it out. Now, I got a 100 meter roll. Hindsight would see me having got half of this for my first processing but the brain ruled at the time as it was far more cost effective to get 100 meter straight off rather than anything less. For my first time doing this I cut 30 meters from my roll in case I screwed things up and the rope fell apart. I would recommend anyone doing this for the first time to try about 20-30 meters first.
100 Meter roll, That's 328 feet. One tenth of a Kilometre.
As soon as the rope is out of the water, it needs to be stretched out to dry. I did not believe how much the rope would shrink in the water. I had to use the space between two lamp posts in a car park to wrap my rope around and pull tight.
The reason for using two lamp posts? The metal ones are smooth and rounded, making pulling the rope tight much easier. There is a good distance between them and they are sturdy, so are not going to bend. You will need some extra basic rope to help tie the other end to your anchor point as it probably wont reach.
I had to put a lot of weight and pull into getting the length back, it had a strong elastic feel to it and pulled back out a lot. I made it very tight so that it could be pinged. I found that after a few hours the rope had loosened slightly so untied it and pulled it back right once again. This did the job until it was fully dried. It took around 4-5 hours in the sun with a light breeze but its going to vary depending on environment and thickness of the rope.
Once you've have got all of your rope stretched and dried, you need to get a candle or a gas hob going. Putting the rope quickly through your fingers and over the flame burns off a lot of parts that are sticking out of your rope. Loose ends and scratchy bits of rope that you simply do not need.
Just by burning this excess from your rope means that it will be softer to the touch. Do not let your rope linger long in the flame or you may end up burning it badly and causing damage.
This takes a fair amount of time and patience for longer lengths of rope to be processed.
Perhaps the most tedious part of processing the rope was the breaking in routine. The advice that I was given and seen on multiple video links is that it adds up to 6 months of use onto the rope by making it softer to use. If that's true I do not know but its doesn't harm to give it a good going over and going the full experience to ensure maximum quality.
On 30 meters of rope, this took me about 45 mins. On the remaining 70 meters it took me nearly two hours. I have very good arms for repetitive motion and this technique will certainly test your endurance.
You need an anchor point with a smooth rounded edge such as a climbing clip or a ring such as the one I have for this occasion.
You pass one end of the rope through one end, then twist it back over itself three times. You then pull each end of the rope 10-15 times causing a friction movement against the rope. After you have done the movements, pull the rope through so that fresh rope is in contact with itself and do this again. There are plenty of videos on you tube to show you how this works.
At the ends of my ropes I put a tight knot. It's a personal preference. I also like to whip the ends to stop them from fraying.
Different colour whippings can help indicate the length of rope as well.
There are videos online showing how to whip the ends of rope, but make sure that you do it as tight as you can to ensure quality. It looks much neater as well rather than having frayed ends. If you need to take the knot out for any reason your rope will not unravel either.
Most people add a bit of light oiling. Research types of oils recommended by various rope makers or if you already have a recommendation or preferred smell for your rope then apply it. Your rope is now ready to go. I did not condition my Jute and it feels and smells very nice. I added a bit of my scented beard oil in certain parts just for that extra cedar wood rustic smell and it's divine.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor.