Whipping knot

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A whipping knot or whipping is a binding of twine around the end of a rope to prevent the fibres of the rope from unravelling.

When a rope is cut, there is a natural tendency for the cut end to fray. A whipping is one way to try to prevent this, by applying multiple turns of twine (sometimes called small stuff) tightly around the rope very near the cut end. The whipping can be made neat and permanent by tying it off or sewing the ends of the twine through the rope.

When doing this to thick sailing-ship-type rope, the "small stuff" used was sometimes whipcord, hence the word usage.

Whipping is suitable for synthetic and natural ropes and lines. It is suitable for both stranded and braided ropes, lines and cables (3-strand rope, 4-strand cable and 8-strand multiplait as well as concentric and braided constructions).

Whipping takes time and some skill to apply, and may need specialist equipment (palm, needle etc). It provides a neat, soft, aesthetic, and permanent ending to the rope.


Types of whipping knots

Alternatives to whipping

Constrictor knot

A constrictor knot or a turn of self-adhesive plastic tape can be used temporarily to hold the fibres of a cut line until a final whipping can be applied.


The ends of some man-made fibers such as Dacron, Nylon, polyethylene, polyester, or polypropylene may be melted to fuse the fibers together and prevent their ends from fraying. This may be done by cutting through the rope with an electrically heated rope cutter, or cutting with a knife and melting the ends in a flame. The cool (transparent) part of a butane lighter flame is best for this.

Achieving a clean, serviceable end requires some simple preparation: Tightly wrap an unfrayed portion of the rope with electrical tape. Cut through the tape, leaving a tightly bound end. Apply plenty of heat, thoroughly melting the fibers together. If done properly, when the tape is removed, the fused end will be about 1/8" to 1/4" thick, and slightly narrower than the unladen diameter of the rope. Done incorrectly, the fusing may not be "deep" enough, and will easily crack. ("Hot knife" fusings are notorious for this) It may "mushroom", leaving an end wider than the rope's diameter. If done without the tape, loose fibers will burn away before the rest fuse together, leaving a badly frayed end.

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