How to Secure Rope Without a Knot
Knotless rope securing systems may be constructed of plastic, wood or metal. Some are as simple as a mounted hook to wrap and snub rope around. Others are a complex combination of pulleys, ball bearings, release levers, bolts and eye loops. They may be decorative or functional, for use with natural or synthetic fiber ropes or wire rope. Designed to bear various loads and serve various purposes, knotless securing systems allow rope to bear loads near its breaking strength, while knots may lower rope strength by as much as 50 percent due to bending and wear.
Decide which knotless rope securing system best fits your application.
Rope grips, wraps and straps are used to secure coiled rope to saddles, storage or transport locations. These usually consist of belts with buckles or snaps, Velcro fasteners or rawhide loops that fasten around the rope coil and anchor it to a holder. Rope straps are used by firemen and cattle ranchers.
Rope Loks require users to loop rope around a load, feed rope through a securing device after pulling out slack, and squeeze a lever to hold the rope taught. Unlike a line grip or clutch, rope will move backward through the Lok until the lever is engaged. Rope Loks are used to tie down boats and pool covers, and to attach tent guy lines to stakes.
Tighteners and slack removers eliminate slack from long lengths of rope and maintain a specified tightness. These are used by homeowners to erect clotheslines and by ham radio enthusiasts attaching guy wires to stabilize antennas.
Line grips and clutches hold rope at the point it has been tightened to. These are found in car and truck load tie-downs and the "sheet stopper" used to secure halyards on a sailboat. When pulled, ropes pass through a clutch. When you quit pulling the clutch engages to stop the rope from moving. Pulling a lever releases the clutch and allows the rope to move freely again. Pigtail Fasteners allow rope to be secured and released quickly with one hand. At its most basic, a pigtail fastener consists of a metal shaft tipped by a spiral loop on one or both ends. Rope is passed through the eye of the spiral, wrapped around the shaft a couple of times, and then threaded through an opening in the spiral loop. These are used by homeowners hanging hammocks or bird feeders.
Hooks, two-horned cleats and pins provide mountings to wrap rope around and snub it securely. Rock climbing belaying pins are one example.
Winches provide handles to pull rope in and smooth drums to wind it around. These are often used for heavy objects such as ship anchors, since the force required to move the load is not concentrated on the winch handle.
Price and purchase equipment online or at your auto or boat dealer or home supply store.
Read and follow directions that come with the system you purchase, since each knotless rope securing system has unique load limits and compatible rope types.
- Rope diameters, types and strengths vary. Ensure the rope you are using works with the rope securing system you choose.
- Knotless rope securing system load capacities vary. Ensure the system you choose can bear the weight you intend to restrain with it.
Jill Marie Maier is a registered nurse, landscaper and writer. Her articles have appeared in “Alverno Today” and the literary magazine “Inside Out.” Ongoing passions for health, nature and the arts and sciences spurred her to earn English and biology degrees from Alverno College. Her best ideas surface while kayaking.