The eye splice is a method of creating a permanent loop in the end of multi stranded rope by means of rope splicing. The ends of the rope are tucked (plaited) back into the standing end to form the loop. Three tucks are the minimum for natural fibers, five tucks are necessary for synthetics. Variations of eye splices include:
- Round eyesplice used with round thimbles.
- Lever's eyesplice (aka. Pro eyesplice) used with teardrop thimbles.
- Liverpool eyesplice commonly used on wire rope.
The ends of the rope are first wrapped in tape or heated with a flame to prevent each end from fraying completely. The rope is unlayed for a distance equal to three times the diameter for each "tuck", e.g., for five tucks in half inch rope, undo about 7.5 inches. Wrap the rope at that point to prevent it unwinding further. Form the loop and plait the three ends back against the twist of the rope. Practice is required to keep each end to retain its twist and lie neatly. In stiff old rope or in new rope which has been tightly wound, a marlinspike or fid can facilitate opening up the strands and threading each end.
In some cases, the splice is tapered by trimming the working strands after each tuck. Also, the splice can be whipped to protect and strengthen the splice. A rope thimble can be inserted in the eye to prevent chafing if the eye is to be permanently attached to a fixture (used when attaching a rope to a chain for example).
The eye splice has several advantages. The most notable is the permanence of the loop. An equally important, but less noted[by whom?] advantage, is the lack of stress it puts on the rope. Splices average 10-15% of rope strength decay which is very low compared to even the strongest knots. Literature and reference sources typically attribute only a 5% strength decay for a properly tied splice. Technically, a perfectly tied splice retains 100% of the original strength of the rope, but only a trained professional is considered capable of performing this task. Destructive testing of rope in manufacturing facilities makes use of a professional and spliced eyes for connecting the rope to the testing apparatus.
The bowline is a quick practical method of forming a loop in the end of a piece of rope. However, the bowline has an awkward tendency to shake undone when not loaded. The bowline also reduces the strength of the rope at the knot to ~45% of the original unknotted strength.
- "Eye Splice", Animated Knots by Grog. Accessed: April 2013.
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