A whipping knot or whipping is a binding of marline twine or whipcord around the end of a rope to prevent its natural tendency to fray. The whipping can be made neat and permanent by tying it off or sewing the ends of the twine through the rope .
Whipping is suitable for synthetic and natural stranded and braided ropes, lines and cables, including 3-strand rope, 4-strand cable and 8-strand multiplait as well as concentric and braided constructions.
Multiple turns of twine (sometimes called small stuff for smaller lines) or heavier whipcord (for large diameter cables and ropes) are tightly wrapped around a rope's cut end to prevent its fibers from unlaying.
Usually one end of the whipping cord is looped along the rope to be whipped, and the remaining cord wound tightly over the loop. Finally the loose end of the wound whipping is passed through the loop so that both ends may be drawn securely inside the winding
Whippings may also be applied by hand or using a palm and needle, and either simply tied off or made neat and permanent by reeving the twine's cut ends into or behind the whipping, sewing them to adjacent strands, or through the rope itself.
A constrictor knot can be used temporarily to hold the fibres of a cut line until a final whipping can be applied.
Several turns of self-adhesive plastic tape may form a temporary or emergency substitute for whipping.
The ends of some man-made fibers such as Dacron, Nylon, polyethylene, polyester, and polypropylene may be melted to fuse their fibers to prevent fraying. However, the rope and knotting expert Geoffrey Budworth warns against this practice thus:-
Sealing rope ends this way is lazy and dangerous. A tugboat operator once sliced the palm of his hand open down to the sinews after the hardened (and obviously sharp) end of a rope that had been heat-sealed pulled through his grasp. There is no substitute for a properly made whipping.
Among the methods of fusing are using an electrically heated rope cutter, heating the blade of a knife, or melting cut ends in a flame. The cool (transparent) part of a butane lighter flame works best.
It is helpful to wrap the end of a line to be fused with several turns of plastic tape first. The finished end will be neater and narrower if a cut is made through the tape.
Back splicing uses a stranded rope's own fibres to prevent fraying. A back splice adds extra thickness to the rope end, preventing it from running through blocks and sheaves. It may be appropriate however when its helpful for a user to feel the end of the rope, as on a bucket lanyard.
Liquid whipping is a semi-permanent rubbery coating applied by dipping the cut end of a line into a container of the product. When the coating sets it is flexible but solid enough to keep the rope together. Liquid whipping can be used on both natural and synthetic fibers.
An aglet is a permanent ending applied mechanically to bind the end of the rope. A typical example is the plastic aglet at the end of a shoelace. Metal aglets may be crimped onto ropes or cables. Aglets may also be made by melting a softer metal to cap the end of the cable.
- YouTube video:How to Whip the Ends of Rope by TIAT
- Budworth, Geoffrey (1985). The Knot Book. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. p. 37. ISBN 0-8069-7944-5.
- "Sailmaker's Whipping", Animated Knots by Grog.
- "Sailor's (Simple) Whipping", Animated Knots by Grog.
- "West Country Whipping", Animated Knots by Grog.