Sailmaker's whipping

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Sailmaker's whipping
Category Whipping
Related West Country whipping
Typical use Whipping
ABoK #3446
Sailmaker's whipping

The sailmaker's whipping is one of the most durable and stable of rope whippings known. It is second only to the nearly indefatigable palm and needle whipping.


The twine is first threaded diagonally through the rope. The twine is then wrapped round the rope including the diagonally threaded end. A needle is then used to thread the two ends through the rope to enclose the wrapping turns. Finally a reef (square) or a string of reef (square) knots is tied. Then this string of reef (square) knots is pulled through the rope to bury the ends.


West Country whipping

The West Country whipping is a quick practical method of using twine to secure the end of a rope to prevent it fraying. Half hitches are tied alternately behind and in front of the rope until the width of the band of twine approaches the diameter of the rope. It has several advantages: it can be tied without a needle; it is simple to understand and remember; if the whipping fails, the loose ends can usually be re-tied to temporarily prevent the rope's end from fraying.

Fusing The end of many synthetic ropes can be melted using heat, e.g., a flame. While this is simple and quick, it tends to fail in ropes subject to heavy use. Also, the rope and knotting expert Geoffrey Budworth warns against this practice thus:[1]

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.

So, ideally, a rope's end should only be whipped.


  1. ^ Budworth, Geoffrey (1985). The Knot Book. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. p. 37. ISBN 0-8069-7944-5. 

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