Home History Ropemaking

Showing Off

In Colonial times, it was not uncommon to make ropes thicker than six inches.[293] In parts of Asia, rice straw ropes several feet in diameter are made for temples and community tug-of-wars. It is impossible for me to show off by making a big rope. I don't have the need, the power, nor the inclination to make anything bigger than one inch diameter.

So I amuse myself making ropes as small as I can. This is one time it helps to be near-sighted.

Tiny ropes made from a single blade of grass, 
spider's web, and a few fibers of hemp.  With a
U. S. Dime for scale.

Figure 1: Showing Off - Tiny Ropes.


These are structurally sound ropes, but they are so small, I wouldn't want to use them for anything important. They won't set any records for their size, being comparable to many plied yarns from around the world. Even the purported Neanderthal rope from Abri du Maras was in this range.

Fine Fescue

Figure 1, top.
This is a three-ply strand twisted from a single blade of fine fescue.
Diameter: 0.025 inches

Spider Web

Figure 1, middle, wrapped around a twig.
This was made from the bridge line of an abandoned garden orb weaver spider web. The bridge line is the first line the spider builds, and consists of several strands of not sticky webbing. I started with only eight inches of web, so I just made two-ply line.
Diameter: 0.004 inches


Figure 1, bottom.
A three-ply cord, twisted from just a few fibers of hemp bast.
Diameter: 0.020 inches

Horse Hair

Not pictured.
Three-ply twisted from a single horse tail hair.
Diameter: 0.012 inches


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