How to Splice a 3 Strand Rope

by Will Charpentier
Starting a short splice isn't difficult.

Starting a short splice isn't difficult.

Sometimes tying the knot just isn't enough; you have to marry two pieces of three-strand rope together with a splice. The most common form of splice used to join ropes together is the short splice, made by unraveling the ends of two ropes, then weaving the ends together by tucking the strands of each over and under its counterpart on the opposite rope. When finished, the splice is stronger than a knot, though not as strong as a single, unspliced piece of rope.

1. Unravel the strands on one end of each of the two lines until you have unwrapped each strand five full turns around the rope. Wrap the ends of each the strands with a few turns of duct tape. Wrap a few turns of duct tape around the body of each line where you stopped unwrapping the ends.

2. Bring the untwisted ends of the lines together and arrange the strands so that the strands of one line alternate with the strands of the other line. Pick one of the strands from the line on the left -- the first line -- and tuck it under one of the strands of the other rope, behind the line formed by the duct tape. Roll both of the lines toward you and pick up the strand next to the one you just tucked. Tuck it under the strand, on the other line, that's next to the strand under which you tucked the first strand. Repeat this process with the third strand.

3. Pick up one of the unraveled strands from the second line and tuck it under one of the strands of the first line. Continue, as you did with the first line, until you've tucked all three of the strands from the second line beneath a strand from the first. Pull the ends of the strands tight to bring the ends of the two lines together.

4. Tuck the strands of the first line under the strands of the second line once more, tucking the strands of the first line under strands of the second line that do not already have a strand tucked beneath them. After its first tuck, pull each strand over over the next strand before tucking it under the next strand that has no strand beneath it. Return to the second line after you tuck all of the strands from the first line for the second time. Tuck the ends of the the three strands from the second line beneath the strands of the first line once more.

5. Make a third set of tucks for each line. Cut off the excess length of the strands. Roll splices in small lines between your hands or, for larger lines, lay the splice on the deck and roll it with your foot, to set the splice.

Items you will need

  • Duct tape

References

  • "The American Merchant Seaman's Manual"; W. Hayler; 1981

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

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