After a climbing rope has passed its useful life for absorbing the shock loading of falls, it remains strong and still can be useful for other purposes. One such use for a climbing rope is to make a net that can be used for an obstacle course, part of a child's playground playset or even a rope fence or guardrail. With a little patience and a few basic knots, anyone can tie a climbing rope into a grid-style rope net.

Decide on the size of the net and the size of the spaces between the ropes. A larger net and smaller spaces require more rope. For example, a net that is 10-square feet with 1-foot gaps between ropes will require more than 200 feet of rope, whereas the same size net with 2-foot gaps requires about 100 feet of rope.

Determine the number of rows and columns of rope for the size net you have chosen. The number of column ropes is the width of the net divided by the width of the gaps. For example, a 10-foot wide net with 2-foot gaps would need five pieces of rope for the columns. Similarly, the height of the net divided by the height of the gaps determines the required pieces of rope for the rows.

Cut the appropriate number of column pieces (all the same length) and the appropriate number of row pieces. Use shears to cut the rope, and separate the row and column pieces to avoid confusion.

Fuse the ends of the rope pieces to prevent fraying over time. Use a torch or lighter to heat the end of each piece until the fibers in the tip melt together. Be careful to avoid burns!

Lay out all of the column ropes parallel to each other on the work surface, spaced correctly for the gaps chosen and with all the tips even.

Lay one of the row pieces of rope across the column pieces spaced evenly from the bottom. Form a clove hitch in the first column rope, and thread the row rope through the middle of the knot, around and through a second time to form a loop in the row rope. Repeat this procedure at every column rope to secure one row to all of the columns.

Repeat Step 6 for each piece of rope acting as a row. The knot must be tied at each intersection of the rope to ensure the gaps will not shift.

Finish the net at the perimeter. Once the rows and columns are tied together, the body of the net is completed and the perimeter can be tied. The tail ends of the row and column ropes may be tied as they are to a structure using clove hitches or two-half-hitches, or a perimeter rope can be tied around the edge of the entire net. To tie a perimeter rope, use the same clove hitch and loop technique described in Step 6 at each intersection along the perimeter.

#### References

- "Ashley Book of Knots"; Clifford Ashley; Doubleday 1944
- "Rock Climbing Anchors: A Comprehensive Guide"; Craig Luebben; Mountaineers Books 2006

#### Photo Credits

- girl playing image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com