Rope Splicing Techniques

by Contributor
Use the middle strand to start a splice with 3-strand rope.

Use the middle strand to start a splice with 3-strand rope.

Splices are neat and strong ways to join rope without knots. There are a variety of typical splices to form loops, finish ends, join two strands end-to-end or in a "y" and others. Splices with three-strand rope have been performed for centuries. Different techniques are used for double braid ropes with a core and pleated ropes.

Splicing Different Types of Rope

Splices with double-braided line are nearly seamless.

Splicing techniques are different for different types of rope. The most common type of rope is 3-strand braid. While there are many different types of splices for 3-strand rope, they all involve the same principle of weaving the strands of one piece of rope through the braids on another piece of rope. Practice a basic splice like the eye splice shown in the photo, and you will quickly learn how to do almost any splice. Use a fairly stiff 3-strand rope to practice--you'll get a better feel for how the strands should "lie" naturally.

Splicing double-braid cored line is more difficult to learn, but the splices are smoother than for 3-strand rope. Double-braid splices require the use of a "fid"--a spike that allows the core to be fed back into the outer braid for a variety of different types of splices. Double-braid splices are conceptually difficult, but following step-by-step instructions carefully will give you results.

Plaited ropes cannot technically be spliced, but they can be joined by using the "chinese finger puzzle" technique--the harder you pull, the tighter it holds.

Types of Splices

Finish the ends by trimming or tucking when the splice is complete.

Other common splices: 1. End splice--this finishes the end of a rope and keeps it neat and unraveled. 2. End-to-end splice--this joins two ropes together without a knot. 3. "Y" splice--the same as an eye splice, but uses two different pieces of rope. 4. Cut splice--this puts an "eye" in the middle of a piece of rope.

Splices can be tapered so they gradually reduce to the original diameter of the rope. This is done by "thinning" each strand after every tuck.


Splicing is an art--you have to practice to make the rope strands lie naturally. To finish a splice, roll it between your hands to let the fibers align. Cross stitch with twine to secure the braid or leave the ends sticking out. Nylon or plastic ropes should have the ends melted to prevent fraying.

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