Rope, Strap AND Knots

Get a book on knots and learn the overhand, figure 8, and bowline. You can get by with just these.

Or get a book on rock climbing. They have a lot of great information on knots, rigging, physics, safety, keeping warm, but don't try climbing techniques without training by a rock climber. "Freedom of the Hills" by the Seattle Mountaineers is a great book.

Common sash cord is quite useful. It does stretch and doesn't look as professional.

Hemp is good for blocks and tackle, but harder to handle for rigging.

Nylon is softer, and stretches. It should be cut with a hot knife to keep it from fraying. You can melt the ends of smaller sizes with a match. Parachute cord is very useful. It has a 500-lb. test, but be careful, it can chafe or melt near heat.

Polypropylene does not stretch as much, floats, but is harder to tie knots in.

Nylon webbing looks the most "Professional"

There are more dangerous buckles than safe ones.

You can make up your own strap collection that will solve many of your rigging needs.

Webbing ratchet straps, often called cinch straps and load binders in the bigger sizes are one of the most useful items for rigging. They are very versatile and easy to adjust their length, once you get the feel of each type. Doors and lids can be slammed over them.

Motorcycle straps are very useful, but be careful with open hooks. They can come loose if the strain on the strap is relieved for a moment. These straps stretch a little and have very easy to use buckles. Tape over open hooks to keep them from releasing.

If you make your own buckle straps, make sure that your buckle holds the strap well. Many buckles are designed for only one thickness of strap. You might color code different lengths. Rivets are poor couplers.

I like the double overhand knot best for permanent ends on webbing and the double figure 8 if it might have to be ever untied. Once a strain has been applied to a double overhand it is very hard to untie. Learn how to tie these knots over a small bar.

Avoid rivets, glues, and squeezed on connectors. Many professional seamstresses can stitch webbing for you if they have a big enough machine.

© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.