Farm Blacksmithing

by J.M.Drew St. Paul Publishing Company 1918


Slicing a Rope

Every farmer and every farmer's boy ought to be able to splice a rope, make a rope halter, and tie all the useful knots known to the sailor. To splice a rope is a simple matter, but to teach the art on paper is quite another thing. However, I think that by carefully following the directions and studying the cuts anyone may learn this useful accomplishment.

Rope Halter

Figures 74, 75 and 76 illustrate the beginning of what is known as the short splice. To make it, first untwist the two ends to be spliced for about a foot more or less according to the size of the rope, and put them together as shown in Fig. 74. Begin splicing by placing the strand A around D, as shown in Fig. 75. Turn the rope toward you and put C around E in the same manner; then B around F. Next turn the rope around; or, in other words, place yourself on the other side of it and put the end D around strand A, as in Fig. 76. Then put F around B in the same manner; then E around C. Now pull all the ends tight and go through the same process again-always twisting the same strands together so that the spliced parts of the rope will consist of three strands, the same as any other part.

Rope Halter Figure 78

After proceeding for a few inches cut out a few threads from each strand every time it is put around its mate; in this way the splice will be made to gradually taper toward the ends. In splicing new rope it is often necessary to use some sort of tool to separate the strands. Sailors use what they call a marlin spike a sort of rude needle, but a short piece of hardwood sharpened at one end answers very well. It is pushed through between the strands and the end of the strand pushed through with it or just behind it. In the cuts the ends of the strands are made short for convenience; they should, of course, be much longer.

Hay Fork Knot


To make a rope halter take 14 feet of half-inch rope, and about 4 feet from one end form a loop by doubling the rope and passing the end under a strand in two places about 2 inches apart see A Fig. 77. Next splice the short end into the main part of the rope at B. Finish the halter by passing the long end through the loop and tying as in Fig. 78. The end of the rope should be wound with a piece of binding twine, and the ends of the twine, instead of being knotted, should be spliced into the rope so that they will never come out.

Weavers Knot Figure 80


The bowline knot is one which everyone should know how to tie. It never slips nor comes loose of itself, and no matter how much strain is put upon it, it never becomes jammed so that it cannot be easily untied. For fastening the hay-fork rope to the whiffletrees or tying a rope around a calf's neck this knot cannot be excelled. Fig. 79 shows how it is made.

Slip Knot Figure 81

In these days of dehorned cattle it is often necessary to improvise a halter with which to lead an animal. Such a halter may be very easily and quickly made by tying two bowline knots, one to form the loop and the other to take the place of the splice in the halter described above.

Tie Slip Know Figure 82

The weaver's knot, (shown in Fig. 80), bears a close relationship to the bowline knot, as a careful study of both knots will show. It is used by weavers in tying the ends of warp together. Like the bowline knot, it will never slip; neither will it jam so as to be hard to untie. It is a good knot to use in tying two straps together.

Slice Rope Figure 1

Fig. - shows a way of attaching a rope to any smooth or slippery object which is to be pulled endwise; for instance a pump, a pipe of any kind, or a round log. The cut shows so plainly how to attach the rope that a description is hardly needed. A slip knot is made and the rope is wrapped several times around the object. When the end is pulled upon, the rope hugs the object so tightly that slipping is impossible. The stronger the power applied, the tighter will the rope become. The timber hitch (Fig. 82) is a kind of slip knot used in handling timber, logs, etc. It is very easily made and will not jam.

Slice Rope Figure 2


The accompanying cut shows how to make what sailors call the "long splice" in a rope. The length of a long splice should be about 100 diameters of the rope for large rope and 80 diameters for small rope. Suppose we have a splice to make in a 3/4 inch hayfork rope. Unravel each rope for a distance of about three feet, and set them together in such a way that each of the unraveled strands shall be between two strands of the opposite rope. Now twist adjacent strands together in pairs as in Fig. 1.

Slice Rope Figure 3

This twisting is done to avoid confusion and tangling and is no part of the splicing proper. In the cut one rope is represented as black, and the other white to make the operation more plain, and the strands of the black rope are numbered 1, 2, and 3, and those of the white rope are lettered A, Band C. After twisting Band 2 and C and 3 together in pairs, proceed with the splicing by unlaying strand 1 a turn or two and laying strand A in its place; continue this process for a distance of about 2 feet and leave as in Fig. 2. These figures are shortened to save space and the strands are shown much shorter than they would be in the real rope. Next unlay C and lay 3 in its place the same distance as in the case of A and 1.

Slice Rope Figure 4

Each pair of strands is now to be subjected to the following treatment: For convenience we will take strands 3 and C. Unlay each of these strands and slip in halves as in Fig. 4; then lay one half of each strand back where the whole strand came from and tie as in Fig. 5. Be very careful to tie exactly as shown in the figure, that is, have C pass around 3 so that when pulled down tight they will form a smooth strand and not be lumpy as they are sure to be if put around each other the wrong way.

Slice Rope Figure 5

Continue to tuck C around 3 till just past the place where strand 3 was split (point D in the cut), then in the same manner tuck 3 around C till the point E is reached. Now cut off the ends of the half strands about a quarter of an inch from the rope. After treating the other two pairs of strands in the same manner, the splice will be complete. Two or three precautions are necessary to observe in order to make a smooth splice. Be sure that the strands are set together properly at the start so that each strand goes in between two strands from the opposite rope. In replacing one strand with another, be sure to give the same amount of twist as it had in the original rope. After tying the half strands and beginning to tuck one around the other, pull on both to draw up tight, otherwise a bunchy, loose place will be left.