Check out this tutorial video from the television show, “Edwardian Farm”. In this clip, you’ll see the conventional method to make a rope, an approach that has been used for over a hundred years. It is wonderful to see that this classic craft continues to be utilized to this day, in spite of the technological advancements we’ve been introduced to over the years
The video highlights how yarns (strings) are mixed into pairs with a rope jack. This allows the yarns to be twisted together in a reverse course, so that the ropes remain held together under pressure. The twists in the ropes allow stress placed on the fibers to be evenly dispersed. A smart rope maker understands the right amount of pressure to apply for a strong and straight result!
The rope in the video is made a natural fiber called sisal, which is an agave plant species found in warm and humid locales. Other materials to make rope and string include:
- animal hide, hair, or sinew;
- tree roots;
- Linden tree bark.
Even though they are not as durable as steel or synthetic ropes, natural fiber ropes still have many benefits – they don’t stretch under too much loading, and they make it easy to notice damages. With proper maintenance, a natural rope has the capacity to last much long than a synthetic one.
Sisal has high friction and is able to sit for a long duration of time when immersed in salt water, making it appropriate for grab lines, specifically lifeboat ships. Sisal doesn’t easily bend or twist, but it can easily break when too much pressure is placed on it. It also doesn’t snap back as much, making it much safer to use.