Finishing cord/rope ends with electrical tape and butane torch?


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Wrap the hitch cord and rope with some electrical tape, then melt the end with the butane lighter (perhaps using a flat piece of metal - spoon - to interpose between the direct heat of the flame and the end of the cord/rope, like I observed in a video somewhere)?

Is that all there is to it? I have 20' of hitch cord that I'm cutting down into various lengths, and also want to 'improve' the factory termination on some climbing line I have - all of it new and basically unused.

Does anyone ever just wrap with tape alone and move on?


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On climbing or rigging rope ends that aren't eyespliced, I like to use a heavy duty glued heat shrink tubing that I get at Home Depot in the electrical aisle. I have a knife that I heat with a propane torch to cut and melt the rope at the same time then put the heat shrink tubing on and shrink it with a heat gun. On the smaller hitch cord, the hot knife won't work and I have used a smaller heat shrink tube that does not have glue but it doesn't work as well.


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It matters what the hitch cord is made of to determine how to finish the ends. Aramids like technora, vectran, and Kevlar don’t melt. Whipping, stitching, or krazy glue are some options. A soldering gun, with a flat tip, works good for poly or nylon, it gives a nice, controlled heat.


Active Member
I'm doing this to TrueBlue, Sterling RIT, and Vortex.

Would Krazy glue probably be the most universal? That sounds pretty quick and easy, to shrink some adhesive tubing on there and then do the ends.


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Does anyone ever just wrap with tape alone and move on?
Yes. Especially with half inch rigging lines that get (ab)used a lot, sometimes it's not worth doing anything better and more permanent.

Polyester and nylon are pretty easy to melt, you can use a regular lighter to fuse the end, but I'd tape it, cut it in the middle of the tape, and fuse the ends before removing the tape, it helps keep the end from mushrooming out. Having a rope cutter is pretty nice, though. You can also use a knife heated w/ a blowtorch (don't use your kitchen gas range, the gf didn't seem to happy about that). I use a zigzag a lot, so sometimes I pull & cut a few strands of the jacket and core, like the taper of a spice, before I terminate the end. Makes it easier to shove through the zigzag links, and as a bonus, it goes through crotches a little better when installing w/ a throw line.

I keep electrical tape and a torch-style cigar lighter in my bag of tricks that I drag around for field use. I have a coworker who has been doing tree work since I was born (and I'm not young anymore), and he told me he used to dip the very end in mix gas and light that to fuse the end!

As previously mentioned, aramids and other high-tech stuff may not melt, so you can tape, whip, glue, dip, or shrink the ends.

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I wrap in tape before cutting - cut in the middle of the tape. Melt both ends. Then I use old pieces of small diameter throwline to whip the ends (run the torch real gently over that to lock in in - not enough to start to burn through...just enough to start to melt it together), then slide heat-shrink wrap over that.

I'd tried hot knife cutters, but when I cut through the taped areas with a very sharp utility knife then melt the ends I like the results better.

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
In Brion Toss’s Chapman Knots book he calls this a Butane Backsplice. Hahaha

Adding tape makes it a 3M Backsplice...hey, I’m from Minnesota...gotta think local!

My fav way to secure any core/cover type rope is to wrap electrical tape about 2-3”...dont reef down or stretch the tape wraps tight

Cut in the middle with whatever sharp tool you prefer

Milk out about 4” of core material. Tape tight then hot cut the core. Remove tape and milk the cord back into the cover. The tape wrap is still on the cover ends of course

Hot cut the cover portion separately from the milked-in core

Now you have a rope in a rope. The two layers can milk and move withou bunching up at the ends.

If more cover mills out hot cut again. I’ve never had a core bunch up and bulge the end

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
@Bob Bob like silicone form a gasket or caulking?

I used Dip It on some tool handles 20 years ago and it’s held up well there are a couple of rope ends that got dipped too. It worked on work ropes but after I learned the core cut method I stopped


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In the older days (before wifely complaints about the smell) I used to heat up an old kitchen knife with a propane plumbing torch and use red hot metal to go thru the textile in question - still do this for some of the tree cabling I do.
However now I've settled on tightly wrapping rope in whatever colour electrical tape for couple inches then cutting the rope with cold knife in middle of the taped bit. I then wrap another small piece of electrical tape on the cut rope end leaving it proud of the actual cut end by about quarter inch. Stand the cut end up vertical (bench vise or some such) and fill the pocket on the rope end with Freesole so you get a little nub or button. Leave over night and remove tape. Other goop would probably do and some may soak into the rope more than others depending on room temp and product viscosity. If rope is really tight weave, you may have to goop up the end of the rope a bit more to get a hard end. This method gives you a durable rope end about the same diameter as the rope itself - easy to thread thru zig zag, etc. Downside it does take overnight but I've taken to doing this on all new ropes - some come with rubbery cover over the cut end that won't go thru a lot of my gear easily, esp. a variety of friction savers.
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Speaking of cutting ropes, anyone noticed how prevalent the idea of cutting into the bind in ingrained into our society? The double-over and cut the bight thing. Slight tension and a sharp tool.

I realized that slight tension, through bending the blade-side of the wood (create tension in fibers), makes hand-pruning much, much easier. Sometimes I have to cut my way into something and and then do my finish pruning with a handsaw, such as with a fruit tree.

Way less hand/ wrist strain. May only be applicable to the intermediate cuts, if splitting into the 'parent-wood' is an issue. Doesn't take a lot of tension, just a some. Nobody ever told me this, so I figured I'd share the idea, figuring nobody ever told a lot of people the same.
Gave up Dip.It on rope ends.
Generally single wrap or so tape tight, lay down on 2x4 and cut clean with razor, very pretty end.
Then tape over end, 1" down sides turning that into turns towards wrapped end then back down to leave 3" tape coverage.
Bright color tape contrasting rope, each end different color.
>>can then call for yellow end of blue etc.
I like full bright tape length to show for:
>>not too close to end
>>knot not creeping during use
For less inspectable range of use like remote or semipermanent Bowline in utility dragging or tag , misc. repurposed line will sieze down end with bright tape after DBY typically. Ding this for remote pulley support on limb etc. More confidentially and easier to check at distance


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Hockey tape is pretty good except throwline can bite into it. That cutting under tension is how to fell a tree with a felco we called it cutting their achilles tendon.