FAQ about Rope By Dan of the Two Knotty Boys

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Q: What kind of rope do you use or recommend, and where do you get it?

A: This is by far the most popular question we receive. The short answer is we usually use nylon solid braid rope 7/16" (11mm) or 3/8" (9mm) for harnesses and wraps, with 1/8" (3mm) nylon for the finer, decorative stuff.

We get our rope from the local hardware store. Of course, we also delve into the hemp side when we're feeling shibari-y, and you can pick up good quality hemp rope in a variety of places: locally in San Francisco at Wicked Grounds, Stormy Leather, Mister S, or online at BossBondage, TwistedMonk, or FesselTrieb (an online store in Germany with an awesome selection of quality ropes from around the world, btw). Check out the links and advertisers here on Fetlife, too. ------>>>>>> Or, Google it.

A good rope kit for our type of bondage should include 2 pairs of short ropes (10'), a pair of medium ropes (30') and at least one longer length (50' - 60').

It all comes down to personal preference as well as the type of bondage you're doing.

For the long answer, read our full description below, which we've lifted from the opening pages our first book, Showing You the Ropes...

~Dan and JD


A few lines about rope People who come to our bondage workshops usually have as many questions about rope as they do about knots. ItÕs not surprising, since there's such a wide and confusing variety of cordage available. So--to borrow a phrase with its own sadistic origins--here are a few simple rules of thumb.

The right rope "What's the best rope to use?" The answer all boils down to a matter of personal taste (especially if you're using it to make bits or rope gags). Since there are too many specific types to discuss here, let's stick with the three types of rope most commonly preferred for bondage: nylon, cotton and hemp (or jute). Each has its own qualities that appeal to very different styles of BDSM.

Nylon Nylon makes awesome general-purpose bondage rope. We recommend solid braid cording. It has a beautifully smooth appearance and feel. We also like it because it holds its shape under any twisting force--unlike twisted braid which deforms slightly when braided or tied into complex woven knots.

Buying solid braid also eliminates the chore of having to pull the core out of your rope before using it. Ropes with cores are bulkier and harder to tie into secure knots. So most bondage players remove the core, turning a 3/8" diameter line into one hollow 1/4" tube (plus one free cat toy). Whether solid, twisted or cored, nylon offers these nice characteristics:

     Soft, silky-smooth texture is most comfortable (though it's the easiest to cause rope burns).
     Ideal for sensual scenes and people new to rope bondage.
     Extremely strong and durable.
     Knots remain easy to untie, even after strain.
     Reasonably priced and easily available at hardware stores or online.
     Flame-meltable fiber makes ends easy to secure to prevent unraveling.
     Ready for use and easy to care for and machine washable.

Cotton Okay, so maybe there weren't as many rope choices out there in the 50s. If there had been, I think Bettie Page might not have made quarter-inch cotton clothesline the popular thing that it is today. Then again, it is hella cheap and available at many all night grocery stores. "Hmm...cigarettes (beep), condoms (beep), and fifty feet of rope (beep). Big evening planned, eh?" Though it looks somewhat amateur, cotton does have its own unique appeal.

     Rough and stiff right out of the package, for more intense scenes.
     Softens up in the wash for more sensual play.
     Holds knots super tight, especially when wet.
     Gives that vintage look to any scene, Fella.
     Bites into the skin, due to narrow gauge and non-slip texture.
     Frays and breaks very easily.
     So cheap and easily available it's disposable.
     You can cut it to pieces, without remorse.
     Holds dye perfectly, the easiest to color.

Hemp (Jute) Jute is the traditional rope used in Japanese bondage, though hemp is a very good and more easily-available substitute. This brown, twisted-braid, natural-fiber rope is available "raw" or "finished." With a finished feel and aroma similar to burlap or a virgin wool sweater, it's the perfect rope for Japanese-style suspension or restraining your prisoners in the hojo jutsu style.

Naturally stiff, splintery and very rough, the raw rope requires extensive preparation before it is suitable for erotic bondage. This process involves whipping (winding the ends with thread), boiling, hang-drying away from sunlight, "sanding" repeatedly with a canvas cloth, burning off loose fibers, lightly oiling and many other steps. (The complete process can be found in Fetish Diva Midori's book The Sensual Art of Japanese Rope Bondage.) The required craftsmanship is well worth the effort. You get rope with these qualities:

     Authentic Japanese effect, with organic color, feel and scent.
     Highly abrasive texture discourages people from struggling.
     Knots stay very tight, especially under strain.
     Ideal for intense bondage scenes demanding motionless submission.
     Traditionally cut into 25' sections.
     Susceptible to breaking; easily frayed by abrasion and wear; easily cut.
     Difficult to find (especially pure jute) and most expensive.
     Requires considerable preparation, maintenance and careful storage.
     Not suitable for frequent washing.

Size matters The larger a rope's diameter, the less pressure it puts on the flesh. For most limb-bondage applications, 3/8"Ð7/16" diameter is just right. If you use smaller rope, such as 1/4" jute for Japanese bondage or cotton clothesline, it's best to wrap or repeatedly "band" the ropes around the body/limb to spread the pressure across a larger area. You'll also need to more closely monitor your partner to avoid injury to veins or nerves.

Quarter-inch rope is also excellent for some decorative knot work, such as arm gauntlets or bondage of the hair and face. Rope (or twine) less than 1/4" is best reserved for intricate work such as finger, toe or nipple bondage. Rope that's 1/2" or greater is suitable for suspension and heavy muscular bondage. However, its size makes knots so bulky that they loosen easily, appear sloppy and feel uncomfortable.

How long have you got? The length of rope you will need varies greatly with the design you tie, the diameter of your rope, and the size of your model. As an example, a good rope corset of about seven doubled winds around the torso requires about 40' of 3/8" rope. To cover the same area with a finer, more delicate rope (3/16") requires about 100' (not recommended, unless you are patient enough to repeatedly untangle it).

A variety of lengths is useful. Shorter lengths of 6'-10' are good for single-limb restraint. 30'-40' is a great standard for most decorative, harness and double-limb wrapping. 25' sections are de rigeur for Japanese-style bondage. Body harnesses are rope hogs, so allow 50'-60'. Plan a little longer than you think you need. You can always cut or braid the excess. You never curse the two inches you have, only the two inches you don't have!

At the end of your rope All rope ends can be finished using a simple knot, or wrapped with cloth/electrical tape, or sealed with latex "tool dip," or just left to fray into tassels. A popular finishing is whipping--especially for natural fiber ropes like hemp and jute. Whipping requires a careful technique (easily found in books or online) to wind thread around the ends. The drawback of whipping or tool dip is that repeatedly pulling the ends through knots can unravel the whipping or wear-off the seal.

The ends of nylon or other synthetic rope can be melted with a flame. For melting, we recommend pinching the hot ends down so the sharp, hard "mushroom scab" doesn't scratch skin or fray the rope each time it's pulled through a knot. You can make such "bullet ends" easier if you first lightly melt a small area across the spot you're going to cut. Then melt the cut ends and shape the hot tips using thick-gloves or other padding.

Another neat tip-finisher is clear or colored nail polish. Paint an inch across where you want to cut, saturating the rope. Let it dry overnight. Then cut in the middle of the painted section and apply a finishing coat to the ends. Alternatively, you can cut an inch or so away from the painted section and fray the end for a soft tassel that won't unravel past the nail polish.

Care and feeding Don't be gross. Wash your rope if visibly (or aromatically) soiled--especially after hot sweaty scenes or if your play involved bodily fluids or lube (we could only hope). The best way to wash most rope is to chain-braid it (by doubling it up and tying it into repeated slip knots and containing it in a lingerie washing bag or a closed pillow case. Wash it on delicate cycle. Do not use liquid detergents, liquid bleach or fabric softeners, which will leave an oily feel to your rope. (Same goes for dryer sheets.) For best results, hang it up to air dry, after first unbraiding it so it doesn't develop an unsightly "memory."

Hemp rope should only be washed infrequently, as water weakens it. Keep it away from sunlight. You may also want to rub it using a mink-oiled piece of canvas once a year to maintain its suppleness.

If you like to add color to your rope, you can easily dye many types of rope using liquid Rit dye in a large (2-3 gallon) pot on your stove. (Follow the directions on the package). Cotton dyes easily. Even most solid braid nylon holds dye if its weave is loose enough, but consider it an experiment. Hemp dyes well too, but that's almost sacrilege. If you must have colored rope and don't want the fuss, www.rainbowrope.com is the best place to go.

In the end Like your style of bondage, the rope you use is a personal choice. Plus, it's fun to experiment.

Source Two Knotty Boys
Link http://fetlife.com/users/12892/posts/251139
Type Essay
Description By Dan of the Two Knotty Boys

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