Types of Rope

 

Common Rope Types

Not sure what
material or size rope to use for bondage?

The truth is:
there is no right answer! It depends on what you want the rope to
do and your personal style.

The most rope
materials for bondage are hemp, jute, nylon, and cotton. Hemp and
jute are usually associated with traditional Japanese Shibari,
while nylon and cotton are usually associated with Western bondage
(cowboys loved nylon *jokes* –they actually used hemp.). There
are many more possibilities out there though, so try different
ropes and go with what feels right!

There are two
classes of fibres: Natural and Synthetic.  Natural are plant fibre
that are woven into a cord and synthetic fibres are manmade.  Each
have their own advantages.


Natural
fibers (aka stuff you can dye easily)

Jute and
linen

Flexible,
rough texture, high friction, low stretch, moderate durability,
good strength. Jute is the most popular amongst rope aficionados
as the rope snags and catches on itself so it allows for ties
simply not possible with slippery ropes. Great quality, can be
dyed easily, but pretty expensive.  These are easiest to tie with
–but I hate the way jute rope feels. It’s all rough and itchy.
Linen is considerably softer.

Hemp
Hemp is the
strongest of any natural and most synthetic rope. The fibers are
damn strong and it’s like steel.  Easy to tie with,  great grip
and smells nice too– very distinct. Hemp is gets stronger when
wet (unlike most rope) but it’s even rougher than Jute. And it’s
heavy.   Hemp rope used to be used on all British Navy boats and
is just about as durable as you can get. But it is pricey!  Note: I’ve read places that hemp is not supposed to be as strong when wet and is outdone by many synthetic ropes but this is crap. Hemp is enormously strong — especially when wet.


Cotton
Flexible,
soft, smooth, moderate friction, moderate stretch, low durability,
low to moderate strength. This is one of the cheapest ropes out
there! Which is great for the wallet — and horrible for
suspension! If you want to do suspension with rope, get specially
rated rope that can take over 400lbs.

Silk,
bamboo

Flexible, soft
and smooth, moderate friction, low stretch, moderate durability,
good strength. These feel the best and I think silk is my overall
favorite as it’s strong, has good grip, reasonable friction and
feels great too.  Bamboo is pretty and feels good too…but both
are very pricey!

Manila,
sisal, coir

Stiff, harsh
texture, moderate friction, low stretch, moderate durability,
moderate strength.

I hate these!
They feel like crap and stick you and your victim with shards and
splinters making life suck.  Slivers in your fingertips while
tying is terrible. You’ll have to ask your slave how she feels
about genital ties with this.   Oh, and they are stretchy in a bad
way.

 

Synthetic
fibers

Nylon,
paracord, MFP (multi-filament polypropylene)

Flexible, soft
texture, low friction, moderate stretch, high durability, very
high strength. These are pretty, available in the widest array of
colours, patterns and thickness.  They are cheap and easy to
clean.  MFP is kinda stuff for my taste. They lack the grip and
friction of natural stuff but they are smooth and sweet to use.
Paracord is thin and I like it for certain tying styles.

Synthetic
hemp (Promanila, Unmanila, Polyhemp, Hempex)

Flexible,
rough texture, moderate friction, low stretch, high durability,
very high strength.  Best grip of synthetic fibers but doesn’t
feel as nice (plastic like).   They are less expensive but it’s
hard to find pretty stuff.

Polyester,
POSH

Moderately
flexible, moderate texture, moderate friction, low stretch, high
durability, good strength.  This is like the non-stretchy version
of nylon.

Generic
polypropylene

Stiff, hard
plastic texture, low friction, low stretch, high durability, very
high strength.  This is that common yellow hardware store rope.
It feels like crap and slips on itself like crazy. Best used for
moving and tying stuff to the roof of your car.

Other
Considerations

Number of
braids

Basically, you
have rope in 3 or 4 strands twisted or braided together — or one
solid piece if it’s a synthetic rope. Braided rope has an uneven
surface that helps with friction.

What? Not what you imagined?

Ends
Whipped,
knotted, fused, glued, taped.  Basically, this is what stops the
rope from unraveling.
Whipping or tying your ends looks nice but
is a pain to do (but tape works almost a well). Knotting works but
gets in the way of tying. Synthetic rope can be melted and fused
together. Or you can drip the ends in tool dip or contact cement!

How sailors like to whip

 





















Diameter
Thin (under
5mm), average (5mm-8mm), thick (over 8mm). Most bondage rope is
6mm (1/4″) in thickness, since it offers a good balance between
ease of use and comfort for the bottom. I may be biased though but I think 1/4″ is ideal. I don’t mind tying with
thinner ropes as they  hold knots more tightly, sometimes too much so, but they really dig into a bottom when pulled tight. Extremely thin rope can be used for “microbondage,” tying digits, nipples, genitals, faces although it’s hard to tell the difference between rope and string sometimes.  Thick ropes can ‘fill’ a lot of space in a rope dress and for encasing the sub and will be much more comfortable for her…but let’s be honest, how comfortable do you really want to make her?  Also, think ropes make huge, ugly-assed knots!

Length

Pieces (2-5′), Short
(10-15′), average (25-35′), long (45-50′) Many riggers prefer to
keep most of their ropes around the same length. Let’s face it, cutting and whipping a new rope for every tie is a pain in the butt.  30′ Ropes are a great length for most ties so start off with a bunch of these.   Longer ropes can be annoying as you are constantly feeding it in and out.   Very short pieces are handy for very specific purposes and short tie offs…so I like to keep a few of these handy too (but traditional Shibari riggers have told me that was ‘wrong’  and I told them that I don’t follow rules.

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