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Saturday, 13 July 2013

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 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.

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?

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

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!


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.

1 comment:

  1. So many options to choose from. What is your favorite??