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Knotted Vs Whipped Ends; The Update

Okay, so this post follows up on a previous post, regarding knotted versus whipped rope ends.

In that post, I detailed why at that time, I was a big fan of whipping rope ends, because it made life easier during the actual tying process, what with the flat profile and the way whipped rope ends didn’t catch as I tied someone and slid rope ends beneath other bands of rope, etc.

Turns out there’s a huge fucking catch with whipped rope ends.

Last night, I was having a great time, where I was tying up a very, very bad nun. It was a consensual non-consent scene; a reasonably rough one where she protested that she wanted to keep her virtue, and I was playing as the vicious monster that was going to take it from her anyway…

…or worse, make her beg me to do it.

Anyway, in keeping with the theme of the scene, I tied her roughly, forcefully, really putting in the yanks and the pulls as I tied. It was savage and sadistic and forceful. I gave a forceful yank for emphasis as I finished a wrap around her forearms…

… and the whipping slid right off the end of the rope, leaving the end loose and free to unravel.

I didn’t give too many fucks just then – I was busy having a great time, after all – but today I’m cleaning up the aftermath of last night and I’m looking at the end of that rope, and I’m not fucking happy.

That shit is NOT on.

This isn’t the first time recently where this has happened. A couple of weeks ago I was at a play party and was tying with a completely different rope, a five millimeter natural jute, and the same thing happened.

Again, I was tying someone roughly; she’s a struggler, and really enjoys being put in her place, and you had better fucking believe I was happy to do that. She enjoyed it, but again, the rope suffered, and I lost an end.

It’s been happening more and more often, with rough rope play, and also one time when I was practicing suspension at a rope skill share.

Look, I’ve had enough, all right?


Yes, the problem with overhand knots is still a thing.

Huge profile on those fuckers; and they come undone sometimes.

I really dislike having big knots on my rope, because of the way it interrupts play when the knot gets snagged.  But I also really dislike losing my rope end during a scene. I won’t let it impact the scene, but it disrupts my sense of order. Not everything is working the way it’s supposed to; and that is knot allowed.

(I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I couldn’t resist the pun.)

So I’ve been researching. I’ve been doing it for some time actually, very shortly after I finished the knotted versus whipped rope post, and I’ve been experimenting with different, smaller knots for the ends of my rope.

There’s this whole class of knots that I didn’t know about earlier, which involves unraveling the strands of your rope and twisting them into smaller, more tightly compact knots, manipulating each individual strand at a time to create the finished knot. Examples of this include the Thistle Knot and the Matthew Walker knot.

So what I’m doing at the moment is working with a modified Matthew Walker knot; (modified because I can’t quite figure out how to make it square yet, but who gives a fuck) it’s presented me with a more compact knot, essentially by using the three strands of the rope, tying an over hand knot  in each strand, and then yanking the ends to finish it. Mine aren’t nearly as small and square as someone whose been practicing these knots for awhile, but they’re presenting me with a useful compromise between whipped ends and the bulkier overhand knot which uses the whole rope as a single strand.

Matthew Walker; Like and unlike an overhand knot.

Pros of the Matthew Walker:

  • Small, compact knot; doesn’t snag as much as an overhand knot.
  • Doesn’t seem to come undone (so far) despite the amount of pressure put on it, including some very rough play.
  • I have “stopper knots” again, which means when I’m joining rope, I don’t have to use a sheet bend unless I’m being really cautious. Saves a few seconds
  • Faster than the Thistle knot and other knots of this type

Cons of the Matthew Walker:

  • still takes awhile to put each knot into the ends of the rope; whipping and overhand knots are far faster
  • Bloody tricky to learn; takes a lot of practice when you’re learning from youtube tutorials.

I suspect the more I tie these things, the cleaner and more “square” they will look; in the mean time, they do the job, look neat on the ends of the rope, and despite being longer to tie than overhand knots, still present a much lower profile.

It’s a bit more work in one evening; But it’s to save myself a lot of repeated hassles in future scenes, and who needs extra hassles when you’re got a troublesome minx or a bad nun to subdue?






11 thoughts on “Knotted Vs Whipped Ends; The Update

  1. I’ve avoided knotted ends for much the same reasons you state: bulky, get caught easily

    I notice from your pics and tutorial that you were using common whipping. I’ve been using the same on my 5mm jute for some time, and have also had a few ends slide off if I’ve not made sure they’re firmly in place. I usually make my ends about 3/4″ long, which gives quite a significant “tab” to push/pull through tight spaces, and having so much whipping also helps keep it all up together.

    However, my partner has begun preparing their own jute, and is using Sailmaker’s whipping ( It’s really good for locking the whipping in place, because you use a needle to pass the twine through the rope itself. It’s a little time consuming, but probably no more so than backsplicing an MW, thistle, wall or crown knot.

    1. That makes sense; I’ve seen the slave of a friend doing similar with the sailmakers. It did look intricate. I’m really hoping that the Walkers will give me an acceptably low profile (without snagging often) while at the same time giving me the benefit of the stopper knot. I figure three or four months of tying will probably give me a suitable test period. A further plus side is that the knots make for a nifty impact if you enjoy using your rope in such a way…

      1. I’ve started making a rope kit and I used sail makers whipping on mine. It’s not hard but it does take a bit of time, I’ve been kinda rough on some of them on purpose to test the whipping (I’ve had similar problems with whipping in the past) and it doesn’t budge at all. I’m using twisted nylon rope with little bite to it and craft thread from the craft store for whipping, it’s thicker and good for the job. I wouldn’t whip it the way you see in the diagrams online, you’re much better off with a needle and passing it through the rope under the whipping. If you have access to the Ashley book of knots it’s knot #3446 and #3447 depending on how long you want the whipping. I use the short one that is stronger for my ends and the longer one to mark the center of my ropes.

  2. I’m pretty new to using ropes like this, but I do a bit of rock climbing. Instead of adding extra knots to the end of a rope or whipping it, why don’t you just cut the ends with a hot-knife? It’ll seal the ends, they’ll never come undone and its moderately aesthetic. I might be missing something though…

    1. Hi Dani,
      I haven’t used a hot knife, but I get the sense it works on nylon and synthetic ropes because of the melting aspect, whereas on natural fiber it would burn instead, and wouldn’t seal the ends; more likely it would make them fly apart. It’s definitely a good option for synthetic ropes though.

  3. Hi Dani. I have natural and synthetic ropes. Synthetic ends can be easily heat sealed but I recommend care is taken to soften any sharp edges to avoid cuts.

  4. I have taken to finishing the ends of my jute with a thistle knot and then I place a single drop of super glue in the middle of the finished knot. Voila! Those suckers aren’t ever coming undone, regardless of how hard I’m playing.

    1. And this, my friends, is what we call being REALLY strict with your knots. This guy tolerates no disobedience! Love it!

  5. This is what you wanna do: 🙂

  6. Really like this post and the site. As everyone else has mentioned a sail makers whipping, or palm and needle whipping is great. Used them sailing and on utility Manila rope at around 3/4″ and it is still on. I also used something called tiger thread, or Ritza, from when I do leather work, it is a type of thread that is braided with a core, and waxed. stuff works great and can rally tighten down. the slight waxing actually lubricates it, but makes it stick to itself, and the rope. Another that I make my self in small bolts, again for leather work but use it as whipping twine, is natural jute fine twine. I used to make my own thread a lot and dye, wax, then bind multiple thread into a miniature rope for leather work. again the thread works great for every type of whipping and never had one come off. I also put multiple whippings on, they go through blocks (pulls) just fine with no snags, and tend to really make it stay. I make my whippings tight enough they actually shrink the diameter of the rope down, the whipping is the same diameter of the original rope. Just my 2 cents from having been graded on how good my whipping was when in high school and having done it ever since. try a waxed thread and a few whippings or a different whipping for heavy use. Good luck every one 😀

  7. I’m a massive fan of knots over whipping. For me it’s an asthetic as I find the knots when you join to be really organic and I find them quite pretty, plus I like being able to join my rope and have a bit of a yank before the larks head catches on the knots and it’s all moody mood rope. I don’t have to pay as much attention to what I’m doing, however I find I have to pay more attention to the rope if I’m doing a bend instead.

    I also like hitting people with the knotted ends.

    I like when the knots snag, it adds to me rather than takes away.

    I’ve had a knot pop maybe twice in all my years and both times have been as a result of clearing a jam in poorly managed carabineers.

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