How To Make a Rope Rug


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Crag Q

Trad climber
Louisville, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 23, 2006 - 05:11pm PT
Hello everyone,

First let me say thanks to everyone for a year full of entertaining posts. I work on the computer programming all day, so Supertaco has certainly been a pleasant diversion from work for me. Here's my gift to you: instructions on how to make a rope rug. I figure some of you may be needing last minute gift ideas that don't cost anything. This is a real tied rope rug, not one of those lame glued rugs like they had in Climbing magazine. This takes some skill to tie.

I had always wanted to know how to tie a rope rug and set about learning this year. I was shocked that Google would not divulge the secret of the art. The best I could find was reference to Ashley book of knots. I found a copy at the library and tried a number of his knots, but many of them are too small to be called a rug. The relevant knots are #2268-2276. #2273 seems to be the biggest and most complicated, so that's what I've been tying. The directions are fairly simple, but tying the knot is not. The first couple of rugs took a couple hours, now that I know what I'm doing it takes about 45 minutes.

 Start by making an enlargement of the diagram. Go to Kinkos if you're not sober and have them do the dirty work. It's pretty tough to do by hand. To make the drawing by hand, start by drawing a 2" grid, then trace the diagram on the grid. The quality of the drawing will affect the finished product. I'm using a 16" x 19" diagram which is working well for a double weave of 10.2 mm rope x 30 meters. That means I can get 2 rugs from one rope. Leaving the weave a little open will mean the dirt will fall through the cracks. I think this diagram will work for a tight tripple weave, but that will probably take 40 meters of rope.

 "Pin the cord along the line in the direction of the arrow." I used scotch tape to hold mine down while laying it out, just like the old ocean going sailors used to do.

 As for tying, Ashley says: "Wherever a cord lies across the path, at a point that is marked with a circle, tuck the working end under the cord at that point. Disregard the circles if no other part is already there". It looks like a bunch of spaghetti to start with, but comes together on the last few passes. If you're not going "over-under" on the last few passes you probably did something wrong. Also, you will want to watch out for twists and keep it nicely dressed as you go a long.

 Retrace your knot, if you've made it this far, that should be easy.

 After you're done with the weaving, figure out something to do with the ends. I'm going to weave a little in and cut it off and burn the ends.

 Good luck!

Here's the diagram:

Picture of working on the layout:

One pass complete:

Second pass complete:

If you're using a 8.5 or 9mm rope x 30 meters you can do a triple weave. You'll want to start with a diagram a couple inches smaller.

Happy Holidays!
-Craig Q.

Boulder climber
Portland, OR
Dec 23, 2006 - 05:51pm PT
Wow, that's awesome! I have an old 10.5x50m that I've been saving for a rug. I guess I can do a 3x weave with it using this pattern?

Thanks for the inspiration!
Crag Q

Trad climber
Louisville, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 23, 2006 - 06:20pm PT
Peter, I think it would work fine. You might want to go a pinch bigger on the pattern. Post up if you make one!

Uncategorizable climber
New York
Dec 23, 2006 - 08:39pm PT
I'm totally going to go do it with the old 60m 10.2 I've been saving for exactly this purpose! Yay!

Social climber
Prescott, AZ
Dec 23, 2006 - 11:05pm PT
Nice work!

I'd recommend Hervey Gerrett Smith's "Marlinspike Sailor" for an easier version.

It's at Amazon.

john hansen

Dec 23, 2006 - 11:12pm PT
Thats alot of rope pulling!! Like belaying twenty pitches.
Crag Q

Trad climber
Louisville, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 27, 2006 - 10:34am PT
I experimented with a number of methods to finish off the ends and the best one seems to be melting the ends together. The trick for doing this is to cut the ends 1/2 and inch longer than you want. Do a quick burn on the sheath ends so it doesn't fray. Then, pull back the sheath and cut the extra half inch off the core. Lastly, melt the sheaths of both ends over a candle simultaneously. When both ends are molten stick them together and hold them until the cool.

BTW, burning nylon is hot. It seems I always get a reminder of that when melting nylon.
feelio Babar

Trad climber
Sneaking up behind you...
Dec 27, 2006 - 11:07am PT
Smear a thin layer of liquid nails on the back to hold it together, and a create a no slip, no mar backing. NICE!

Boulder climber
Portland, OR
Dec 27, 2006 - 01:12pm PT
I'm almost done with mine. I did a triple followthrough with a 10.5 50m and it worked great!

I'll post pictures later.

right here, right now
Dec 27, 2006 - 04:46pm PT
The Celtic decorative allusion is a nice twist...

I've been holding out with my old cords for the cue to an interseting weave.
I'm on it,
Jerry Dodrill

Bodega, CA
Dec 27, 2006 - 05:20pm PT
I sketched the pattern on cardboard and used duct tape to hold the rope in place along the edges. This really helped keep things straight, but I still managed to mis-thread a couple spots. Used an old 100' x 11mm rope. I had extra rope after two passes so just kept threading until I ran out. Wife was pretty skeptical, but her help made it go a lot faster. Yeah, it was like belaying 20 pitches. Cool though.

Boulder climber
Portland, OR
Dec 27, 2006 - 06:18pm PT
I started with it really really big, then tightened it up after each pass:

Here it is after the first run through. Two followthroughs to go!

Well that was a pain in the ass. I still need to even out a couple of the loops and figure out a good way to deal with the ends, but overall I'm pretty impressed.

It's the biggest damn knot I've ever tied, that's for sure.

Trad climber
Irvine, CA
Dec 27, 2006 - 07:13pm PT
So you think it could take a factor 2?

Happy and Healthy climber
the Gunks end of the country
Dec 28, 2006 - 07:22am PT
Nice picture. The carabiner and floor boards for scale tells it all!

I guess when people say rope rug, they really mean rope welcome mat (or big fat knot)!

So let's just play with the math.

60 m x 10.5 mm = 0.63 square meters. About 3' x 2'.

But that did not allow for any overlapping rope. That was just the area of the rope. If you look at the picture above, you will see that almost every part of the "rug" has a top and bottom layer of rope, except for small portions of the edge.

That reduces the area of the rug to approximately 0.32 square meters, or about 1.5' x 2'. So a nice little 4' x 6' rug will take about 8 60 meter ropes! :-)

Maybe we need a knot that can grow outward every year or two as we replace our ropes, so that eventually the mat can grow into a rug.

(BTW. It looks like there is just one misweave. I am estimating that it will take about 15 meters of rope and about 40 separate unweaves and reweaves to correct. How long did it take from start to finish?)
Wade Icey

Social climber
Dec 28, 2006 - 01:15pm PT
how much rope are you guys leaving at the beginning? looks like a lot. why huh?

Social climber
Dec 28, 2006 - 01:19pm PT
To get a bigger rope rug, lay the rope out in a spiral, and hot melt glue it. Then flip it over. Not the most rugged. Probably if you hot melt glued it to round backing it would be stronger.
Crag Q

Trad climber
Louisville, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2006 - 01:32pm PT

For a double pass I start with the middle of the rope on the "feathers" of the arrow in the diagram that way you don't have to pull as much rope through. In the "starting the layout" picture I have extra rope because I'm not done tracing the pattern, plus there's a bit more rope than I need. If you're doing a triple pass you'd want to start at one third of the way through your rope. Otherwise you have to pull your entire rope through the pattern when you're getting started.
Wade Icey

Social climber
Dec 28, 2006 - 01:50pm PT
thanks-makes sense.

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 5, 2007 - 03:46am PT
A flat rope rug can be made without using tape and glue. The guys at sew theirs. My 60m roped turned into an nice 35" wide circle.

Happy and Healthy climber
the Gunks end of the country
Jan 5, 2007 - 06:04am PT
35 inch diameter = 0.67 square meters. Just what was predicted above!
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