If you want to get the best out of your ropes, treat them well.
Treat them like you love your partner.
Let them breathe.
Take good care of them.
“I always use the thistle knot."
By design and by default, a rope has 2 ends. Always. Ever. No exceptions. 2 ends. No more, no less.
What to do with those ends? It is advisory to think about treating your rope ends according to what you feel works best for you. In most cases (also when getting yourself one of them RopeBoxes), you'll get them with a simple overhand knot. Why?
Okay clear. But what to do with the rope ends?
There are different ways to secure your rope ends. I'll sum up a few below, and give some pro's and con's about them. Please do note that these arguments are based on my personal view and are not pretending to be the 'al-knowing truth'. Maybe you agree with me on this – maybe not. As always, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
There are many ways to end your rope without a knot. This might be an advantage if you…
[PRO]: value your rope sliding through other ropes without 'blocking'. Having a knot in the end tends to 'block' the rope when hauling through.
[PRO]: prefer an easy way of ending your rope.
[CON]: use different techniques for extending your rope while doing bondage, but which result in larger 'connection knots' – making it more difficult for hauling through. They also tend to 'waste' more rope, forcing you to have more extensions, and to force you to have a 'safety leftover' on a rope extension, which tends to look sloppy.
[CON]: have other disadvantages depending on the chosen way to end the rope.
Duct tape (or other adhesive tape): will always get loose over time, leaving your rope with 'sticky ends'. Tape is not resistant to the high strain bondage rope might endure. | The colors of available (strong) tapes are mostly not fitted 'to go along with your rope'.
Metal endings: Sometimes ropes are sold with a nice firm metal clip to end the rope. Yes it will probably hold. But imagine the metal clip hitting you (or even worse, your model!) at high speed while doing fast rope. Imagine the metal clip passing over your skin. The clip totally dis-balances the rope. To put it simple: Going for metal endings is a BAD IDEA.
Burned endings: This is only applicable when you use synthetic rope. Don't use synthetic rope. It's bad for yours and for your model's skin. Just don't … Use natural fibre ropes.
Shrink sleeve: this is a very easy and fast way for your rope endings. However, when shrinked by heating, the ends done with shrinking sleeve tend to become almost as hard and solid as metal clips. See earlier why that is a bad idea.
Thread whipping: By very tightly winding some very strong thread around your rope endings (about 1 cm) and finishing this of by 'sewing' the remainder of the thread through the rope, is the 'best way' to end the rope without using a knot. The (small) disadvantage of the thread coming undone after very intensive use of the rope is 'acceptable'. In such case, redo the whipping.
The simple overhand knot can be used to prevent your rope ends from straying. Do a simple overhand knot like this or this. Don't forget to pull the knot VERY tight at the end of your rope, leaving at least 3cm of rope extra. If the short end is too short, it might come undone.
[PRO]: very easy knot to tie. You've probably already did this one a thousand times.
[CON]: The overhand knot is rather 'big', as it easily gets as big as 3 times the diameter of your rope, making pulling through often harder. Besides, it's not the most streamlined knot ever, making pulling through even harder.
[CON]: Of course you pulled the overhand knot to end your rope really tight. Nevertheless, it is prone to come undone over time. You don't want that happening 'in action'. You may overcome this to put a small drop of glue into the knot.
The thistle knot is… well, more complex. Let's do the pro's and con's first, and then get to the 'how'.
[PRO]: Neat knot, very small compared to the diameters of the rope
[PRO]: To the best of my knowledge, never can come undone by itself, not even under heavy strain.
[CON]: It's a 'rather difficult' knot to learn. But hey, who doesn't like a challenge? Once you have it 'in your fingers', it's OK.
I always use the thistle knot for ending my rope. In my opinion, it is the best and most reliable way.
So, how to… As said, it is a 'rather difficult' knot to make. My (personal) tips & tricks:
wrap a small piece of adhesive tape (e.g. 1cm) around each of the 3 strings of the rope (compare it to the little plastic things at the end of your shoe laces). This prevents the individual strings to unfold, and makes it easier to put the individual strings through.
use a set of pliers to pull the individual strings.
Pull the strings 'one by one'. Don't pull too hard on one string. Pull gently. First string 1, than string 2, than string 3. Repeat in that order until the knot is secure. You should do at least 3 rounds. If you pull one string too hard, your knot will (partially) collapse, resulting in an ugly and non-symmetric knot.
To the tutorials! Watch these clips a couple of times attentively. You'll see, after the 3rd time, it doesn't look so hard any more 😉
If anybody has another (video) tutorial on how to make a thistle knot, please contact me!
“Don't wash your ropes"
If you have a lot of different partners with whom you tie, hygiene might be a concern. Yes, people do sweat, yes we all 'shed skin' constantly. It's not wrong to expect your rope partner to have a certain level of personal hygiene. Would you swap t-shirts with your partner? If you use your ropes often with different partners, try to avoid explicit contact with private areas. To the best of my knowledge, nobody ever caught a disease from bondage, but just the idea by itself might be repulsing. Another option is of course to have a spare set of ropes and give the rope you used for 'intimate contact' to them as a souvenir ;-).
In any case, if you have a lot of bondage partners or just a single one, treat your rope right. See 'everyday rope care' to learn what to do.
I threw it on the ground…!
Yes, there is a very amusing clip with that title (See this YouTube video) but throwing your rope on the ground is what we're trying to avoid as much as possible. Keep them away from dirt, moist, filth, … If you're doing bondage, make sure the environment is clean. How clean? Would you lie on the floor there?
But they are really dirty!
Well, using your rope might (and will?) make them a bit 'dirty' over time. You can clean them in 2 ways:
The light way: Use a damp cloth and pull your ropes meter by meter through. Not a soaked cloth. Damp is the word. Make sure you've got a cloth that does not pick, because the fluff of the cloth might get all over your ropes. Use one of them fiber cloths. Works perfect!
The heavy way: You can wash your ropes by hand. I don't recommend the washing machines, since this is too intense. However, if you do, use a lingerie bag or a pillowcase. I don't recommend the 'heavy way' because the rope will get soaking wet. As a result, the rope will swell up and shorten. The drying process is very cumbersome and must be done as quickly and thorough as possible. The rope swells up because the water is getting in between the fibers. Rope gets its strength by the friction the different fibers have to one another. When the water evaporates from in between the fibers, without the fibers getting 'forced together' again, the rope will lose strength dramatically. To overcome this, the ropes must be dried under tension. So, take your wet rope and apply tension to it by stretching. After a few hours, you'll notice that the rope you have put under strain is 'sagging out'. Reapply tension. Do this on a hot summer day, so the rope will dry as fast as possible and also the core will be able to dry. If the core stays wet, then some of the fibers might start to rot, again causing a drop in strength.
Overall advice? Don't wash your ropes…
But they are really, really, really, really, really dirty!
You should have been more careful not to get your ropes that dirty 🙂 However there are times they've become too dirty to use. Think about getting another set. If you're doing bondage in many places that are getting your ropes dirty quickly, then you probably had enough fun to justify getting a new set…!
“Leave them hanging there for hours."
Treat your ropes with the respect they deserve. Why do they deserve it? Because they provide you an endless amount of fun!
– usually your ropes are stored in a bag or something similar. That's OK, because you need to transport them. But let them out once in a while.
– usually your ropes are neatly folded together (hmmm I should make a video on how I fold my ropes and put it here… ). Allow them to 'rest'. To 'lose strain'. To 'get some air'. Do this by taking all your ropes out of your bag, unfold them, and hang them like you would hang laundry e.g. over a clothesline or the bamboo you tied to the ceiling. Or you can do it on a (dry) day outdoors. Leave them hanging there for hours. Or days. Let them breathe.
– fold them. Don't coil them. Yes there is a huge difference. (I really should get that video up…!)
– don't use any braiding techniques whatsoever for rope storage. Your rope will take that shape and you will severely damage the fibers. Not good.