The Easy Way to Make Rope

With the simple rope-making machine, you can quickly twist twine into a sturdy rope.

| November/December 1976

Click on Image Gallery for referenced figures and sketches.

Travis Brock, who recently joined the MOTHER EARTH NEWS research and editorial staff, certainly knows what to do with the mountains of baler twine that constantly pile up on farms and ranches from sea to shining sea.

"Turn that string into rope," says Travis. "It's easy to do—darn near automatic, in fact—once you've spent about an hour putting together the very simple, yet extremely effective, rope-making machine I saw working on a ranch near The Dalles, Oregon."

The Incredible Rope-Making Machine's Basic Principle

The secret of the Incredible Rope-Making Machine is nothing but a few hooks (we like three, but you can use as many or as few as you like) that can be turned at the same time, at the same speed and all in the same direction. This isn't nearly as difficult to accomplish as it might sound.

Scrounge up some 1/8-inch steel rod and cut off three pieces, each eight inches long. (NOTE: The specifications given in this article are for the three-hook machine shown in the accompanying black and white photos. You can change them—within reason—to match whatever materials you have on hand, however, without affecting the output of your rope-maker one bit.)  

Form the rods into three identical "Z's" that look like old-timey automobile cranks (see sketch). The dimensions shown in the image gallery are somewhat arbitrary. It really doesn't matter a great deal whether the central "throw" of the three cranks is 1-3/4" or 2-1/4". Nor does it matter if you eventually set those cranks into your machine's boards in the triangle pattern we used, in a straight line or in some completely random pattern.

12/9/2007 11:17:52 AM

Good instructions on old time scouting where making your own rope and caring for it is better than going out and buying another(disposible society).

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard