Building a Rope Kit

Article:

Diameter

Almost any size rope can be used for bondage with enough creativity and care; however for the techniques covered in the Core Rope Curriculum, you generally want a diameter between 3/16" and 3/8" (5-8mm). The right diameter depends on the material of your rope and your style of tying more than on the size of your bottom, although wider rope can sometimes be more convenient for tying larger bodies. A good starting point for beginners is almost always 1/4" (6mm), and that's the most popular diameter in general.

Construction

Some ropes have an outer braided sheath around a core of straight fiber; most rope made for climbing is of this type of construction (sometimes called "kernmantle"). Clothesline and other cheap hardware-store ropes frequently also have a core, sometimes of a different material than the sheath. In general, any rope with a core is bad for bondage; it is difficult to handle and produces bulky knots.

Rope for bondage should be either twisted (most commonly with 3, but sometimes 4, strands), or a solid braid with no core.

Color

When you are first starting out, it is best to avoid black rope or other very dark colors; it is harder to see what is going on with dark rope, both for you and for your teacher if you are taking classes.

Length

It's sometimes joked that bondage ropes come in only two sizes-- too long, and too short. I recommend keeping some of each handy.

The main consideration in choosing the length of your ropes is how long a rope you can comfortably handle without it becoming unwieldy when you're pulling it through. This depends mostly on your arm span, and in part on your style of tying. I'm 5'9" and find anything longer than 27' to start becoming awkward for me.

My recommendation is to compose your kit primarily of the longest length that is comfortable for you to work with, and then add in a few shorter ones for when you just need a bit of extra to finish up a tie. The most common lengths offered by suppliers of finished bondage rope are 25', 8m (26'), and 30'. My approach to building a kit from retail bondage rope is to buy 10 of the length they offer closest to my ideal (usually 8m), take one of them and cut it in half, and another cut about 1/4 way down. That gives me a kit of 8x full length, 1x 3/4 length, 2x 1/2 length, and 1x 1/4 length. For a smaller kit, just decrease the number of full-length ropes.

When you are just starting out, or if you are doing mostly bedroom bondage, a smaller kit with a higher proportion of short ropes may be more convenient; I find in the bedroom I rarely use more than 5 ropes, and use each of full, 3/4, and 1/2 length ropes with about equal frequency.

Rope Ends

Cutting a couple of ropes to make yourself shorter lengths is a good opportunity to test that your safety cutters work well on the rope you're using. You'll need to learn a method for finishing the rope ends, to keep them from unraveling. I recommend some type of whipping. I usually order rope with unfinished ends or simple overhand end knots, and whip all my ropes with the same twine, which makes them easily recognizable as mine. Some people like to color-code their whippings to indicate the length of the rope.

Avoid having anything hard or sharp (such as metal, or melted plastic) at the ends of your rope; if you tie enough, eventually you are going to whip someone in the eye with a rope end (quite possibly yourself). Being hit in the eye with rope is always unpleasant, but you don't want rope ends that could actually cause injury to the eye.

Why do people keep knots in the ends of their rope?

In Japanese rope bondage, you'll most frequently see people use a simple knot in the end of their rope. This is a tradition that seems to derive from historical use of low-quality and/or loose-laid ropes where the tension would easily become uneven between strands. When that happens, you have to re-lay the rope by hand from one end to the other, and when you get to the end, you'll need to undo the knot to realign the strands. So a simple knot that can be undone and redone makes that convenient.

The downside, of course, is that knots in the end catch when they are pulled through, a constant nuisance and something that happens no matter how good you are at handling the rope; I've seen people with decades of professional experience have their flow broken by a stuck stopper knot.

Material

There is another article dedicated to rope materials. If you are just starting out and don't know what you like yet, I recommend looking for inexpensive but high-quality 3-strand cotton or nylon. I link to my favorite supplier for cotton rope here.

Stuff to Carry Other Than Rope

There's a variety of items other than rope that you may want to keep in your rope bag. Surely the most important is safety cutters, but beyond that here are some to consider:

The most common rope-kit first aid supply is ibuprofen, which is traditionally recommended to be taken immediately after a wide variety of the injuries most likely to occur in rope (nerve compression, pulled muscles, joint injuries) -- however the science is pretty mixed on whether that actually promotes healing or just makes people feel better, and you should always be careful that taking pain relievers doesn't encourage you to ignore pain that should be listened to. Similar story with cold packs, which should almost certainly not be used in case of nerve injury but might be helpful with joint injuries.

Having a sugary snack and water immediately available is always a good idea during play. Flashlights can be important in an emergency (although most cellphones can fill this need in a pinch). Simple first aid supplies for cuts and scrapes are good to have, although the risk of those isn't really particular to rope. Some tops like to have a hand balm with them; tying a lot can be murder on your fingers.

If you've got space in your bag, a thin cloth to lay over the floor where you'll tie is nice to have if in a venue that doesn't provide clean mats. Alternately, a blanket serves the same purpose as well as being a great aftercare item.

When tying someone who may need emergency medication (e.g. inhaler, epipen), always make sure they've got it with them and you know where it is and how and when to help them use it. For a while I dated someone allergic to bees and we tied outside a fair amount, so I kept her spare epipen in my rope bag.

Got other stuff you like to carry when playing with rope? Let us know in the comments.

Comments

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    Undeniablyme | Feb 16th, 2016 4:39am PST #

    Highly informative

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      Zane071 | Jun 21st, 2016 5:29am PDT #

      Nice

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        MrKyp | Dec 19th, 2016 5:27am PST #

        Well composed and written. Seems to be sound recommendations. Thank you.

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          iamJayBK | Feb 23rd, 2017 3:20pm PST #

          Good to know that even as a beginner I've made fair choices in rope and how dispensed.

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            Happytei | Jul 20th, 2017 10:00pm PDT #

            Good to know

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              nike0666 | Aug 4th, 2017 8:58am PDT #

              Great good to review and learne a couple new things

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                DrumDaddy10 | Aug 18th, 2017 7:26pm PDT #

                This is awesome thanks

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                  tnayfie71 | Apr 1st, 2018 9:03am PDT #

                  Thank you for the information

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                    jamaica85 | Apr 7th, 2018 8:41pm PDT #

                    Thanks for the info. As a shorter man (5'3") this really comes in handy when choosing rope lengths. I think I'll stick to 25' longs and 12' shorts from now on.

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                      cerceaux | May 15th, 2018 3:02am PDT #

                      This website it GREAT! :D

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                        BubbleGun21 | Aug 22nd, 2018 4:37am PDT #

                        I absolutely LOVE the idea of cutting 2 of the ropes. It offers several things but most importantly gets new riggers (or old?) over the problem of "Oh, no! I'd NEVER cut MY rope! It's far too...." Yadda-yadda. If your bottom is in distress & you need to cut, then YOU CUT!

                        Taking shears to the rope before you even get started is WONDERFUL! It gives you the opportunity to get over that terrible psychological hump, it gives you ACTUAL practice using YOUR shears on YOUR rope. And, the happy bonus is you get the "oddments" sizes that will help expand your kit. Can't tell you how handy my "get outta shit" rope has been! That would be the 1/4 size that Topologist talks about ;-)

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                          goldenwhite | Nov 4th, 2018 7:54am PST #

                          very cool

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                            StringsInside | Dec 4th, 2018 6:16pm PST #

                            Can you add a bit of what else you usually have in your rope kit? Like for safety and first aid. I don't really know what I should bring for that kind of stuff.

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                              Topologist | Dec 4th, 2018 6:57pm PST #

                              Great question! Just added a section on that topic.

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                              spodoggieguy | Dec 17th, 2018 9:54pm PST #

                              For stuff to carry I usually have a sailors knife/ multi tool with a very sharp blade if you have to cut quickly in an emergency, and a marlin spike to assist if you get a knot that you cannot easily get undone. Shears are nice, but in an emergency, nothing beats a really sharp blade.

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                                Belkie | Dec 23rd, 2018 8:46am PST #

                                I like to keep a disposable straw in one of those travel toothbrush cases. It’s nice to let my bottom have a drink without having to untie their hands or turning into an accidental waterboarding scene.

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                                  PsycheofHelena | Jan 9th, 2019 11:28am PST #

                                  hahaha I like this tip!

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                                  Polybind | Jan 21st, 2019 8:12am PST #

                                  The conversion between inch and mm in the diameter section is a little off. 3/16" is 4.7625 mm, 3/8" is 9.525 mm, and 1/4" is 6.35 mm. 5 mm is 13/64", 8 mm is 5/16", and 6 mm is 15/64".

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                                    Topologist | Jan 21st, 2019 10:55am PST #

                                    Well, obviously rope isn't usually offered in 4.7625mm as a size if your supplier carries metric-sized rope. On the high end, while I'd generally prefer 5/16" to 3/8" when I'm looking for a thicker rope, it's unusual to find it -- so if your supplier only carries 1/4" and 3/8", the latter may still be a reasonable option for some circumstances. Conversely, it's unusual to see offerings in 9-10mm that are not available in 8mm, in which case I'd always prefer the 8mm.

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                                    NominalDM | Feb 26th, 2019 12:12pm PST #

                                    I seem to end up doing rope work in lifestyle clubs (and dungeons, etc... ) where it's often dark, so a handheld LED light bar with a magnetic end (small!) is part of my kit, along with a blacklight flashlight for accentuating things when using reactive rope, clothing or accessories. Also helps with photos, since cell phone camera flashes are still terrible.

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                                      K60SM | Mar 11th, 2019 3:35am PDT #

                                      关于绳子 直径 嗯……其实只要你想的话几乎任意直径的绳子都可以用于捆绑,但是在核心捆绑课程涵盖的技艺中一般推荐你使用5-8mm的绳子。固然在选取绳子的时候要考虑你的Moon的体形,但合适的绳子粗细取决于绳子的材质以及你捆绑的方式,尽管有时候更粗的绳子在捆绑体形更大的Moon更方便。对于初学者来说最好的选择就是6mm的绳子,顺带一提这也是业内最流行的粗细。

                                      结构 有些绳子的结构是一股中心绳再加上外编鞘,其实大部分的登山绳都是这种类型的(有时也称之为KERNMANTLE)。晾衣绳和其他五金商店中出售的廉价绳子基本也都是有中心绳的,只不过外编鞘的材质不同。一般来说这种有中心绳的绳子都不适用于捆绑,因为其难以驾驭并且会产生很大的绳结。 捆绑用的绳子要么选择扭绳(一般3股,有时候4股),要么就是没有中心绳的实心穗编绳。

                                      颜色 刚开始的时候最好避免使用黑色或者其他深色的绳子。不管对你还是对教授你技艺的老师来说,如果使用深色的绳子是很难看清楚绳子是怎么捆的。

                                      长度 讲个笑话:捆绑用的绳子就俩尺寸,太长和太短。我建议你长绳短绳都要在手边备一点。 选取绳子长度时主要要考虑的是多长的绳子才能让你舒服的穿绳,这主要取决于你的手臂的跨度以及你要捆绑的方式。 我的建议是你用的最长的绳子的长度就是让你能无障碍的穿绳的长度,并且长绳数量占多数,之后就是再添加一些短点的绳子用于接绳收尾。成品捆绑绳的供货商提供的绳子的长度一般都是25英尺(7.62米)、26英尺(8米)和30英尺(9.14米)。我用零售的捆绑绳编制一套绳子的时候一般是买10条8米的,把其中一条剪成两段,另一条在1/4处剪掉,所以我就有这样一套绳子:8m x 8、6m x 1、4m x 2、2m x 1。如果你需要一套小规格的绳子,就减少8m的绳子就好了。 当你在初学或者大部分捆绑都是床上的时候,小规格的套绳或许更加方便。在床上捆绑的时候我基本上很少用到超过5根的绳子,而且全长、3/4长,半长的绳用到的几率差不多。

                                      绳头 剪出一些短点的绳子其实也是检验你的保险剪刀的好机会。你应该学会一些处理绳头的方法以防止绳子散开。我推荐的是用另一些细绳子缠绕绳头。我通常订购的是没做头或简单打结的绳子,然后用相同的绳线缠绕我的所有绳子,这样很好认出这是我的绳子。有些人喜欢用不同颜色的线绳缠绕绳头来表示绳子的不同长度。 避免在绳头处有任何尖锐的或者硬的东西(比如金属或者烧结的塑料),如果你在捆绑的时候动作很快的话,你可能会把绳头抽到别人的眼睛上(很可能也是你自己眼睛上)。绳子打到眼睛上已经让人很不爽,如果绳头对眼睛造成伤害那就更不行了。

                                      为啥人们要在他们的绳子末端打结? 在日式紧缚当中,你常常能看到人们在绳子的末端打一个简单的结。这种传统貌似源于使用低质量或者松散(也可能两者兼有)绳子的历史。绳子的股之间的张力很容易失衡,这种情况发生的时候你必须用手把绳子从一端捋到另一端,捋完的时候你就得解开绳结重新整理几股细绳。一个简单的绳结能很方便的解开重新打结。 当然,缺点就是你穿绳的时候末端的绳结超级容易卡住,无论你玩绳子的技术有多好这都很烦人。我见过很多有着丰富经验的大佬行云流水的操作被一个小小的绳结打断的情况。

                                      材料 还有篇文章是专门介绍绳子材料的,如果你刚开始也不知道你喜欢啥,我建议你就用物美价廉的三股棉绳或者尼龙绳吧。我可以给你个我最喜欢的棉绳供应商的链接。

                                      除了绳子你还要带的东西 除了绳子之外,你或许还想把各种各样的东西放进你的绳艺工具包里,虽然最重要的就是保险剪刀,但是还有其他需要考虑的: 布洛芬是绳艺工具包中最常见的急救药品,如果在捆绑过程中受了伤(神经压迫、肌肉拉伤或者关节受伤等)建议立即服用,虽然不知道到底是真的有用还是心理作用。不过请慎用止痛药,因为有些疼痛能让你知道损伤的严重程度以及时治疗避免更大的危害。像冰袋是不可以用于神经类损伤的,但有助于缓解关节损伤。

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                                        Sangmachn | Mar 26th, 2019 8:37pm PDT #

                                        Great article! I also would like to comment on the psychological stress of cutting ropes. Coming from a background of climbing i have often paied $300 or more for a rope. Major stress involved, Given that you can only fall a couple times before you retire it. When entering shibari i choose to target wholesale hemp, that way i can cut and treat them myself. Realizing i can order for a fraction of the price, make to any Leghnth, and enjoy treating the ropes there is minimal stress.

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                                          Rahere | Apr 7th, 2019 7:29pm PDT #

                                          Don't forget that ibuprofen can also be applied "topically", in the exact area where pain lies. Crush the pill into a paste with water and apply to the skin, it will be absorbed and is far more effective.

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                                            Rahere | Apr 7th, 2019 7:40pm PDT #

                                            As far as rigging for aerial work is concerned, I'm not that happy with the use of "triangular" mountaineering carabiners, as they're designed for a single line in a controlled slip. I've seen riggers putting multiple lines on, with the result that the upper lines can block the lower - if you then need to release a construction line, you have problems. Rectangular carabiners are available, used for hang-gliders, and may be better in some instances. Also, where you know you're going to use a lift, a waisted double-ring setup is fairly common in abseiling (sort of 0=0 layout). Equally, the classic single-ring is simple, but at the same time I like the look of some of the multi-channelled mounts now appearing. Keeping ones' lines apart is never a bad thing.

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                                              Rahere | Apr 7th, 2019 7:48pm PDT #

                                              As far as medical kit is concerned, a studio should have the same kit you'll find in a gym - which includes a defibrilator. They're cheap these days. Then there's the kit rigger and bunny need, personally. Bananas are excellent for fast feeding, because of their potassium intake. Personal kit? At least one triangular bandage in case a limb needs to be supported en route to more serious help. I'd also think of having an inflatable splint and consider making certain entries allow space for a 3' wider stretcher. Another aspect is line maintenance: they need light oiling on a routine basis, if a line's dry as dust it may well have weakened.

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                                                Rahere | Apr 7th, 2019 7:56pm PDT #

                                                One thing on safety shears: add a lanyard, because sure as God made little apples, you'll not have them to hand when you need them. The lanyard goes around a belt loop, and the shears in a back pocket: that way they're there, and not "where did I leave them?" when they were in the way five minutes ago.

                                                The typical club scene around here gets crowded. What's teasing at my mind is to produce a breakaway holster for them, with a spring-loaded keychain instead of the lanyard: any comments would be welcome.

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