Sailmaker's Whipping

Notes and Resources:

This is the gold standard for finishing rope ends; attractive and very secure, a good Sailmaker's Whipping will last as long as your rope does and never slip. You'll want a fairly large needle and a thimble (if not a sailmaker's palm) if you're going to do more than a few of these.

There are three main methods I've seen of performing a Sailmaker's Whipping:

1) Where the needle is passed through each strand of the rope diagonally under the whipping. This is the style I prefer; it is most secure, and not much more effort than the others. Frustratingly, it seems to have been abandoned by makers of online knot tutorials. (let me know in the comments if you find one)

2) Where the needle is passed through each strand above/below and parallel to the whipping, as shown here and here. This works with longer whippings than you can perform with method (1), but I'm not sure what advantage that set of choices would have in a bondage context.

3) Where the needle is only passed between, not through the strands of the rope, as shown here. This is less secure, and if you don't want to deal with pushing the needle through the rope, this whipping is a better choice.

Ashley identifies methods 1 and 2 as #3446 and #3447 respectively, and gives the interchangeable names Sailmaker's Whipping and Palm-and-Needle Whipping for them both.


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    BubbleGun21 | Aug 20th, 2018 6:46am PDT #

    Here's another video for method 1. He specifically calls out the Ashley #s, which is handy -->

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      Topologist | Nov 1st, 2018 12:05pm PDT #

      The first part of that video shows a reasonably good version of method #2; but the second part is just completely wrong -- I can see that they are maybe trying to follow the diagrams for #3446, but what's shown in the video is not correct at all, and even worse than what I list as method #3 above.

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      Raynafish | Oct 30th, 2018 4:25pm PDT #

      This section and the next confuse me, perhaps some review is prudent. Here you state method 1 is the favorite and ashley #3446, but the next has your favorite as 3450.

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        Topologist | Nov 1st, 2018 12:14pm PDT #

        Method 1 above (Ashley's 3446) is my preferred method between the two true Sailmaker's Whippings (3446 & 3447). It's what I would use if I require maximum security.

        The Quick Sailmaker's Whipping (Ashley's 3448) is a substantially different technique that looks very similar, but is faster and somewhat less secure. It's my everyday go-to whipping and what I use on most of my rope kits, but is not a proper Sailmaker's Whipping.

        Ashely's 3450 is the French Whipping, which I do not recommend.

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