This website focuses on making twist rope with hand operated rope machines. This is how most rope and cordage was made two hundred years ago, before machine was developed during the Industrial Revolution for making rope.
The hand operated rope machines that appeared in the American Midwest in the late 1800s were in answer to farmer's need to make replacement hoist rope for lifting harvested hay into the upper floors of the barn for storage. When the hoist rope broke, all hay harvesting stopped. The existing hoist rope could be un-made with the hand operated rope machine, allowing the yarns to be salvaged for re-laying into the replacement rope. This, combined with sisal baler twine that entered the scene about 1880, allowed the farmer and helpers to lay up and make a new hoist rope in less time than a person could be sent to the nearest town, by horseback, to purchase replacement rope at the general store. This replacement rope would last long enough to get the harvested completed and defer the purchase of a new hoist rope.
The book "Making Rope with a Hand Operated Rope Machine" presents the knowledge needed to make three or four strand twist style rope with these rope machines.
A replica of the Meyer rope machine is available for sale in the rope machines section. Gear driven hand operated rope machines are also available for sale.
While the rope machine is the center of attention for making rope, there are additional tools and pieces of equipment needed when making rope. These are discussed in the necessary items section.
Sometimes the adventurous person wants to make their own rope machine. The hook-arm parts of the Meyer replica are available in aluminum or brass. There are also strand shafts with a hook formed in the end of the shaft. These shafts can be incorporated into hand cranked or motorized rope machines.
There are times when additional people are not available to assist you in making rope. Electric driven rope-machines are available on a semi-custom basis. This allows the rope maker control of the drive motor while managing the rope tool.
Naturally, custom made common lay twist rope is available though this web site, in 3, 4, or 6 strand construction, in a variety of materials. See the section on custom rope.
Rope making was a guild craft in the Middle Ages for good reason. There are many factors that influence the quality of the rope being produced. Hands on training helps put the book information into perspective. Greg Davis does a number of museum sponsored rope-making classes and demonstrations each year. Use the contact form to reach him to inquire about classes, demonstrations, and locations.