Eye splice

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Eye splice
NamesEye splice, sailmaker's eye splice
ABoK #17, #2745, #2754
Eye splices from Carl Smith's 1899 Batseglareordbok BSOB ogonsplits.jpg
Eye splices from Carl Smith's 1899 Båtseglareordbok
Eye splice from Alpheus Hyatt Verrill's 1917 Knots, Splices and Rope Work Eye splice.PNG
Eye splice from Alpheus Hyatt Verrill's 1917 Knots, Splices and Rope Work

The eye splice is a method of creating a permanent loop (an "eye") in the end of a rope by means of rope splicing.


The Flemish eye is a type of circular loop at the end of a thread. There are several techniques of creating the eye with its knot tied back to the line, rope or wire. [3] [4]


There are various splicing techniques, and relate to whether a rope is braided or plaited, whether it has a core and whether the core is made of high-performance fibers. Techniques include:

In three-strand rope

For conventional stranded ropes, the ends of the rope are tucked (plaited) back into the standing end to form the loop. Three tucks are the minimum for natural fibers, five tucks are necessary for synthetics. [5] Variations of this more traditional eye splice include: [6]

The ends of the rope are first wrapped in tape or heated with a flame to prevent each end from fraying completely. The rope is untwisted for a distance equal to three times the diameter for each "tuck", e.g., for five tucks in half inch rope, undo about 7.5 inches. Wrap the rope at that point to prevent it unwinding further. Form the loop and plait the three ends back against the twist of the rope. Practice is required to keep each end to retain its twist and lie neatly. In stiff old rope or in new rope which has been tightly wound, a marlinspike or fid can facilitate opening up the strands and threading each end.

In some cases, the splice is tapered by trimming the working strands after each tuck. Also, the splice can be whipped to protect and strengthen the splice. A rope thimble can be inserted in the eye to prevent chafing if the eye is to be permanently attached to a fixture (used when attaching a rope to a chain, for example).

In eight-strand rope

An eight-strand rope consists of two left-twisting and two right-twisting pairs. Make sure the left-twisting strands are fed below left-twisting strands, and right-twisting strands below the right-twisting ones. Work systematically with different tape colours to keep from getting lost in the mess of strands. An eight-strand square plaited rope can be used as mooring line or anchor rode. [7]

In single braided rope

This technique is mostly used for Dyneema ropes. [8] The principle of a Dyneema eye is a core-to-core splice, in which a length of at least 60 times the diameter of the rope is taken back into itself. DSM advises using 60 times the diameter for coated Dyneema, and 100 times the diameter for uncoated Dyneema. For 6mm coated rope, this would mean 36 cm. Under tension the rope will pull into itself tightly, which produces a strong eye. One can pull out the eye when the rope is not under tension, unless one makes a lock-splice (also called brummel splice).

In double braided rope with polyester or nylon fiber core

In ropes with a polyester (or nylon) core, both the core and the cover are needed for strength. [8]

In rope with braided cover and a laid core

Splicing a rope with a laid core is usually more complicated than double braided polyester ropes. One needs more force to take the rope back into itself because there is often less room between the core and the cover. [7]

In rope with braided cover and parallel fibers in the core

A rope with parallel fibers in the core often has a tight inner cover to keep the fibers together. This splice is similar to the one for double braided polyester ropes; the main difference is that one cannot take the cover back in to the core because the fibers go through the core. [9]

Instructions are published in [9] Splicing Modern Ropes (a practical handbook)

In double braided rope with high-performance fiber core

For ropes with a core of high-performance fibers (such as aramid fibers or Dyneema or Vectran) only the core determines the strength. The cover can be used optionally in the eye splice, for example, to add UV protection (for aramid fibers, such as Kevlar). Dyneema is very UV resistant and the cover is not needed. For these ropes, one could make an eye splice in the single braided core and leave the cover unused. There are ropes with an extra double layer cover; this is basically the same splice as for double braided except that the inner cover first needs to be removed over the length of the splice.

Splicing tools

Depending on the type of splice and rope, there is a variety of tools available such as hollow fids, pulling needles and traditional splicing fids. Make sure to also have a marker, splicing tape, measuring tape and a knife or scissors at hand. Often a hammer and winch are used as well for tougher splices.


An inch of good splice[ vague ] will hold 1 ton. The eye splice has several advantages. The most notable is the permanence of the loop. An equally important advantage is the lack of stress it puts on the rope. Splices average 25-40% of rope strength decay, which is low compared to even the strongest knots. [10] Literature and reference sources typically attribute only a 5% strength decay for a properly tied splice. Technically, a perfectly tied splice retains 100% of the original strength of the rope but in practice this is rarely the case. Destructive testing of rope in manufacturing facilities makes use of a professional and spliced eyes for connecting the rope to the testing apparatus.


The bowline is a quick, practical method of forming a loop in the end of a piece of rope. However, the bowline has an awkward tendency to shake undone when not loaded. The bowline also reduces the strength of the rope at the knot to ~45% of the original unknotted strength. [ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend fastens two ends of a rope to each another; a loop knot is any knot creating a loop; and splice denotes any multi-strand knot, including bends and loops. A knot may also refer, in the strictest sense, to a stopper or knob at the end of a rope to keep that end from slipping through a grommet or eye. Knots have excited interest since ancient times for their practical uses, as well as their topological intricacy, studied in the area of mathematics known as knot theory.

Bowline Simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope

The bowline is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It has the virtues of being both easy to tie and untie; most notably, it is easy to untie after being subjected to a load. The bowline is sometimes referred to as King of the knots because of its importance. Along with the sheet bend and the clove hitch, the bowline is often considered one of the most essential knots.

Sheepshank Type of knot

A shank is a type of knot that is used to shorten a rope or take up slack, such as the sheepshank. The sheepshank knot is not stable. It will fall apart under too much load or too little load.

Figure-eight knot Type of stopper knot used in sailing and climbing

The figure-eight knot or figure-of-eight knot is a type of stopper knot. It is very important in both sailing and rock climbing as a method of stopping ropes from running out of retaining devices. Like the overhand knot, which will jam under strain, often requiring the rope to be cut, the figure-eight will also jam, but is usually more easily undone than the overhand knot.

The figure-eight or figure-of-eight knot is also called the Flemish knot. The name figure-of-eight knot appears in Lever's Sheet Anchor; or, a Key to Rigging. The word "of" is nowadays usually omitted. The knot is the sailor's common single-strand stopper knot and is tied in the ends of tackle falls and running rigging, unless the latter is fitted with monkey's tails. It is used about ship wherever a temporary stopper knot is required. The figure-eight is much easier to untie than the overhand, it does not have the same tendency to jam and so injure the fiber, and is larger, stronger, and equally secure.

A whipping knot or whipping is a binding of marline twine or whipcord around the end of a rope to prevent its natural tendency to fray.

Timber hitch

The timber hitch is a knot used to attach a single length of rope to a cylindrical object. Secure while tension is maintained, it is easily untied even after heavy loading.

Climbing harness

A climbing harness is a device which allows a climber access to the safety of a rope. It is used in rock and ice climbing, abseiling, and lowering; this is in contrast to other activities requiring ropes for access or safety such as industrial rope work, construction, and rescue and recovery, which use safety harnesses instead.

Braid Structure of strands of flexible material

A braid is a complex structure or pattern formed by interlacing two or more strands of flexible material such as textile yarns, wire, or hair.

Rope Linear combination of plies, yarns or strands which are twisted or braided together

A rope is a group of yarns, plies, fibers, or strands that are twisted or braided together into a larger and stronger form. Ropes have tensile strength and so can be used for dragging and lifting. Rope is thicker and stronger than similarly constructed cord, string, and twine.

Rock-climbing equipment

A wide range of equipment is used during rock or any other type of climbing that includes equipment commonly used to protect a climber against the consequences of a fall.

Rope splicing Semi-permanent joint between two ropes

Rope splicing in ropework is the forming of a semi-permanent joint between two ropes or two parts of the same rope by partly untwisting and then interweaving their strands. Splices can be used to form a stopper at the end of a line, to form a loop or an eye in a rope, or for joining two ropes together. Splices are preferred to knotted rope, since while a knot typically reduces the strength by 20–40%, a splice is capable of attaining a rope's full strength. However, splicing usually results in a thickening of the line and, if subsequently removed, leaves a distortion of the rope. Most types of splices are used on 3-strand rope, but some can be done on 12-strand or greater single-braided rope, as well as most double braids.
While a spliced 3-strand rope's strands are interwoven to create the splice, a braided rope's splice is constructed by simply pulling the rope into its jacket.

Kernmantle rope is rope constructed with its interior core protected by a woven exterior sheath designed to optimize strength, durability, and flexibility. The core fibers provide the tensile strength of the rope, while the sheath protects the core from abrasion during use. This is the only construction of rope that is considered to be life safety rope by most fire and rescue services.

Parachute cord Multi-core rope originally used for parachutes

Parachute cord is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes. This cord is now used as a general purpose utility cord. This versatile cord was used by astronauts during the 82nd Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

Wire rope Metal rope

Wire rope is several strands of metal wire twisted into a helix forming a composite rope, in a pattern known as laid rope. Larger diameter wire rope consists of multiple strands of such laid rope in a pattern known as cable laid.

Fid Ropework tool

A fid is a conical tool traditionally made of wood or bone. It is used to work with rope and canvas in marlinespike seamanship. A fid differs from a marlinspike in material and purposes. A marlinspike is used in working with wire rope, natural and synthetic lines, may be used to open shackles, and is made of metal. A fid is used to hold open knots and holes in canvas, and to separate the "lays" of synthetic or natural rope for splicing. A variation of the fid, the gripfid, is used for ply-split braiding. The gripfid has a jamming cleat to pull a cord back through the cord split by the fid's point.

Double fishermans knot

The double fisherman's knot or grapevine knot is a bend. This knot and the triple fisherman's knot are the variations used most often in climbing, arboriculture, and search and rescue. The knot is formed by tying a double overhand knot, in its strangle knot form, with each end around the opposite line's standing part.

Bight (knot)

In knot tying, a bight is a curved section or slack part between the two ends of a rope, string, or yarn. A knot that can be tied using only the bight of a rope, without access to the ends, is described as in the bight. The term "bight" is also used in a more specific way when describing Turk's head knots, indicating how many repetitions of braiding are made in the circuit of a given knot.


A bowstring joins the two ends of the bow stave and launches the arrow. Desirable properties include light weight, strength, resistance to abrasion, and resistance to water. Mass has most effect at the center of the string; one gram (0.035 oz) of extra mass in the middle of the string slows the arrow about as much as 3.5 grams (0.12 oz) at the ends.


  1. "Båtseglareordbok - Wikisource". sv.wikisource.org.
  2. Verrill, A. Hyatt (September 21, 2004). "Knots, Splices and Rope Work: A Practical Treatise Giving Complete and Simple Directions for Making All the Most Useful and Ornamental Knots in Common Use, with Chapters on Splicing, Pointing, Seizing, Serving, etc" via Project Gutenberg.
  3. How to Tie a Flemish Eye Fishing Knot for Wire (demonstration on YouTube)
  4. A. Hyatt Verrill. "Chapter V - Shortenings, grommets, and selvagees". Knots, splices and rope work - A practival treatise. Fig. 90. Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-08-10 via Cosmopolitan University (online publisher).
  5. Toss, Brion (1998). The Complete Rigger's Apprentice. International Marine. p. 83. ISBN   0-07-064840-9.
  6. Toss, Brion (1998). The Complete Rigger's Apprentice. International Marine. p. 80. ISBN   0-07-064840-9.
  7. 1 2 Polman, Jan-Willem (2016). Splicing Modern Ropes. London, New York: Bloomsbury. p. 45. ISBN   978-1-4729-2320-2.
  8. 1 2 Polman, Jan-Willem (2016). Splicing Modern Ropes. London, New York: Bloomsbury. p. 39. ISBN   978-1-4729-2320-2.
  9. 1 2 Polman, Jan-Willem (2016). Splicing Modern Ropes. London, New York: Bloomsbury. p. 51. ISBN   978-1-4729-2320-2.
  10. William Diamond (April 2007). An Assessment Of The Strength Of Rope Splices And Knots In Sailing Ropes (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 2019-11-03.