Whipping the end of a line is a simple and quickly done way of keeping a rope from unravelling. It also stiffens the end so that it can be threaded easily through fittings. Unless it is further stitched whipping is not terribly secure.
The whipping should be at least as long as the thickness of the rope and longer is better.
To show it better I'm using a thick line but whipping is better done with thinner twine. The whipping should be as tight as possible to hold well. Whipping should be almost at the end of the rope not 1 inch below as in my photo.
I usually whip the end and trim the rope after.
How to Whip a Line
Make a loop and hold it with your thumb. With the working end of the line wrap over the loop you have made. Wrap tightly as you go holding everything in place with your thumb. Once you have whipped at least the width of the rope, gently pull the top loop to get rid of the little loop you were holding under your thumb. Pass the free end the line through the top loop and pull the bottom end to bury the ends in the middle of the whipping. Trim the twine.
To work, this knot needs to be made tightly and it must be wide enough, at least the width of the rope, a bit more is better. It can be secured further by using a needle and twine and sewn down across the wrapping. This extra stitching keeps the wrap in place and secures it better. In old twisted lines, the final stitching fitted in the grooves of the rope. In braided ropes it is harder to get a needle in behind the knot because the whipping is tight. Use a thimble or plyers to push the needle through. Be Careful.
Ends get trimmed leaving a tidy rolled finish.
Whipping can be used to further secure a knot which needs to hold. It can be used to secure an anchor bend, or the large grommets on a tall ship. Although synthetic lines can be melted at the ends, some lines such as natural fibres (cotton, manila, hemp) or kevlar lines do not melt and need to be finished in another way such as whipping. If you need a quick way of temporarily securing the end you can make a constrictor knot as well.
I'm writing some articles about materials used in ropemaking and made a Comparison of Rope materials used in boats.
Some of my Knot Pages
- The Anchor Bend Knot
- Bowline, The Must Know Knot
- Bowline on a bight, how to tie a bowline if you don't have the ends.
- Cleat Hitch Its surprising how many people can't tie this knot properly
- Constrictor Knots make it a point of being difficult to untie. Its their job!
- Highwayman's Hitch makes it a point of being easy to untie, good for a quick hitch at the dock or where you need to get it undone fast
- Reef Knots are used to reef sails, otherwise they are very unreliable.
- Rolling Hitch A useful knot that can be tied on another line to pull some slack so you can untie a knot or untangle a winch line.
- Sheet Bend joins 2 ropes together
- The Stopper Knot stops a knot from running out of a cleat. 2 styles
- Truckers Hitch helps tighten a rope around a canoe on a car or on a trailer.
- Farmer's Loop Similar to the Trucker's hitch, easy to tie.
- Round Turn and two half hitches a useful multipurpose knot
- The Fireman's coil keeps your coiled rope from getting tangled.
- Buntline Hitch, a very old knot that has found a new life with modern slippery rope