Braided rope is made in two basic constructions. Each has a number of variations, so the end product can be made to match the work it’s intended to do.
Bundles of yarn are wound into strands before braiding. Typically – but not always - higher quality products will use twisted strands. In making some diamond braids, half the strands are twisted in one direction while the other half are twisted in the other (referred to as "Z" and "S" twists), and are alternated in braiding so the fibers are parallel to the axis of the finished rope, resulting in a stronger, balanced product that is less likely to kink or tangle. Our double braided wire pulling ropes are produced this way.
The basic braid types are:
Solid Braid, where strands of yarn – usually 9, 12 or 18 strands depending on the size rope being made - are braided in a lock-stitch pattern. This construction does not tend to unravel at the ends as others do.
Solid braid is round and firm even without a core, but one is often added to reduce stretch or otherwise enhance the product’s suitability for a given job.
Diamond braid, where the strands - usually 8, 12, 16, 24 or 32 strands for the products we're discussing (some industrial products use diamond braids made from up to 144 strands of fiberglass) - are braided in over and under patterns.
Diamond braided rope may be made with or without a core. When made without a core (hollow braid polypropylene is a popular example) it's very easy to splice, but is usually not very round or firm and it flattens when used over pulleys.
To make a double braid rope, a second diamond braid rope is braided over one similar to the above. The overbraid may be of the same fiber as the core braid, or it may be a different fiber.
When an non-braided, or parallel core is used, the core material can be anything from seconds carpet yarn to precisely twisted strands of premium materials such as Spectra or Kevlar, depending on the end use. High end applications using this type of construction - often referred to as 'kernmantle' - include climbing, caving, and rescue ropes.
Because there are hundreds of combinations of constructions and fibers available - for weather balloons, structural composites and other 'off topic' products, these links will cover only those commonly used by specialty building contractors: