This manila rope terminations page is in response to requests - not to say pleas - for information about ways to start, connect, and end lengths of natural rope used for decorative purposes.
These requests came from individuals and contractors working outside their specialties (shouldn't an electrician or a bricklayer know how to fabricate fiber rope??? why not???) working on landscape projects.
An online search - then another online search - made clear two facts:
(1) There are a lot of connections for wire rope, and
(2) There are not a lot of connections for fiber rope.
Of course, drilling holes in a series of posts, running the rope through the holes, and tying knots at the first and last posts is the standard, and is simple enough. (If you choose this method, get your rope before drilling the holes - natural ropes often run over size). And metal pipe clamps will work as well.
However, it's pretty simple to fabricate connections if you want something a little diffferent in appearance or if you want to be able to disconnect one or more lengths of rope, to use the rope as a sort of gate, to take it down for the winter, to use it as temporary crowd control, or to attach it at a wall rather than a post.
These are for decorative, not load bearing projects only - strong
enough to hold the rope in place if done well, but that's about all.
First choose a piece of wood about twice the diameter of the rope you're working with. For the photo on the left, a rectangular piece was cut from a post; the others were cut from decorative caps for deck posts. (Harder woods work better here; cedar looks good, but tends to crack during fabrication.)
Drill a hole a little wider than the rope diameter and at least as deep. Be sure to leave at least an inch of wood beyond the end of the hole; this is where you'll put hooks, eyes, or other fastening means. Then glue the rope in the hole with a strong waterproof epoxy. Put some epoxy between the rope strands first so it soaks into the rope and gives the reinforcing bolts (next step) something extra to hold on to.
After the epoxy has cured, drill a couple of 1/4" holes through the side of the piece, through the rope and epoxy, and out the other side and insert bolts; countersink if you're ambitious and there's enough 'wall' thickness.
The final step is to attach the hook, eye, or whatever hardware you've selected.
If you have any comments, suggestions, other fiber / manila rope terminations you'd be willing to share, please send them via the contact page. Or if you have a photo a project that came out especially well and you'd like to show it off a bit (with or without credit) send it in and we'll use it if we can.