How to Take Care of Rope
National Braiding takes tremendous precision to manufacture rope to exacting standards and specifications. The ropes are made from high quality yarns and therefore new ropes maintain the original specification conformance. Rope can last for a long time and retain its properties should the rope have proper care. Using a durable fabric bag to store or transport rope, prolongs its lifespan. Damaged rope can fall apart during use and cause untold damage and injury to persons and property alike. Therefore it is important to take note of the various key points required to prevent damage and replacement of rope, in general.
Unreeling new rope
Remove new rope from a reel by pulling the rope from the top of the reel whilst the reel is free to rotate. Never unreel rope from the side as it causes kinks and strand distortion.
Synthetic rope has higher recoil tendencies than natural fibre rope. Never stand in line with rope under tension – if the rope fails it can recoil with lethal force. Reverse rope ends regularly as it permits even wearing and assures a longer, useful life span.
Abrasive conditions should be avoided at all costs for rope applications and storage. Any rope can be severely damages if subjected to abrasion, sharp edges or rough surfaces. Chocks, bits, winches, drums and other surfaces must be kept in good clean condition without burrs or rust. Pulleys must be able to rotate freely and the correct size to avoid excessive wear. Do not drag rope over the ground as dirt and grit picked up by the rope can work into the strand and damage the internal fibres.
Dirt and salt cause premature wear. Frequently wash rope with fresh water and a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly and hang out to dry.
The tensile strength is the load at which a new rope, tested under laboratory conditions, can be expected to break. Age, usage, storage conditions and type of terminations (knots) will lower tensile strength
The working load for most ropes is between 5 and 20% of the listed tensile strength depending on the age and condition of the rope. When you tie a knot, it effectively cuts the tensile strength by half. The knot when tensioned, cuts the line. Whilst certain types of knots damage the line less than others, the 50% loss of tensile strength is a good general rule to adopt.
Extreme temperatures has an effect on tensile strength of the rope. The tensile strength reports are tested under normal room temperatures. Continued exposure to high temperatures can distort synthetic rope fibres and cause permanent damage. Never dry a rope in front of a fire or store the rope near a stove or heat source. The heat weakens the synthetics fibres in the rope, thus reducing the tensile strength.
Rope should be stored in a clean dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme heat. Some synthetic rope may be severely weakened by prolonged exposure to UV rays. A notable indication of degradation is when the surface is scraped off, it results in a powder residue.
It is generally advisable to prevent exposure to chemicals where possible. Synthetic fibres have a good chemical resistance but exposure to harsh chemicals like acids, alkalis and organic solvents should be avoided. When the surface of the rope rubs off in a powder residue, can be indication of a chemical attack.
Inspect each line before using. Although it is impossible to always guarantee when the rope has to be replaced, it is imperative to check for frayed strands, broken yarns, mechanical, temperature and chemical damage. Kernmantle ropes will show “boogers” (tufts of white thread peeking through the mantle) which is a clear indication of damage to the core. Regular inspection before use is imperative to ensure that the rope is still serviceable. If there is any doubt as to the safety of the rope, replace it immediately.