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Thread: Rope fender material

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default Rope fender material

    To keep away from a too plasticy look for my boat, I propose to make some rope fenders. I can buy hemp rope from Amazon in a wide variety of sizes. The only concern I am having is the description indicates it is oiled. Of course, the oil must improve the longevity of the rope, but I wonder if the oil will rub off on the boat, an outcome I would prefer to avoid.

    So the question is should I go ahead and use oiled rope, or is there a better alternative available? Are my concerns about oil rubbing off on the boat legitimate?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rope fender material

    Dunno what else you can find in the US, coir would be favourite for fenders but I suspect sisal will be available and cheaper than hemp. A wash in a strong detergent should degrease the surface of the fender if you use oiled fibre.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rope fender material

    I have been much happier making fenders from cheapest three strand nylon. It's softer than any natural except cotton. I also like making the fender fatter and softer than happens with just rope.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rope fender material

    I prefer Manilla. Coir is said to have a tendency to scratch the topsides. The ones I made from Coir was used on a plastic boat so I don't really know how scratch they are on a varnished surface.
    I have also used Spunflex, which may be the best choise when it comes to longevity.

    /Mats
    My blog about my time as a boat building student, a rigger apprentice and Journeyman http://kaptenmohsart.blogspot.se/

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Rope fender material

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    I have been much happier making fenders from cheapest three strand nylon. It's softer than any natural except cotton. I also like making the fender fatter and softer than happens with just rope.


    Ian, are instructions to be found somewhere that describe how to make these?

    Jeff

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rope fender material

    I was hoping someone would ask.

    The past few years Jim M has been making fenders at the PTWBF while hanging out in the dory he built for traveling the Grand Canyon (he's always been just across the dock from the pirate-dude). I've been suggesting he put on a real tutorial one of these years.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  7. #7

    Default Re: Rope fender material

    I made fenders out of 3/4 manila from Amazon last year. For a few weeks they smell oily but dry out quickly

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Default Re: Rope fender material

    An alternative is Hempex, the original faux hemp line available from R&W Rope. Stays much softer than natural fiber line in salt water. You should realize that anything other than a modern fender will bring a lot of water onboard, sometimes including small marine critters that then do laps in your bilge. Just sayin'...
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default Re: Rope fender material

    The rope on Amazon is inconsistently labeled as manila or hemp so I am not sure what you would get. I bought some T.W. Evans manila rope from them last year for the specific purpose of making fenders. Save your money. Below is the text of my 2 star product review:

    I've been working with laid rope for 40 years, using it for various boat related purposes. I bought this rope for the purpose of making some rope fenders for my sailboat. I have to say that this is the worst manila 3 strand rope that I have ever worked with. It is laid very soft and, coupled with the coarse fibers and inconsistently laid strands, it is difficult to work with. To make up for the poor construction, the fibers are coated with some binder. This is not really a big deal, but is unnecessary in quality rope. To make the rope fenders you have to unlay the 3 strands and then weave the fender around a core. With this rope, the unlaid strands were hard to manage because they had very little twist (i.e. a very soft lay). The rope fenders I made were ok but it took a lot of effort to compensate for the poor quality strands. I reckon this product would be ok for utility use, but if you intend to either rely on it for critical or ornamental applications, you can do much better. Bottom line: It's crappy rope that's great for stuff where good rope is unnecessary. I won't be buying more.
    - Anything you can't have fun with is not worth taking seriously.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    Pleasant Valley NS Canada
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    Default Re: Rope fender material

    "...are instructions to be found somewhere that describe how to make these?"

    Get thee hence and buy thee a copy of The Bible of ropework, Ashley's Book of Knots. Thou shalt then be blessed with information for a lifetime...

    (There are plenty of other books, but this is the most comprehensive that I know of. Very spendy when new and in hardcover, but used and/or paperback will be significantly less.)
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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