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The types of natural-fibre rope supplied

Many of my customers will be securing their ropes by passing the end through a hole drilled in a post and tying it off with a simple over-hand knot. That works well and is simple to do but there are other ways so this page will also go though some of them.

Rope through hole in post and tied off
Probably the most common way of making a rope and post fence or just running a length of rope between posts.

32mm Manila lead through holes in posts and secured with a knot. Designer Catherine Clancy 07879 661923Assuming you are using wooden posts then all you need is a suitably sized hole saw, a good powerful drill and, if you are drilling thick green oak posts, patience!


A set of hole saws suitable for drilling through wooden postsYour choice of hole saw will obviously depend on the size of rope you have chosen, don’t forget to check your actual rope before you start drilling the holes as rope can and does vary from batch to batch and even along a length. Also, if the rope is wet or even damp it will be thicker than when it is dry. My advice would be not to aim for a tight fit between the rope and the hole as it makes it much harder to thread the rope through.

If you want the rope to go round a corner then try this

32mm Manila rope passing through a 4 round, corner post. (ex 32mm through corner post 44mm hole 1)You will need to make the holes larger than normal and it takes a bit of fiddling but the end result is very neat. I used a 44mm hole saw for this 32mm Manila when I would normally use a 38mm one. Make sure the post is thick enough to take the holes and still be strong enough.

TIP: Try starting to thread the rope through from the middle posts in a run and work towards the two ends, that way you won’t have to drag most of the rope through every single post.

24mm Manila lead through a hole in a 75mm post and secured with an overhand knotSecuring the ends with a simple overhand knot makes adjustment nice and easy whilst being very secure. Leave your rope to settle down and once you are happy with the way the rope is hanging you can insert screws through the posts and into the rope, just to prevent any creep. Make sure you use good quality brass or stainless steel screws to avoid unsightly rust marks. If you don’t want to use knots to secure the rope and you have fairly thick posts you can just use screws to pin the rope end and stop it pulling back through. This won’t be as secure as using a knot and I would not recommend it where the rope will be subjected to large loads, eg children sitting on it. You can improve the holding power of the screwed method if you run the rope through the post and then down, or up, screwing the tail onto the side of the post.

Rope tied to post
Possibly my favourite, especially when used with round posts.

32mm Manila rope clove-hitched to round postsProbably the best knot to use is a clove-hitch, basically the rope runs twice round the post, I can provide instructions or just do a web search You will need to use a screw or two to restrict any slackening of the knot and reduce the chance of it slipping down the post. However, you can easily hide the screws within the rope fibre’s so no-one will ever see them, please don’t use big washers or roofing nails, it really spoils the whole thing! Apart from looking great this method needs no tools except a screwdriver. You could even use this method on metal posts but you would need to drill a pilot hole in the post and use self-tapping screws, or even better have some form of bracket sticking out of the post to stop the knot sliding down.

Rope lead through or tied to Ring on Plate fitting
Galvanised Ring & Plate or Manger RingLoose metal rings attached to plates, sometimes called Manger Rings, are easy to mount on posts and rope can be threaded through or tied to them.


36mm Manila rope tied to a Ring & Plate fitting with an overhand knotIf the rope is just threaded through you may need some way to stop it “creeping” or “travelling”. Probably the easiest thing is to use a thin twine and bind the rope to the rings. I quite like the effect of tying the rope to the ring with an overhand knot

It can certainly be a good option when dealing with large oak posts and large ropes where drilling big holes would be very hard work.

TIP: You don’t want the rope to be a tight fit in the rings or you will struggle to thread it through to start with, particularly on a long length.

32mm and 24mm Manila rope eye-spliced to Ring & Plate fittingsI can also splice the ends of the rope to the rings which makes for a very secure fastening.


Prices for the galvanised fittings with a 48mm ring are £3.50. In Stainless Steel they are, for 24mm rope £5.00, for 32mm rope £5.85, for 36mm rope £6.40

Brass or Chromed Brass fittings
You will often see this type of fitting in use on barrier ropes in museums, post Wall mounting eye plate, hook end and mid-bracket, all in brass with 32mm Flax rope (ex 32mm flax end hook thro bktoffices, shops etc. The fittings I have are very well made and give a very elegant effect. Whilst they can be used outdoors it is much more common to see them inside. I aim to stock the fittings for use with 24mm and 32mm ropes.

These fittings are frequently used to support ropes as stair banisters and the 32mm Flax is a perfect rope for the job. I personally would advise against using hook ends to secure the ends of a stair banister because they are so easy to unhook. My worry is that maybe a child playing on the stairs could un-hook the top fastening and then the next person coming down the stairs reaches for the rope and it is no longer there. My suggestion32mm Flax rope hand rail secured by an overhand knot to a brass mid-bracket would be to use mid-brackets along the entire length of the rope with overhand knots to secure either end. By using a simple knot it is easy for you to adjust the rope and make the whole thing look great. It is possible to tie some very fancy knots in the ends but then there is no possibility of adjustment. This can be a problem when you find that the particular piece of wall you were about to screw the bracket to isn’t as sound as you had hoped, not unusual on the old cottage stair wells where these ropes are so popular.

The prices for the brackets are.

Rope Size Hook End Wall mounting eye plate Mid-bracket with cross screw
24mm £21.25 £5.95 £14.25
32mm £21.95 £5.95 £18.85

The prices are the same for Brass or Chrome finish and, as with my rope prices, there is no Vat to add and carriage is free for orders over £25.

I can occasionally source fittings for other rope sizes, give me a ring and I’ll see what I can do.

Giant Cup-hooks and Screw-eyes
Giant cup-hooks, suitable for 18mm and 24mm ropesThese fittings can be very easy to use and I have managed to find them in sizes suitable for up to the 24mm thick rope.

Giant Screw eyes, suitable for 18mm ropeYou can just screw them into a post and lead the rope over the hook or through the eye, They can be used to make a very effective gate with one end of the rope spliced permanently to an eye (or a Ring on Plate, see earlier) whilst the other end has an eye spliced into it for dropping over a hook.

24mm Manila rope supported by a Giant cup-hookI sometimes have these fittings in stock if you can’t find anything suitable in your local hardware store, give me a ring and we’ll see if I have what you need.

Screwing or stapling to a post
Whilst this is not always that elegant it can be useful in certain places that are less on view. In particular it is often possible to run a rope along the tops of posts, preferably in a groove cut in the post top, with the rope secured with screw(s). For thinner ropes, up to about 18mm, you can often find suitable fencing staples. I have found staples big enough for the 24mm rope, they are sold as hasps for farm gate latches, but they are so chunky you are likely to seriously loosen the post when you hammer them in! If you chose the right staple you can trap the rope and stop any creep of slack but I would always back it up with a knot when securing the end of the rope

Suggested uses of natural-fibre rope
Shrinkage & how much rope do I need?
Finishing the rope ends
Attaching rope to posts & walls
How long will the rope last?
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