A Short Splice of a Bell Rope

Alternative Long Splice Instructions

As this is a bell ringing association these instruction refer to bell ropes but they can be applied to any fibre rope. Ropes get their strength from the way the strands are twisted themselves and twisted together. When you splice a rope make sure you twist the strand as hard as possible in the original direction. With natural fibre ropes, it is much easier to work on the rope when it is thoroughly dry, a damp or wet rope can be very stiff and the splice may come undone when the rope dries.


Count back five complete turns from the ends of both ropes and tie each with twine to prevent further unraveling. This corresponds to 15 crowns on a three stranded rope. Unwind the ropes to the tie marks. Tape the strand ends to prevent them untwisting. With polyester or nylon ropes, the ends may be melted instead. Bring the ropes together so that the main bodies meet, alternating a strand of one with a strand of the other A1-B1-A2-B2-A3-B3, so they are meshed together.


Using strands A1 and B1, tie an overhand knot so that the ends come out across the main rope strands, not parallel to them. Rotate the rope toward you and repeat with strands A2 and B2. Rotate the rope again and repeat with strands A3 and B3.

With all three strands knotted together the splice should look something like the picture below.


Pull the knots tight, working around and around a number of times, tightening each knot in turn until the two ropes are locked together. Remember to keep twisting the strands as tightly as possible. Ideally the old outside surfaces should still be facing outside.


Remove the twine markers added in Step 1. Temporarily tape the loose strands of rope B to the body of rope A. This keeps them out of the way while working on the other side.


Weave the loose strands of rope A into rope B. To assist this operation use a marlinspike to lift the appropriate strand in the body of the rope. Take strand A1 which is tied under B1, lay it over B2 in rope B and under B3. Pull the strand through twisting it tightly.

Rotate the rope toward you and repeat with strand A2, laying it over B3 and under B1. Finally weave strand A3 over B1 and under B2.

Take a marlin spike, which should have a point that is not sharp. Use the spike to lift the desired strand. Prise the strand away from the core of the rope, being careful not to damage it. Lift the strand until there is room for the weaving strand to pass underneath.

Feed the strand through the hole.

Pull the strand through and twist it, so its fibres remain together. Pull the strand as tight as you can get it. Try to arrange the twist so the previous outside of the strand remains on the outer surface.

It is important that you correctly identify the appropriate strands, otherwise the splice will be uneven and lumpy. This is most difficult when weaving the third strand A3. This goes over B3 and under B1, but strand A1 could easily be mistaken for B1.


Repeat Step 5 again, this time laying A1 over B1 and under B2, then A2 over B2 and under B3, finally A3 over B3 and under B1. The result should be very symmetrical as below. If not, take apart and try again.


Turn the rope around. Remove the temporary tape added at Step 4 and repeat the operation in Steps 5 and 6 using the B rope strands. You should have a nice regular weave pattern. If not undo and try again. To aid finding the correct strands, natural fibre ropes can be coloured with a felt tipped pen.


Some people cut off the strands where they protrude from the rope but this leaves an edge that can catch if the rope passes through a hole. If the rope passes around a pulley or wheel it is preferable to make a long splice..

Rather than have a protrusion a more elegant method is to thin out each strand and tuck it into the rope until it completely disappears. With a manmade fibre rope, cut away half the yarns. With a natural fibre rope, untwist the protruding strand up to the point it goes into the splice. Comb out all the loose fibres using a metal toothed comb. Be ruthless at removing all the loose fibres. Twist back up again and weave this into the rope as in Step 5. Any little bits left over that can't be tucked in should be cut off.



Put the rope on the floor and roll it under foot until it looks perfectly balanced and not lumpy.

The Completed Splice

The splice is quite symmetrical in the knotted section and tapers away at the ends.

SFS 4/2014