A Long Splice in a Bell Rope

Alternative Short Splice Instructions

As this is a bell ringing association these instruction refer to splicing 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. 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.


A long splice consists of three separate knots, one for each strand and labeled q r s in this diagram. To achieve this and leave tails for the knots. The two ends must be overlapped by four times the distance between each knot. A suitable overlap ( p to t ) can be from 16 to 28 inches. Often 6 complete spirals of a strand is used between knots, corresponding to 18 crowns. Therefore the overlap would be 72 crowns.


Unwind one strand of rope "A" to point q. Unwind a strand from rope "B" to point s. These will be used for the splice at point q in the next step. The points are marked on the picture below.


Drop the loose strand from rope "B" into the groove in rope "A". Wind the strand along the groove to point q. Take care to ensure the strand is kept twisted so the previous outer surface is still outermost. If this is not done, the splice will be soft and come undone.



When the strand has been wound up to point q, the splice should look like the picture below. The two loose ends at point q will be knotted later. It is important that the strand for point r is correctly identified. On the loose end of rope "A" at point t find the strand that is on the top side of the groove as you look at it. Unwind this to point r.

At the loose end of rope "B" identify the strand which is on the top side of the groove as you look at it. Unwind this to a point just right of point s. Whilst still keeping hold of it, wind it on to rope "A" in the groove just right of the first strand that crosses from "B" to "A", Continue to wind it along the groove in "A" to point r.

If the correct strands have been selected, each of the two strands will face one another ready for knotting in the next stage. If there is another strand in between, the unwind and start again.


Knot the loose ends as shown in the diagram, so the tails come out parallel to the other strands. Pull the tails and twist at the same time so the knot is as compact as possible. When all three knots are complete, the loose ends should be trimmed to slightly less than the distance from q to r.



Untwist each protruding strand up to the point it goes into the knot. Comb out all the loose fibres using a metal toothed comb. Be ruthless at removing all the loose fibres. Twist back up again in the same direction as the strand was originally twisted. It should taper away as can be seen in the picture below.



Taking each strand in turn, use a marlin spike to prise up alternate strands and weave the tapered tail of the strand into the rope. Firstly the tail goes over the strand it was knotted with. Then under the first strand next to the knot, over the next, under the following one. The drawing below illustrates the arrangement. Keep going, then cut off the end when there is insufficient to tuck in again.


Put the rope on the floor and roll it under foot until it looks perfectly balanced and not lumpy. The finished result should be a splice that is only slightly thicker than the original rope and will pass around pulleys and through holes without catching. The splice is in the centre section of this loop.

SFS 4/2014