View Full Version : Making Rope with a Hand Drill

05-09-2011, 02:37 PM
Making rope with a hand drill is very easy. The only drawback is that you need a lot of space. To make a 10' length of rope you need almost 40' of clearance. (in this example 38'set up gave 10' 4" finished product)
1. Tie one end of the twine to a fixed point. The ball of twine rests nest to the hand drill (hook instead of drill bit).
2. Near the fixed point place a "S" hook. Pinch twine at point A and place the pinched point over the fixed point B. Should look like right hand image.
3. Pull back with "S" hook to the hand drill (the "S" hook prevents rope burn). and put loop over hand drill hook. There are now 3 strands between the fixed hook and the hand drill hook.
4. Tie off.
5. Keeping tension on the twine turn the handle of hand drill CLOCKWISE until the twisted twine develops a kink when tension is eased.
6. Now repeat step 2 with the twisted twine. Once again the "S" hook prevents rope burn and you have 3 strands between the fixed hook and the hand drill hook.
7. Now twist COUNTER-CLOCKWISE with the hand drill handle. Over twist this a bit because any overtwisting will naturally disappear when tension is realeased.
8. Before releasing your new creation from the hooks tie a binding of some sort (clove hitch, constrictor knot, etc.) to prevent unravelling.

05-09-2011, 03:09 PM
That's cool, thanks for posting.
How well does it hold together?

05-09-2011, 03:36 PM
It works with an electric drill too. Only problem is finding a place long enough to allow winding, looping folding and continued twisting.

If you do this with artificial senew you can make some killer bowstrings. Espically if you use two different color sinew.


05-09-2011, 03:56 PM
Hunter 63
This particular rope was made from jute. It is biodegradable and will rot like all jute products will. I made the twine pictured below from nylon sewing thread that will last forever. Tony

If you use a electric drill make sure you can control the speed. Otherwise the control you have with the hand drill is superior Tony

05-09-2011, 09:47 PM
Great tutorial, and another instance when technology is inferior to manual methods. I love it!

05-10-2011, 07:09 AM
I had to give you some rep for that. Nice tutorial. Just whip stitch the ends and you'll have a nice smooth end that won't come undone. I like your method.

05-10-2011, 07:46 AM
I really enjoyed that, thank you.
A simple, low tech thing and so useful!!!

05-10-2011, 10:34 AM
My father has told me occasionally how he had made ropes like these in elementary school with a homemade mechanism that you would spin between your hands. Most of the kids would give them to their fathers for plow lines for the horse or mule. It's nice to see someone making anything with the old ways. And even better with the pictures.

05-10-2011, 11:32 AM
Thanks for that.

First time I saw this done was my stepfather making garland for the Christmas tree with red and white yarn. It's amazing to see the different strands "jump" together.

05-10-2011, 11:35 AM
Might want to check out this artical from an old issue of Mother Earth News:
When you get to the photo gallery, you need to zoom in of the pic's.

Kinda a home made version of the metal "Rope making Machines"

05-13-2011, 05:29 PM
I use the hand drill set up at home because of its mechanical advantage. At my net making demonstrations when I need heavier cord I use this club. One end of the twine is attached to a fixed point and the other end is attached to the notched end of the stick. The dowel acts as a handle and the stick is swung around twisting the strands. I call it a club because it really hurts if you hit your hand with the swinging stick. Tony