Whipping Ends

Whipping Ends to Prevent Unraveling

Whipping is a general term covering the treatment of the ends of a line to prevent them from unraveling or fraying. There are many methods with varying degrees of effectiveness. Wrap the line with wide tape before you cut it.

Taping –

Taping with durable tape such as vinyl or reinforced banding tape wrapped at least three times around works best, but don’t expect long-lasting results.


Heat Sealing –

Heat sealing of rope that melts (such as nylon, Dacron®, and polypropylene) can be an effective way to keep the ends from fraying . The best method for this is to securely wrap the line with wide masking tape where the cut is to be made. Cut the line in the middle of the tape. Melt the exposed line end with a propane torch rather than using a match. You want to melt the line, not set it on fire. You want a “melt plug” at least 1/16-inch thick to form in the end of the line. The tape will keep the plug the same size as the line. After the plug cools, remove the tape. Properly done, this method will seal the end of the line and prevent unraveling for years. Be very careful, as hot plastic causes severe burns.

Melted-Rope Whipping

Sleeving –

Sleeving using plastic shrink sleeves that are available at most marine stores in the electrical section is becoming widely used for small stuff. Select a size appropriate for your line size. Slip the sleeve over your line end and heat the sleeve according to the package instructions to shrink it in place on your line. This system will work on any line material and is a long-lasting way to whip line ends.

Shrink-Sleeve Whipping

Liquid Whipping –

Liquid whipping is an air-drying liquid into which you dip the end of your line. When it dries or “cures,” you should have an effective coating on the end of your line to prevent unraveling. This system also works with any line material.

Liquid Whipping

True (or Common) Whipping –

True (or common) whipping with small stuff is still the most attractive, most effective, and longest-lasting method of protecting your line ends from unraveling. And unlike the other methods, true whipping can actually reduce the size of the line where whipped, so the line end can be easily passed through any opening large enough for the working part of the line.

True Whipping

Whipping end of rope

The small stuff should be either waxed, 40# test, 3-strand Dacron® twine or 50-80# test Dacron® braided fishing line. To whip a line
  • Create a loop at one end of your whipping twine and place the loop towards the end of your line. The closed end of the loop should be facing towards the tail of your line for secure whipping. You’ll only need a short tail on the end of your twine.
  • Turn the working part of your twine around the rope, crossing over the twine to catch the loop underneath and hold it in place.
  • Keep making whipping turns until your whipping is at least 1.5 times as long as the diameter of your rope. Make sure you still have a bit of loop popping out of the top.
  • Tuck the working part of your line through the loop and pull it tight.
  • While holding the working part tight, pull on the short tail in your twine at the bottom of the whipping to tuck the loop into the whipping.
  • Trim off both tails as a finishing touch.