Monday, February 14, 2011

Ropes and Cords

I should pass along a handy tip: Don't coil your ropes to store them, simply feed one end in a bag and hand-over-hand the rope into it steadily. And by bag, I mean a burlap bag, or even an old pillow case. You want a good cloth bag, though. (Or a woven plastic bag. Whatever livestock feed comes in should work. I don't know if potatoes are still shipped in burlap.)

Without cramming loops into it; instead just feed it in straight. Any which way it lies after you feed it in is okay. It will not tangle, or acquire a twist such as coiling will do. It is also better than "figure-eight-ing" your rope, which tends to acquire tangles thus requiring time-consuming hand-ties with string or whatnot. I guarantee it will come out of the bag as easily as it went in. No tangles and easy to store.

The funny thing is, I worked for a third generation timber man for a while, doing tree work, and we always had a hard time with storing the ropes. The "good way" took time, and even then tended to tangle when uncoiling the ropes.

We parted company, and I went on to start my flooring business. There, I had the same tangling problem with my electrical extension cords. I tried every way I knew of, including the famous "chain stitch" method, coiling, tying, and figure-eight-ing.

None were ideal. Either I'd spend far too much time stowing them, or else they'd get tangles. I finally came up with the idea to store them in four- or five-gallon buckets I would find for free and clean out.

When packing up, I would retain one plug end, then feed the straight cord in hand-over-hand letting it curl up any which way it wanted to in the bottom of the bucket. Takes practically no time at all. And comes out of the bucket completely straight. You can store one cord right on top of the other, or stack your buckets if you have several, nesting them so they take up less space. Often I'd just leave part of the cord in the bucket next to the receptacle and only take out the length I needed.

I saw my friend a few years later, and told him of my discovery, at which point he mentioned he had, in that time, discovered independently the value of storing his climbing ropes in a bag.

Needless to say, it seems one could use either buckets or bags for either one.

Here's a YouTube video of someone storing rope in a rope bag. A bit hoity-toity in that he uses a special-purpose, needlessly expensive bag for this, but his willy-nilly technique seems the correct one.

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