Friday, January 1, 2021

Sewn Splices

 Traditional splicing of rope eyes is the gold standard, but there are times when it is not practical:

  • The line is old and stiff.
  • It is a line, like climbing rope, that cannot be spliced by conventional methods because the cover is too tight.
  • The position of the splice must be precise.

 Enter the sewn splice. This is often seen on sails, and can be made strong for larger eyes by using more stitching. The strength is about the thread strength x number of passes, and add a 50% safety factor. Also protect from chafe with a webbing or other covering.

I've been using sewn splices for 30 years and I have not experienced a failure yet, though I do cover those that are exposed to chafe.

I made this video for Good Old Boat Magazine as a companion for an article on the topic some years ago.


  1. how do you splice old rope please?

  2. It is very difficult, and as stated above, this is a common reason to use a sewn splice.

    Always learn splicing on new rope with a relatively loose weave, like dock line. But if you feel determined, wash the rope thoroughly and use a healthy dose of fabric softener. Take your time with the fid when opening the cover. Bunch the cover up more than normal, since milking it back will be a battle.

    Or just use a sewn splice.