The way you handle rope will determine its longevity and integrity. Once we have the optimum material, processed, manufactured and finished in the best possible way, we still have to take care of how we use and store it.
Excessive heat, light and moisture will all affect jute rope. Avoid storing your ropes close to heat sources, exposed to direct sunlight, or in a damp environment. Because twisted jute rope retains positional memory, it is not advised to leave it coiled in bundles for extended periods, and especially not stored in plastic where it may sweat.
Store jute rope at, or below room temperature, hanging loosely over a rail. This allows it to relax in a natural, dry airflow when not in use. A horizontal rail at a height over 2 metres permits an 8 metre folded line to hang freely without touching the floor.
Handling rope when tying can cause damage if the user accidentally pokes their finger/s through the strands. While a tight lay rope will help to prevent this, the filaments will also be under greater stress depending on the twist dynamics, and the rope will feel harder. Loose lay rope is easier to damage from poor handling.
Although it may take practice to perfect the technique, when hooking a line to draw under wraps, use the middle instead of the index finger, because it is longer and stronger. Pushing the finger through with the knuckles against the rope bottom’s flesh can be made easier by lightly wetting the finger tip with the inside of the bottom lip to help it slide under wraps.
When selecting the position to hook, it is better against compliant flesh than thinner skin over a bone, because pressure can be applied to provide space for the finger, and the rope to be passed under the wrap. Always ensure you have good purchase on the line you wish to hook. If you lose grip and have to grab it again underneath a wrap, this increases the chances of damage.
Certain ties require knots and bindings be tight for safety reasons. However, much like screwing a lid onto a bottle, an overtight knot or binding will be more difficult to undo, and may overstress the rope and break filaments within the yarns. A well–cabled rope will help to assist the grip of the knot or binding.
Accidentally poking a finger through the strands can cause serious damage. Local twist dynamics are compromised and the rope goes out of balance. Providing it is not too bad, the twist can be repaired by sliding your grip backwards and forwards along the rope to reestablish its integrity. Take care not to apply too much force and damage the rope balance further.
The most susceptible area to damage is the loop, or bight. While checking your ropes, if you feel this area is starting to show stress, prevent it worsening by shortening one end of the rope. The original loop position shifts away, and a new position becomes available.
Avoid passing your ropes over sharp or small radius fixings with tension applied, and especially if the rope is dry and unconditioned. The stress will generate breakages in the filaments and compromise overall strength. Prevent lines rubbing against each other under tension.
While jute rope is light and easy to work with, providing it does not contain any unwanted chemicals, it is generally friendly to the skin. It will not last forever with continued use. Acquire observational skills to know when it is time to stop using lines for higher risk, and when to retire them.
Keeping an eye on your ropes and inspecting them after every use will help you to know when to recondition to prolong their effective lifetime. Maintenance by re–singeing in a blue–flame and applying a light coat of jojoba oil can help your ropes last longer.