So, I have been playing around with splicing Amsteel Blue for about 2 years now. It has been a fun little thing to do while getting my couch potato on after the kiddos hit the sack. I have also always been intrigued by knots and the like since I was a wee lad in Royal Rangers ( Pentecostal Boy Scout Equivalent) . I would spend hours tying knots, seeing how quickly I could do them. I have been asked SO many times, “How did you do that?” Well…frankly I could tell you but I would “have” to kill ya! But in all seriousness, I am just a guy who likes to tinker so I am by NO means an authority on this subject BUT, I figured I would spread the wealth and show you how I make a 3/8 Amsteel winch extension / bridle / sling that can be used with your winch for just about anything you can let your mind wander to do. Below is just a small list of the things I can come up with.
- Bridle to spread load on a bumper ( shorter line length 5′ ish)
- Attach a winch around a slider, tube bumper or roll cage
- Tree Saver ( in a pinch) the line is really a little narrow and MIGHT cut into a tree, I would suggest using a 3″ + tree saver instead
- Winch Extension ( make the line as long a you would like)
- Straighten a bent tie rod on a solid axle
- Smaller versions made from thinner line 7/64 is one of my favorites can be used around camp for a ton of things too.
There are many ways of creating splices, this is just one way to do it; this type of eye splice is made using a locked brummel with access to two ends. A locked brummel is beneficial because it locks the size of the eye in place without the need for stitching and keeps about 85% of the line strength if done perfectly, The keyword being PERFECTLY. Alternatively, a long bury eye splice can keep the breaking strength the highest at close to 100% line strength, but the eye can slip if it is not under load and is not stitched in place and again only if it is done perfectly.
The Nitty Gritty
Let me just get this out of the way now. I am a guy, on the internet, who makes stuff. Take what I say with a grain of salt ( dont do this at home). So here is as many photos and a description of what is going on in the photo as possible.
What you need
Lets start with what you need, pictured below ( some of it is invisible) is…
- 3/8 12 strand amsteel “blue”
- 2″ and some 1″ hollow nylon tubing ( my preference is this climb rated Blue Water Ropes hollow nylon tubing, it’s pretty legit! )
- Measuring tape
- Cutting board
- Big permanent marker
- Stupid sharp knife; A break away razor blade knife works great as your blade WILL get dull cutting this stuff, its tough as nails!
- Masking tape
- Welding wire or a fid
Okay so, here are my measurements for a roughly 5′ long , excluding the eyes, sling. Keep in mind, if you just change the body length you can essentially crate a winch extension 😉
Eye – 7″ x 2 = 14″
Burry – 18″ x 2 = “36 ( this is now correct) we initially posted the wrong burry length which should have been 2.25 fids
Body – 60″
- Total Cut Length – 140
- Eye Sleeving – 6.5″ x 2
- Body Sleeving – This is really up to you on how much you want. I would suggest at least a good couple feet of it, I just cover the whole thing. More is better, right?
Mark your line at 140″, tape that sucker up and cut it in the middle of the tape, taping the line prevents it from unraveling/fraying away as you work with it. It may seem menial, but trust me, it is no fun to have your line start to unravel/fray as you work with it.
Next we are going to cut the eye sleeving from the 1″ hollow tubing, 2 x at 6.5″ . I like to take a lighter and melt the ends so they dont’ fray. I think next time I am going to grab some Plasti Dip, like in the paint can style and “DIP” my ends along with melting them to provide a little more protection against fraying. Yeah, it will take a little bit longer and you will have to wait for them to dry BUT; more, is., better, right?
Next you will want to mark your amsteel from each end at the 18″ then the 25″. I mark all the way around the line, it makes it easier to see when working with the line. Hey, there is my favorite permanent marker that was previously invisible. Side note if you want something that will write on top of oil, grease and just about anything else, THIS is the one.
Making the Eye of the splice
Slide one of the 6.5″ sleeves on to the line past your first line. Here is where you will need to feel like MacGyver and disassemble a ball point pen to do something AMAZING!
Expand your line by pushing it together, you will see it start to open up like in the photo below.
Now take that MacGyver pen move, and gingerly shove it in the middle. You will want to make sure not to split any of the main strands apart and make sure you have it in the middle by counting the number of main strands on each side of the pen
This is where things get a little weird, by weird I mean your wife will look at you awkwardly from across the house then move to the other room because you are doing “things” to a line. Listen, its okay. Your pointer finger, well at least my sausage fingers, makes a nice tapered, um, reamer to make the hole as big as you can.
You can now take the taped end and put it through the reamed hold you just made in your line.. OHHH AHHHHH!!!
I know you are all excited at this point, the suspense is killing you! Line up the two marks you have made, pushing the sheathing back to meet up with the long side of the line as pictured below.
Now take your MacGuyver tool again but this time you are going to put it just on the inside of the line you marked on the short side or the “tail”; make sure to get it in the middle and count the number of main strands again to make sure you are in the middle. IMPORTANT: One thing you are going to want to make sure you do with this, is make sure that this hole lines up in parallel with the first hole as close as you can get. You can see how the pen sits parallel with the eye. Any twisting of the line in the lock of the splice can reduce its strength.
Once you have tapered your hole with your highly technical reamer you can feed the long end of the line through like so. Notice, again, that the line is running parallel with the eye.
Pull the long end of the line all the way through. Now hold on to the eye with one hand and pull on the long side to lock in the eye. The two lines that you marked should be reallllly close to touching, If so , pat yourself on the back!
So, now you will want to repeat the sames steps you did above for the other end except you will get to the step where you put the long end ( which has an eye in it currently) and you will begin to question if the long end of the line will actually fit through the hole your technical reamer just made.
I will tell you this, squeeze the eye of the end that passes through so that it is a flat as possible then get to shoving! IT WILL FIT, its is going to bring back memories of you seeing your first child being born, but, in the end you will be amazed at what can actually fit through that tiny hole. And yes it will go back to normal, just as… ahem.
Pull the line through and again hold the newly formed eye and pull on the long end of the line to lock the eye in place.
You should now have something that looks as fancy as this. The next steps are where we bury the tails of the splices.
Burying the tails
Remove your anti-fray/ravel tape on one end and lets begin to taper the tail for bury. This step ( tapering) is good practice. So here is what I do when making a bury, its kind of confusing process and I still sometimes muck up my counts BUT here it goes.
Start at the end of the tail, count 4 pairs back, hold the end of the tail and pull two pairs out. Now, skip two pairs and pull two pairs, then skip two more pairs then pull two more pairs. You should end up with something similar to what is shown.
Take your knife and cut these pairs off as close to the tail as possible. What you have effectively done is reduce the diameter of the line to half by gradually removing pieces of line to taper the end.
Now,here comes another one of those things that was missing from the photo. I use a piece of welding wire folded over in half. There are several ways to do this, one of the best I have seen is using the Factor 55 fast fid, which you can get from a number of places but I suggest one of these two, SRQ Fabrications and Apex Overland. What we want to do is fish the line up from about double the length of the tail in the middle of the long end of the rope and out JUST at the base of where the tail is, giving it room to fold over nicely and into the rope to bury. You can see this in the next couple pictures
Take the tail and feed it through the bent welding wire as shown, this will allow the wire enough to bite on to the end of the tail to start pulling it into the rope.
Here you can see here me starting to pull the tail into the line. This can be tricky if not using a fid but it is possible and it will take some tugging for you to get it started but once you do it should go pretty smooth.
We will want to pull the tail out of the same hole we put the wire through to pull it through.
Now “milk”. yes milk. What? Thats what they calll it. Milk the tail into the line by holding the eye and running your hand down the rope grasping it firmly to put the strands back into a tight weave.
Do the same steps above for burying the tail and VIOLA, you should now have something similar to what i have below.
Now you can cut the middle sheathing to what ever length you want, again, I cover the entire length of the rope. I cannot give you an exact measurement on this as it will vary based on how long you make your sling, extension etc.
Now lets repeat something, I am not a professional, I am not liable for what you do with this information, do with it what you will, but please don’t make your life count on this as I don’t want to be at your funeral if something bad happens.
This all said, I hope it has peaked your interest and you have learned a little about the things you pay other people to do. I will be continuing this series on knots and splicing so keep an eye out for other useless tutorials from #TaterSalad