At the end of my rope

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 11/24/06 11:51 AM

I recently purchased Richard Sanders DVD "Fiber Optics" (very well done BTW) and notice that in the DVD, Richard's ropes have very nicely trimmed ends, almost appearing capped. The ends of my rope are frayed immediately after I cut them.

I am looking for any tips or "tricks of the trade" to make the ends of my rope look & feel nice, thus extending the life of them as well.

Thanks for any input.

Postby Guest » 11/24/06 12:21 PM

I don't know the routine in question. Are you refering to they fraying during the routine after you cut them or preping before hand? If before hand I tuck the ends in and add a but of white glue and they are fine. I've also added a few stitches to the rope. If during performance I don't know what to tell ya.
Steve V

Postby Guest » 11/24/06 12:30 PM

Thanks Steve. Yes, I am talking beforehand. The routine in question uses no scissors or cutting during the routine. Just three different lenghts of rope (all can be inspected) cut beforehand. I am looking for a way to make the ends nice and neat. I'll try the tucking/glue idea. Thanks again.

Postby Pete Biro » 11/24/06 01:31 PM

I used to just wrap with a narrow strip of magic tape. Or dip them in white glue and re-trim.
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
Posts: 7125
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Guest » 12/10/06 01:29 AM


Steve's idea is the method used by Richard Sanders in his "Three Ropes and a Baby" rope routine. TRAAB preceded "Fiber Optics" and came with a set of the nice Camirand Magic Elite ropes. Fiber Optics is TRAAB on steroids.

Anyway, back to the ropes, I think that Richard used something like Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Glue in the ends AND he actaully squirted in a small glob at each end of each rope. This resulted in a slight imperceptible "swelling" or a slight "buldge" at the end of each rope. This is a great idea because the buldge assists you in two ways as you perform TRAAB or Fiber Optics, namely:
1. It helps you keep ahold of the ropes that nest inside of your little pinky finger (so that you don't drop the rope if your finger slightly lessens its pressure on the rope), and,
2. The small buldge provides a great tactile sensation of when you have come to the end of your rope (no pun intended) and it helps you know "when to stop" and to not pull the rope completely through.

So, after tucking the rope end back into the rope about 1", what I do is to pinch the rope end at that 1" place (to keep the glue from going past the frayed end) and I then shoot the glue into the remaining end until I completely fill up the end (except for the lastmost 1/4"-1/2") and the rope "end" starts to buldge from the glue inside. Massage this glue around until it is nice and uniform (and "round") and then let it dry. When dry, you'll have a nice rope to use.

Also, if you plan on HAND-washing your ropes (as they get dirty), make certain to NOT use a water souluable glue for this purpose. I think that Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Glue is not water soluable.

BTW, I think the reason that Richard does NOT fill in the last 1/4"-1/2" of each end of the ropes is because the glue he uses dries "slightly yellow" and would contrast with the bright white rope. If you are not washing your ropes, just use Elmer's White School Glue.

Hope this helps.


Postby Guest » 12/10/06 06:06 AM

I use this routine all the time. Just tuck the end's in with a pencil & forget about it i'v not had any problems, best for now Kevin.

Postby Guest » 12/27/06 05:36 PM

Mike, thanks so much for the detailed explanation. A very big help. Thanks again and have a Happy New Year.

Postby Guest » 12/27/06 09:02 PM

Happy New Year, chaps!

The method I have always used to prepare the ends of ropes is somewhat different, so I will add it here. I honestly can't remember when or where I learned to do it this way, but it works great, and lasts virtually forever.

--Near the end of your rope, tightly wrap white thread 8 or 10 times around the rope. Tie-off the thread with several knots, and clip ends of thread close.

--Bathe the thread and its knots in super-glue. Dry thoroughly.

--Trim the fuzzy end of the rope as desired.

The super glue dries as hard as a rock and has proven over the years to be indestructable.

If you'd want to "spiff-up" your ropes with say, a half-inch of a different color at the ends, it goes without saying that the number of available thread-colors is almost unlimited.

Postby Guest » 12/28/06 04:53 PM

I learned the method with the thread in the Boy

Scouts 50 years ago. Its called frapping .Dipping

the ends in white glue came later. Around the time

Professors nightmare came out( 1960 )....Mike

Postby Guest » 12/29/06 12:49 AM

It's also called "whipping" the ends of the rope.

Postby Guest » 12/29/06 06:48 AM

Ahh, the Boy Scout Handbook comes in handy yet again. Being an old Scoutmaster myself I used to tell my boys that with the Bible, the Boy Scout Handbook, and just for my magic friends a copy of Greater Magic, you will have all the tools you need to make it in life. Whipping is indeed the best way to keep your rope from fraying.
Peace, Joe

Return to Magic History and Anecdotes