Saturday, February 11, 2012

2012 National Ropemakers Convention

The 2012 gathering of rope makers will be on June 8, 9, and 10, 2012 at Nelson's Pioneer Farm in Oskaloosa, Iowa. (
For more information contact Mike Cookson, MRM at 309-786-2218

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The History of Fiber and Rope

On this blog we will attempt to divulge the history of rope and fiber, and the affect that it had on the development of the United States. We will be adding to this post from time to time.
12-4 From the beginning of history, hemp, (cannabis sativa), has been the preferred fiber for making rope in Europe. It is easy to grow, requires little attention, and yields long, strong fibers which are required to make good rope. ...... more to follow!
12-6 The only shortcoming of hemp fiber was that , since it came from the stalk of the plant, it was prone to rot if not treated. The treatment of choice was pine tar. After the fiber was spun into yarn, the yarns were dredged through a bath of pine tar. .... more to follow!
12-10 In 1830 the first bale of Manila yarn, (Abaca), arrived in Plymouth. It proved to make better rope than hemp. Since it came from the leaf, it was naturally water repellent and did not have to be tarred. Unfortunately the only place that it grew was the Philipines. The transportation cost to import it was prohibative. It was not used until the invention of the CLIPPER SHIPS!

Dave and Mike

DAVE&MIKE, Ropesmiths Info


"DAVE & MIKE" started making historically correct cordage in 1995, after noticing that many Civil War Re-enactors were using nylon cordage in their portrayals. We are also available for consultation and demonstrations. If you would like more information, contact us at Ropesmith[at]aol[dot]com.


- Only artillery lanyard approved by N.P.S.
- hemp slow match - N.P.S. approved!
- Rogers Rangers' "Ranger Rope" (Commando Rope)
- Hand laid Hemp cordage for all
restorations and portrayals!
- Authentic Hemp Prolonge Rope!
- CW Era Lariats, Horse Leads and Picket Lines!
- Bed rope and tools!
- "The Ropemakers Handbook" - learn how!
- Old time "Rope Makers Music"!
- Consultation and demonstrations!



"DAVE&MIKE" are rope makers. They are the only suppliers of hand laid, "tarred" hemp cordage in the New World!!! They also offer machine laid hemp rope, and cordage related items for the living historian.

All "D&M" hand laid cordage is turned on a Mueller "Ropemaster" Machine.


Prior to 1830, all US Cordage was made from hemp. The first manila fiber arrived in the US in 1830 and was found to be a better fiber for maritime cordage than hemp. By 1850, much US Naval cordage was manila. Artillery, Cavalry and misc. cordage was still hemp. In the early 1900's the production of hemp was outlawed in the U.S. This was partly as a result from lobbying from oil companies who had just come out with a new product..........NYLON!!