Introduction: The Last Splicing Tool I Build

About: I am a technical consultant in IT and Telecommunications, mainly for international data and multimedia networks. In my free time I enjoy sailing, being in my attic workshop and make stuff for my house or my se…

As a sailor I quite often want to splice eyes or rings into modern ropes (allthough the books still teach you can't splice braided ropes ;-) ) . Over the years I have bought, used and made a couple of tools for this purpose - they all have their pro's and cons - until I joined a professional rigger opening his trick box a little bit for some interested folks like me. And here's what I took back from this enlighting exercise ...

Step 1: Design and Material

In fact this splicing tool consists of a wooden handle and a "u-turn" of steel wire. There is pulling force on the wire which dictates the way the wire is attached to the handle


I wanted a "U-turn" of ca. 20cm plus 10 turns of each wire end on the handle, so measuring the circumference of the handle as 70mm (x2 x10turns) plus 200mm (x2) I ended up at 1800mm ... generously rounded up to 2m

materials and tools used

circa 2m of steel wire with d=1mm

exactly 1 piece of round wood with d=20mm and l ~ 30cm (both dimensions are uncritical)

electric hand drill with drill bits 3mm and later 6mm

pliers, vice, permanent marker

Step 2: Preparing Handle and Wire

I started by drilling the following holes into the handle

  • H1: an axial hole d=3mm (don't do it now - keep reading!) to a depth of ca 40mm
  • H2: a radial hole d=3mm at ca. 30mm from the end of the handle ... I gave ca. 30° slope to this hole towards the end so that wire being pushed through the axial hole wouldn't need to turn by 90°
  • H3: another radial hole d=3mm at ca. 35mm from the end of the handle with no slope

Next I fixed one end of the wire in the vice, gripped the other end with the pliers and pulled until I felt a little lengthening of the wire. So the wire became perfectly straight ... but only for short because I folded it right in the middle to bring the two ends together.

Step 3: Completing the Build

Now I inserted the two wire ends at H1 and hoped they somehow appear again at H2 ... and hope dies last. So I bent a little angle ca. 10mm from wires ends and finally ended up by widening H1 to 6mm. This way I was able to make the wire ends appear at H2.

I pulled all wire through until the "u-turn" at H1 was my desired 200mm measure

Then I folded the wire up from H2 to the end of the handle for 20mm, followed by 90° in the direction of the circumference.

With the two wires running in parallel, I made 10 turns backwards to H3 and then run the wires through H3.

With the pliers attached as lever to the wire ends I started twisting the coil to tighten it and pull out of H3 what was possible.

When I was about to contemplate how to permanently fix the still outhanging ends of the wire, both ends broke exactly at the outbound of H3 because I seemingly had applied to much force or too much back & forth with my pliers ... OK this problem solved by itself ... I left it there

Step 4: Using the Splicer

This is not a splicing instruction for braided ropes ... please search the cloud ... there are plenty of good instructions available. I just want to show the principle of usage here:

  • after you have widened the braid, insert the tip of the splicer against the splicing direction
  • insert the braid to be spliced into the "u-turn"
  • pull until the braid comes out on the other end

I have masacred my splicing tool by fixing the handle in my vice to be able to apply more force on a braid which was used before and suboptimal for splicing ... so far it was forgiving.

I had to do 3-4 fails until I knew how much rope I had to unbraid before feeding it into the "u-turn" to get good grip on one hand but not to get the inside braid too thick on its way through the outside braid.

After having used this splicer a dozen of times I can say I prefer it over fids which you have to _push_ through the braid, and I like the fact that it's very thin compared to all these splicing needles and tubes.

I hope you enjoy reading this 'ible as much as I did on building and writing.