How to Cut a Rope With Itself




About: Making is my passion!

If you not have a knife or scissors just use this lifehack and cut a rope where ever you want. This also usable in emergency or on a camping trip!

Step 1: Watch the Video

Thin is easy thick is hard but works ;)

Step 2: #1

Take the rope and step on each sides. Leave it loose between your legs. The cutting point will be on the middle between your legs.

Step 3: #2

Take the other end of the rope under the loose part between your legs and start pulling the upper part of the rope alternately. That was a nearly half inches or 12 mm rope so it's sweaty :)

Step 4: The End

It was interesting to try this solution and saw this really working. In case of emergency or just want to do some exercise give it a try ;)

That's the Shiftyway

Step 5: Don't Forget to Check Out the Video

As always thanks for your support

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    198 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction


    An answer to those who urge not to follow this and use a knife, or a lighter as it should be done.

    True, in activities such as sailing or camping one should always have a knife / lighter with him / her.

    But after 50 years of sailing in various boats, in all four seasons, and in different types of weather on difficult seas (North Sea, Channel, Irish Sea, North Atlantic, the Med...) I can tell you dozens of stories in which a knife should have been at hand but wasn't.

    Myself I got trapped solo sailing with the string of my oilies' hood stuck in a closed hatch that could be only opened from the inside of the boat : teeth did the job but it took a long time stuck in the cockpit with the wind piping and plenty of rope at hand and the knife gently hanging out of reach by only 50cm or so in the companionway... Ridiculous, but real. I do not see why someone shouldn't get off a situation because it ridiculous, it shouldn't have happened and he made a fool of himself.

    Moreover the Instructable tells how to cut rope with the same, not to use the cutting part of the rope that must be pretty chaffed by then, on the outside and / in it's core. So there is no point to blame the guy who wrote the Inst' for that.

    To be honest I am somewhat wary of people who ask for failfree behaviors at all times... It reminds me of an inexperienced crew who spent 28 hours telling us what to do (ie. as learned in books) while the rest of the us struggled with odds and ends to make the boat float and sail in a force 8/9 wind off the coast of Holland, without having much care about doing things the right way on deck nor the mess inside the boat where sleeping bags eerily mixed with bacon, wet charts, apricot jam, salt water, dirty socks and boots and ... vomit ...

    Therefore I often suspect that faith in the rules by those who know it all is inversely proportionaĺ to their real experience.

    I hope I am wrong on this point but we all know of accidents that happened to top experienced profesionals because they lacked a 10 cents piece of equipment at a crucial time.

    In which case a quick and dirty solution as the one displayed here may have done the job.

    Therefore I do not see the point of discarding a solution just because it is contrary to the elementary rules of safety that we all follow most of the time. The important word being "most of the time" : at all times is utopia. Safety experts all know this : in the direst situations inventivity is crucial even when contrary to regulations and safety precautions and equipment.

    Sorry for being so long, but yes I do feel this Instructable is worth keeping in mind despite it's obvious limitations which are not discarded by the autor.

    Thanks again to him.

    11 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    One very unfortunate situation from my hometown in my youth.. I grew up by a beautiful lake, it was a class A reservoir, approx 3mi x 11mi, glacierally carved and completely spring fed... Just gorgeous. We were good friends with the captain of the local tour boat (in fact he was the one who married us!) and one Summer's day a VERY tragic scene unfolded in front of him and his crew when a tornado touched down..

    Lake Sunapee's yacht club is home to star boat racing, so you do get world class sailors, even on such a small lake.. The gentleman in question was am America's Cup racer.. And a paraplegic. That day he did something you are NOT supposed to do.. He lashed his legs to the deck. When the tornado touched down and capsized the boat, he was trapped... And one could easily imagine that during a tornado and a boat capsize, your knife may well be knocked away from its proper place, or that it was out of reach and he assumed his very minimal crew would be able to hand it to him if needed... My parents lived in that New Hampshire town for upwards of 25 years, and while several hurricanes came through over the years, I think that was the ONLY tornado I ever heard about it was a freak storm. I'm sure you've guessed by now the fate of that sailor.. Fatalities were VERY rare on Lake Sunapee, but we had one that year. The aforementioned tour boat spotted them in distress and was able to save the rest of the crew.. But not him, tied to the deck. It particularly hit the young mates pretty hard to watch someone drown in front of them... But Cap'n Dave had a VERY hard and fast rule that unless you are trained in lifesaving, you never EVER jump in after a drowning person.. In their panic, they will do everything they possibly can to attempt to *climb on top of your head*, pulling you down with them. Unless you've been specifically trained in it, all you do is raise the casualties from one person to two people.. But it still really shook them up to have to witness it. Maybe if he had had an alternative way to cut through the rope he could have gotten loose and survived.


    Reply 2 years ago

    what type of boat do you sail, I'm only 11 years old and I still sail OPTi s I hope I never come into that sort of situation but I'm glad that I've read this and I'm glad that there somebody else who sails and sees how this could be useful !


    Reply 3 years ago

    I agree, Vincent7520. Goodness knows, I've had to make something up on the fly often enough. You never know what situation you're going to be in when you, in fact, go out and DO. Sometimes, "by the book" just goes out the window. I'd rather have the ability to improvise than wait for someone with "the book" to rescue me.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Not knocking the 'ible, but why didn't you just come out of the oilskin?


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    that was one of the most erudite comments i've seen in a while. I'd give more than a penny for to hear the conversation you had with yourself while you were chewing loose that oilies line


    2 years ago

    Great technique, i sugest for any doble brais rope, that you make a knot on each end ,so the core don't come out too much after cutting the cover.Cheers


    2 years ago

    LOL. I remember using this trick as a kid while flying kites back in India. It sure does work. It will weaken the cutting rope a bit (from the friction) but it sure does work. Great reminder.

    WhiteWolf McBride

    2 years ago

    Being a Hobbyist (R/C models) I've carried a pen-knife even in HS when I shouldn't have. I have ~never~ pulled it on anyone, even in my own defence. I checked the law locally, so the one I carried was within regulations.

    That said, within the law, one should always have a small multitool with a blade on their person (avoiding using a brand name here). Most multitools are legal where a knife alone would not be. And if possible, have it on a lanyard & carabiner so it stays with you unless you detach it purposefully! I also carry a lighter even though I do not smoke because it can be used to cut/seal cord-ends, and in a pinch defeat tye-wrap cuffs or even tape (not that I've ever been cuffed/arrested)

    In an emergency, I used a lit laptop screen as an area light to find a friends' knife. I often use my phone's screen now as a 'soft-light' instead of its flashlight mode (that uses the camera flash and is distractingly bright) Thinking out of the box is often very helpful.

    I agree, This 'ible has a place here, but only to be used if there are no other methods available. In reading the various incidents, I read how a hood-cord tied one down - why not let it slip out? I NEVER let cord-ends prevent a hoodie cord from slipping loose - if grabbed/caught, it pulls out instead of dragging me along. Safety First. The cord can always easily be replaced, your life can't.

    WhiteWolf McBride

    51 years and still alive.

    Don't do this! Use a knife! Really, why would you be ANYWHERE without a knife, unless you were on an airplane or in jail or maybe a courtroom? Be serious here. I am a seaman and rope, whether fiber or wire, is something I deal with daily, even hourly or minutely. The line used for cutting is now useless. The two new bitter ends still need whipping or at least taping. Actually they still need cutting. HAVE a knife, and USE THAT.

    For big stuff, like a ship's mooring lines, it is acceptable to tape the part to be cut very tightly, and use a hacksaw. If you just have a little girl's knife or you never bothered to learn how to make it sharp, that is an option. A hammer, over the edge of a heavy piece of steel, is also good. For very small stuff, a lighter works fine. But camping? Really! Why would you not have a knife and a spare knife too? How do you cut stuff? What if you need to cut an extra tent peg or two in stormy weather? How do you cut your food? Even beanie weenies require that a can be opened. A swiss army knife or a multitool open cans, trim fingernails, tighten screws, pull splinters, cut fishhooks, AND CUT ROPE. Get a knife. This is the real world. Parlor tricks just for the sake of an ible are just parlor tricks for the sake of an ible.

    2 replies

    Here in Ireland, it's illegal to have a blade of any kind with you. If you're found in possession of a knife, you'll just end up in the Garda Station, and that's only there you'll be asked to justify yourself.

    I agree you should never use this to cut a rope you intend to use it afterwards, this "trick" destroys the rope, structurally. However, if you don't have a knife and you're in need to cut a rope, whatever size, it's likely:

    - it's an emergency, you don't have much time to think,
    - you don't have a hammer nor a lighter,
    - the goal is actually to break the rope to free something or someone from it (applying Murphy's law, it usually happens underwater, your life is at stake too),
    - you don't care too much about the ends.

    I see this as an emergency life-saver, not something you should do on a regular basis. It's probably faster than grinding the rope with your teeth... Thank you for sharing this, I didn't know it worked.

    Honest-to-goodness, GrowleyMonster? You can't even carry a pocket knife at all? Good grief! I'm staying right here. I'm a great-grandmother and I use my edc pocket knife countless times every day.