Wood and Rope Dog Leash




About: I like designing things, but don't like making more than one.

This project will make a leash that will make YOU the envy of everyone in the dog park.

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Step 1: Wood & Rope Dog Leash

Tools you will need:

Drill with 1/8" and 1/2" drill bits

Half round file


Sandpaper & Steel Wool

Your preferred wood finish.

Materials you will need:

1"x1"x5" piece of wood, pen turning blanks often come 1x1 and can be cut to size, they also provide a variety of beautiful wood options.

10mm (3/8") 3-strand rope (I use hemp rope from a bondage company to ensure softness)

Waxed twine

Clip for attaching to a dog collar

Step 2: Starting the Wood Handle

For the wood handle on this leash I start with a 1"x1"x5" piece of wood. As mentioned pen turning blanks can be a good start.

Make an X on each end of your handle and clamp it for drilling. Drill a pilot hole, then drill through with the 1/2 inch bit, this will perfectly fit your 10mm (3/8ths) rope.

Step 3: Wood Handle Finish

Once you have finished drilling your center hole (don't feel bad if you mess up a couple, I've been there) draw a line 1/2" in from the end and follow this line while shaping the handle with the rounded side of the file (as pictured).

Once the desired groove has been achieved use the flat side of the file to remove the edges from between the grooves so that the handle will be comfortable to hold. I like to do this part still in the clamp as pictured, if you choose to hold it, wear gloves, running a file across your hand will bum you out.

After the filing you will need to take sand paper and soften everything out. Wood finishing can be very complicated or very easy. If you want to keep it simple get a medium/fine sandpaper like 150 or 220 and sand until smooth and then rub with steel wool, always with the grain. My preference is to start with 80 grit, then 150, then 220 then two grades of steel wool ending with 0000. That will give you a beautiful smooth piece of wood.

After sanding you can finish with your desired method. In this example I used a home made shellac with two coats, but I generally prefer an oil/wax finish. The most simple form of oil/wax finish is to melt 2 parts beeswax in a double boiler (beeswax can combust, do NOT heat over an open flame) once liquid, mix in one part walnut oil with the beeswax and cool, rub onto the wood with a soft lint free rag.

Now you're done with your wooden handle!

Step 4: Splicing the Rope

Now to attach the 10mm (3/8") rope we are going to use a traditional splice and whip. There are some pretty good video tutorials for this but we'll see what we can do with images.

First thread the rope through the wood handle.

Unwrap about 6" from the end of the rope and tape the ends of the strands. At the point you want the loop to close, lift one strand and thread the center strand from the other end under it. Repeat with the other two under the remaining strands and pull tight. Continue as pictured until the woven part is a satisfactory length.

The pictured woven part is shorter than I normal use, as this is just for instruction, the 6" you started with should give about 4" of weave.

Step 5: Whipping the Splice

To secure the end of the splice we will use a traditional sailors whipping. I took several pictures of this part as it is easier to show than to describe, follow them and you should be fine.

Take a piece of waxed twine about 3' long and bend over the end of the twine into a loop at about 3 inches, lay it along the rope as pictured with the loop past the point you want the whipping to end.

As a general rule you want the whipping to be one and a half times the width of the rope. Start wrapping accordingly.

Once you have wrapped the desired length (and snipped the rope ends), put the wrapping end through the loop and pull the end on the far side of the wrapping. This will pull the loose end under the wrappings, stop when it has reached the middle of the whipping and cut the ends. This will hold everything securely in place.

The handle is finished.

Repeat this process on the other end for the clip to be attached to the leash.

Step 6: Take Your Dog for a Walk

You are finished, enjoy your sturdy beautiful new leash!

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016



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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Great idea. I just happen to be in need of a leash for our dog! I love your spin on it. I think I'll try to make one like this one but with a looped handle without using wood.


    3 years ago

    Such a clever, beautifully done project! Bookmarking it for when I can finally have a puppy of my own :)


    3 years ago

    oh yea, let's see a picture of the leash in action with your doggie.


    3 years ago

    very nice, I always wanted to know how to splice rope.


    3 years ago

    Well written. I've been thinking of finding the perfect size leashes for my two dogs of different sizes. No excuse now for not making my own. Thank you