How to make a tow rope

armyjillwheel01 Have you finished your jeep or other World War Two military vehicle? Or maybe you have just finished the bumper? Great! You might be ready to decorate the front end with a tow rope. How many of these vehicles actually carried rope? I have no idea. However I do know that rope, 1-inch diameter, 300 ft length was available to at least second echelon maintenance. In order to make a tow rope you will need to find the 1-inch diameter rope, approximately 24 feet is needed (this is about the length necessary to make a nice looking bundle on a jeep. The completed rope obviously will be shorter than 24 feet as you will make a loop for both ends, so consider this if you are making a tow rope for something with a larger bumper. Before you begin, you should consider the following proper care of rope lengthens its usefulness. Observe the following precautions:

  • Do not store in wet, damp, or hot places.
  • Clean muddy rope by washing in water.
  • Dry before storing, but do not use artificial heat.
  • Avoid pulling over sharp edges.
  • Avoid dragging rope through sand or dirt. Sand has an abrasive action on the inner fibers.
  • Keep rope free of contact with acid, alkali, or other damaging chemicals.
  • Use knots that can be untied and will not have to be cut.
  • Repair broken strands as soon as possible.
  • Slaken dry, taut lines when exposed to rain or damp weather.
  • Always whip loose ends of rope, and when cutting a length of rope put on two whippings and cut between them.
  • Inspect rope frequently.
Of course, you’re going to want to install this rope on your bumper and this is going to cause you to “violate” several of those precautions listed above. I suggest that you use this “tow” rope as a vehicle decoration and not depend on it to be functional. If you do you, do so at your own risk. Get yourself a modern tow rope for real work. The loops or “eyes” that go on the end of your tow rope are made with what is called an eye splice. The eye splice is also used to secure a rope permanently to a ring or becket and for making a per-manent loop in the end of a rope. To make an eye splice- ropeA Showing tuck of strand “c” a. Unlay (lay is the twist of a rope) about five turns on the end of the rope and pass the middle free strand (b) under a strand of the rope so as to form a loop of the desired size. See figure one. rope1

Figure – 1

b. Pass a second free strand (a) under the next strand of the rope. See figure two. rope2

Figure – 2

c. Pass the third free strand (c) under the third strand of the rope as shown in “Inset A”. Tuck the free strands into the rope (over one strand and under the next). See figure 3. The ends of the splice may be tapered by continuing the tucking process for two or three tucks, cutting out a few fibers from each strand after each tuck. Rolling the splice (under the foot or under a board) will make it compact and smooth.


Figure – 3

d. Draw all the strands taut and cut off the loose ends. See figure 4. rope4

Figure – 4

Now go to work on the other end of your tow rope. Once completed you can choose to wrap the rope around your bumper of choice…or you can shoot for a tow rope holder!

Sources: This information was extracted from FM-105, June 2, 1943; Basic Field Manual Engineer Soldier’s Handbook and also TM 10-475, December 1943; Quartermaster Handbook Truck Company.