Making Your Own Rope Kits
Rope kits are real boon to teaching yourself or others how to tie knots. Once the manipulation of the materials is clearly understood with the ropes, then it’s a cinch to learn the knots in the real materials—like backing, leader, and tippet to fly.
I use two different diameters of soft, braided (not twisted) nylon or polypropylene ropes: 1/8 inch and 3/16 inch. This allows the user to practice knots that join different diameter materials, and to allow the user to designate one diameter as one material (fly line for example) and the other diameter as a different material (leader butt for example).
I normally make the two pieces each 3 feet long. This is enough to tie any knot and still not too long to be cumbersome. The ends of the ropes should be heat sealed, which is an easy process if one is making a single rope kit. Just melt the ends a bit.
When making many rope kits for use in a school, the process is only slightly more involvedf, but still plenty easy.
Step One: Buy the ropes in 50 foot lengths–readily available at the hardware store. You’ll also need to 1 x 8 board, 17 1/2 inches long. Wrap the rope long ways around the board so that the turns do not overlap on one end of the board.
Step Two: Heat the tip of a sharp knife red hot with a butane or propane torch.
Step Three: While the knife tip is still red hot, cut the ropes across one end of the board. This will both sever them and seal the ends. Voila, a pile of ropes for the rope kits. Repeat with the other diameter.