Creating a 3-Strand Eye Splice

There comes a time in the life of every boater when they desperately want a specific length of line with a permanent loop at the end of a line rather than just a knot – commonly referred to as an “eye splice”. Maybe you want to create a mooring line at a specific length, or perhaps it will be part of your anchoring bridle. You can also use an eye splice to form the rope around a thimble – giving it added strength when attaching it to a shackle, chain or wire rope.

 

By splicing the loop at the end of your line (instead of using a knot) you are making your loop considerable stronger (and safer). This Navigator will give you the information you need to create your own eye splice with 3-strand rope. If you’re a beginner, this is one of the simplest splices there is, so it’s a great place to start!  We also have Navigators for creating an eye splice with Class I double braid line or a rope to chain splice if you're interested.

Preparation

When splicing, it’s important to make sure that your technique is good to preserve the strength of the splice – especially if you’re a beginner. As you go, take time to make sure you keep all your strands nice and tight and that your tucks lie neatly since the rope can lose strength if the strands are twisted or laid incorrectly.

Before you start, it’s a good idea to gather everything you will need – including blue tape, scissors, a sharpie marker and some sort of lighter or torch (such as the Ancor Mini Pocket Torch) along with the 3-strand rope you want to splice. If you plan to add a thimble make sure it’s handy too.

Ready….Set….Splice!

  1. Prepare the 3-strand line for the eye splice.Prepare the Rope: From the end of your rope, count back approximately 16-20 “twists” or strands – it’s always better to have a little extra than to run out of line – so don’t skimp here! Apply tape at that point and then un-lay the strands from the bitter end back to this point. You should have 3 strands – tape the bitter end of each strand (to prevent it from unraveling) and label each one with the sharpie marker as 1, 2 and 3 (figure 1).
  2. Form the Eye: From the taped end, form a loop the size you want and then mark a line around the standing part of the line (figure 2 below). If adding a thimble, make sure the loop is just long enough to wrap tightly around the thimble and mark accordingly.

    Form the eye and tuck the first strand.
  3. Begin the Splice: Note the mark around the standing part of the rope – your individual strands will tuck under these marks. Tuck strand #1 under the nearest marked spot (figure 3 above). Then tuck strand #2 under the marked spot behind strand #1 (Figure 4 below). Turn the entire piece over. There should be 1 strand left on the standing part of the line that does not have a working strand under it. Tuck strand #3 under this strand – continuing to tuck counter to the “lay” or “twist” of the rope. You’ve just completed your first full tuck (figure 5 below), so remove the tape and tighten the tucked strands if necessary. If adding a thimble – install the thimble into the formed loop and tighten down the tucked strands so that the thimble stays in place and continue to make sure it stays tight as you continue your 2nd and 3rd full tucks. 

    Tuck strands #2 and #3 for the eye splice.
  4. Continue Tucking: Continue tucking the taped strands down the standing body of the rope. Each tuck should skip OVER the strand below and then tuck UNDER the next strand. When you’ve tucked all three strands you’ve completed a full tuck. All tucks should go right to left, so it may help to keep flipping everything over to avoid confusion.

    While tucking, it’s common for the free strands to want to untwist – not good! Take care to keep the natural twist in each strand as you are tucking – don’t let them untwist or unravel. Complete a minimum of 4-5 full tucks – keeping each one nice and tight, but not so tight that you distort the lay of the line – the strands should flow smoothly through each tuck (figure 6 below). For towlines and other long term or critical applications, we recommend you perform 6-7 tucks.

    Completed 3-strand eye splice.
  5. Finish the splice: Sometimes it can help to lightly roll the splice back and forth while pressing down with your hand to smooth it out a bit. Once you’ve completed all your tucks, trim off the excess strand that’s left and you’re officially done! Some splicers also like to use a butane torch to lightly melt the end of each strand to help keep the strand in place.

Splice Maintenance

Since the safety of your boat may depend on the condition of this splice, we highly recommend you check the splice regularly to make sure it’s in good condition, and remake the splice if there is ANY evidence of chafe, wear or unraveling. As you’ve just learned, it’s pretty easy to complete – so check and remake as often as needed!

Fisheries Supply carries a wide variety of 3-strand lines and thimbles perfect for use with this splice, as well as all the splicing tools you may need as you begin to do your own splicing. We hope you’ve enjoyed this Navigator on Eye Splicing with 3-Strand Line, but if you have any questions – please don’t hesitate to contact our splicing experts at (800) 426-6930.

 

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