The Best Way to Cut Rope With a Hotknife

Item # X-HT-300020

A hotknife is a great tool for cutting rope because it will melt the end of the rope as it cuts, keeping the line from fraying and unraveling. If your hotknife isn’t cutting your rope like you’d like, we have a quick tip for you that will make a big difference. Keep reading to learn our neat trick on how to cut rope with a hotknife resulting in a nice, clean cut.

Examples of rope cut with and without a hotknife.

The rope on the left was cut through tape. The end on the right was cut without tape.

When you try to cut a length of rope with your hotknife, is it turning the end of the rope into a blob? Sometimes the rope unravels a little as you cut and then melts, which creates a mushroom shape. This can be frustrating because the end won’t feed easily (if at all) through blocks, pulleys, cleats and more. Not to mention it doesn't look very nice either.

How can you prevent this problem? We have a very simple solution. Here’s our trick: Wrap masking tape around your rope where you want to cut the line. Then cut through the tape. The tape keeps all the strands together so they melt in a consistent way. With this simple trick, your rope end will stay its original size for easy feeding. To best ensure your rope won’t fray, it’s always a good idea to whip the ends, even if you use a hotknife. To whip the ends of your rope, tie a whipping knot, which involves using twine or a thinner rope and tying it around the end of your working rope to keep it from unraveling.

Cutting through a making tape-wrapped rope.

We hope you enjoyed this clever trick and will find it useful the next time you cut rope with a hotknife. For more hotknife tips, check out our video What Can You Cut with a Hotknife?

Do you have any other tips or tricks when it comes to cutting rope, or rope in general? We're always eager to hear the creative hacks and ideas our customers come up with. Share your own tips and tricks in the comments below! Thanks for reading.