How Do I Make a Toggle Rope?

Written by don davis
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How Do I Make a Toggle Rope?
Toggle ropes were named for toggles, like the ones on the front of a duffel coat. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

During World War II, American Rangers developed a unique way of transporting the rope they needed to scale cliffs and ford streams. Each man carried a 6-foot length of 1/2-inch rope. Each length had a loop on one end and a toggle on the other. A toggle is a cone that tapers toward each end from the middle and in the 1940s they were often used as a kind of coat button. The toggles and loops allowed many short ropes to be connected like links into one long rope.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 6-inch-long, 1-inch-diameter, oak dowel rod
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 1/2-inch-wide wood rasp
  • Sandpaper
  • Seven foot length of 1/2 inch rope
  • Electrical tape
  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Measure 2-3/4 inches from each end of the 6-inch-long dowel and mark that distance on the dowel with a pencil. Cut a 1/2-inch-wide 1/4-inch-deep groove between the two pencil marks with a 1/2-inch-wide wood rasp.

  2. 2

    Round both cut ends of the dowel with the wood rasp to form a toggle. Sand the toggle with sandpaper until the groove and ends are smooth.

  3. 3

    Form a small loop in one end of the rope about 6 inches from the end of the rope. Push that end of the rope through the loop.

  4. 4

    Wrap that end of the rope around the long, loose end of the rope just above the loop and push the short rope end through the loop.

  5. 5

    Adjust the loop until it is about 3 inches long. Pull the loop and the short end of the rope in one direction while simultaneously pulling the long end of the rope in the opposite direction to tighten this "bowline" knot.

  6. 6

    Wrap the loose or "bitter" end of the bowline to the loop with electrical tape.

  7. 7

    Measure 6 feet from the top of the loop with a measuring tape. Set the toggle groove there and tie the toggle to the rope with a square knot or any other knot you feel confident about tying that you know will not slip. Wrap that loose end of the rope to the rest of the rope with electrical tape.

Tips and warnings

  • The oak dowel may also be grooved using a table saw with a dado blade or on a lathe.
  • The ends of the oak dowel may also be tapered on a lathe.
  • The loop may also be tied with a knot called an eye splice.

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