Even if you only tie on the ground, always have a security tool with you. Suitable options are either belt cutters or safety scissors with rounded edges, as they are used in the medical field.
ATTENTION: Try out your tool! Take a rope and check if you can cut it in an emergency really quickly and without hurting the person in the rope (and yourself!).
Ropes made of natural fibers are used which do not stretch under tension. Cotton ropes are not well suitable for Kinbaku because the knots compress under tension and are difficult to loosen. Most suitable are ropes made of jute. Hemp ropes are a bit firmer (and more resistant to breakage) but also heavier and “slower.” The ropes should be 5 – 6 mm in diameter. Thinner ropes dig in painfully, thicker ropes lead to chunky and unwieldy knots. Usually about 7.0 – 8.0 m long ropes are used, which are doubled. So you can pull through the rope with two “arm lengths,” and you can finish a pattern without having too much rope to get rid of. In our style, every rope gets finished. There are no extensions nor half ropes. Of course you can never have enough ropes, but for the beginning (floor work) 4 ropes are sufficient. A set for Seme-nawa can easily have up to 12 ropes.
Where to Buy
Jute ropes are available in all qualities and at different prices. Some enthusiasts even make their ropes themselves. The jute fiber or the twisted yarn comes from Bangladesh or Pakistan in almost all cases. You can import ropes from Japan or find traditional rope makers in Germany that make jute ropes.
Process raw ropes
When buying raw rope, the ropes must be broken in, flamed and oiled.
Sometimes it is recommended to cook, wash or bake the ropes. The intention is to remove oils and other chemicals added during (mechanical) yarn production. The disadvantage of washing is that the ropes lose tensile strength. Aside from that, they must be dried under tension. In the oven, volatile compounds supposed to be removed (with all the consequences for the odor) – the chemist in me is skeptical, however, because oils are not really volatile, and there is a possibility that reactive additives polymerize rather than evaporate. Therefore, we do not recommend this treatment.
In any case, after cutting to the desired length the raw ropes must be rubbed off via a ring or carabiner rope against rope. This softens the ropes and helps to remove excess fibers. Then the fibers are burned over a non-sooting flame (gas cooker, also camping stove). The rope is pulled twice through the flame at a moderate speed. The residues are wiped off with a moist cloth. In the process, also residues (shells, husks) can be removed from the ropes. Then the rope is oiled. All non-resinating, non rancid oils can be used, e.g. cosmetic white oil or baby oil. You can also use a balm of oil with beeswax for rope care. Put some oil or balm on a cloth and pull the rope through several times. Then the rope must rest in a warm place, so that the oil can penetrate. Very thorough people repeat the procedure 2x.
As a general rule, people should spend more time working with the rope than on the rope!
Commercially available ropes are ready for use. As you use them, they become softer and more grippy. When the ropes become fibrous, the overhanging fibers can be burned off with a gas flame (camping stove, no sooting flames). Depending on the frequency of use, the ropes must be oiled from time to time. All non-resinating oils, e.g. cosmetic white oil or baby oil can be used. You can also use a balm of oil with beeswax for rope care.
It is very important to inspect the ropes regularly for damage and, if necessary, replace them. Generally you should pull and stretch the ropes over a carabiner or through your fingers from time to time. Ropes are best kept hanging and only tied together loosely for transportation.
The hanging point in the ceiling is the first cricial element in your safety chain! Just score yourself if you know what you are doing. A 6-mm dowel in a Berlin old building’s ceiling is not a good idea … If you are unsure, get advice and help. Talk to us, we can recommend people who have a lot of experience. Ensure redundancy, e.g. two ceiling hooks connected with a carabiner to hold a ring.
From the suspension point in the ceiling to your actual point of hanging, chains / ropes / slings can be used. Only buy good materials, e.g. Chains that are really welded. Band loops from climbing stores are a good choice. For the optics I prefer strong hemp ropes (diameter 10 mm), at least doubled. It is very important to regularly check and replace the suspensions.
You can buy carbiners in climbing stores. Make sure they are oval, with no edges. Suspension Rings are available in different versions online or in Fetish Stores.
For our style, bamboo is the hanging line of choice. Exactly, it is not a point, but you can work in 2 dimensions. With the bamboo, the suspension points in the ceiling and the ropes have to carry only half of the load, that’s good. Still ensure for redundancy. Bamboo can be found in Asia Shops or in shops for gardening / landscaping. The diameter of the pools should be about 10 – 12 cm. A big problem is stress cracks, if they go the whole length, the bamboo must be replaced. Some sources recommend piercing the membranes between the segments of the bamboo to provide pressure equalization, but we have not had a good experience with that.