esterday we discussed the materials you’ll need for our dock line splicing project. Once you’ve collected them, you’re ready to impress your friends and neighbors by making your own dock lines from scratch, using our handy step-by step guide.
Before you get started, keep in mind that you likely won’t get your splice started correctly the first time—most people don’t, so don’t get frustrated. It’s not uncommon to have to unwind the initial work you’ve done a few times and start over until the method “clicks.” The good news is, once you’ve mastered those initial steps, you never forget. When I wrote this column yesterday, I hadn’t spliced a line in almost fifteen years. After an initial stumble, I picked it right back up. Good luck and have fun!
Step One: Unwind the three strands that make up the line until you have about 12 inches of each unwound. Next, tape each end tightly and burn the ends to ensure that none of the smaller individual strands come unwound during the splicing process. Last, tape the main part of the line to keep it from unwinding as you splice.
Step Two: Measure out enough line for the size loop you’d like to splice (we’re doing a 12-inch loop for this demonstration). Next, place the main part of the line next to where you taped the three strands together to keep them from unraveling. This will be where we start the splice.
Step Three: Organize the three strands as shown. We will start our first “tuck” with strand “1” and work back to strands “2” and “3,” in that order.
Step Four: Use a fid to lift one of the strands in the main line (where you measured to in Step Two) and tuck strand “1” under it.
Step Five: Pull all of strand “1” through until you reach the tape.
Step Six: Rotate the main line back and tuck strand “2” under the strand right behind where we tucked in the first, using a fid if needed. Pull it all the way through to the blue tape.
Step Seven: Move the line back one more strand and tuck strand “3” under the last remaining strand that hasn’t had anything tucked under it.
Step Eight: If you did the initial three tucks correctly, the line should look like this. Note how each of the strands exits the main line at the same level—none of them higher or lower than the others. It may take you a few tries to get this right the first time.
Step Nine: Once the first tucks are in place, the rest is easy. All you need to remember is to take each unraveled strand (start with strand “1,” then do strand “2,” then finish with strand “3”) over one strand and under the next. Work your way around the line tucking “1” then “2” then “3” in order, then repeat, starting with strand “1.”
Step 10: Continue weaving “over one, under one” until you have six completed “tucks” as shown.
Step 11: Once you have complete six “tucks,” cut each strand carefully with a razor knife, but leave about 1/4 of an inch showing.
Step 12: Burn each strand down with a flame, making sure you melt it completely.
Step 13: Voila: You’re a marlinspike seaman!