Stair rope with eye splice and turks head whipping from, makers of stair and bannister rope, rope handrails and barrier ropes in the UK.

Stair ropes, bannister rope, rope handrails and barrier ropes, made to measure in the UK by

Stair Ropes . com


The integral knot is the key to a safe stair or bannister rope. The security of a stair rope bannister is dependent on the end knot being made from the strands of the same length of rope.

3 ply manrope knot in hemp stair rope

Manrope knots are traditional stopper knots, tied by hand using the unlaid strands of the rope. On ships, these knots ended the manropes which bordered the gangway. See how this knot is tied HERE.

A stair rope or bannister rope finished with a properly tied knot (or splice - see below), which uses the strands of the same rope, provides a different function from a decorative BARRIER ROPE which will give minimal weight bearing capacity. Substituting this technique by sewing or glueing a decorative end to a stair rope is not good practice.

Star washers can be fitted as an optional extra; they provide an attractive backing to conceal the cut ends of the rope at the back of the knot, and also guard against chafing in heavy use.

Two and three ply knots

Choose between a two ply Manrope knot and the larger three ply knot, either one available to order as an attractive and secure end knot on all our stair ropes and rope bannisters.

The terms "two ply" and "three ply" refer to the number of times the pattern of the knot is followed around. Both versions are completely secure - constructed by unlaying the component strands of the rope and re-forming them into a permanent locking knot - the three ply knot is a more ornate knot, and of course larger.

A two ply manrope knot which is tied into a 24mm diameter rope sits about 5cm outside the end bracket, and is approximately 7cm high, or about the size of a tennis ball. For a 32mm diameter stair rope, the Two-ply knot is approximately 7cm x 9cm.

The larger three ply manrope knot measures approximately 6cm by 8cm on a 24mm stair rope. A "super-sized" three-ply knot in 32mm rope comes to about 8cm long and 11cm high - the size of a large grapefruit!

STAIR ROPES Manrope knots

The image above shows the two types of manrope knot available, made in two diameters of hemp rope; from left to right: 2 ply knot in 24mm rope, 3ply knot in 24mm rope, 2ply knot in 32mm rope, 3 ply knot in 32mm rope.

At the top of the page the title picture is of a three-ply Manrope knot in 24mm hemp tied in to a stair rope with a brass fitting and star washer.

The images below show two-ply knots made from 24mm black and green p.o.s.h. rope, with satin chrome and brass stair rope fittings respectively.

black p.o.s.h. stair rope 2 ply manrope knot and satin chrome fittings
2 ply manrope knot in green p.o.s.h.with brass stair rope bracket and star washer

The two hemp stair ropes with wrought iron fittings below show the difference in size between two ply knots tied into 24mm and 32mm hemp.

At the very bottom of the page is an example of a Two-ply knot tied into a 24mm hemp rope, with double star washers. The fitting is wrought iron with gunmetal finish on a square base plate.

stair ropes-24mm and 32mm hemp with 2 ply end knots

An alternative ending

An eye-splice will fit neatly into a tricky place, with the advantage of allowing the rope to be run in any direction from the wall or fitting. We can supply stair ropes with a Sailor's eye splice tied in one or both ends, with an optional decorative Turk's head whipping.


A sailor's eye-splice may be used as a secure alternative rope ending on a handrail in certain situations where it is not possible to use the manrope end knot - for example, where the edge of the wall is too close, or if a stair rope or bannister rope needs to be run between the inside edges of newel posts.

The Eye-splice with Turks Head whipping (shown right) on a stair rope was a solution for a tight space. A purpose made fitting on the hemp stair rope has the eye ring welded directly to the base plate - i.e. with no post. See the FITTINGS page for our specially adapted stair rope brackets.


The Sailor's Eye splice is a loop made in the same length of rope and joined to itself: the strands at the rope end are unlaid and tucked over and under each other back along the length of the rope. At the same time they are pulled through and worked tidily along the lay.

The image on the left shows an eye splice tied into the end of a 24mm natural hemp rope around a wrought iron fitting, with the cut strands left visible. The strength of the splice relies on the skill of the knotter in the working of these strands, which when under tension will lock together and absorb any movement in the rope. For more information and images on Eye-Splices and knots see our WORKING WITH ROPES page.

A sailor's eyesplice is one of the strongest and most efficient of knots, and it is proper practice to leave the strands a little proud of the rope in case the splice draws. This area will be covered with a Turk's head whipping to give a neat and decorative finish.

stair rope in cotton showing eye splice

The Turks Head is a traditional sailor's knot used here as a decorative whipping or sleeve to cover the cut ends of the splice. Formed from a single length of cord, the turks head is woven and gradually worked tight to form a secure binding.

The picture on the right shows a stair rope in 24mm cotton, with gunmetal finished iron fittings - the eyesplice end was finished using a turks head whipping in 4mm cotton cord.

Detail of an Eye-splice below, tied into a 24mm manila stair rope, and attached to a modified brushed steel fitting. The Turks Head whipping was made using 3mm hemp cord.

STAIR ROPE splice detail

Knots - dimensions

Knots for 24mm rope
  • 2 ply manrope knot: 5cm(l) x 7cm(h)
  • 3 ply manrope knot: 6cm(l) x 8cm(h)
  • Eye splice: Approx. 30cm long
Knots for 32mm rope
  • 2 ply manrope knot: 7cm(l) x 9cm(h)
  • 3 ply manrope knot: 8cm(l) x 11cm(h)
  • Eye splice: Approx. 30cm long

Knots: installation notes

We take the total length measurement of a stair rope to be the distance between the centres of the end brackets, with the two knots sitting outside this: for a two ply knot this would add approx 50mm (2 inches) at each end - for the three ply knot, 80mm (3 inches) each end.

When installing a stair rope in a restricted space (where short stemmed or stemless fittings are required), consider that if using a manrope knot to tie in at the end of the rope, part of this knot will sit proud of the bracket ring, adding a further 15mm (for 24mm rope) or 25mm (for 32mm rope) to the overall protrusion from the wall (into the stair well).

The star washers are optional decorative extras. On the high seas they would guard against wear and might be useful in this respect if the stair rope is expected to take heavy use, although the cross screw in the bracket helps here anyway. The washer does serve to cover up the back of the manrope knot where the (neatly) trimmed strands are visible.

The brackets need to be fixed in position on the rope by means of retaining screws, to prevent the stair rope from slipping and/or chafing. We usually fix these screws in the end brackets, and - if you are sure of exactly where the centre bracket/s will fit to your wall - we can put this/these in too, at centre or given measurements. If you prefer, we can supply the screw/s separately with instructions, to be fitted during installation. To measure up for a stair rope, and further advice on installation, see our guidelines on the MEASURE page.

Eye splice ends with Turks head whippings on short hemp handrail

Eye splice ends with Turks head whippings on a short hemp handrail

Stair ropes - Knots prices

24mm Stair rope knots and splices
  • 24mm rope Two ply knot - £26.00
  • 24mm rope Three ply knot - £36.00
  • 24mm rope Star washer - unavailable
  • 24mm Eye splice and Whipping - £49.00
  • 24mm Crown Plait and Manrope - £49.00
32mm Stair rope knots and splices
  • 32mm rope Two ply knot - £32.00
  • 32mm rope Three ply knot - £42.00
  • 32mm rope Star washer - unavailable
  • 32mm Eye splice and Whipping - £56.00
  • 32mm Crown Plait and Manrope - £56.00

Complete Stair ropes price list (and printable p.d.f.) on our ORDER page

Contact Stair

For more advice or information about our bannister ropes and hand rails, and to order a stair rope, you can contact James Watson directly at Stair


Full contact details for Stair Ropes. com


stair rope in gun metal wrought iron fitting and double washers

Two ply manrope knot in hemp with double star washers

All artwork, photographs, text and coding on this website are © (copyright) 1994-2015 - and Stonk Knots, unless otherwise stated.

Web site hand coded and designed by Patri-Loreto Nievas and Sol Loreto-Miller.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict Valid CSS!

XHTML and CSS has passed validation by the W3C.
We have aimed to make this website as accessible as possible by using strict XHTML markup and CSS.
Our web pages should display correctly with both current and future browsers, and on the majority of operating systems.