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Rope and Chain

For fastening and connecting, rope or chain is often the tool of choice. Make sure you choose the right one with our rope and chain guide. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.

Rope

Rope is defined as anything over 1/8" in diameter. Anything smaller is considered cord or twine (such as clothesline and twine used in gardening). Rope is sold by the foot from reels or in pre-measured packages. Depending on your intended use, look for resistance to moisture, mildew, sunlight and abrasion. The term shock load measures the ability of a rope to stretch without breaking. Types of rope are made of fibres twisted or braided together and is available in several materials:

  • Nylon is strong as well as heat, water and abrasion resistant. Nylon absorbs shock, but stretches.
  • Polypropylene (poly) is inexpensive and floats, but can be hard to tie.
  • Polyester is similar to polypropylene, but more flexible and durable.
  • Manila is made from hemp and is strong and weather resistant. It has very little stretch.
  • Sisal is another natural fibre, but is not as strong as manila. It is suitable for temporary uses.

Rope is secured by knots.

Rope Properties

Rated on a scale of 1 (Poor) to 4 (Excellent)

Property

Nylon

Poly

Polyester

Manila

Sisal

Shock Load

4

3

2

2

1

Mildew Resistant

4

4

4

1

1

Sunlight Resistant

2

1

4

4

4

Handling

4

3

4

2

1

Storage

Can Store Wet

Can Store Wet

Can Store Wet

Must Store Dry

Must Store Dry

Abrasion Resistant

4

2

4

3

2

Durability

4

3

4

3

1

Floats?

No

Yes

No

No

No

Chain

Chain is cut to order from reels, or pre-cut in specific lengths and sold in packages. Usually made from steel, chain strength is determined by the gauge of the material it is made from, as well as the thickness of the links. The main consideration when choosing chain is the working load limit (or WLL). WLL is the maximum load in pounds, in straight tension, that a chain can safely bear. Make sure that the working load limit is sufficient for the use intended.

There are two types of chain:

  • Welded chain links are joined by a solid welded connection.
  • Weldless chain is formed from wire and wrapped in various loops to complete the links.

Cable is another option for heavy duty use. It is similar to rope in the sense that cable is woven from small strands of steel or other metal. Some are covered with a plastic sleeve for protection.

Chain comes in both welded and weldless varieties.

Chain comes in both welded and weldless varieties.

Connectors and Accessories

Chain and cable usually need fittings of some kind attached to make them useful. Hooks, connecting links, snaps, quicklinks, shackles, ferrules, blocks, pulleys and cable clips adapt the rope, chain or cable to the task at hand.

Some cables and chains are available with attachments. Log chains, tow chains, and pet chains are examples.

Strap Pullers (often called come-alongs) are lightweight portable winches used for lifting heavy loads, loosening and removing shrubs, and other pulling needs.

Load Binders are used to tighten chains to secure loads. Hooks grab the chain links and the lever takes up the slack.

Care and Maintenance of Rope and Chain

  • Do not overload. Never use a rope or chain above its weight limit.
  • Avoid shock loading. Remove slack before applying loads.
  • Avoid twisting rope or chain. The working load is reduced and the danger of breakage is increased.
  • Use padding. Protect ropes, chains and the items you are securing with cloths or other pads.
  • Inspect periodically. Before each use, check for wear. This includes bent links or knots.
Shop All Ropes and Chains

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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