Quick Tip: Burning end of cord

When cutting such cordage as paracord and some accessory cord, the ends of the rope can become frayed after a while. The cord starts to come undone and becomes of less use.

From Zoop World.

From Zoop World.

But there is an easy way to prevent, or even fix, this issue.

A simple action that when I mention it, people seem a bit surprised: Burn the end of the cord. 

Easy-peasy. Mac-n-cheesy.

  1. Cut cord with a sharp knife or scissors. You want a clean cut.
  2. Apply lighter to end of cord.
  3. Melt the end a bit.
  4. You may have to gently use your fingers to twist/push together cord to make a seal.
  5. Let the end cool off.
  6. Done! Your cord is less likely to fray/will no longer be frayed.

My attempts at a photo, while burning the cord, came out crappy. So here’s a photo stolen from Youtube instead…

I’ve even fixed my shoelaces using this method.

No need to purchase heat shrink tubes for utilitarian cordage.

As a side note, part of the reason why I am liking bank line more is that bank line is a lot less prone to fraying.

NOTE: These tips are for accessory cord for utilitarian use.  Any rope or cord used in more technical activities such as climbing, please follow the proper steps as detailed in many climbing resources. Cordage for utilitarian use, and the care of it, has different considerations when used for climbing purposes.


5 Replies to “Quick Tip: Burning end of cord”

  1. For safety reasons you might mention the melted cord will be VERY hot. Lick your fingers or wet them with water before you “gently use your fingers to twist/push together cord”.

    1. A good warning for sure…but I think this is akin to mentioning that the coffee beverage may be hot when someone purchases something from the drive-thru. 🙂

  2. This is a bit off topic, but, have you ever heard of or used Mule Tape?
    It is a polyester webbing that is used to pull cables in buried pipes. It comes in various tensile strengths and widths. You can find short lengths of Mule Tape on eBay at pretty low cost. It’s quite strong, the 3/4″ being rated for 2500 Lb. It often comes with footage markers, which might be of some use in the backcountry. I have some in 9/16″ and 3/4″ widths that I use for slings and various purposes. A 30 – 50 Ft. piece would make a good haul rope or ridge line. It’s easier on your hands than cord, but, being polyester, is still a bit slippery. I often carry a short piece of 8mm accessory cord for a haul rope, but I need to take another look at Mule Tape. It might be as strong and a bit softer and lighter and you can seal the ends with a flame.

  3. I use my electric stove burner set on medium. That way you can push the ends of the cord together by pressing on the burner and don’t have to burn your fingers.

    Good idea to turn on the eshaust fan and crack a window, first!

    Obviously, this only works with synthetic fibers which melt, not for natural fibers.

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