The Best Way to Cut Rope with a Hotknife

A hotknife is a great tool for cutting rope because it will melt the end of the rope as it cuts, keeping the line from fraying and coming unraveled. If your hotknife isn’t cutting your rope like you’d like, we have a quick tip for you that will make a big difference.

Tips for Cutting Rope with a Hotknife

The rope on the left was cut through tape. The end on the right was cut without.

When you try to cut rope with your hotknife, is it turning the end of the rope into a blob? Sometimes the rope unravels a little as you cut and then melts which creates a mushroom shape. This can be frustrating because the end won’t feed easily (if at all) through blocks, pulleys, cleats and more. How can you prevent this problem?

Here’s our trick: wrap masking tape around your rope where you want to cut the line. Then cut through the tape. The tape keeps all the strands together so they melt in a consistent way. With this simple trick your rope end will stay it’s original size for easy feeding. To best ensure your rope won’t fray, it’s always a good idea to whip the ends, even if you use a hotknife.

Tips for Cutting Rope with a Hotknife


Get your own Sailrite® Edge Hotknife at

Do you have any quick tips for working with a hotknife? Share them in the comments!


1 comment
  1. Bill Sherman said:

    I use 1/2″ heat shrink tubing with the adhesive inside
    2″ long if doing an end and 4″ length for mid line cuts, this gives you both ends done at once.
    Just has to kept back from the frayed ends.

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