A rope clamp is a bolted fastener used to bind cord in a particular position. Rope clamps commonly include two halves joined by two or more bolts. The halves are joined and secured in place with the doubled-over rope running in between. One of the most common uses of a rope clamp is to form a loop at the end of a cord. Rope clamp loops can often be found at the end of boat tie lines and wire rope anchors.
Clamps are typically used to secure steel wire cord that has been bundled together into thick rope. The strong rope clamp often serves the dual purpose of preventing the wire rope from unwinding and holding the end in a safe rounded shape. A second clamp is sometimes applied to the steel cord farther from the loop end as a secondary security measure that only becomes necessary if the first clamp fails. These ultra-durable double clamped metal ropes are frequently used to tether large, heavy, or powerful objects to the ground.
The U-bolt rope clamp is generally the most inexpensive and commonly used type of rope fastener. A single steel U-shaped bolt is positioned around the rope. The solid perforated bracket is slid onto the two threaded ends of the U-bolt. Nuts are then twisted onto the U-bolt to hold the bracket on and squeeze it against the rope. U-bolt rope clamps are made in a variety of gap sizes to fit over ropes of any diameter.
Wrenches and ratchets are the most common tools used to apply or tighten a rope clamp. Most rope clamps can be loosened and repositioned repeatedly to change the length of the rope and size of the end loop. Tightening a rope clamp can reduce slippage by constantly pressing the two sections of clamped rope together. Some factory-installed rope clamps are permanently riveted or glued into position before the rope is sold.
Rope clamp kits often come with a thimble for the loop. Teardrop-shaped and open-ended hoops called thimbles are usually applied to the inner edge of clamped rope loops. The metal or hard plastic thimble protects the rope from wear and tear while it is in use. Loop thimbles have a concave back with a slightly larger diameter than the rope. Metal thimbles can often be bent to form the desired rope end shape once they are positioned inside the clamped loop.