How much rope should I buy?
What length of rope should I use for shibari?
TL;DR summary: Most people don't buy enough rope. Use the table as a guide.
On number of ropes...
Regardless of your skill level, you should have enough rope to:
- Complete the tie you intend.
- Complete the tie even if a bundle snags and you have to set it aside.
- Be able to add some rope if you feel creative.
If you use every last rope you own for your ties, you don't have enough rope.
On rope length...
TL;DR summary: Long ropes slow you down. Use 7 m rope if you're 1.78 m (5'10") or shorter; and maybe 8 m if you're taller.
Have you ever untied a knot in the middle of a really long rope? If so, you know how doing so requires you to pull rope, pull rope, pull rope, and pull more rope. It's boring and it takes ages.
Far too many shibari riggers use rope that's too long. As a result, they spend so much time pulling rope that their ropework looks boring. Worse, to the person being tied, it feels boring.
Japanese shibari masters use 7 m ropes (23 feet). However, many Western riggers use rope that's 8 m (26.2 feet) or even 10 m (32.9 feet) to "fit" Western subs who tend to be larger than typically shorter and thinner Japanese women.
While it's true that Westerners are taller, rope lengths should be based on the size of the rigger, not the rope sub. Specifically, rope lengths should be based on the arm span of the rigger.
In exact math, the distance of each rope pull is the distance between the rope where it leaves the rope sub's body and rigger's shoulder, plus the length of the rigger's arm. In practice the average distance is the same as the rigger's arm span. A second pull with the other hand yields another arm span worth of rope, for a total of 2 arm spans.
The Handbook of Adult Anthropometric and Strength Measurements gives the mean fingertip-to-fingertip span of people from various countries. Arranged in ascending length:
- 1600 mm, female, France
- 1635 mm, female, Netherlands
- 1640 mm, female, Sweden
- 1675 mm, female, UK
- 1682 mm, female, USA
- 1704 mm, male, Japan
- 1765 mm, male, France
- 1790 mm, male, Sweden
- 1829 mm, male, UK
- 1834 mm, male, USA
- 1845 mm, male, Netherlands
These statistics tell us that average females from the tallest countries have a shorter armspan than average Japanese males. Men from the tallest country, Netherlands, have average armspans that are only 141.2 mm longer (5.6 inches).
Most people don't know their armspan, but it's roughly equal to your height. The average Japanese male has a height of 1686.8 mm (5 feet 6.5 inches).
Japanese riggers use 7 m ropes. Thus, if you're shorter than 1686 mm (5 feet 6.5 inches), there's no question that you should be using ropes no longer than 7 m.
A 7 m rope to a person 1686 mm is proportionate to an 8 m rope for a person 1926 mm tall (6 feet 4 inches). Thus, if you're 1.93 m (6'4") or taller, an 8 m rope should be fine.
If you're somewhere between 1.7 m and 1.9 m (5'7" and 6'3"), the division point is less clear.
I did some tests with friends of various heights and found that those 1.78 m (5'10") and shorter clearly benefited from using 7 m rope. However, if you're aiming for speed (and that's the best reason to buy jute), err on the side of shorter rope, rather than longer.
7 m rope
7.5 m rope
8 m rope
Douglas Kent Custom
Douglas Kent Custom
Douglas Kent Custom
Below 1.70 m (5'7")
1.70 m - 1.78 m (5'6" - 5'10")
1.79 m and above (5'10"+)
These rope lengths are recommendations based on my research and experiments for efficient shibari rigging.
Enough Western riggers choose 8 m rope that I offer it as a standard length. However, because I believe more people would benefit from 7 m ropes, I offer Douglas Kent Lightning 7 at a proportionately discounted price.
Finally, whether you prefer a standard length or not, you can design ropes that exactly suit you by ordering Douglas Kent Custom rope.
What’s the difference between the different colors of rope?
TL;DR summary: Color.
We offer a mind-boggling number of customizations to our rope, but we don't want you to have a hard choice for the rope itself.
So we only offer the best jute we could find.
All ropes are made from the same rope. Natural is the original color. Bare Blond is treated to lighten the color. Envy Green, Ballsy Blue, and Harlot Scarlet use colored thread.
The treatment slightly affect its mass, but natural variation is a much greater factor. Even with side-by-side comparison, the differences are almost imperceptible, even under magnification.
For all intents and purposes, the only functional difference is color; your choice of treatment will have a greater effect on the handling properties of the finished rope.
All the ropes are great and handle beautifully. Just choose the color you prefer.
|Jute rope colors
6 mm nom †
18.4 g/m ‡
Lay angle properties
Flexible and lively, without propensity for loose strands
Threads per strand
Threads per rope
Physical properties (for jute type)
Superior strength and softness
Elongation at break (for jute type)
Tenacity - single fibre (for jute type)
† The diameter of twisted jute rope is deceptively difficult to measure, even with highly accurate digital calipers. The "three-circle" cross-section of 3-strand twisted rope inherently defies accurate diameter readings. Further, jute has a compressibility that greatly increases measurement variability.
Being a natural product, jute has a much higher production variability than synthetic ropes (which are extruded in continuous monofilaments, then spun). Jute imperfections, twine extensions, natural variability, and jute's hygroscopic nature tend to produce thicker (but rarely thinner) sections of rope. Thus, the rope diameter is nominal.
‡ Jute is highly hygroscopic and able to absorb up to 30% of its mass in water, without feeling wet. The jute is measured in a low humidity environment of about 20% RH. As jute absorbs water from the atmosphere, the mass will increase. All jute ropes absorb similarly, thus at higher humidity, the rope will be heavier.
How is the rope finished?
Whipping (center marks)
Center marks are whipped using only thread.
Each center mark is wrapped four times, then cinched three times - once between each of the three strands.
To terminate the whipping, we knot the ends not once, not twice, but three times, then tuck the knot into the core of the rope.
The result is a whipping that holds the rope securely and resists lateral movement.
Whipping (end knots)
Unlike most rope vendors, our knotted ends are always double-whipped. A double whip on a knotted end provides extra security and ensures that your beautiful decorative knot won't loosen.
Each double whipping is created with a continuous thread. The first whipping is applied on the rope side of the end knot - the rope is wrapped four times and cinched three times, once between each of the strands. Then, the thread is passed through the center of the end knot and the whipping is repeated on the other side.
A double-whipped end knot makes the knot more secure; our double whipping with a continuous thread ensures that the knot is secure, and that the whipping itself cannot pull apart or slide off the tassels of the rope.
How is the rope length measured?
Douglas Kent Rope measures its ropes from inside the knots.
We feel that the inside-the-knot length best represents the usable length of the rope.
If we measured unfinished length, then adding any end knot would shorten the rope below its advertised length. Worse, different end knots would make finished ropes inconsistent - some end knots require a significant length to create (and significantly different from other knots).
Our inside-the-knot length helps keep different sets more consistent with each other.
Jute rope is a highly hygroscopic natural fibre. Jute is so hygroscopic that we've observed a 5% gain in mass occur in two hours, due only to a 20% change in relative humidity. The gain in mass shortens the rope length by about 1.5% (or about 12 cm on an 8 m rope).
Now, you've probably never noticed this issue or heard about it from other jute suppliers. We discovered it after investigating why ropes were failing our quality assessment tests. But without a dedicated measuring station, a 100% +1%/- 0% measuring tolerance, and QA tests, the issue wouldn't have been noticed.
We store our rope in low humidity, so our measurement tolerance helps ensure that your inside-the-knot length is always slightly more. However, unless we greatly exceed the stated length, high humidity will shorten the rope below the advertised length. (By contrast, the ropes of most other manufacturers are always shorter than advertised.)
Thus, when you order 40 m custom rope, made into five 8 m lengths, we actually give you a few metres extra. If you order ropes that don't quite add up to 40 m, we don't process or ship the scraps.
When you order 40 m of raw rope, we ship the exact measured length, with extra tolerance to allow for humidity changes.
Do you sell 5mm/8mm/hemp/etc rope?
We only offer a single style of rope - the best we could find after months of searching and testing.
Do you sell Japanese jute?
We don't sell Japanese jute because it doesn't actually exist. Anybody who claims to offer Japanese jute is probably lying. Here's why:
As of 2005, the top 17 producers of jute, in decreasing order, were India, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, Sudan, Egypt, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Bhutan, Peru, Cameroon, and Pakistan. Where India produces 1,900,000 metric tons, Pakistan produces a paltry 22 tons. In other words, any producer below Pakistan is economically insignificant. source
The greatest source of jute is near the Ganges Delta of southeast Asia, where 85% of jute is produced. Beyond the Ganges, production drops dramatically. Japan isn't on the list, putting it below Pakistan, which has an estimated annual production of only $8000 worth of jute.
Raw jute is a low-value product and jute cultivation is labor intensive, so it's not surprising to see that the top 17 jute producers are all low-income countries. Japan is a high-income country, so anyone trying to produce jute in Japan would almost have to work for free.
Because Japan is mountainous and highly populated, only 11.9% of Japan is arable. Thus, anyone wanting to grow low-value jute would have to give up the potential to use their scarce land for growing more lucrative crops. Worse, jute isn't particularly suited for growing in Japan. Thus, jute yields would likely be poor.
Because of the high labor costs and low value of jute, it would be economic suicide to produce jute in Japan. Further, the foolish producer would have to keep doing so, year over year, and somehow funding land and labour costs from other sources.
Thus, Japanese jute is a myth.
However, although Japanese jute is a myth, less scrupulous rope sellers still claim (or strongly imply) that they sell Japanese jute rope.
In fact, when we were first sourcing our jute, the manufacturer sent us a pic of how their rope was used by another well-known jute rope vendor. Although we both sell the exact same rope (manufactured in China), the other vendor seemed to claim it was Japanese.
If any vendor claims to be selling Japanese jute, you can be certain that they're lying to you and trying to rip you off.
Do you offer sample rope?
Our rope ships from our factory in Malaysia. Locating our factory in Malaysia lets us offer high-quality rope at a price unmatched by anyone. The tradeoff is that shipping takes longer and is more expensive (but we offer free shipping worldwide). Consequently, we don't offer rope samples because they'd take too long to get to you.
Consider the following alternatives:
- Test Douglas Kent Rope in your local scene: There's a good chance that someone in your local scene already uses Douglas Kent Rope. Our rope is distinctive because we're the only manufacturer offering thread-whipped ends.
- Check out the testimonials: We don't publish most of the testimonials we receive, but here are a few. (TLDR: People like our rope)
- Order a single piece: You can order a single Hojojutsu rope.
- Trust in Douglas Kent: Where other rope retailers sell many types of rope that they know aren't appropriate for bondage, we sell only one type. We looked far and wide, sampled endlessly, then picked the best. Rather than cutting rope off a reel and putting in quick overhand knots (as some retailers do), we carefully craft each rope with beautiful end knots, each one painstakingly thread-whipped in place. We put all this effort toward each rope because quality is really important to us. When you buy a set of Douglas Kent Rope, you know that it's rope that we worked hard to make and that Douglas Kent personally chose and believes in.
What happened to Custom Rope?
For years, we let you customize your rope with over 100,000,000 possibilities. As you can imagine, offering so many possibilities was logistically complicated. Each custom kit could only be started after we received the order, so any surge in orders could easily cause delays.
We announced that Custom Rope sales were ending, and, after 6 months and several extensions, we ended sales.
In its place, we now offer Douglas Kent Chroma rope. With Chroma rope, the rope itself is colored, rather than only the whipping thread, so your entire rope is bright and distinctive. You can get Chroma rope in 5-packs, so you can mix-and-match colors for even more variety. Finally, our rope artists can build in advance and get Chroma to our shipper in USA, so you get brighter rope, faster and cheaper than ever before!
Where can I download the pamphlets?
Click the “Downloads” link at the top and bottom of any page.
When will Complete Shibari 3: Stars be released?
TL;DR summary: Rogue Hojojutsu is the first part of Complete Shibari 3. Help the next parts come out sooner by buying it!
This is the most frequent question I get asked, by far.
After finishing Complete Shibari 1 and 2, I immediately set to work on Complete Shibari 3. At the time, I had perhaps 20 pages of content.
As I wrote, Complete Shibari 3 grew until I split it into Complete Shibari 3 & 4. Then it grew into three separate books. Then four.
Most other authors write one book. Then, if it gets popular, they rework the original content for a second book, then a third, and so on. It's a fast, easy way to release many books, but you're not really getting much with each new book.
My books cover different areas of expertise, feature content not available anywhere else, and have as little repetition as possible. They also have a higher information density than most other books of any type. However, creating them takes vastly more effort than writing a novel - at least 20 times the effort. This is where money comes in.
The kink book niche is very small - virtually no other authors can subsist on the income from their books. By self-publishing, I've been able to, but the harsh reality is that I'd earn much more if I worked a regular day job in my field.
I've got many partially written books ranging from 30-80% content complete. However, turning that content into well-polished, tightly integrated finished books usually takes months of uninterrupted concentration and effort.
After a massive effort (even by my standards), I released Rogue Hojojutsu. Rogue Hojojutsu fulfills my promise to include Hojojutsu in Complete Shibari 3, except that it's an entire book. I'm incredibly proud of the book and sincerely believe it's the only Hojojutsu book that lets you actually learn complex Hojojutsu ties from scratch.
Feedback on Rogue Hojojusu has been very positive, but sales have not, even from core rope enthusiasts. Since I can't afford the risk of investing years of effort in another book with similar sales, I've reluctantly diverted my energy towards other projects that provide more reliable income. Now, part of this is my fault - I'm terrible at self promotion. But if I were more interested in self promotion, I'd have written a throwaway pop psychology diet book or something. The trait that makes me terrible at self promotion is also the trait that makes me willing to toil for years on very niche books that will never sell in massive numbers.
When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, it sold 50,000 units. Counting Amazon only. Per hour.
If any of my books sold 50,000 copes in two years, I'd have already published the nine books I have in production. And I'd have done so without compromising the quality of the books, too.
So yes, Complete Shibari vol 3, part 1 of 4 is out. It's called Rogue Hojojutsu. I want to release Complete Shibari 3 parts 2, 3, and 4, and much more, but I need support. Now it's your turn.
Support the hell out of Rogue Hojojutsu. Buy a copy, even if it's not exactly the book you were expecting - it'll make your shibari better. Tell people. Review it. Show it to friends. Buy copies for friends. And buy rope.
A bit of support from a lot of people goes a long way. And in a small niche, your support counts.
Do you sell eBooks?
No. We have no current plans to release our publications in electronic formats.
How long will my order take to arrive?
Books are shipped from our warehouse in the USA via USPS. We offer two shipping services for smaller international orders: USPS First Class Mail and USPS Priority Mail (flat rate). For larger orders, only USPS Priority Mail is offered.
Rope and all other products are shipped from our workshop in Malaysia via registered post. For packages shipped free of charge, only delivery confirmation tracking is available outside of Malaysia. Custom rope orders are typically completed and shipped one to two weeks from date of order. You can email us to get an estimate on our current processing times for custom rope orders.
Shipping time estimate
|USPS Priority Mail
|All other countries
|USPS Priority Mail
|USPS First Class Mail
* Estimate of average days based on previously shipped orders. Your package may arrive sooner or take longer to arrive, depending on the time it takes to pass through customs in your country.
Will I receive a tracking number?
Yes. Once your order ships, you will receive an email with tracking information at the same email address you used to make the purchase.
Our books and rope ship from different locations. If you’ve placed an order for both books and rope, you will receive two tracking email notifications for your packages.
For rope packages shipped free of charge, only delivery confirmation tracking is available outside of Malaysia. (The package will be well tracked within Malaysia, but not accurately tracked by the destination country.)
If your order was placed over a week ago and you haven’t received any notifications from us, please check your spam folder. If you still can’t find your tracking information, please contact us.
Does rope really ship for free?
Yes! We ship your rope order direct from our workshop at no extra charge to you. Your package is shipped by registered post with delivery confirmation tracking. On average, packages take 11-19 business days to arrive.
You may upgrade your shipping to receive your rope sooner. At extra cost, we’ll ship your package via EMS with delivery in an estimated 3-5 days. To upgrade your shipping, contact us.
What does shipping cost?
To see estimated arrival times, click here.
All our rope and accessory products ship free of charge to anywhere in the world.
Books ship from our warehouse in Florida, USA. We charge what USPS charges us to ship; we don’t profit on shipping costs. Details are as follows:
|USPS Priority Mail Domestic Flat Rate Small
|USPS Priority Mail Domestic Flat Rate Medium
|USPS Priority Mail Canada Flat Rate Small
|USPS Priority Mail Canada Flat Rate Medium
|USPS First Class Mail Canada
|USPS First Class Mail Canada
|USPS First Class Mail Canada
|All other countries
|USPS Priority Mail International Flat Rate Small
|USPS Priority Mail International Flat Rate Medium
|USPS First Class Mail International
|USPS First Class Mail International
|USPS First Class Mail International
For quotations on heavier orders or to purchase items wholesale, please contact us directly.
Shipping mass by product
Our rope products vary in weight, but ship free of charge, so they aren’t listed here. For more information on the rope we offer, please see Rope stuff.
|Complete Shibari Volume 1
|0.8 lbs / 330 g
|Complete Shibari Volume 2
|0.8 lbs / 330 g
|The Better Built Bondage Book
|1.8 lbs / 830 g
|Douglas Kent 3-pack
|3.3 lbs / 1490 g
To purchase items wholesale, please contact us directly.
How will my rope be packaged?
Your Douglas Kent rope is shipped in an 80 micron thick polyamide/polyethylene (nylon/plastic) vacuum-sealed bag that protects it from water, air, and other contaminants.* Prior to processing or sealing, we store your rope in a low-humidity environment.
* Also snow, sleet, wind, dirt, mail carriers, rain and most dinosaurs.
Included in the vacuum-sealed bag are two packets of silica desiccant to provide additional protection from moisture. Each packet of silica desiccant is rated for protecting up to 1 kg of material (about six 8 m ropes). Douglas Kent Rope always provides enough desiccant to exceed that requirement.
We use a plain white poly mailer bag to provide discretion and added protection from outside moisture. Our return address on the package is “Little Known Fact Sdn. Bhd.” and the customs label simply says “jute rope.” There are no logos or branding on the outside of the package.
To take advantage of a faster shipping speed, your order may arrive in split packaging. We will always label your packages with “Package 1 of 2” or “Package 2 of 2” so that nothing gets missed.
How will my books be packaged?
Your books are discreetly packaged and well protected during shipping.
Books are enclosed in a 1mil poly bag, then wrapped in a cardboard "book burrito" before being sealed in a standard USPS padded envelope. The packaging helps keep your books dry, flat, and well-defended from velociraptor attacks.
The return address on the package simply says “Customer Service.” The customs label says “craft book set.” We don’t put logos or branding on the outside of the package.
Why does tracking show my package not moving?
TL;DR summary: It's still moving. International tracking sucks.
If your order is being shipped from another country, tracking may show a flurry of activity and then just stop...
|8 days ago
8 days ago
9 days ago
9 days ago
9 days ago
|Item dispatched to New York NY (USPS)
Item processed at MPC PMIH (KLIA)
Item dispatched out MPC PMIH (KLIA)
Item posted over counter
The example above shows a package of rope mailed from our headquarters in Malaysia being tracked to a major airport, KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), then flown to New York. However, because the package is now in the care of the USPS (United States Postal Service), no further tracking updates will appear. With roughly 200 countries throughout the world, it shouldn't be surprising that each postal service has their own tracking system and that they're not compatible with each other.
The lack of updates is frustrating, but the package is still moving.
We've been shipping packages internationally for over ten years. After thousands of shipments, we've found that packages are often late. Really often.
International packages pass through a dozen buildings and many airplanes. Customs often adds serious delays, particularly for countries that practice security theater or require excessive paperwork (we're looking at you, Germany). Peak shipping periods and holidays vary greatly by country - Christmas, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, etc, can each shut down government for a week or more.
Because shipments are so frequently delayed, virtually no shipping company will even consider beginning a search until the delivery window has been exceeded, usually by a few weeks.
So yeah, packages are often late. But after more than a decade of shipping internationally, we've been amazed to find...
Packages are almost never lost.
It's amazing, but despite all the travel, delays, and processes, somehow the vast majority of packages reach their destination.
So relax and know that, while your order may have gotten delayed and tracking isn't updating, it will still arrive.
Before emailing about missing packages, see "How long will my order take to arrive?".
Why did I only get half my order?
Books are shipped from USA; rope is shipped from Malaysia. Thus, orders for books and rope will always arrive in two packages.
However, due to quirks in shipping fees, it often makes more sense to send two smaller packages for larger rope orders. These price breaks commonly occur at 1 and 2 kg.
Does DKR pay customs fees?
Absolutely not. You are responsible for any customs charges that are incurred.
We've been shipping products worldwide since 2004. Most packages pass through customs without trouble.
However, there are over 200 countries on the planet, each with different, ever-changing policies. Even when the policies are unchanged, enforcement is inconsistent or erratic. An identical package that passed through customs without difficulty last week can trigger problems and charges this week.
Many countries let books pass without charges.
Finally, we are a law-abiding company and we want to keep shipping our products to you and everyone else in your country. Please don't ask us to commit fraud by falsely declaring the package contents or value.
Do you ship to Israel?
Our books, yes. For our rope, it's more complicated…
Our rope factory is located in Malaysia, and, as such, we're subject to the laws, regulations, and diplomatic relations Malaysia has with other countries.
Unfortunately, Malaysia and Israel have had uneasy relations since 1963, with tensions rising dramatically after 1981. In fact, Malaysian passports specifically state "This passport is valid for all countries except Israel". Unsurprisingly, Malaysia won't ship packages to Israel and all commerce with Israel must be approved by the government. Also unsurprisingly, Malaysia isn't in the habit of approving commerce.
Thus, we're unable to ship directly to Israel using our usual postal service. Shippers like DHL are also forbidden from shipping to Israel from Malaysia.
If you're living in Israel, you have the following options:
- Ship to a friend: Provide us with an address outside of Israel. We'll ship to your friend; you retrieve the package from your friend at your leisure.
- Ship to a redirection service: Some companies exist specifically to solve the we-can't-ship-to-Israel problem. One customer of ours reports that the cost to redirect a 20-rope pack was roughly $70 USD through DealTas, which is based in USA. A similar service is USHOPS.
Because our books ship from USA, orders consisting of only books can be shipped easily.
Where do I enter my coupon code?
The coupon code box appears after you click “Check out” on the cart page.
After confirming your order, click the “Check out” button.
Enter your coupon code in the box indicated.
How do I place an order?
1. On the Cart page, click the "Check out" button.
2. Enter your email and shipping address information. Click "Continue to shipping method" to proceed.
3. Confirm your shipping address and shipping cost, if any. If you have a discount code, make sure you enter it now. When you're ready, click "Continue to payment method."
4. Confirm your billing address. Click "Complete order" to be redirected to PayPal to submit your payment.
5. Choose to pay with your PayPal account, or with a debit or credit card.
If you choose your PayPal account, enter your login info and click "Log in" to proceed.
If you choose to pay with a card, enter your information as requested and click "Pay" to proceed.
6. A confirmation page appears if you choose to use your PayPal account. Click "Pay Now" to proceed.
7. A processing graphic appears.
8. A confirmation page appears. Your order is now complete. Click "Continue shopping" to return to our main page.
What will my credit card statement say?
We make every effort to be discreet and uphold your privacy. We receive payments through PayPal and our statement name is simply “DKR” - your credit card or bank statement will show “PAYPAL *DKR” for your purchase.
How do I tell people about Douglas Kent Rope?
Niche businesses like ours rely on people like you to spread the word! If you love our books and rope, we’d really appreciate you telling someone else who might love them, too!
You can find us on:
Really want to show us the love? We’d think you’re super awesome if you wrote us a testimonial! Send your thoughts to email@example.com and include the name you’d like to be credited as. Thank you so much!