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Is It Possible to Repair a Frayed or Cut Webbing Strap?

Webbing straps are incredibly versatile. They have tons of uses, ranging from rigging a whitewater raft to holding household goods in place inside an overlanding rig. But sometimes they start to fray. And of course, you can always incidentally cut one. Then what? Can you repair your damaged strap?

Before we answer that question, let us talk about webbing straps and what they are. They are straps made from woven webbing material – usually polyester or nylon. A variety of buckles and hardware allow for attachment and securement.

You can buy webbing straps as either ratchet or cam straps. Ratchet straps are for heavy loads and commercial jobs. Cam straps, like those made by Rollercam cam straps, are ideal for household jobs, adventure sports, and transporting light loads.

Repairs: Yes and No

Now, let’s get to the question at hand: is it possible to repair a frayed or cut webbing strap? By the strictest definition of the word, yes. There are a variety of ways to address fraying straps. A strap that is completely cut can also be put back together. The question then becomes whether the strap can be used safely.

I am willing to bet that most manufacturers would strongly urge consumers to get rid of frayed and cut webbing straps. If for no other reason, they want to protect themselves against liability in the event someone uses a damaged strap it ends up hurting himself.

The fact is that no repair job is going to return a damaged strap to the same level of pre-damage integrity. Even the best repair job is subject to failure. So if you choose to repair a frayed or cut strap, you’re taking your chances.

I could see my way clear to using a repaired strap only on a very light load with minimal tension. I would not expect it to handle a heavy load under high tension. It is just too risky.

Repairing Frayed Straps

Although I don’t personally recommend it, I’m guessing by now you’re curious about how to repair damaged straps. Let us start with the frayed ones. As I see it, you have two options:

  • Flame Repair – Both nylon and polyester webbing will melt when exposed to flame. Therefore, you can use a candle or match to burn off frayed edges and melt the exposed threads together again.

  • Sewing Repair – Another way to address a frayed strap is to cut away the loose threads with a pair of scissors or a hobby knife, then use a needle and thread to strengthen the material. Both backstitching and whipstitching will do the job.

Both types of repairs are only temporary. Fraying is likely to resume at some point in the future. Depending on your use, you might get 6-12 months use from a repaired strap before it starts to fray again.

Repairing Cut Straps

I know of only one good way to repair cut straps: sew them back together and then reinforce with a webbing patch. This particular repair requires specific reinforcing stitching patterns and techniques. If you don’t know them, find someone who does. A simple stitch similar to one used to hem up a pair of pants isn’t going to cut it.

Repairing frayed and cut webbing straps is possible. Is it a smart idea? You need to decide that for yourself. You can probably justify repairing damaged straps in some cases, but certainly not in every case. Any webbing strap that will be used to carry a heavy load at high tension really needs to be in perfect working order. That means no repairs.

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