As engines and other farm machinery whirled and clicked in the background at Goessel’s 50th annual Threshing Days, Dean Gipe demonstrated rope-making tools that he began collecting about 30 years ago.
“These machines go back to the 1800s,” Gipe said in a barn where children and families milled about, stopping to look at antique tractors and trucks. “The one in the middle could have come over in a covered wagon because it was used on covered wagons.”
A Salina resident, Gipe displayed five of his machines over the weekend. He and his brother, John, strung various lines of twine that people could make a rope out of by cranking a handle.
“I let kids make a rope, and they love it,” Gipe said. “A lot of them get into contests about who can do it the fastest.”
Gipe finds rope-making tools at estate and farm sales.
“I didn’t know what kind of infectious disease I was getting into when I got my first one,” he said, laughing. “But it’s relaxing.”
He demonstrates rope-making at events such as Threshing Days and Lindsborg’s Millfest.
“I go all over the state,” he said.
The twine he uses for demonstration is the same type used for bailing hay. People who make ropes at his booth use them for jump ropes, hat bands, and dog leashes, he said.
He will take tangled twine off farmers’ hands.
“It just takes some work,” he said. “It’s relaxing.”
He figures he has more than 30 miles of twine and a dozen rope-making tools. He’s always on the hunt for more.
“If you seen one, you got to have it,” he said.
They stand the test of time, he said.
“You gotta keep them greased,” he said. “A little lubrication goes a long ways.”
Gipe also is a woodworker and a steam engine inspector. He grew up on a farm and spent 41 years making fluorescent lightbulbs.
About 200 to 250 children come out for an educational day at Millfest in Lindsborg, and Gipe makes sure each one gets to keep a rope.
“I’ve never charged a kid yet,” he said.