This is a strong fiber that comes from the leaf stems of the stalk of the abaca plant, which belongs to the banana family. The fibers vary in length from 1.2 to 4.5 meters (4 to 15 feet) in the natural states. The quality of the fiber and its length give Manila rope relatively high elasticity, strength, and resistance to wear and deterioration. In many instances, the manufacturer treats the rope with chemicals to make it more mildew resistant, which increases the quality of the rope. Manila rope is generally the standard item of issue because of its quality and relative strength.
Sisal rope is made from two tropical plants, sisalana and henequen, that produce fibers 0.6 to 1.2 meters (2 to 4 feet) long. Sisalana produces the stronger fibers of the two plants, so the rope is known as sisal. Sisal rope is about 80 percent as strong as high quality Manila rope and can be easily obtained. It withstands exposure to sea water very well and is often used for this reason.
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