The first layer (wrap) around the winch drum should be put on closely and tightly. The initial winding tension (load) should be approximately 50 pounds. This will prevent subsequent wraps from slipping down between turns when tension is applied. Samson winch lines tend to self-level. Samson recommends at least four wraps always be left on the winch drum. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to their low coefficient of friction and high strength, AmSteel®-Blue lines must be worked with at least eight wraps on the drum at all times.)

Rope Capacity of a Winch Drum

The formula for determining the length of rope that will fit on a winch drum is:

WindWinch_Rope Capacity Formula
Level Winding


Using the appropriate amount of tension, wind the rope evenly, without spaces across the drum of the winch. The next level should wind over the previous layer of rope and follow the valley between turns on the previous level. This pattern is followed for all layers of rope, with each layer of turns slightly offset from the layer below.

Cross Winding

Cross Winding - First Cross


Cross Winding - Second Cross


Cross Winding - Level Layer

When the rope is placed under load it can dive, or push, into the previously wrapped level below it. To avoid diving, cross winding is recommended.

When cross winding, start with two layers of a level wound rope using the appropriate back tension. At the end of the second layer, pull the rope quickly across the drum, allow it to wind one full turn at the side of the drum, then quickly pull it back to the opposite side of the drum. This will force the rope to cross in the middle and form a barrier that will prevent the rope from diving into the lower layers of the drum when placed under load. Follow the cross wound layer with two layers of level wound turns, then form another cross. Repeat this pattern until the length of the rope is fully spooled onto the winch.