This is a nice touch. We've wrapped our own steam pipes in hemp rope last summer, but this weekend we saw a new variation on this idea.
A friend found a very special hemp marline at American Rope & Tar which he used to wrap this support pole. While a tad expensive, check out the description on this stuff:
Once considered a part of everyday life by traditional sailors, authentic tarred hemp marline is now a rare product. Many sailors have given up trying to find it, thinking "they don't make it anymore..."
We have found a source of excellent, authentic tarred hemp marline. It has the feel and workability prized by generations of riggers, sailmakers and knotters. It's tarred with genuine Stockholm Tar. There's nothing else like it.
We think this is an excellent idea and resource. We can think of many uses for this type of finish.