Knots, Splices and Rope Work

Author: A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954Editor Popular Science Dept., "American Boy Magazine."
Illustrated with 156 Original Cuts Showing How Each Knot, Tie or Splice is Formed and Its Appearance When Complete.

Giving Complete and Simple Directions for Making All the Most Useful and Ornamental Knots in Common Use, with Chapters on Splicing, Pointing, Seizing, Serving, etc. Adapted for the Use of Travellers, Campers, Yachtsmen, Boy Scouts, and All Others Having to Use or Handle Ropes for Any Purpose.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chapter 2 - Simple Knots and Bends

Illustration: FIG. 3.—Parts of Rope.

For convenience in handling rope and learning the various knots, ties, and bends, we use the terms "standing part," "bight," and "end" (Fig. 3). The Standing Part is the principal portion or longest part of the rope; the Bight is the part curved or bent while working or handling; while the End is that part used in forming the knot or hitch. Before commencing work the loose ends or strands of a rope should be "whipped" or "seized" to prevent the rope from unravelling; and although an expert can readily tie almost any knot, make a splice, or in fact do pretty nearly anything with a loose-ended rope, yet it is a wise plan to invariably whip the end of every rope, cable, or hawser to be handled, while a marline-spike, fid, or pointed stick will also prove of great help in working rope.

Illustration: FIG. 4.—Whipping.

To whip or seize a rope-end, take a piece of twine or string and lay it on the rope an inch or two from the end, pass the twine several times around the rope, keeping the ends of the twine under the first few turns to hold it in place; then make a large loop with the free end of twine; bring it back to the rope and continue winding for three or four turns around both rope and end of twine; and then finish by drawing the loop tight by pulling on the free end (Fig. 4).

Illustration: FIG. 5.—Cuckolds' necks.

All knots are begun by "loops" or rings commonly known to mariners as "Cuckolds' Necks" (Fig. 5).

Illustration: FIG. 6.—Clinch.

These may be either overhand or underhand, and when a seizing or fastening of twine is placed around the two parts where they cross a useful rope ring known as a "clinch" is formed (Fig. 6).

Illustration: FIGS. 7 and 8.—Overhand knots.

If the loose end of the rope is passed over the standing part and through the "cuckold's-neck," the simplest of all knots, known as the "Overhand Knot," is made (Fig. 7). This drawn tight appears as in Fig. 8, and while so simple this knot is important, as it is frequently used in fastening the ends of yarns and strands in splicing, whipping, and seizing.

Illustration: FIGS. 9 and 10.—Figure-eight knots.

The "Figure-Eight Knot" is almost as simple as the overhand and is plainly shown in Figs. 9 and 10.

Illustration: FIGS. 11 and 12.—Square knots.

Only a step beyond the figure-eight and the overhand knots are the "Square" and "Reefing" knots (Figs. 11 and 12). The square knot is probably the most useful and widely used of any common knot and is the best all-around knot known. It is very strong, never slips or becomes jammed, and is readily untied. To make a square knot, take the ends of the rope and pass the left end over and under the right end, then the right over and under the left.

Illustration: FIG. 13.—Granny knot.

If you once learn the simple formula of "Left over," "Right over," you will never make a mistake and form the despised "Granny," a most useless, bothersome, and deceptive makeshift for any purpose (Fig. 13). The true "Reef Knot" is merely the square knot with the bight of the left or right end used instead of the end itself. This enables the knot to be "cast off" more readily than the regular square knot (A, Fig. 12).

Illustration: FIG. 14.—Slipped square knot.

Neither square nor reef knots, however, are reliable when tying two ropes of unequal size together, for under such conditions they will frequently slip and appear as in Fig. 14, and sooner or later will pull apart.

Illustration: FIG. 15.—Square knot with ends seized.

To prevent this the ends may be tied or seized as shown in Fig. 15.

Illustration: FIG. 16.—Open-hand knots.

A better way to join two ropes of unequal diameter is to use the "Open-hand Knot." This knot is shown in Fig. 16, and is very quickly and easily made; it never slips or gives, but is rather large and clumsy, and if too great a strain is put on the rope it is more likely to break at the knot than at any other spot.

Illustration: FIG. 17.—Fisherman's knot (making).

The "Fisherman's Knot," shown in Fig. 17, is a good knot and is formed by two simple overhand knots slipped over each rope, and when drawn taut appears as in Fig. 18.

Illustration: FIG. 18.—Fisherman's knot (finished).

This is an important and valuable knot for anglers, as the two lines may be drawn apart by taking hold of the ends, A, B, and a third line for a sinker, or extra hook, may be inserted between them. In joining gut lines the knot should be left slightly open and the space between wrapped with silk. This is probably the strongest known method of fastening fine lines.

Illustration: FIG. 19.—Ordinary knot (finished).

The "Ordinary Knot," for fastening heavy ropes, is shown in Fig. 19.

Illustration: FIG. 20.—Ordinary knot (tying).

It is made by forming a simple knot and then interlacing the other rope or "following around," as shown in Fig. 20. This knot is very strong, will not slip, is easy to make, and does not strain the fibres of the rope. Moreover, ropes joined with this knot will pay out, or hang, in a straight line.

Illustration: FIG. 21.—Ordinary knot (seized).

By whipping the ends to the standing parts it becomes a neat and handsome knot (Fig. 21).

Illustration: FIG. 22.—Weaver's knot (complete).

The "Weaver's Knot" (Fig. 22) is more useful in joining small lines, or twine, than for rope, and for thread it is without doubt the best knot known.

Illustration: FIG. 23.—Weaver's knot (tying).

The ends are crossed as in Fig. 23. The end A is then looped back over the end B, and the end B is slipped through loop C and drawn tight.

Illustration: FIG. 24.—Double figure-eight knot (complete).

Another useful and handsome knot is illustrated in Fig. 24. This is a variation of the figure-eight knot, already described, and is used where there is too much rope, or where a simple knot is desired to prevent the rope running through an eye, ring, or tackle-block.

Illustration: FIG. 25.—Double figure-eight knot (tying).

It is made by forming a regular figure eight and then "following round" with the other rope as in Fig. 25. It is then drawn taut and the ends seized to the standing part if desired.

Illustration: FIG. 26.—Garrick bend (finished).

Sometimes we have occasion to join two heavy or stiff ropes or hawsers, and for this purpose the "Garrick Bend" (Fig. 26) is preeminently the best of all knots. To make this knot, form a bight by laying the end of a rope on top of and across the standing part.

Illustration: FIG. 27.—Garrick bend (tying).

Next take the end of the other rope and pass it through this bight, first down, then up, over the cross and down through the bight again, so that it comes out on the opposite side from the other end, thus bringing one end on top and the other below, as illustrated in Fig. 27. If the lines are very stiff or heavy the knot may be secured by seizing the ends to the standing parts.

Illustration: FIG. 28.—Simple hitch (hawser).

A much simpler and a far poorer knot is sometimes used in fastening two heavy ropes together. This is a simple hitch within a loop, as illustrated in Fig. 28, but while it has the advantage of being quickly and easily tied it is so inferior to the Garrick bend that I advise all to adopt the latter in its place.

Illustration: FIG. 29.—Half-hitch and seizing.

When two heavy lines are to be fastened for any considerable time, a good method is to use the "Half-hitch and Seizing," shown in Fig. 29. This is a secure and easy method of fastening ropes together and it allows the rope to be handled more easily, and to pass around a winch or to be coiled much more readily, than when other knots are used.

Knots, Splices and Rope Work

External links:
  • Wikipedia Knots - A knot is a method for fastening or securing linear material such as rope by tying or interweaving. It may consist of a length of one or more segments of rope, string, webbing, twine, strap, or even chain interwoven such that the line can bind to itself or to some other object—the "load". Knots have been the subject of interest for their ancient origins, their common uses, and the mathematical implications of knot theory.
  • Wikipedia List of Knots
  • The Eight Basic Boy Scout Knots
  • The Bowline is one of the most used loop knots. At the end of a rope, the bowline forms a strong loop that will not slip or jam. Most of the time however, the bowline is used when ever we have a competition on who can tie it the fastest around their waist. Which is always fun.
  • The Square Knot is probably the best known and most widely used knot. It serves to join the ends of two ropes, and has the advantage of strength and ease of tying and untying. It slips or jams only if pulled around a corner. People use square knots to tie packages and to fasten towing lines, it is also called the "first aid knot." Most people use a variation of the square knot to tie their shoes. An improperly tied square knot is called a granny knot. A granny knot may come loose under pressure and should not be used.
  • Two Half Hitches are used to fasten a rope temporarily to a post, hook, or ring. The Boy Scout book says this is a good not for tying your tent down, or for tying a clothes line to hang wet clothes and towels. This not is usually used because of it's slip feature. The knot slides with the greatest of ease, to make the loop bigger or smaller.
  • The Sheet Bend was a knot that the sailors used to tie on their ships. They tied the sails together, which were sheets. This is a good choice when tying two ropes together, especially when the ropes are different sizes.
  • The Taut-line Hitch. This is a remarkably useful knot; it's adjustable AND trustworthy. Anyone who uses a tent should know this knot. It is the best way to adjust your lines to the tent-poles. It is the most simple of the adjustable knot family.
  • The Clove Hitch. This is a very important knot, especially in your lashings. Make sure you work it up properly; pull lengthwise only at both ends. If you pull the knot at different angles, it's likely to become unreliable. If you use it be sure that both ends are pulled straight out.
  • The Timber Hitch is used to attach a rope to a log. This knot tightens under strain, but comes undone extremely easily when the rope is slack. So be sure to keep it tight. The timber hitch is very useful for dragging logs back to the camp fire, or clearing forest.
  • The Figure-Eight. This knot is larger, stronger and more easy to untie than the overhand knot. It does not harm your rope as much as the overhand knot does. So therefore sailors use this knot in most cases. Other than that, I see no use for it, other than impressing you board of review.
  • Boy Scout Knots
  • Animated Knots

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