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 3 - Ties and Hitches


All the knots I have so far described are used mainly for fastening the two ends of a rope, or of two ropes, together. Of quite a different class are the knots used in making a rope fast to a stationary or solid object, and are known as "hitches" or "ties."

Illustration: FIG. 30.—Lark's head with toggle (<i>A</i>).

One of the easiest of this class to make and one which is very useful in fastening a boat or other object where it may be necessary to release it quickly is the "Lark's Head" (Fig. 30). To make this tie, pass a bight of your rope through the ring, or other object, to which you are making fast and then pass a marline-spike, a billet of wood, or any similar object through the sides of the bight and under or behind the standing part, as shown in A, Fig. 30.

Illustration: FIG. 31.—Lark's head with toggle (<i>A</i>) withdrawn.

The end of the rope may then be laid over and under the standing part and back over itself. This knot may be instantly released by merely pulling out the toggle.

Illustration: FIG. 32.—Slippery hitch (complete).

Almost as quickly made and unfastened is the "Slippery Hitch" (Fig. 32).

Illustration: FIG. 33—Slippery hitch (tying).

To make this, run the end of the rope through the ring or eye to which it is being fastened, then back over the standing part and pull a loop, or bight, back through the "cuckold's neck" thus formed (Fig. 33). To untie, merely pull on the free end.

Illustration: FIGS. 34 and 35.—Half-hitches.

Two half-hitches, either around a post or timber or around the standing part of the rope, make an ideal and quickly tied fastening (Figs. 34 and 35). To make these, pass the end around the post, ring, or other object, then over and around the standing part between the post and itself, then under and around the standing part and between its own loop and the first one formed. After a little practice you can tie this knot almost instantly and by merely throwing a couple of turns around a post, two half-hitches may be formed instantly. This knot will hold forever without loosening, and even on a smooth, round stick or spar it will stand an enormous strain without slipping.

Illustration: FIG. 36 <i>B</i>.—Clove hitch (complete).

A more secure knot for this same purpose is the "Clove Hitch" (Fig. 36), sometimes known as the "Builders' Hitch."

Illustration: FIG. 36 <i>A</i>.—Clove hitch or builder's hitch (tying).

To make this, pass the end of rope around the spar or timber, then over itself; over and around the spar, and pass the end under itself and between rope and spar, as shown in the illustration.

Illustration: FIG. 37.—Gunner's knot.

The Clove hitch with ends knotted becomes the "Gunners' Knot" (Fig. 37). These are among the most valuable and important of knots and are useful in a thousand and one places. The Clove hitch will hold fast on a smooth timber and is used extensively by builders for fastening the stageing to the upright posts. It is also useful in making a tow-line fast to a wet spar, or timber, and even on a slimy and slippery spile it will seldom slip.

Illustration: FIG. 38.—Timber hitch.

For this purpose the "Timber Hitch" (Fig. 38) is even better than the Clove hitch. It is easily made by passing the end of a rope around the spar or log, round the standing part of the rope and then twist it three or more times around, under and over itself.

Illustration: FIG. 39.—Timber hitch and half-hitch.

If you wish this still more secure, a single half-hitch may be taken with the line a couple of feet further along the spar (Fig. 39).

Illustration: Figs. 40 and 41.—'Twists.'

It is remarkable what power to grip a twisted rope has, and the "Twist Knots" shown in Figs. 40 and 41 illustrate two ways of making fast which are really not knots at all but merely twists.

Illustration: FIG. 42.—Twist with bow.

These may be finished by a simple knot, or a bow-knot, as shown in Fig. 42, but they are likely to jam under great pressure and are mainly useful in tying packages, or bundles, with small cord, where the line must be held taut until the knot is completed.

Illustration: Fig. 43.—Catspaw.

This principle of fastening by twisted rope is also utilized in the "Catspaw" (Fig. 43), a most useful knot or "hitch" for hoisting with a hook.

Illustration: Fig. 44.—Catspaw (tying).

To make this, pass the bight of your rope over the end and standing part, then, with a bight in each hand, take three twists from you, then bring the two bights side by side and throw over the hook (Fig. 44).

Illustration: FIG. 45.—Blackwall hitch.

The "Blackwall Hitch" (Fig. 45) is still simpler and easier to make and merely consists of a loop, or cuckold's neck, with the end of rope passed underneath the standing part and across the hook so that as soon as pressure is exerted the standing part bears on the end and jams it against the hook.

Illustration: FIG. 46.—Chain hitch.

The "Chain Hitch" (Fig. 46) is a very strong method of fastening a line to a timber, or large rope, where one has a rope of sufficient length, and is used frequently to help haul in a large rope or for similar purposes.

Illustration: FIG. 47.—Chain hitch with bar.

It consists simply of a number of half-hitches taken at intervals around the object and is sometimes used with a lever or handspike, as shown in Fig. 47.

Illustration: FIG. 48.—Rolling hitch.

The "Rolling Hitch" is a modified Clove hitch and is shown in Fig. 48.

Illustration: FIG. 49.—Magnus hitch.

The "Magnus Hitch" (Fig. 49) is a method frequently used on shipboard for holding spars;

Illustration: FIG. 50.—Studding-sail bend.

and the "Studding-sail Bend" (Fig. 50) is also used for this purpose.

Illustration: FIG. 51 <i>A</i>.—Roband hitch (front).

Occasions sometimes arise where a tackle, hook, ring, or another rope must be fastened to a beam by the same rope being used, and in such cases the "Roband Hitch" (Fig. 51) comes in very handy.

Illustration: FIG. 51 <i>B</i>.—Roband hitch (back).

These are all so simple and easily understood from the figures that no explanation is necessary.

Illustration: FIG. 52.—Midshipman's hitch.

Almost as simple are the "Midshipman's Hitch" (Fig. 52), the "Fisherman's Hitch" (Fig. 53), and the "Gaff Topsail Halyard Bend" (Fig. 54). The midshipman's hitch is made by taking a half-hitch around the standing part and a round turn twice around above it.

Illustration: FIG. 53.—Fisherman's hitch.

The fisherman's hitch is particularly useful in making fast large hawsers; with the end of a rope take two turns around a spar, or through a ring; take a half-hitch around the standing part and under all the turns; then a half-hitch round the standing part only and if desired seize the end to standing part.

Illustration: FIG. 54.—Gaff-topsail halyard bend.

The gaff-topsail bend is formed by passing two turns around the yard and coming up on a third turn over both the first two turns; over its own part and one turn; then stick the end under the first turn.

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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