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 4 - Nooses, Loops and Mooring Knots


Nothing is more interesting to a landsman than the manner in which a sailor handles huge, dripping hawsers or cables and with a few deft turns makes then fast to a pier-head or spile, in such a way that the ship's winches, warping the huge structure to or from the dock, do not cause the slightest give or slip to the rope and yet, a moment later, with a few quick motions, the line is cast off, tightened up anew, or paid out as required.

Illustration: FIG. 55.—Waterman's knot.

Clove hitches, used as illustrated in Fig. 55, and known as the "Waterman's Knot," are often used, with a man holding the free end, for in this way a slight pull holds the knot fast, while a little slack gives the knot a chance to slip without giving way entirely and without exerting any appreciable pull on the man holding the end.

Illustration: FIG. 56.—Larks' heads and running noose.

"Larks' Heads" are also used in conjunction with a running noose, as shown in Fig. 56,

Illustration: FIG. 57.—Cleat and wharf ties.

while a few turns under and over and around a cleat, or about two spiles, is a method easily understood and universally used by sailors (Fig. 57).

Illustration: FIG. 58.—Bow-line.

The sailor's knot par excellence, however, is the "Bow-line" (Fig. 58), and wherever we find sailors, or seamen, we will find this knot in one or another of its various forms. When you can readily and surely tie this knot every time, you may feel yourself on the road to "Marline-spike Seamanship," for it is a true sailor's knot and never slips, jams, or fails; is easily and quickly untied, and is useful in a hundred places around boats or in fact in any walk of life.

Illustration: FIG. 59.—Tying bow-line.

The knot in its various stages is well shown in Fig. 59 and by following these illustrations you will understand it much better than by a description alone. In A the rope is shown with a bight or cuckold's neck formed with the end over the standing part. Pass A back through the bight, under, then over, then under, as shown in B, then over and down through the bight, as shown in C and D, and draw taut, as in E.

Illustration: FIG. 60.—Bow-line on bight.

The "Bow-line on a Bight" (Fig 60) is just as easily made and is very useful in slinging casks or barrels and in forming a seat for men to be lowered over cliffs, or buildings, or to be hoisted aloft aboard ship for painting, cleaning, or rigging.

Illustration: FIG. 61.—Running bow-line.

A "Running Bow-line" (Fig. 61) is merely a bow-line with the end passed through the loop, thus forming a slip knot.

Illustration: FIG. 62.—Loop knot. Illustration: FIG. 63.—Loop knot. Illustration: FIG. 64.—Loop knot.

Illustration: FIG. 64.—Loop knot.

Other "Loops" are made as shown in Figs. 62-65, but none of these are as safe, sure, and useful as the bow-line.

Illustration: FIG. 66.—Tomfool knot.

One of these knots, known as the "Tomfool Knot" (Fig. 66), is used as handcuffs and has become quite famous, owing to its having baffled a number of "Handcuff Kings" and other performers who readily escaped from common knots and manacles. It is made like the running knot (Fig. 62), and the firm end is then passed through the open, simple knot so as to form a double loop or bow. If the hands or wrists are placed within these loops and the latter drawn taut, and the loose ends tied firmly around the central part, a pair of wonderfully secure handcuffs results.

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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