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Old 16-03-2015, 07:50   #1
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Ropes and Knots

Lost Knowledge: ropes and knots

Ropes and knots are among the most ancient and useful technologies ever developed by man, predating the wheel, the axe and probably also the use of fire. Today, they are fast on their way to become an obsolete technology.

LOW-TECH MAGAZINE: Lost knowledge: ropes and knots
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Old 16-03-2015, 15:58   #2
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Re: Ropes and Knots

Nice one. - I've bookmarked it to read later.
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Old 16-03-2015, 16:21   #3
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Re: Ropes and Knots

I dunno, I see a full circle happening. With modern fibers surpassing wire ropes (steel cables) I am seeing a resurgence in knots and splices.
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Old 16-03-2015, 17:39   #4
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Re: Ropes and Knots

I'm borderline dyslexic when it comes to knots. Try as I might, I can't seem to retain even the basic ones. so I end up "shoe lacing" any line that's less than 1/2" thick.
Granted, like everybody else, I learned how to lace my shoes at an early enough age for it to stick to the point of being able to do it with my eyes closed.

But these so-called "nautical" knots?

All of the "practical" depictions I've seen so far (graphic or YouTube) show a bitter end that's conveniently about 6-inches long once the knot's been tied, but I've yet to see one that shows how to deal with a line whose trailing end is 10 or 20 feet long.

Jacques
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Old 16-03-2015, 18:43   #5
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Re: Ropes and Knots

FWIW, as a 40+ year sailor, 500GT Captain, and most importantly a retired Firefighter the following are all the knots you ever need (in order of usefulness):
#1 Common Bowline
#2 Half Hitch
#3 Clove Hitch (two half hitches)
#4 Becket Bend and the similar, but not as useful Square Knot
#5 Sheep Shank
#6 Figure 8

6 knots that will do just about anything on a boat, rigging, or securing.
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Old 16-03-2015, 18:45   #6
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Re: Ropes and Knots

OK, I'll add the Slippery Hitch (which looks and works like a Prusik)
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Old 16-03-2015, 20:20   #7
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Re: Ropes and Knots

That's some big rope...

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Old 16-03-2015, 21:32   #8
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Re: Ropes and Knots

Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
FWIW, as a 40+ year sailor, 500GT Captain, and most importantly a retired Firefighter the following are all the knots you ever need (in order of usefulness):
#1 Common Bowline
#2 Half Hitch
#3 Clove Hitch (two half hitches)
#4 Becket Bend and the similar, but not as useful Square Knot
#5 Sheep Shank
#6 Figure 8

6 knots that will do just about anything on a boat, rigging, or securing.
Cap'n, I can't match your creds, but I gotta question the inclusion of the Sheep Shank in your list of most useful knots. I've seen these shown in knot manuals and Boy Scout literature for decades, and never had any reason to use one.

Maybe it would suit to replace it with a good bend, perhaps SWL's favorite
Zeppelin Bend which I use frequently on board.

Cheers,

Jim, on Ann's computer
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Old 16-03-2015, 23:03   #9
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Re: Ropes and Knots

+1 for the zepplin bend. Broadly unknown and underutilized IMHO

And for me, add the truckers hitch.
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Old 17-03-2015, 01:28   #10
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Re: Ropes and Knots

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Cap'n, I can't match your creds, but I gotta question the inclusion of the Sheep Shank in your list of most useful knots. I've seen these shown in knot manuals and Boy Scout literature for decades, and never had any reason to use one.

Maybe it would suit to replace it with a good bend, perhaps SWL's favorite
Zeppelin Bend which I use frequently on board.

Cheers,

Jim, on Ann's computer
Jim, the Sheepshank is used for shortening line. A good shortening knot is occasionally needed, although I must admit it is not often for me (perhaps it is used more on commercial vessels?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
FWIW, as a 40+ year sailor, 500GT Captain, and most importantly a retired Firefighter the following are all the knots you ever need (in order of usefulness):
#1 Common Bowline
#2 Half Hitch
#3 Clove Hitch (two half hitches)
#4 Becket Bend and the similar, but not as useful Square Knot
#5 Sheep Shank
#6 Figure 8

6 knots that will do just about anything on a boat, rigging, or securing.
Capngeo, the Sheepshank does undo frighteningly easily if tension is taken off the line. Have you ever tried adding a handcuff knot in the middle? It is quick, simple, elegant, secure and if a large amount of line needs to be shortened it is much less messier to tie than an ordinary sheepshank.

I will tie one in a sec and post a photo.

As for connecting lines together, if you had to pick one knot to have in your repertoire, there is a vastly better alternative to the Becket Bend (ie Sheet Bend). Try the Zeppelin .

SWL
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Old 17-03-2015, 02:03   #11
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Re: Ropes and Knots

Man o'war sheepshank:

Rather than snaking a Z to use up the loose line, tie a handcuff knot (it is dead easy - just a clove hitch with one loop pulled through the other). The line can easily then be shortened by pulling on the loops. A half hitch is then used to secure the ends, as in an ordinary sheepshank. It is much less messy when you have a long length to shorten midline. SaltyMonkey taught me this one .

(And for directions for the Zeppelin see this recent thread :
Knots)
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Old 17-03-2015, 02:38   #12
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Re: Ropes and Knots

On big ships the only place I have every seen sheepshanks used is on the lifeboats... the grab lines under the boat would have a sheepshank in them so that people trying to cling to an upturned boat had something to hang onto. These would be fitted to the boats at birth so I guess there was someone in the boatbuilders' yards who was an expert sheepshank man. The loops at the ends were seized so that they wouldn't fall apart.

'Half a Sheepshank' is , of course , a truckies' hitch....
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