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Thread: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

  1. #1
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    Default Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    I am looking for recommendations for books on ropework that go beyond the scope of seamanship. I just gave my friend a marlinspike for her birthday. I loaned her Marlinspike Sailor and the Ashley Book of Knots, but she would like to try some projects that will not make her house look like the Admiral Benbow Inn.

    Joe

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Most maritime projects of that nature do not need a marlinspike. Macramé and drawn thread work for example.
    A macramé shopping bag with laid grommet handles may be?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    The Ashley Book of Knots is the Bible of knotting. Here one can find more on knot work than most other books cover.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...l_5c77deyxn8_e
    Another book that is very comprehensive on boat knots that are useful, is Hervey Garrett Smiths book,
    The Marlin Spike Sailor. Beautiful illustrated by the author it is worth having just for the beauty of the illustrations. It can be found on the same address as is the book above.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    When in doubt, read post #1
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    While Ashley's has been in print forever and is generally acclaimed as the "Bible" of knot work, the ne plus ultra of knot books is Hensel and Graumont's Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Ropework. Ashley's has chapters on non-nautical knots, which your friend might appreciate. Ashley's also indisputably has the best "how to tie it" instructions and illustrations. Hensel and Graumount approaches the subject more technically, beginning with the mechanics of simple knots and moving on to the more complex, organized by type. In my opinion, it's easier to research a knot in Hensel and Graumount, but it's easier to figure out how to tie it, especially if one isn't a marlinespike sailor in the first place, using Ashley's.



    More than 3,600 knots are described and illustrated in 348 full-page plates.



    Claims 3,900, but there's dispute among knot wonks (yes, there are such people) regarding the methods of classification of the knots. Some argue that Ashley's classification by use counts some knots more than once, while Hensley and Graumount's classification by type and mechanics is more conservative. I'm sure not going to go counting them, though!

    Tell your friend to connect with The International Guild of Knot Tyers. https://igkt.net/ If you thought you knew anything about knot tying, they'll humble you right down!


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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Most maritime projects of that nature do not need a marlinspike. Macramé and drawn thread work for example.
    A macramé shopping bag with laid grommet handles may be?
    Agreed. The marlinspike is for tough dimensions, you'll kind of have to look into things like stairs and bigger projects with an industrial/maritime look to find uses...
    A much more useful tool for works with smaller dimensions in the Swedish fid

    Personally I switch from the Swedish fid to the Marlinspike when wires are thicker than around one inch, for fibre rope even thicker dimensions.

    That said, the Marlinspike in a smallish variant can be quite useful when a thin line needs to be tightened (seizings, whippings etc) using the Marlinspike Hitch. But for that almost any kind of thin cylinder can be used...

    As for it not looking too maritimeish, it's hard. If you put a Turks Head on something it will automatically look like a sailor did it or it was made to be used on a ship. Same for half hitch plaits.
    I think Peerie Maa was spot on with Macrame. Macrame has managed to grow into the non sailors-world much better than most other rope-works.

    /Mats


    /Mats
    My blog about my time as a boat building student, a rigger apprentice and Journeyman http://kaptenmohsart.blogspot.se/

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsart View Post
    As for it not looking too maritimeish, it's hard. If you put a Turks Head on something it will automatically look like a sailor did it or it was made to be used on a ship. Same for half hitch plaits.
    Edit: Non-sailors will think it looks salty, sailors will think it looks tacky.

    /Mats
    My blog about my time as a boat building student, a rigger apprentice and Journeyman http://kaptenmohsart.blogspot.se/

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Ashley's book has a whole series of knotted buttons.

    Then there is the art of tying sinnets out of teeny-tiny cord to produce zipper pulls.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Thump mats make good hot mats for hot dishes on the table.
    Pocket knife lanyards are useful ashore as well as on the water.
    Key fobs can be made similar to the zipper pulls Michael mentioned, only they start with multiple loops of twine instead of a braiding them into a single loop.
    Long, tapered, multi-knot, multi-sinnet lanyards can be used to operate switches on overhead light fixtures and fans.

    Ashley has whole chapters on adapting these arts to life ashore.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Quote Originally Posted by robm View Post
    Thump mats make good hot mats for hot dishes on the table.
    Pocket knife lanyards are useful ashore as well as on the water.
    Key fobs can be made similar to the zipper pulls Michael mentioned, only they start with multiple loops of twine instead of a braiding them into a single loop.
    Long, tapered, multi-knot, multi-sinnet lanyards can be used to operate switches on overhead light fixtures and fans.

    Ashley has whole chapters on adapting these arts to life ashore.
    And a small spike will be useful in snugging up the knots and sennits.
    I have one of these lanyards on our hand torch.
    DSC03401.jpg
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    I have an old ice pick I use for a pricker. Covered the handle in half-hitches. Works great.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    This is a nice one to make. Lie it flat as a trivet or mat, fold it into a bowl to cup one in place or hold in your palm: http://www.instructables.com/id/Half-Hitch-Mat/
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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors



    I used to make these out of oiled manila as a door mat and give them to friends as wedding presents with the explanation that it was a symbol for their marriage - closely woven, always purposeful, and always welcoming.

    I think that one of those half-dozen or so marriages is still intact.

    I don't make them as wedding presents any more.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    When in doubt, read post #1
    Indeed! But then, it wouldn't be the Woodenboat Forum.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Various ladder mats and lanyards are just the thing for around the house and workshop. She is a very project-oriented sort of an animal, so perhaps I should approach the topic from that direction.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Or you could akip the rope and just carve some "woven and tied" embellishment on a wooden door.


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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Sailors and string are closely linked going back through time, it is part of the deal...
    Maybe a tablecloth?


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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Being a knot head, I have more than one book on the subject. If one is willing to bury their mind into the subject, the Encyclopedia of knots is a more esoteric work. But Ashley's book is the winner for simple to follow instructions. And, H. G. Smith is the winner for the art of it all!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    This is a nice one to make. Lie it flat as a trivet or mat, fold it into a bowl to cup one in place or hold in your palm: http://www.instructables.com/id/Half-Hitch-Mat/
    That one intrigues me. A collapsible bowl of sorts.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    I suppose I will have to make her a net needle for Christmas ...

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    This brings to mind a funny story. Back in the early '80's I was contacted by some fancy advertising agency who wanted me to work up some fancy work for use on the Matson Steam Navigation Co.'s corporate Christmas cards that year. They'd found their way to me because I'd done an exhibition of how "working" ropework was made for the National Maritime Museum at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. I sat and did up things like rope fenders, thump mats, and puds in larger diameter cordage while people watched and I explained how it was done and what the pieces were used for. This lady from the advertising agency said they wanted a "Christmas wreath" made of fancywork to put on Matson's Christmas cards.

    I spent a fair bit of time over the weekend working up a spectacular "Christmas wreath" made of sennit which was then worked into connected figure-eight knots laid flat. It came out very well, I thought.

    The next Monday I brought the "wreath" over to the advertising agency and the lady expressed dismay. She said she was looking for something "less intricate," and described a simple Turk's head laid flat. I reached into my ditty bag which I'd fortunately brought, and whipped out a double laid Turk's head and laid it flat. "That's exactly what we need." She handed me back the fancy wreath I'd done over the weekend. I still have the wreath, which is our Christmas dining table centerpiece laid out on a green felt covered circle of plywood. A vase and flowers goes in the middle of it.

    The Christmas card had the flat Turk's head embossed on white card stock with a holly leaf and a couple of holly berries printed on it. They told me Matson loved the card. That double-laid simple Turk's head was the easiest eight hundred bucks I ever made tying knots!
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 06-04-2018 at 02:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Christmas wreath in rope: http://firstharborcompany.com/shop/
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Quote Originally Posted by jseymour View Post
    That one intrigues me. A collapsible bowl of sorts.
    Quote Originally Posted by jseymour View Post
    I suppose I will have to make her a net needle for Christmas ...
    The "Netting Needle" or "Grip-fid" is a very useful tool, but I prefer to use CPE5 (Cyanoacrylate) "SuperGlue" on the ends of my lines. It weighs almost nothing, while the brass or aluminum hollow needles with an internal thread to 'secure' the line bang about while being passed thru the work, will only accommodate a small range of line diameters, have the habit of coming adrift and being lost in the most inconvenient of spaces, usually JUST big enough to make it impossible to retrieve them... Well, one can see why I prefer to either dip the end (or, more usually, drip the glue on the end) of the line. Fast dry glue will set up on cotton/fiber line in less than a minute, although synthetics will vary in time required, from ten minutes to overnite, depending on the synthetic used. (I find rayon [mini-blind] cord excellent for MOST small work.)

    ALWAYS DO THE GLUING OVER A SACRIFICIAL SHEET of cardboard, an old rug, your dog..... because if you get the CA on the good rug, SWMBO will kill, DAMHIKT)

    The best part is it does not fall off, get lost, scratch furniture or sit in a drawer because it was the wrong size. (If I had a nickle for every 'miracle' tool for rope work I've bought, I'd have a couple of bucks, fer sure!)

    Clip the end of your rope into a point and you've got a very nice fid-like tool which you just discard once you're done.

    The IGKT forum costs naught to join and there are plenty of people who'll be glad to provide tips and assistance.




    001lanyard.jpg

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Brion Toss's book The Rigger's Apprentice has an entire chapter on magic tricks one can do with rope. If there are kids in the house she might find it entertaining.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince Brennan View Post
    The "Netting Needle" or "Grip-fid" is a very useful tool, but I prefer to use CPE5 (Cyanoacrylate) "SuperGlue" on the ends of my lines. It weighs almost nothing, while the brass or aluminum hollow needles with an internal thread to 'secure' the line bang about while being passed thru the work, will only accommodate a small range of line diameters, have the habit of coming adrift and being lost in the most inconvenient of spaces, usually JUST big enough to make it impossible to retrieve them... Well, one can see why I prefer to either dip the end (or, more usually, drip the glue on the end) of the line. Fast dry glue will set up on cotton/fiber line in less than a minute, although synthetics will vary in time required, from ten minutes to overnite, depending on the synthetic used. (I find rayon [mini-blind] cord excellent for MOST small work.)

    ALWAYS DO THE GLUING OVER A SACRIFICIAL SHEET of cardboard, an old rug, your dog..... because if you get the CA on the good rug, SWMBO will kill, DAMHIKT)

    The best part is it does not fall off, get lost, scratch furniture or sit in a drawer because it was the wrong size. (If I had a nickle for every 'miracle' tool for rope work I've bought, I'd have a couple of bucks, fer sure!)

    Clip the end of your rope into a point and you've got a very nice fid-like tool which you just discard once you're done.

    The IGKT forum costs naught to join and there are plenty of people who'll be glad to provide tips and assistance.




    001lanyard.jpg
    These are netting needles. Needles for knitting nets.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    "Knots and Their Vices" by Michael Jeneid is a charming little booklet that starts by accepting the challenge to teach one how to tie a bowline only by written words, no pictures. He does it and for flourish does it in one sentence. I think this is out of print but can be found through Amazon.

    "The Handy Book of Knots" by Randy Penn is very informative in many ways, including structures of rope forms and sequential building through knot families. This is one of the best books I've seen for people new to line.

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    Default Re: Marlinspike Seamanship for Non-Sailors

    Many thanks for the book recommendations, Ian McColgin!

    Thanks to Vince Brennan and everyone else for sharing your wisdom and beautiful work.

    This forum always takes me down channels I didn't know were there ...

    Joe

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