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Thread: Matthew Walker Knot Brush

  1. #1
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    Default Matthew Walker Knot Brush

    Matthew Walker Knot Brush/Comb Holder
    1/2" manila rope
    I tied this circa 1966. I was on board my first US Navy ship. I admired the knot work of a boatswain's mate and he introduced me to knot tying. My wife recently discovered it in an old storage box.



  2. #2
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: Matthew Walker Knot Brush

    I find 6 strands about the limit to keep them perfectly symmetrical.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Matthew Walker Knot Brush

    it may be a brush to some, but I believe it is properly called a "comb hanger." They don't work worth a damn as brushes, or, at least, not for me. You see them pictured in old fancywork books. They were often much fancier than the one pictured. Their purpose was to hang ladies hair combs. These weren't the sort of comb we have today, but rather combs that were worn in their hair as adornments. Women often had many different hair combs and the hanger could be hung on the wall and provided convenient storage of a lady's collection of combs. Sailors made them as gifts for their sweethearts while off at sea, or so the story goes.

    Styles changed and hair combs went the way of button hooks and buggy whips, and comb hangers went along with them. Some time after that, people started calling them "brushes," I suppose because they had no idea what they were really for.

    Woman wearing a hair comb:



    They were frequently made of tortoise shell:



    The same fancywork "tails" were also sometimes worked around the pendants used below decks to hang mess tables. Their purpose was to serve the same as today's napkins. The sailors would wipe their hands clean on them when eating.
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 08-10-2018 at 04:56 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Matthew Walker Knot Brush

    The strands have to be trimmed to make it effective as a brush. The material used has to be stiff enough for the application. I use the bottom one to dust my keyboard




  5. #5
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    Default Re: Matthew Walker Knot Brush

    Very cool adaptation of an old tool!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Matthew Walker Knot Brush

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post

    The same fancywork "tails" were also sometimes worked around the pendants used below decks to hang mess tables. Their purpose was to serve the same as today's napkins. The sailors would wipe their hands clean on them when eating.
    The greasy strands when enough animal fat had built up could then be used as tapers for light, like a tallow dip.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Matthew Walker Knot Brush

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The greasy strands when enough animal fat had built up could then be used as tapers for light, like a tallow dip.
    No kidding! That's one I've never heard. I love nautical trivia.

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