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Thread: Marlinspike

  1. #1
    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Marlinspike

    Frank's post about his knot untier reminded me of the marlinspike I made years ago. It's the tool sailors use to loosen stubborn knots that have been pulled tight by wind or weather. It's dead simple to make - a length of 3/8" brass (to resist corrosion) rounded at one end (because the palm presses on this end to force the taper through the knot) and a long, gradual taper on the business end with a dull point that won't separate rope strands easily.

    A lanyard is essential so I went all nautical and included a bit of fancy knotting in mine...




    The lanyard is not just for appearance. Passing the marlinspike through the small loop in the lanyard creates a closed loop handle. With the hand passed through this loop so the lanyard lies on the back of the palm, the spike can be suspended from the hand when the fingers are needed to massage the knot yet the spike is immediately to hand when needed next; no laying down and picking up required and the spike can't be easily dropped when working above in the rigging.



    BTW, it's called a marlinspike because it looks a bit like the long needle-like spike on the marlin fish.

    Now, if you're going to make a marlinspike you need to know something about knots. The bible for this subject is The Ashley Book of Knots by Clifford W. Ashley. Highly recommended as both an historical, application and how-to reference.

    For an online compendium of knots for many fields of endeavor I recommend ANIMATED KNOTS BY GROG...

    Animated Knots by Grog | How to Tie Knots | Fishing, Boating, Climbing, Scouting, Search and Rescue, Household, Decorative, Rope Care,

    A major feature of this site is the fact that it has very clear, step-by-step stop-action videos that will show you exactly how to tie every knot. Beyond the essential bowline, sheet bend and constrictor, take a look at the surgical knots; I've found numerous shop uses for those.

    You can also impress the little lady by learning napkin folding, even learn a new necktie knot (haven't worn one of those in years)..

    On the subject of knot resources, if you have shoe laces that simply won't stay tied, wander over to Ian's Shoelace Site...

    https://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/knots.htm

    and learn to tie the Surgeon's Shoelace Knot...

    https://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/surgeonknot.htm
    Last edited by mklotz; 07-09-2017 at 09:47 AM.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    Beautiful work mklotz. I have a copy of the Ashley book and use some of the basic knots on a regular basis but have never got into the decorative rope work. Very nicely done.
    From a popular rap: "If time is money then I need a loan."
    Carlos B, http://www.hobbyworkshopprojects.com/

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    Jon
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    x2 on Ian's Shoelace Site. I am going to practice that surgeon's shoelace knot. I've actually used his similar Secure Shoelace Knot for years with great success. I can also recommend Ironlace laces, and, for heavy duty boots, the stinky but fantastically-reviewed Obenauf's LP boot preservative.

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    Frank S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mklotz View Post
    Frank's post about his knot untier reminded me of the marlinspike I made years ago. It's the tool sailors use to loosen stubborn knots that have been pulled tight by wind or weather.






    BTW, it's called a marlinspike because it looks a bit like the long needle-like spike on the marlin fish.

    Well not exactly Marv the fish and the bird both by the name of marlin got thier names from the sailors marlinspike. which got its name from Mar Line which is multiple threads twisted together to make a thicker line called to Marl hence (marline) is a lighter line used to bind larger ropes often times it is the ends of those large ropes which are served at the ends but many times multiple ropes may be served together at intervals to produce a stronger rope which may be separated easily by simply cutting the marline connections when a much longer less strong rope is needed. This is often preferable to actually twisting or braiding several ropes together. Seamen mostly pronounced it mar-len Yo go thar get yer marlenspike on that line and run er out.

    Animated Knots by Grog | How to Tie Knots | Fishing, Boating, Climbing, Scouting, Search and Rescue, Household, Decorative, Rope Care,



    You can also impress the little lady by learning napkin folding, even learn a new necktie knot (haven't worn one of those in years)..
    I had to learn to tie a Windsor when in the Army as part of my Class A dress uniform, never worn a tie since and Don't even own one or a clip on either for that matter.


    https://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/knots.htm

    and learn to tie the Surgeon's Shoelace Knot..
    All the more reason why I wear boots not those sissy girly looking cowboy wanabe pointy toed things my boots are size 13 EEE with steel toes

    https://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/surgeonknot.htm
    Having fun with knots or braiding strands used to be a favorite past time of mine never really expert at it though, fingers are just not that nimble.
    Last edited by Frank S; 05-27-2017 at 12:53 PM.
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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Since there seems to be some interest in decorative rope work, here are a couple of examples of stuff I've done in the past. If anyone wants to give it a try, the Animated Knots site has a nice pictorial how-to for tying a Turk's head, which is a staple of this sort of work...

    Turk's Head | How to tie a Turk's Head | Decorative Knots

    Marlinspike-knots.jpg
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    Frank S's Avatar
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    nice work sometimes I think about taking that up again. sometimes tedious knot tying can be a good memory exercise even if it is hard on the hands sometimes.
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/

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    Nowadays the Marline Spike is mainly used to tighten or loosen the pins in "D" shackles. It's also used when splicing wire ropes. Some equipment you should consider getting hold of is a variety of "Swedish Fids", you'll want these if you are going to make "Turks Heads". A sail maker's palm, make sure you get the one that suits your hand size and hand, i.e. left hand or right hand. Sail makers bodkins, a good sharp knife that holds an edge, it needs to be about six inches long. Try and get hold of a cotton makers bobbin. This is ideal for winding cotton string on to to prevent it tangling. You'll use plenty of this for temporary or permanent whippings.

    Fibre ropes are known as cordage or small stuff, only wire is referred to as rope (by the purist or tradesman sailor). Most amateur splicers and knot tiers/tyers will only be dealing with "small stuff". Cordage is measured by diameter, small stuff usually goes up to half an inch diameter after that it's cordage or the larger categories of cordage, cables and the like. So from whipping cotton to half inch diameter its small stuff. Wire rope is always measured by circumference. This is how cordage and wire ropes are differentiated. If you read 3 inch circumference you know it is wire. If 1 inch diameter it's cordage.

    I prefer to use natural fibres for splicing or tying knots, Manila, Hemp, Cotton are good quality cordage that doesn't stretch as much as chemical fibres. Unlike nylon and other man made fibres, natural fibres tend to stay in place as you put the progressive strands under stress.

    One thing I would suggest you practice in order to get used to using the various tools, learn to make the three main splices. Eye splice, Back splice and Straight splice. An Eye splice is for putting a permanent loop in the end of a piece of cordage. An End or Back splice is for putting a permanent stop on the end of a length of cordage. A Straight splice is for joining two pieces of cordage or for making an endless sling. Normally you would make three tucks and three taper tucks in natural fibre cordage. If you use man made fibre you'll need to put in an extra tuck if you intend to use the splice other than for decoration.
    Last edited by tonyive; 05-28-2017 at 04:07 PM.

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    Marv
    Love seeing anyone that has patience to tie knots. An old friend of mine made a knot he referred to as a monkeys paw. It was another sharp looking knot.
    Keep tying.
    Nelson

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    Where do you find the time to stop and do something like tying knots? Maybe when I am old and retired, well so far I have got the retired part but
    no time for tying knots, though I would love to do it. they are really fascinating.

    Ralph

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralphxyz View Post
    Where do you find the time to stop and do something like tying knots? Maybe when I am old and retired, well so far I have got the retired part but
    no time for tying knots, though I would love to do it. they are really fascinating.

    Ralph
    It's not a matter of getting time, rather making time, Ralph. (BTW, I did all that decorative knotting while I was still working.)

    If one doesn't take time to do the things in which one is interested, the things from which one can learn, life is just a progression from one drudgery to another.

    It helps that, at 76 years of age and retired for 22 years, I've never watched a football or baseball game. If religion is the "opiate of the masses" then sports are the crack cocaine, an insidious, addictive poison of minds and learning. Making time for pursuing creativity and the artistic is easy once one kicks the habit.
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