Tuesday, 1 May 2018



Monkey's fist

During my research for BLOOD ON THE TIDE I delved into the esoteric world of knots. I already knew quite a bit about the different methods of joining, splicing and shortening ropes, through my time in the scouts and from messing about in boats. However, I wanted to find out more about the more obscure knots and came across the double constrictor knot, which features in the book.

Double constrictor knot

It's a knot that is almost impossible to untie and has to be cut, so quite distinctive.

Stages in forming a monkey's fist

Another interesting use of rope is to make a monkey's fist this takes the form of a six sided ball in the end of a rope. It is used to add weight to a heaving line - the rope that is thrown from ship to shore, or vice versa. Usually tied in a light line, this is attached to a heavier warp that is hauled across to secure the vessel.

Other uses included forming it round an object, i.e. a precious stone, to protect it. Or to form rather natty cufflinks.

And a Marlin Spike? This is a simple tool used when working rope. You may even have one on your multi-blade knife!

Marlin spike

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