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The Art of Knots

    In the days of sailing ships, sailors had to be rope-tying experts, for the safety of the ship and crew could depend upon whether a knot was correctly tied. On a fully rigged ship, several miles of rigging incorporated thousands of knots. There was a different knot for every chore, from the simple hitch to the most ornate Turk's Head. Tying knots became a craft in itself carried out during long months at sea. Knot boards served as useful training references as well as object of pride.

Sailor's Knot Board:

There are thousands of knots and hitches.

 Here are some of the more common ones:

Definitive book on knots:

    The Ashley Book of Knots is perhaps the best book about knots and the Seaman's art of knot tying. If you have any serious aspirations about tying knots, then you must purchase this book. Mr. Ashley has included every knot ever conceived. Many expert knotters will refer you to a "Ashley" number when discussing knots. Click on the image to learn more about Mr. Ashley.

Decorative and Fancy knots:

    As one can see, knot tying in itself is an art form. It can take years to master. It was just one of the many skills apprentice seamen had to learn.

"If you can't tie good knots, then tie plenty of them"
Some links to Knot tying:
Knots Gallery
IGKT Welcome

Turks- Head

    The Turks-Head is a tubular knot that is usually made around a cylindrical object, such as rope, a stanchion, or a rail. It is one of the varieties of the Binding Knot and serves a great diversity of practical purposes but is perhaps even more often used for decoration only; for which reason it is usually classed with 'fancy knots'.

    Turk's Head knots have long been recognized for their highly decorative attributes. There is no knot with a wider field of usefulness. It provides a foothold on 'up-and-down' spoke of a ship's steering wheel and a handhold on manropes, yoke ropes, guardrails, and lifelines. It is employed as a gathering hoop on ditty bags, neckerchiefs and bridle reins. It will cover loose ends in sinnets and splices. On a pole or rope it will raise a bole (ball) big enough to prevent a hitch in another rope from slipping. On edged tools it makes an excellent hand guard, and on oars and canoe paddles, a dip guard. It is found employed decoratively on whips, telescopes, hatbands, leashes, quirts, harnesses and on bell ropes and tassels.

   In large lines, in the disk form, the Turk's-Head was also used as a bumper and docking shield on boats and ships. In smaller line it makes beautiful appliqué and even coasters for glasses.

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