Matthew Walker knot

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Matthew Walker knot
Matthew Walker knot.gif
Category Decorative
ABoK 678
Instructions

A Matthew Walker knot is a decorative knot that is used to keep the end of a rope from fraying. It is tied by unraveling the strands of a twisted rope, knotting the strands together, then laying up the strands together again. It may also be tied using several separate cords, in which case it keeps the cords together in a bundle. The traditional use of the knot is to form a knob or "stopper" to prevent the end of the rope from passing through a hole, for instance in rigging the lanyards which tension the shrouds on older sailing ships with standing rigging of fibre cordage.

Contents

It is not specifically known who Matthew Walker was, nor why this knot was named after him. However, early references from the 19th century suggest he may have been a ship's rigger in the Royal Navy.

The following quote from The Ashley Book of Knots gives possible origins of the knot: [1]

The FULL or DOUBLE MATTHEW WALKER KNOT.

Lever in 1808 speaks of "MATTHEW WALKER'S KNOT" and describes the knot which Alston in 1860 calls the "DOUBLE MATTHEW WALKER KNOT." A refinement of the original knot had in the meantime taken over the original name , which is now generally modified to "a MATTHEW WALKER..

Lever's familiar expression, "MATTHEW WALKER'S KNOT," suggests that he may have known the inventor, who was possibly a master rigger in one of the British naval dockyards. Many myths have grown up around Matthew Walker, "the only man ever to have a knot named for him." Dr. Frederic Lucas, of the American Museum of Natural History, once told me the following story of the Origin of the knot, which he had heard off the Chincha Islands while loading guano in 1869.

A sailor, having been sentenced to death by a judge who in earlier life had been a sailor himself, was reprieved by the judge because of their common fellowship of the sea. The judge offered the sailor a full pardon if he could show him a knot that he, the judge, could neither tie nor untie.

The sailor called for ten fathoms of rope and, having retired to the privacy of his cell, unlaid the rope halfway, put in a MATTHEW WALKER KNOT, and then laid up the rope again to the end.

So Matthew Walker secured his pardon, and the world gained an excellent knot.

This knot is highly decorative, and was historically one of the most common and important knots. On a modern yacht, it is almost unused and unknown. [2]

It has been used in making stopper knots where lariats are used. [3]

How to tie

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A Matthew Walker knot is tied in a circular bundle of any number of strands. To tie the knot, the tier takes each strand and forms a loop around the rest of the bundle, then passes the end through the newly formed loop to form an overhand knot. He then moves to the next strand over, moving around the bundle in the direction he passes the loops. Tying the first strand around the bundle is straightforward, but each subsequent end must be passed through the previously-formed loops in order to contain all of the other strands in its loop. When tightening, it may help to roll the knot along the bundle, especially when using only two strands. The final effect is a spiral knot vaguely resembling a section of a barber's pole.

See also

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Overhand knot

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Constrictor knot

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Figure-eight knot Type of stopper knot used in sailing and climbing

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Figure-eight loop

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Stopper knot

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Wall and crown knot

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Turks head knot

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Rope splicing Rope merging

Rope splicing in ropework is the forming of a semi-permanent joint between two ropes or two parts of the same rope by partly untwisting and then interweaving their strands. Splices can be used to form a stopper at the end of a line, to form a loop or an eye in a rope, or for joining two ropes together. Splices are preferred to knotted rope, since while a knot typically reduces the strength by 20–40%, a splice is capable of attaining a rope's full strength. However, splicing usually results in a thickening of the line and, if subsequently removed, leaves a distortion of the rope. Most types of splices are used on 3-strand rope, but some can be done on 12-strand or greater single-braided rope, as well as most double braids.
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Ashleys stopper knot

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Rolling hitch

The rolling hitch is a knot used to attach a rope to a rod, pole, or another rope. A simple friction hitch, it is used for lengthwise pull along an object rather than at right angles. The rolling hitch is designed to resist lengthwise movement for only a single direction of pull.

Figure-of-nine loop

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Sailmakers whipping

The sailmaker's whipping is one of the most durable and stable of rope whippings known. According to The Ashley Book of Knots, "palm-and-needle whipping, or sailmaker's whipping, is the most satisfactory of all."

Eye splice

The eye splice is a method of creating a permanent loop in the end of a rope by means of rope splicing.

Flemish bend

The Flemish bend, also known as a figure eight bend, a rewoven figure eight is a knot for joining two ropes of roughly similar size.

Reef knot Type of knot

The reef knot, or square knot, is an ancient and simple binding knot used to secure a rope or line around an object. It is sometimes also referred to as a Hercules knot. The knot is formed by tying a left-handed overhand knot and then a right-handed overhand knot, or vice versa. A common mnemonic for this procedure is "right over left; left over right", which is often appended with the rhyming suffix "... makes a knot both tidy and tight". Two consecutive overhands of the same handedness will make a granny knot. The working ends of the reef knot must emerge both at the top or both at the bottom, otherwise a thief knot results.

The reef knot or square knot consists of two half knots, one left and one right, one being tied on top of the other, and either being tied first...The reef knot is unique in that it may be tied and tightened with both ends. It is universally used for parcels, rolls and bundles. At sea it is always employed in reefing and furling sails and stopping clothes for drying. But under no circumstances should it ever be tied as a bend, for if tied with two ends of unequal size, or if one end is stiffer or smoother than the other, the knot is almost bound to spill. Except for its true purpose of binding it is a knot to be shunned.

References

  1. Ashley, Clifford (1944). The Ashley Book of Knots, p.118. ISBN   9780385040259.
  2. "Double Matthew Walker Knot" (animation). animated knots by Grog. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  3. "How To... Tie A Stopper Knot". Cowboy Way. Retrieved March 24, 2013.

Knob knots