Monkey's fist

Last updated
Monkey's fist
Knot Monkey Fist.jpg
Category Stopper
Typical usetied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight or an anchor
ABoK #2202
Instructions

A monkey's fist or monkey paw is a type of knot, so named because it looks somewhat like a small bunched fist/paw. It is tied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight, making it easier to throw, and also as an ornamental knot. This type of weighted rope can be used as a hand-to-hand weapon, called a slungshot by sailors. It was also used in the past as an anchor in rock climbing, by stuffing it into a crack. Nowadays it is still sometimes used in sandstone, e.g., the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Germany.

Contents

Description

an ornamental monkey's fist with a hard eye splice, custom-made at the chandlers Arthur Beale Monkey's fist.jpg
an ornamental monkey's fist with a hard eye splice, custom-made at the chandlers Arthur Beale

The monkey's fist is a spherical covering with six surface parts presenting a regular over-one-and-under-one weave. This weave is commonly doubled or tripled to present an appearance that superficially resembles a Turk's-head. Like the Turk's-head, the knot is tied with a single strand, but here the resemblance ceases. The Turk's-head diagram consists of a single line; the common monkey's fist diagram has three separate lines, which are best represented by three interlocking circles, in the best Ballantine tradition. To tie a knot on this diagram with a single strand, it is necessary to complete each circle in turn—that is, to double or triple it, as the case may be—and when this has been done to deflect the strand into another circle which is completed in turn before commencing the third and last circle.

The monkey's fist knot is most often used as the weight in a heaving line. The line would have the monkey's fist on one end, an eye splice or bowline on the other, with about 30 feet (~10 metres) of line between. A lightweight feeder line would be tied to the bowline, then the weighted heaving line could be hurled between ship and dock. The other end of the lightweight line would be attached to a heavier-weight line, allowing it to be drawn to the target easily.

The knot is often tied around a small weight, such as a stone, marble, tight fold of paper, grapeshot, or a piece of wood. However, this may be considered unsafe and therefore poor seamanship. The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency's (MCA) publication "Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen", Section 25.3.2, states that "heaving lines should be constructed with a 'monkey’s fist' at one end. To prevent personal injury, the 'fist' should be made only with rope and should not contain added weighting materials".

They should not be attached by metal or plastic clip to the heaving line. Some port authorities instruct linesmen to cut off monkey's fists that use these fastenings.

Tying

tying the Monkeys fist Monkey Fist HowTo.jpg
tying the Monkeys fist
A simpler knot to use as weight while throwing a rope is heaving line knot
heaving line knot, light version Heaving line knot step4.jpg
heaving line knot, light version
tied using the same 3 step method as a monkeys fist but with only one turn (light version) or one and a half turns (heavier version) in the first step, most of the rope weight provided by the turns at the second step, and as third step threading the end through the nearest bight pinched by the turns at the second step and tightening.

The three coils of cordage in a monkey's fist form in effect a set of Borromean rings in three dimensions. This is most obvious when tied flat. The rings should then be started near center, coiled from outside inwards, in all three set of rings, and the third set finished by letting the end exit through the triangular hole at the center. Subsequent tightening should let the outside edges curl to form an opposing triangular hole around the main part. This is suitable if a ring formed object is to be contained in the central cavity around the main part. If the object has no hole, it might be desirable to have the ends exit the knot at or near the central triangular hole.

Other applications

A cufflink made from a wire tied into a Monkey's fist knot Monkey fist cufflink.jpg
A cufflink made from a wire tied into a Monkey's fist knot

A monkey's fist can be used on two ends of a tow lines of one side a fish net which is then thrown from one trawler to another, allowing the net to be cast and set between two boats so the trawl can be used between the two, in pair trawling [2] where the tow or catch is negotiated between both parties. This makes it easier to catch fish given the greater surface area between both boats to turn around and catch missed fish from the sea much more quickly. Once all fish have been hauled up from the sea, tow lines of the fish net is returned by way of thrown both monkey's fists back to the host trawler. Alternatively, a monkey fist can be used as a weight of a heaving line thrown to over to an opposing ship to bring two ships together. [3]

Monkey's fists are commonly used as a convenient and unobtrusive method of storing and transporting precious gemstones.[ citation needed ]

A throwing monkey's fist can be created by tying around a heavy material such as iron ball, or stone. A floating monkey's fist can be created by tying around a buoyant material such as cork, styrofoam, air filled ring or ball.

It is also the most common knot used in a pair for cufflinks where it is considered a "silk knot."

Monkey fists have become popular as main deployment handles for sport parachute systems.

Monkey fists are often used in modern begleri as they are gentler on the knuckles than metal beads.

Monkey fists are often used in Shibari and bondage, tied partway down the rope to be used as a gag.

See also

Notes

  1. Ashley, Clifford W. (1944). The Ashley Book of Knots, p.353. Doubleday. ISBN   0-385-04025-3.
  2. Board on Science and Technology for International Development, National Research Council (1998). "Fisheries Technologies for Developing Countries". The National Academies Press. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
  3. Leishman, J. "Leg 1: Ft. Lauderdale to Bermuda - Across the Atlantic in 18 Trawlers." Sea Magazine, September 2004. Accessed 2009-06-28.

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend fastens two ends of a rope to each another; a loop knot is any knot creating a loop, and splice denotes any multi-strand knot, including bends and loops. A knot may also refer, in the strictest sense, to a stopper or knob at the end of a rope to keep that end from slipping through a grommet or eye. Knots have excited interest since ancient times for their practical uses, as well as their topological intricacy, studied in the area of mathematics known as knot theory.

Bowline Simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope

The bowline is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It has the virtues of being both easy to tie and untie; most notably, it is easy to untie after being subjected to a load. The bowline is sometimes referred to as King of the knots because of its importance. Along with the sheet bend and the clove hitch, the bowline is often considered one of the most essential knots.

Clove hitch

The clove hitch is a type of knot. Along with the bowline and the sheet bend, it is often considered one of the most important knots. A clove hitch is two successive half-hitches around an object. It is most effectively used as a crossing knot. It can be used as a binding knot, but is not particularly secure in that role. A clove hitch made around the rope's own standing part is known as either two half-hitches or buntline hitch, depending on whether the turns of the clove hitch progress away from or towards the hitched object.

Although the name clove hitch is given by Falconer in his Dictionary of 1769, the knot is much older, having been tied in ratlines at least as early as the first quarter of the sixteenth century. This is shown in early sculpture and paintings. A round turn is taken with the ratline and then a hitch is added below. The forward end is always the first to be made fast.

The difference between two half hitches and the clove hitch is that the former, after a single turn around a spar, is made fast around its own standing part, while the latter is tied directly around the spar.

Truckers hitch

The trucker's hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers. This general arrangement, using loops and turns in the rope itself to form a crude block and tackle, has long been used to tension lines and is known by multiple names. Knot author Geoffrey Budworth claims the knot can be traced back to the days when carters and hawkers used horse-drawn conveyances to move their wares from place to place.

Double bowline

A double bowline is a type of loop knot. Instead of the single turn of the regular bowline, the double bowline uses a round turn. This forms a more secure loop than a standard bowline.

Climbing harness

A climbing harness is an item of climbing equipment for rock-climbing, abseiling, or other activities requiring the use of ropes to provide access or safety such as industrial rope access, working at heights, etc. A harness secures a person to a rope or an anchor point.

Heaving line bend

The heaving line bend is a knot for securely joining two ropes of different diameter or rigidity. It is often used to affix playing strings to the thick silk eyes of an anchorage knot in some stringed instruments. In nautical use, the heaving line bend is used to connect a lighter messenger line to a hawser when mooring ships. It is knot number 1463 in The Ashley Book of Knots, and appeared in the 1916 Swedish knot manual Om Knutar.

Sheet bend

The sheet bend is a bend. It is practical for joining lines of different diameter or rigidity.

Stopper knot

A stopper knot is a knot that creates a fixed thicker point on an otherwise-uniform thickness rope for the purpose of preventing the rope, at that point, from slipping through a narrow passage, such as a hole in a block. To pass a rope through a block, or hole, is to reeve it. To pull it out is to unreeve it. Stopper knots prevent the rope from unreeving on its own.

Turks head knot

A Turk's head knot, more commonly known as a sailor's knot, is a decorative knot with a variable number of interwoven strands forming a closed loop. The name refers to a general family of knots, not an individual knot. While this knot is typically made around a cylinder, it can also be formed into a flat, mat-like shape. Some variants can be arranged into a roughly spherical shape, akin to a monkey's fist knot.

Ashleys stopper knot

Ashley's stopper knot, also known as the oysterman's stopper, is a knot developed by Clifford W. Ashley around 1910. It makes a well-balanced trefoil-faced stopper at the end of the rope, giving greater resistance to pulling through an opening than other common stoppers. Essentially, the knot is a common overhand noose, but with the end of the rope passing through the noose eye, which closes upon it. It may be multiplied to form a larger knot with more than three bights appearing around the knot. It is the result of implementing a double wall knot in one strand.

Barrel hitch

The "barrel hitch" and "barrel sling", named for their use in hoisting cargo aboard ships, are two simple yet effective ways to suspend an object. The barrel sling lays the barrel on its side, while the barrel hitch keeps it vertical. They work by forming a "sling" around the object, which supports it from either side and underneath.

Bowline on a bight Knot that makes a pair of fixed-size loops in the middle of a rope

The Bowline on a bight is a knot which makes a pair of fixed-size loops in the middle of a rope. Its advantage is that it is reasonably easy to untie after being exposed to load. This knot can replace the figure-eight loop knot when tying into a climbing harness. It is one of the two tie-in knots that are being taught by the German Alpine Club (DAV), generally being considered secure.

Yosemite bowline Loop knot often perceived as having better security than a bowline

A Yosemite bowline is a loop knot often perceived as having better security than a bowline. It has been pointed out that if the knot is not dressed correctly, it can potentially collapse into a noose, however testing reveals this alternative configuration to be strong and safe as a climbing tie-in.

Bight (knot)

In knot tying, a bight is a curved section or slack part between the two ends of a rope, string, or yarn. A knot that can be tied using only the bight of a rope, without access to the ends, is described as in the bight. The term "bight" is also used in a more specific way when describing Turk's head knots, indicating how many repetitions of braiding are made in the circuit of a given knot.

Diamond hitch

The diamond hitch is a lashing technique used mainly in the field of equine packing, to secure a set of objects, for instance a pair of pack-bags, pack-boxes or other gear onto a base, for instance a pack saddle frame, in which case it requires the use of a lash cinch. In the general sense it requires the base to be equipped with at least two points of anchorage, and a rope which is used to lash the object down onto the base. There are two types of Diamond Hitches, a single, shown here, and a double diamond hitch which is not shown.

Chinese button knot

The Chinese button knot is essentially a knife lanyard knot where the lanyard loop is shortened to a minimum, i.e. tightened to the knot itself. There emerges therefore only two lines next to each other from the knot: the beginning and the end. The knot has traditionally been used as a button on clothes in Asia, thus the name.

The Chinese Button Knot is worn throughout China on underwear and night clothes. Buttons of this sort are more comfortable to lie on and to rest against compared to common bone and composition buttons, and they cannot be broken even by the laundry.

A Chinese tailor ties the knot without guide, flat on his table. But one may be more quickly and easily tied in hand by a modification of the sailor’s method of tying his knife lanyard knot (#787). The two knots are tied alike, but they are worked differently.

Heaving line knot Class of knot used to add weight to the end of a rope to make it easier to throw

A heaving line knot is a family of knots which are used for adding weight to the end of a rope, to make the rope easier to throw. In nautical use, a heaving line knot is often tied to the end of a messenger line, which is then used for pulling a larger rope, such as a hawser. There are several distinct knots which all share the common name, heaving line knot. The monkey fist is a well-known heaving line knot.