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KNIVES, TOOLS &
EMBELLISHMENTS
Click on
ANY
picture for a
larger version!
Last update 2006-11-29
There is a long tradition among seafarers of adding embellishments to your personal gear to either make it distinctive or to
improve it's usefulness/prevent slippage while using it.  This page is for such embellishments and such... Some pieces may also
appear on other pages... If so,  please let me know.  If you'd care to have something included here,  please
email me.
"Tim" Timmerman is a "Fur Trades" re-enactor and
barber from Iowa who I ran into "on the web" as with so
many other folks.  He admired one of my needle cases,  
I admired one of his knives, "et voila"....
(1) and (2) are old knives that Tim has needle-hitched
the handles on.  They're both sheeps-foot style blades
and are really nice examples of not only knife
restoration but of fancywork that has a purpose:  I don't
care how sweaty or greasy your hands are, these
knives will NOT slip in your grasp.  The hitching is done
in sailtwine which has been lightly tarred to add grip
and for preservation.

(3) - (5) s the knife Tim sent me:  it's a real "trade knife"
from about 1840-50 and was made in Sheffield, England
specifically for trade to the Native Americans for
exchange for furs or meat.  The blade was probably
NOT originally a sheeps-foot style but a "bowie" type
blade and from being broken and resharpened several
times has assumed it's present shape.  I decided it
needed a nice scabbard to go along with it and whipped
up the one you see.  
Need a scabbard for your knife?
Ever wonder
why a sailor's
knife is
shaped like
these?
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Some of my "line-pullers".  I originally "invented" these to get line through small
spaces when doing star-knots, turksheads, making eye-splices in small line and other
things, and were quite pleased with meself until I discovered they are a standard item
in the fancyworker's toolkit!   
(Wa'al, dust ME off and take me outta storage! )
However, I still have ONE claim to fame here.... Everyone else uses a wooden file
handle or the like to make their pullers: mine are (so far) the only ones I've seen that
have a handle braided right around the wire tangs.  

These last about 30 hours in use, then the constant flexing of the wires snaps the very
tip in two.... Too much metal fatigue.   Since I varnish the handles to improve grip, that
means I have to make up a new one to replace it.  (That needs work, then, dunnit....)
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(1) a 'scratch awl' I use as a 'clearancing tool' to aid in
making and tightening knots, with it's cover.
(2) Same with it's mate and a couple of sail-hooks
above.
(3) Canvas 'pricker' used to pre-make holes in heavy
canvas to ease stitching.  Made up around a #14
needle.
(4) Awls again with a
lady's necklace.
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Another "Nice Guy" discovery is C. (Bud) Brewer of
Colorado.  I've got several of Bud's tutorials on the
Tutorials page and in addition to being a super
knotter and a damn fine (much better than I)
photographer,  he does wonderful metalwork (see
the bell on the
 PFW page) as shown by these pics:
On the left, a spike he made for Frank (who lives in
TASMANIA!!) who then made a sheath for it, and on
the right, Brew's own personal spike. (DROOL!)
Imagine my delight when a box shows up on my doorstep one day from Bud and I open it to find... GOODIES!  (These aren't all of
the contents, just those which apply to this page... sorta.)  A wonderfully turned steel spike with a silver-soldered brass cap and a
flattened point which is just great for working small turksheads up tight.   I (of course) had to make some sort of protective
sleeve for it at once to keep it unscratched and purty!  Also, a miniature "Swedish" fid (hollow in the centre) with lead-out holes in
both sides, incredibly useful for threading a line through a turkshead or tight braid and for doing very small work... Not to mention
the superbly done leather pineapple (red) knot and flat gaucho (black) knot on it!    The teeny spike above can also be seen on his
knotboard on the PFW page.  And an example of his truly tiny knotwork: I can't even SEE that small, and this guy's making
Matthew Walker knots that size?  TANJ!      (There Ain't No Justice!)  I STILL can't do a
full-size MWK!  Abject thanks.


Now BREW does it again!  Another "tour de tool" from the master of disaster:  This one is from a Delta faucet handle, of all things!
Ladies, it's Nine O'Clock.... Do YOU know where your faucet handle is?
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MORE TO COME!
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TUTORIALS
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ACTIVE KNOTTER'S PAGES
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PRESENT KNOTTYERS PAGES
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KNOTTER (R.I.P.) TRIBUTE PAGES
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SAILMAKING, SEABAGS AND DITTY BAGS
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SEACHESTS AND BECKETS
*
PERSONAL FANCYWORK
*
FANCYWORK ABOARD VESSELS
*
U S NAVY / U S GOASTGUARD FANCYWORK
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NAUTICAL ANTIQUES (MOSTLY FANCYWORK)
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BACK TO MAIN PAGE
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"You meet the nicest people on a website", to
paraphrase a Honda commercial from the
70's...  Chris Collins lives in the Frozen North of
New England, in Vermont (so close to Quebec
that the squirrels speak mostly French!) and
bangs about on defenseless metallic objects a
lot.  (New Hampshire's nice, too!)

Some of his work is shown here as well as on
the Sailmaking page, where some sailhooks
he's created are exhibited.

(1) and (2) are some flatwork spikes used for
tightening up (fairing) intricate knotwork and
(3) & (4) is a canvas pricker/smallspike tool.

Very nice work and
eminently usable.
GRID SHEWN IS 1/2" SQUARES
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Ron Welch, who hides away in Lexington
KY, is a collector of nautical tools and has
sent us a few to drool over.  He is in
process of cataloging his collection and
promises more of the pictures, so clicking
the pic to right will take you to a separate
page for his stuff.  The return button is at
the bottom of that page.
On the Wooden Boat Forum you will find many knowledgeable people who are MUCH more expert than I at rigging, ropework
and  general Nautical Knowledge: I go there as often as I can to stimulate my creative juices and to get pictures to put up
here, and this week I picked up a few doozies!
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HUGHMAN'S work has been
featured on
several of my pages
but this is his working knife set.  It
is a S/Steel butcher's knife he
re-ground to it's present shape and
the marlinspike/crescent wrench
combo tool he made which is
incredibly useful for doing rigging
and general work around a boat! He
(of course) made the sheath and
the whole is on a double-ringed
nylon web belt... You can cinch this
tighter with one hand.  Most useful.
Bob Smallser has been sailing a
long time and has a knife kit that
he uses which includes a
"leatherman" (SOG) tool. A
flashlight (small "MagLite" type)
and a thin spike.  Bob favours the
"Linder" style of boatknife (I own
and use one myself and love it)
and again, both sheaths were
made by him.
Jamie White (a.k.a. "CLYDERIGGED") is a
professional rigger and works on "Tall
Ships", and for movies as well... He crewed
and rigged ship on Mel Gibson's "Bounty"
movie, as well as rigging for "The Pirates
Of The Caribbean" movies.  

His knife rig is a bit more - ahhh - 'ornate'
than most you will ever see and is a true
delight to behold.  
Clyderigged's skill at leather and ropework has already been lauded on other pages where (for
instance) I have the ditty-bag he made while working on the "Bounty" movie, but this is a
'tour-de-force".  The socket for the pliers and the horn tallow cup next to it are works of art in
and of themselves, and the knife is a
serious tool.... He made it from a "brick-layer's knife"
which he ground to a slight bevel edge for working through large lines.  The knife-blade has a
very thick back and works well with a mallet for cutting , while being sharp and short enough for
more mundane every-day usage.  Spikes and knife are all attached by superbly braided leather
lanyards and I don't think I've ever seen a miniature snap-shackle like that one before!  

If someone came aboard wearing this I'D sure as Hell be intimidated, but Clyderigged would
probably laugh at that!  He's one of the nicest guys to talk to you could ever find.
BREW uses a stainless  combination rigger's knife in a rather tasty tooled leather
sheath which mounts horizontally along the belt, with a snap-clasp loop to retain the  
blade.  Off to the top is a holster he's in process of making, tooled as the sheath is.
Both "Bott" and "Donn" are posters over at Wooden Boat Forums and handle the concept of an "extending lanyard" in
different manners:  
Bott's MEYERCHIN knife and spike are retained by a
'fixed' lanyard but the knife lanyard has some
"cannon chaining" in it which allows the knife to be
used over one's head at full reach, while never
coming loose from the tip of the sheath.

That's some mighty nice mat work in the
background and a MEYERCHIN is a FINE knife.
Donn, on the other hand, prefers to use a "coil-cord"
lanyard setup which clips to his belt or to a grommet
somewhere with the bronze snap clip.  The coilcord
allows use at full arm reach and also has the benefit
of not tangling or fouling on objects as you walk past,
but many think it sorta "geeky" to carry one.... Utility is
the operative word for Donn and many others who
don't care WHAT it looks like as long as it works well!

(The Engineering Philosophy Of Life:
" Cut to fit, File to match, Paint to hide.")
Brew said that usually he makes the knot to fit the spike,
but in this case he'd worked up the knot and so made a
spike to fit IT!  
My Case-Olean Metal knife
with a "Linder" style
sheath and a Case
marlinspike.

I picked this up from the
Duprees:  a couple who are
no longer sailing and who
got it back in the 1940's
along with some whale's
teeth. It was Mr. Dupree's
favourite.

It's a strange hilt, being
almost rectangular which
feels quite odd at first but
which you get used to
rather rapidly.  I've added a
hold-fast using the spike
and a star knot to keep the
knife in the sheath, and a
sail-twine bail thru the knife
haft for attaching to a
lanyard clip when aloft. (or
if I'm  working within thirty
feet of the water...
damndest thing how knives
like to go swimming at the
least opportune moments,
innit?)
Nice blue-and-white nylon squarebraid
lanyard (starknot wrist loop) with a white
nylon 9-knot pouch (for a Camillus, Buck or
Meyerchin rigging-type knife).

See more on the
commercial pages.

Charles "Bud" Brewer of Colorado passed the bar
on March 17th of 2009
He will be missed greatly by his friends
in the knotting community.
All content these pages ©2004-2010 Frayed Knot
Arts.  All rights reserved.  Reproduction or use
prohibited without prior written permission.