by Vince Brennan, DMF, IIC
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If you would like to take better pictures of the process and send them to me ( a bloody SQUIRELL could take better pictures than I!) I
would be delighted to use them in stead of these. EMAIL ME with any questions or comments you may have.
RINGBOLT or SPANISH HITCHING (ABOK 3605)
"Whenever a ship laid to anchor, before the days of chain cables, her hemp cable was made fast by means of
stoppers to two rows of ringbolts which were fastened along the deck. The chafing gear on these rings was
termed, 'Ringbolt Hitching'. Another old name for it was 'plaited (platted) rings'. Nowadays (1940's) it's sometimes
called 'hogbacking', which is, I believe, a literal translation of the Swedish name. A picturesque needlework term,
'cockscombing', has recently been applied.
"Ringbolt hitching is also put on the eyes of chest beckets and hammock clews, and occasionally it is seen on the
clews of light sails, on the eyes of block straps and ditty-bag lanyards.
"Ringbolt hitching, per se, is made with three strands which are led in regular rotation; each time a strand is
worked, the lead is reversed and a SINGLE HITCH (or 'half-hitch' - ed.) is taken around the ring. The ends
should be seized when starting the hitching."
Clifford Ashley, The Ashley Book Of Knots, pp 569.
1: Take three lines to do the coxcomb, about 4 times the circumference of the work to
be finished (for a ring) or about 4 times the length of a straight object. You'll need some
extra for handling and to allow for the lashing at the beginning.
2: Tie all three in an overhand knot
(One of my "on-line finds", Nathan Power suggests the following... I like it!!
"-On your ringbolt/ Spanish hitching tutorial you recommended starting
the hitching by tying all three strands in one overhand knot. Why not use
one strand, double length, and tie a clove hitch around the work, with the remaining
strand single length and clove hitched as well? The one double length
strand, clove hitched, has the benefit of already leading two strands in
(Gawd, how I hate it when the kids are smarter than me!)
3 & 3A: Seize the knotted end to the top of the work with a constrictor knot.
(Now, using Nathan's idea above, these steps would be unnecessary as the
clove hitch around the work would also clamp in the free strand~!)
4: Take any of the three and make a half-hitch or single hitch as shown... the direction is
unimportant: it can go either left or right as you choose, but for this tutorial, we'll hitch to
5: Take the next line and lead it OVER the first, then make a half-hitch the OPPOSITE
6: Take the last line and lead it OVER ALL and make a half hitch in the OPPOSITE
direction to the last...
7: Fair (snug) all hitches up as you go. Right now it doesn't look like much, but in a few
passes the classic "hogsback" will start to develop.
8: You now have two leading RIGHT and the center one leadingLEFT: take the line
FURTHEST away from you, lead it OVER all the work and make a half-hitch in the
OPPOSITE direction... now you have two lines leading LEFT and the new center line
That's the pattern for the whole thing. Keep taking the furthest line from you, lead it OVER
all and then make a half-hitch in the opposite direction.... each line in turn.
9: Here's a shot of the work in progress.... note that on a properly tautened line or a ring,
the "hogsback" wil be a lot straighter: I couldn't keep enuf tension on the work line and
still take pictures, so this 'wiggles' a bit.
10: A side view of the work: note how the wraps 'fill" in on the work. A common error is
to get one of the wraps 'jumped' over the previous one.... check the work every three or
four passes and if you find this has happened (and it WILL, I assure you!), pull out the
work back to that point and repair it, then continue from there. Trying to force a jumped
line back into place will produce either a void or a lumpy appearance. It is MUCH better
to pull out and then continue from the error point once fixed.
A flat and a side view of a completed strop eye for
a bellrope. Note the way the hogsback detail
increases the outer curve and allows the wraps to
completely fill in around the core (work). (seizings
are to make the strop conform to the thimble eye
and will be removed at a later time.)
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