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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
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....)
(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.
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?
"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.
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
.  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!
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
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
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

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.