International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum

General => Practical Knots => Topic started by: xarax on October 18, 2010, 06:22:10 PM

Title: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: xarax on October 18, 2010, 06:22:10 PM

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: roo on October 18, 2010, 07:45:52 PM
From a dictionary


a : a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task ...

a : something (as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession <a scholar's books are his tools>
c : a means to an end <a book's cover can be a marketing tool>

I don't see anything here about tools needing to be life-savers (even though knots can save lives).  I don't see anything in the definition about things not being tools if certain people can live without them.

I think you need to reformulate your idea.

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: roo on October 18, 2010, 10:42:20 PM
Why do we study them ? To solve practical problems of everyday life ? I do not think so.

Actually I do use knots to solve practical problems.  Who are you including in your "we"?

We do not study geometry to measure our fields any more, nor do we study knots to tie things like shoelaces, ties, dental floss loops or corsets. We study knots because they are there, marvellous ex-tools of human history,...
I use geometry, too.  You don't?  Plenty of people still use geometric principles to survey land.

Why aren't people allowed to study knots to tie shoes or dental floss?  Why are you the arbiter of permitted knot use and study?

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: Sweeney on October 19, 2010, 09:20:48 AM
And the task is to compare all those knots, to test them, and to classify them according some general criteria - as two rope bends, one rope loops, etc., for example. And if somebody wants to solve a specific problem, we can advise them to tie a specific knot, or to visit his local hardware stores, dentist, (under)dress maker, or whatever... :)

Tried to start that with the ABOK index (the idea being to continue beyond Ashley eventually). I agree with the sentiment but I'm afraid that volunteers to stay the course are just not there. (

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: Transminator on October 19, 2010, 09:44:39 AM
Hi Xarax

I know where you are comming from but for me, knots are mainly means to an end and I study new knots for that purpose. Is it a better knot then the one I already know for the same application or is it a good alternative? In order to determine that, I have to study them (and I have fun in the process and learn a lot, but that is a side effect). 
In the process, I do learn a lot about the structure and science of knotting but in the end, I always come back to either the beauty of a knot (fancy knotting) or the functionality of a knot (compared to other knots).
In recent years I learned a hell of a lot of new knots. Loop knots, bends etc. and different ways of tying them (and I am leaving out the entire field of fancy knotting here). To what end? I am looking for an addition to my personal "hall of fame" or "the right knot for every situation". In that process I dismissed a lot of knots, even though they might be good knots, but there are better knots. I have probably forgotten more knots then the average person ever knew.
Then again, I do like to thumb around in the ABOK or other knot books, read this forum etc. for curiosity and scientific interest, but for me that is secondary. The primary purpose of a knot is always (for me) the practical application. All I need is a piece of string or rope and together with my knot-knowledge I am able to entertain myself for hours, produce fancy knotwork, go for a trip in the wilderness, tow a car, find a knot-based solution for a problem etc. and I do not have to carry around other stuff like cable binders, carabiners, straps, sellotape and so forth.
The beauty of knots is there simplicity and universal application. I approach knots the same way as I go about buying a new computer or a book on chess. I review a whole bunch of them, compare them, dismiss a good many of them and the review the remaining items in more detail, till I end up with either just one that fits my needs or a very small list. Luckily, for knotting, I can keep all of them, but I would not bother trying to remember all the knots that I have dismissed in the process. I dismissed them for a reason and rather concentrate on the ones worth remembering.

Summarized: I do share your enthusiasm for knots and there is nothing wrong with studying just for the sake of it, but for me personally, they always remain tools and the aspect you mentioned is secondary. In fact, it is a mean to help me find the right tool to put in my box for later use.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: SS369 on October 19, 2010, 01:28:08 PM
IMHO you are all second guessing yourselves.
This Is Entertainment with a secondary excuse of use.
Therefore I am.

Enjoy the day folks.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: roo on October 19, 2010, 03:17:39 PM
  My dear roo, if you have studied knots as much as you did, to solve practical problems, you made a biiig practical mistake ! You waisted a disproportionally biiig portion of your life for a disproportionally small profit.

I use various knots virtually every day.  There are few areas of study I use as much.  It has been very profitable.

You obviously have very different priorities, and it helps to explain why you are content to take countless pictures of random rope tangles without pausing to consider if they are worthy, functional tools.  I consider such an activity to be a big waste of time, from my practical standpoint, but you seem to draw some pleasure from it.

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: Dan_Lehman on October 19, 2010, 03:56:04 PM
... solve some more or less interesting specific everyday life problems, like ... corset tying.

I must remark that my biggest mystery is how a thread on corset tying
has gone this long w/o comment from XaraX!  I can only guess that in
his research for it he began with corset untying and has been unable
to advance beyond there (and sees no reason to)!

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: roo on October 19, 2010, 04:42:28 PM
  [study of knots] has been very profitable.

   So, you are not only a great knot tier, but a great knot seller as well !

I don't sell knots.  My profit has been in terms of time, utility, and not having to buy specialized hardware every day.  I would hate to think of the box of hardware that I'd have to lug around if I didn't have a command of the language that is knotting.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: Transminator on October 20, 2010, 08:50:51 AM
I approach knots the same way as I go about buying ... a book on chess.

but to compare them with chess variations ?? I wouldn't go that far...You revealed a kind of secret motive that goes on the opposite direction of the rest of your post!  :)

I did not compare knot tying with chess variations.

   The Zeppelin bend is perfect, so why one has to learn another bend ?

That is a good example. After I found the zeppelin bend (a good while ago), I compare any other bend (new and old) with the zeppelin bend. The only other bend that can compete (for me) is the butterfly bend (as it can be slightly quicker to tie). I have found a lot of other bends in the process of learning/finding these such as the double fisherman, the uni, bloodknot, hunters bend, loop knot "bends", sheet bend, figure of 8 bend etc. and I remember most of them, but I only use a fraction of these (usually the zeppelin or the butterfly). Learning all these knots and variations was a means to an end, to find the one that is best for most situations. In some situations, another bend might be needed (as for fishing line e.g.) therefore, I have learned a good deal of fishing knots, again, to eventually boil down that list to the few that work best for me. But I have stopped learning every other of the 101 fishing knots around, as I don't think they will add anything of value to what I already have.
I don't know if you have ever seen "knot wars". I like that concept. One knot remains champ until a better one is found. That is also my approach. But that does not mean that I forgot all the ones I learned in the process (the previous champions), as they might come in handy another time.
I also do keep all the knotting material and information I found in my hunt for the best knots for later review. Sometimes a person in this forum recommends a knot for a certain application, while I would have used a different one. Then I review that knot to see if I might have dismissed that knot prematurely

There is no secret motive here. I look for the best knots (tools) around for any application and use. That is primary. The process of studying, testing, classifying a good deal of knots in the process gets me there and is secondary for me, but they always go together. I can't have the first without the latter.
Having the latter without the first is pointless for me. I am not interested in learning and describing every possible knot there is.
Having said that, I don't say that this is the only way to go. Ashley obviously had a different opinion and luckily so.
You also seem to step in his footsteps, which I applaud.

All I am saying is that, as you say, there are different ways to skin a cat and for some people, knots remain mostly tools.
In knot tying the phrase "your mileage may vary" is particularly true.

Happy knotting
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: Transminator on October 21, 2010, 03:08:12 PM
   I look for the best knots (tools) around for any application and use.
   I think that your approach would be reasonable, in the great scheme of things, if, and only if...
...If there were a "champion", a best knot, a passe-partoot key to every knot problem.
But I have news for you : There is not !  :)

Maybe I should clarify what I mean with best knot(s).
Basically I can only repeat what I said in the thread of "top ten most useful knots".
I have a small list of knots that I use for every kind of knot problem. It is like a tool box.
In this toolbox I have knots that are mostly easy to tie and remember, secure and versatile.
The list of knots I know is a lot longer and occasionally I replace or add another knot in that list.

I consider most of the knots in the list as best for their specific application.
The criteria are ease of tying, memorability, security, safety, ease of untying, versatility.

Some of those knots I think are real champions such as the zeppelin bend.
Others from the list might have a rival that is perhaps slightly more secure, but alas, more difficult to tie or untie
there might be a different knot that is easier to tie and remember, but alas, not secure enough.

there are still many mysteries in the working of the knot structures that are not, yet, resolved

True. For me, that is secondary though. That is my whole point. It interests me but I am more interested in the practical side.

   Till then, I have an easier problem for you :) : Could you please tell me the champion, the one and the only, the best, of the secure bowline loops, for example ? Because I have studied and tested all the known , I have even devised 4 new of my own, but I have not yet any idea, and I am as far of deciding as I were before entering in this small problem...

This is were we differ. I don't think I have to.
If I need a loop knot, I mostly use the simple bowline as it has a nice ratio of simplicity and security. It is an appropriately secure knot for most applications and quick to tie, easy to untie. If the application is critical however, I use a different knot such as the zeppelin loop.
When it comes to secure bowlines, I'd go for the yosemite (it has a long track record). There might be other versions that are more secure (by how much though? is it worth it?) and are they easier to tie and untie?
I am content with the yosemite but if in doubt (life at stake) I might go for the figure 8, which is still the standard knot in mountain climbing, though some sources recommend the yosemite instead as being both more secure and easier to untie. If they trust it with their lifes, it is good enough for me.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: DerekSmith on October 23, 2010, 07:56:32 AM
 I use a basic knot toolbox that is renewed rarely...

Interesting statement.  And what do you keep in your 'basic knot toolbox'?  Knot tools perhaps...

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: [Inkanyezi] gone on October 23, 2010, 10:42:28 PM
my point is that knots are k-not mental tools any more, we do not need them to solve problems posed in critical situations -(like the situations addressed by Heraklas, at 100 AD, read the reference in the relevant thread )-, the only problems they pose are of their own structure, my point is that knots are structures that we like to examine, because they are marvellous little toys, that had a such a glorious past as tools.

I beg to differ, because for me it is the other way around. Of course any knot would have a structure, but its usefulness is as a tool, which is the reason I chose other bends than Transminator for my toolbox. My bend of choice, when I need a secure knot that is easy to tie and untie, is the Carrick Bend. Then for a heap of daily chores the sheet bend, single and double. I know the Hunter's Bend, the Butterfly Bend (Strait Bend) as well as the Zeppelin, which I hold highest of those three, because it does not jam. But I don't prefer the Zeppelin, because it is not as easily tied as the Carrick Bend. I can tie the Carrick Bend in complete darkness with gloves, something the Zeppelin would not lend itself to. Without gloves, I can tie a Zeppelin Bend also in darkness if my fingers aren't stiff, but it is not as easily done, and it also needs some working, while the Carrick Bend dresses itself.

Quite clearly, we have different approaches to knots; mine is very pragmatic. If the knot serves its purpose well, it can be in my "toolbox"; if not, it's a "paja mental".

But of course I try to evaluate every new knot I come across, to see whether it merits inclusion among my tools. The most recent admission is the Gleipnir.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: Scuba Lewis on October 24, 2010, 05:34:38 AM
If we are looking for ways to "understand" what knots have become I would say knots and knotting are like going camping.  I live in a house with central heating and a garage.  Why would I ever choose to go sleep in the woods, exposed to nature, and smell like a foot three days later?

...because it's fun...

I was in the Navy for 9 years and continue to work around the Sailors and I can tell you that we were taught the bowline knot in bootcamp which we all quickly forgot and the only knots I tied in those 9 years was a granny knot (hanging danger tags) and a square knot (for my dress blues neckerchief).

Knots are fun, an outlet for creativity, it can be learned so there isn't much of an innate ability one has to have to be successful, and the people who get into it are just plain nice folks but I don't see where knotting has a place in daily work (I'm sure there are exceptions here!) any more.


Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: knot4u on October 24, 2010, 03:28:45 PM
For me, knots are tools.  I probably come from a different perspective than most folks here.  For example, I was never a Boy Scout.  My father has never been a handyman.  Also, I have never worked a job in which knot tying was important.

I grew up thinking knots were common sense.  For 35 years, I figured the reason my "knots" came undone while tying down a load was because I didn't cinch the knots tight enough.  So, I would add random half hitches here and there with no idea what I was doing.  It didn't work of course.  Then, one day, I distinctly recall spending about an hour trying to tie down a load in front of my now ex-girlfriend.  I was helping her move.  She eventually got on the phone and shared a good laugh with her brother, who came over and tied down the load securely in about one minute.

On that day, I decided "never again".  I got on the Internet and began my education of PRACTICAL knots.  Every time I tie a knot now, I remember that embarrassing day.  So, I don't tie a knot just for the hell of it or for the sake of admiring its structure.  I get pleasure out of how the knot performs as a tool.  As you can imagine, my favorite knot system is the Trucker's Hitch.  That's followed closely by the Adjustable Grip Hitch and variations thereof.  I get particular enjoyment out of using these knots because I know that day I described above would have gone a lot differently had I known the Trucker's Hitch or the Adjustable Grip Hitch.

In my phone is a toolbox of knots.  I have approximately 150 practical knots that are each summarized into a single pic for reference.  In my phone, I also have a Favorites List that includes about 30 knots.  I carry around a boot lace in my pocket and practice my favorite knots on a regular basis.  I can tie these knots in the dark one-handed if need be.  I do all of that so I'll never have to feel embarrassed again for not being able to secure a load.  I also practice because it's fun.  ;D

Perhaps you folks who grew up in a handyman's home don't understand where I'm coming from.  You may even take for granted how useful knots are as tools.  I'm here to say there's a different perspective.  That's all.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: SS369 on October 24, 2010, 03:34:08 PM
Am I the only one in the knotting universe that still uses knots on a daily basis? I have to tie down loads of furniture, building materials, raise things, clamp wood for gluing, steer trees down, etc. Sure I have some fabricated ratcheting web tie downs and they get used, but more times than not it is rope/knotting work that gets the tasks done.
In my humble book knots are tools, even when decorative (which I tie on a weekly basis), because they are therapeutic tools.
Knots started out as tools to accomplish a task and still hold true to this.
They have structure as do all tools, but in the end they Are tools.
An exception(?) may be when the knot (tool) is art, part of spiritual endeavors or being studied and discussed, but that is strictly a perspective call, though may still be tools.

May the knots be with you.


Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: knot4u on October 24, 2010, 06:51:01 PM
I use knots as tools everyday, several times a day.  Here are some examples:

-For the past month I've been putting together various survival kits to go around my neck.  The neck lanyards involve various knots, such as, for example, the Butterfly Bend, the Zeppelin Bend and various stopper knots.  I'm happy to have these secure knots that don't jam because I'm constantly tying and untying the lanyards to modify the kits.  Before I was a student of knot tying, I wouldn't have enjoyed these features without using other tools.

-This past summer I've been using various Trucker's Hitches and various loops to secure loads of landscaping material on my truck.  I've also been using various anchor hitches to secure trees around the yard.

-I tie my shoes with a Square Knot that's slipped on both ends (a basic bow).  It wasn't until I started studying knots when I discovered I was previously tying a Granny Knot on my shoe laces for about 30 years.  I try to explain the Square Knot to people who aren't into knot tying.  They look at me with blank stares, or they get irritated with me because they think they learned how to tie their shoes correctly when they were 5 years.

-I use an Square Knot to secure a bandana around my head when I go snowboarding.

-I use knots when I go fishing.  Before I was a student of knot tying, I had to get someone else to secure the hooks for me.  Imagine that.

-I use an Overhand Knot to secure bags of bread and to secure garbage bags.

-I just used an Overhand Knot to secure the hood on my sweat shirt.

Perhaps some people here take such knot tying for granted because it's probably second nature, or maybe they view such tasks as menial.  For me, the analogy to the slide rule or other relics is misplaced.  Knots have real, actual, necessary use as tools in my current world everyday.  In fact, knots are probably the most used tools I have, more used than my screw drivers and hammers sitting in my garage.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: SS369 on October 24, 2010, 09:53:25 PM
I just intend to refrain from buying those shoes that employ "Velcro" or just slip on.
Maybe I should cinch them closed with digital locking pliers.

I really do think that the "antiquating" knots here is not a true reality. Yes some are from a time long ago, but then some have been around just briefly, since the invention of modern cordage.
Yeah, knotting is lapsing into the realm of prehistoric, but whose fault is that?
Thank goodness that there is the Internet so that all the old knotting fogies can pine away, but thank you to them as well.

Regardless, I have no need personally to go out and purchase other tools to do what my smattering collection of knots (tools) can do with just the purchase of the medium to tie.

For me "tools" or "structures" "?" are two distinct avenues of pursuit that interest me for the best of reasons.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: SS369 on October 25, 2010, 03:33:57 AM
Evolution is going to happen, it always has, good or bad.
We must make sure that history, knotting history in this case, is taught so that at least the young shall have a choice and a chance.  ;-)

No, I am not 15 nor are any of my offspring. They have been taught enough knots that with a little wit about them and some free thinking they will be able to use these tools.

You're only as old as you pretend to be.
Keep studying and teaching.

Sometimes a knot is the best tool in the "box".
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: knot4u on October 25, 2010, 07:51:47 PM

I get it now.  You're reacting to people wondering the use of each knot pic you post.  You're OK with having the structure of a knot being the main event.  While many others would rather have the application of a knot as the main event.  However, as you noted, the recent applications posted on this forum are rather mundane.  So, you're saying it's OK to discuss structures for academic purposes.  It's kind of like calculus in high school.  Most (or all) students don't have a present use for it, but calculus is mentally stimulating.  Even if you never use calculus as a tool, the mere study of it keeps the brain active and often leads to other discoveries that would not have otherwise surfaced.  There, I just summarized the thread for you.  ;)
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: SS369 on October 26, 2010, 12:16:39 AM
In short it is therapeutic.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: knot4u on October 26, 2010, 05:13:53 PM
"Theoretical"/knowledge problems posed by the knots studied as structures, are, nowadays, greater/more important than "practical"/application problems solved by knots used as tools.

Now that I understand your angle, I agree that's true most of the time.  However, when a person absolutely needs a knot that works "right now", the more important thing is just knowing the knot for the particular application, not the general understanding of why the knot works.  It's kind of like an IT guy who works at a law firm of 900 attorneys.  If the firm's system goes down, his general knowledge of computers is not so important at that moment.  The application of his knowledge for the particular task at hand is more important at that moment.  If he has to call his old college professor to walk him through it quickly, then that's a better course of action than spending three days understanding the problem and then solving it himself.

Learning the use knots as tools is like learning various cooking receipts to be a household cook- studying the working of knots as structures is like studying to be a chef.

Yeah, I suppose.

The general knowledge of the knots as structures helps us, most of the times, to solve particular problems that require the use of knots as tools, but knot the opposite.

I agree somewhat.  However, given the way I learn, I have to see an application of a knot for me to understand the bigger picture.  In all the knot pics that you post, if I see a pic of a knot in isolation without discussion of its application, I don't understand the knot and I won't remember it.  Given the way I learn, it's usually best for me to see the application FIRST and then the theory after.  I do agree that knowledge of an application, by itself, does NOT lead to a broader understanding of knots.  It's only until I analyze the structure that I begin to acquire a general understanding.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: SS369 on October 26, 2010, 05:39:07 PM
Let's see, I was tying knots long before I ever thought about studying the structures. So by my first educated guess I would deem knots to be tools for use.
Knot theory and its cousins are too mathematical for Me to have any enjoyment or therapeutic value.

I cast my vote - Tools.

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: roo on October 27, 2010, 04:28:23 PM
their (critical) applications as tools is an art that belongs to the past.
If you are of this opinion (despite repeated contrary evidence), it makes me wonder why you keep participating in the Practical Knotting forum, as opposed to the Knot Theory forum.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: Transminator on October 28, 2010, 09:31:49 AM
Till you are kind enough to provide us some stronger evidence about the question posed, we pass your unsympathetic rhetoric. :)

I am getting tired of this thread, frankly.
Most people here seem to be of the opinion that knots are tools (mostly so) as well as structures worth studying.
Yet you keep insisting that practical knot tying (using knots as tools) is a thing of the past and you dismiss any "evidence" posted as irrelevant or not holding up under closer inspection.
As most posters here give you that much that, repeating the above, knots are also structures worth studying, you don't give an inch.

Ask a professional fisherman if he uses knots, mountain climbers, firemen, arborists, farmers, surgeons. I tie my shoes with a knot. I use the constrictor as a tool in fancy knotting, people put a knot in their ties, knots are used for fishing. And even if, as you claim above, some people don't tie their own fishing knots as they buy them readily tied in the shop, who tied them? Somebody tied them and that does not contradict by any means that they are used as a tool.
Even though the old fashioned sailing ships (such as the "Bounty") have mostly been replaced by motorized version in the navy and industry etc. they have not vanished at all on the oceans. The German navy uses one to train their officers and there is a lot of knot tying going on on that ship. Smaller, more modern versions are used for sports. Regattas take place every weekend somewhere and all those ships require knots being used as tools.
 Have a look at any harbour and you find lots of little sailing yachts and boats. Believe it or knot, the owners use knots when they sail them and tie them to a cleat. And even the big commercial motor ships have mooring ropes with a knot at the end.

I consider this as overwhelming evidence that knots are used mostly as tools.
But you will probably look at these examples closely again and find that the knots in these examples are knot really used as tools, right?

nuff said, over to you (as you are going to have the last word anyway)
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: DerekSmith on October 28, 2010, 01:00:59 PM
Are knots more interesting, today, as tools for practical applications or as structures ?

My dear Xarax,

As much as I would dearly like the latter to be the case, despite your attempt to redifine the term 'tool' to be only something which is mainstream and important for life saving issues (my PIC Sliderule is still a tool even though I never use it for what it was intended, just as my Grandfather's boxwood profiling plane is, even though today I would use a router), there remains a veritable ocean of proof that the former is indeed the status of the matter today, and likely to remain so for some considerable time into the future.  So long as man has a use for cordage, he is likely to have a need for knot tools to fully utilise that cordage.

For proof, we could cite numerous daily uses of knot tools (as a gardener I use them daily), but perhaps it is more telling to look closer to home - this very Guild and indeed to this forum - look at our News Magazine Knotting Matters - 80% to 90% decorative, the rest practical and virtually nothing on the area that you and I find most stimulating.  Look at this forum, the greatest number of posts are to practical and decorative with very little to the 'Theory' board.

Consider for a moment, what sort of response you might have had if you had posted this on the Theory board - possibly a couple of "Yes it should be shouldn't it" remarks and that's it, but here on the Practical Board, you have run up nearly three four pages of strong opposition and many many examples of daily knot use as tools.

If man manages to survive a self created technological extinction, then maybe in a few more generations when we move into the post technological era we might have humans with sufficient time and interest and ability to find much greater merit in knot structure than in using string to hold up their bean canes.

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: knot4u on October 28, 2010, 08:24:20 PM
i]"knots solve some problems, not in serious, life threatening situations any more..."
"They do not solve any major problem, they are not useful in any serious situation."
"we do not need them to solve problems posed in critical situations -(like the situations addressed by Heraklas, at 100 AD, read the reference in the relevant thread )"
"Do I actually use them, to solve crucial every day problems ? No !"
"their (critical) applications as tools is an art that belongs to the past."[/i]

???  I recently read a case where a climber applied a Prusik Hitch somehow to save the life a climbing buddy.  (He called it a Prusik hitch anyway.)  Apparently, all the other tools on the rope had failed.  The climber buddy was slipping to his death, and the climber needed to apply a knot then and there QUICKLY.  This case isn't the only one of it's kind that happens regularly.  I won't bother to find the case because you'll dismiss it somehow.  So, I don't want to waste my time.

Further, in average rock and tree climbing, application of properly tied knots is a life or death matter.  It doesn't get anymore critical and serious than that.  No, the stimulation you get from analyzing knots as structures is NOT as important, sorry.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: knot4u on October 29, 2010, 12:11:38 AM
I guess military mountaineering is unimportant according to Xarax.  :-\

We might as well add search-and-rescue to the list of unimportant applications too.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: SS369 on October 29, 2010, 03:21:11 AM
Knotting adds to my happiness level.   ;)
If that is not a tremendous good use then there is none.
The activity of knot tying has brought me together with likes of skilled men and women who have become a network of minds that, who knows, may influence the world some day.
Knotting is a happiness Tool!

May the knots be with you.

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: DerekSmith on October 29, 2010, 09:52:21 AM

... the most useful practical tool in life is knowledge itself.

Oh YES - I so do sign on to that one (with perhaps a bit of cordage as well - just in case like...)

Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: Transminator on November 08, 2010, 10:02:00 AM
Hi Xarax

To start with, I do not accept you criteria that you lay out to proof your point:

You accept the use of knots as tools only when the use is everyday use AND critical AND important!
That is very convenient to dismiss most uses such as: mountain climbing
which for you is just a  
  [...] life threatening (less for the participants than for the rest of us, of course !) redundant, silly activity, that can not offer any excuse wharsoever because it uses, (among other things !), a few life saving, necessary, serious knotting practices. [...]

But even though you set these harsh criteria to proof your point, there are still examples found:

You never commented on search and rescue? Is that not important, critical and daily use?
What about surgery? They use knots there daily, in important and critical situations!

For not so harsh criteria that I apply (to proof that the use of knots as tools is alive and kicking and indeed more important):
> mountain climbing, caving
> search and rescue
> sailing
> fishing (commercial and pass-time)
> arborists, farmers
> surgery
> shoes, ties, Furoshiki
> sailing
> circus (see the other thread about circus knots)
> cowboys use lassos and tie there horses to poles
> scouting
> military
> household (wrapping up gifts, bundling stuff etc.)

  I have asked them, and guess what I have found : All those professionals are less interested in knots than most of us, the amateurs knot tyers. They use them, in fact a very small number of them, but they do not know why they use those particular knots and not some others. Most of them do not understand why knots work, and indeed they do not want to learn ! They are very conservative in their knot choices, and many times they are really hostile with the knot tyers ! As they know next to nothing about the knots as structures, they are less qualified than amateur knot tyers to answer the posted question, I believe. Because the question was not if there are some people that still use knots as tools, but if the use of knots as tools is more or less important and interesting than the study of knots as structures.

Basically you are confirming that for them, at least, the study of knots as structures is not important at all. They are more interested in using knots as tools, which seems to be more interesting and important.
"Old times sailing ships, "gaffers and schooners and clippers" that made intercontinental commerce possible" seems to be the only crucial, important and critical use of knots that you accept, but alas, they have disappeared and you have thus proven your point.

You dismiss a lot of knot tying practices as unimportant because it is a silly activity or because the use is not critical (shoes, ties), but at the same time you declare that studying knots as structures as more important and interesting. For you perhaps, but really it is not important at all. It is a pass-time activity for knot-nerds such as me and you.  :D
It might be of some importance if at the end of it there would be a new knot that solves a critical and important problem in the real world ( a new knot for search and rescue or mountain climbing perhaps that out-performs the knots that are currently used), otherwise it is redundant.
Knots are there to be used. If there is no application for them (functional or decorative), they are redundant. And in fact, most of the 1001 knots out there are redundant, because they have no use or they suck and there is a better knot with the same function, but better properties.

Studying of knots as structures is perhaps more interesting (because once you found the right knot for the right purpose, there is not much to follow up on) but not more important.
Title: Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
Post by: SS369 on November 08, 2010, 05:20:20 PM
Just to keep my toe in the door I'm going to propose this: I think that this will continue to be a perspective call.

Those of us who use knots on an almost daily basis will press the opinion that they are more-so tools. In my case the slant can be taken, not always, that they could be potential life saving tools, depending on the "perspective".
If I improperly tie a knot in securing/lift, etc. loads that have to do with my livelihood, then someone could get terminated at worst.

When I do a bit of climbing I think that my properly tied knots are potential life savers tools.

Sometimes I can not find or there is no better alternative to the use of rope to clamp a irregular piece of wood work for gluing and since it does or could influence my earnings I find that a most useful Tool.

Granted I am not thinking of myself in the grand hall of explorers or captains of the sea who immeasurably influenced history, but maybe I will go into some mental history annal that I put food on the table and roof overheads.

"noun:   an implement used in the practice of a vocation."  This is if we use it.
"noun:   a thing constructed; a complex construction or entity."  This is if we ponder it and talk about it.

So, unless we are doing structural analytical theorizing or mathematical knot theory, I believe I will classify knots as tools.
Once again. ;-)
Amazing that knots can generate heat.
Especially when they have good structure.

Smiling out loud.