International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum

General => Fancy and Decorative Knotwork => Fancy Knotwork Tutorials => Topic started by: Nailer on September 04, 2011, 10:49:24 AM

Title: Any tutorial on WWII hammock clews?
Post by: Nailer on September 04, 2011, 10:49:24 AM
Hello everyone,

This is my first post in this forum, hope to come to visit often.

I bought two naval canvas hammocks that needed the clews, or sets of ropes that come from a ring and are atached to each eyelet in the canvas.

The first hammock is a British Royal Navy one, which, looking in the web and in the ABOK was more or less easy to find out how to interweave the ropes (nettles) to form the clews, either the old way, as a shouldered sword mat, ABOK #2960 & #2963, or the modern way, which was just a series of cow hithces on the ring. In both ways the nettles were atached to the canvas by just a half hitch in each eyelet.

However, the other hammock was a WW2 US Navy one, and this hammocks had a sword mat too, but seems they were made of a single piece of cord, forming a group of 12 bights, where each one passed thru one eyelet and then a wide rope was passed thru all the bights to keep them in place. This allowed to remove the ropes more easely for cleaning.

I have not yet found a detalied tutorial of how to weave these clews, like the exact lenght of the whole rope, of all the bights, etc. and would be grateful if someone here could tell me how to do it or guide me in the right direction, like sharing a link to the proper instructions.

Related links: ( (
Title: Re: Any tutorial on WWII hammock clews?
Post by: aknotter on September 04, 2011, 05:55:34 PM
Hi Nailer,
At our meeting last month, Jose did a demo on creating a hammock clew.  The jig he used is smaller than a real one, just to be used for the demo.  You can see some pictures at (  Not really a 'tutorial', but might be of some help?
Title: Re: Any tutorial on WWII hammock clews?
Post by: Nailer on September 05, 2011, 09:39:51 AM
Thanks aknotter!

I didn?t think I would get a reply so soon!

Well, like you say, it is not exactly a tutorial, but I think I get more or less the idea of it.

Jus have two questions:

The cords are passed first thru the ring in simple round turns in the same direction, or alternated one from the front and the next from behind, etc.?

And about the lenght of each bight, did they work ok when in the hammock?

    I ask because when ataching the nettles in my Royal Navy hammock first tried just following the drawing of the hammock as it appears on the first link I posted, the ring at such a distance  in the center and the nettles atached at the lenght they intersect the eyelets, much like is seen in the frame. It didn't work. The hammock sides totally fall below the center, like if the hammock was reversed.  
   Then in the second link I learned that the 2 side nettles must be like 2 inches shorter (in a 16 eyelet hammock at least) than the 2 nettles in the center, and the rest of the nettles fastened accordingly to be tense, so that the sides are a little higher than the center to form a cocoon and give more support if sleeping diagonally so you don?t roll over the edge. This same difference in lenght is recomended when gathering the ends of a rectangular piece of fabric to make a camping hammock, the sides one or two inches longer in the bundle.
So in my humble opinion, I think the bights should be at least of the same lenght, or even shorter on the sides, maybe using a curved frame. But that is only an opinion, would like to know how it turned out.

Thanks a lot.
Title: Re: Any tutorial on WWII hammock clews?
Post by: aknotter on September 05, 2011, 06:28:41 PM
Well, I hate to admit that I don't know the answer to your question (But, how you gonna learn if you don't ask   ;D  )?????  I do need to point out that the jig used in those pictures is not full size.  He made a smaller jig for the demonstration.  As for the length of each nettle, yes, they get progressively longer from the center to the outside (both sides).  Direction of the line through the ring, I think he alternated.  If you have access to Ashley's Book of Knots, have a look at ABOK#3820.  That is a pretty good depiction of the clew nettles attached to the hammock.  I hope I didn't ramble on too much and that at least some of this info is useful!  (There are several other types of clews on the same page.)
Title: Re: Any tutorial on WWII hammock clews?
Post by: Nailer on September 07, 2011, 07:19:38 PM
DonĀ“t worry, you have helped me a lot.
I give it a look at the abok number you say.
Anyway, any other hints are welcomed anytime.

See ya and thanks again.

Title: Re: Any tutorial on WWII hammock clews?
Post by: asemery on September 07, 2011, 08:18:01 PM (
Title: Re: Any tutorial on WWII hammock clews?
Post by: Transminator on October 22, 2011, 09:29:32 PM
Hi and Welcome to the forum

How to make a Hammock Clew:

Have a look at this thread as well, might be of interest

Happy Knotting
Title: Re: Any tutorial on WWII hammock clews?
Post by: Fairlead on October 23, 2011, 04:44:36 PM
Having slept in hammocks at sea in the early days (1955 up to 1963) of my career, I too have an interest in this subject.
I have four canvas hammocks - all different in one way or another.  Two are ex RN one with sewn eyelets, the other with brass eyelets and attachments to convert it into a camp bed (with the appropriate irons).  The third is a hand made hammock which was probably made for a British Army officer on a merchant navy voyage to some far flung land - as it was part of a canvas chair, bath and hammock set.
The fourth is an ordinary naval hammock (could be of US origin) BUT it has a single eyelet hole at one end in the centre of the hammock about 12 inches from the normal row of eyelets - I cannot find any information on what this was used for, so if anyone knows, please let me know.  I have several ideas but no facts.
When I get a chance I will post some photos of my RN clews and lashings - including a set of clews "as issued"