International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum

General => Chit Chat => Topic started by: edward on June 11, 2006, 01:16:24 AM

Title: monkeys fist
Post by: edward on June 11, 2006, 01:16:24 AM
I'm hoping someone here can help.  I have a 150' length of rope and i would like to make this into a large monkeys fist.  If you have any suggestions please let me know.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: Willeke on June 11, 2006, 01:30:54 AM
I can give you some links to places where they show how to make a monkeys fist:

Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: PatDucey on June 11, 2006, 01:41:54 AM

Typically a Monkey Fist is tied around somthing.  Some kind of a weight to use as throwing a messenger line is a typical use of a Monkey Fist.  So you have to find an object to tie it around that will be the right size for 150 feet of line.

First of all, a Monkey Fist is three interconnected coils of line, so each of your coils will use about 50' of line.  The width of your line will determine how many loops in each coil.  There is probably a calculation to determine how much string is used in tying a Monkey Fist around an object that takes into account thickness of the string, but I don't know what it is.  If someone does know the calculation, it should be easy enough to solve it backwards to find the size of the object you can cover.

Let us know what size your line is.  I would guess that it would take 150' feet of 1/4" string to cover a shoe box sized object.  Thicker string, larger object, smaller string, something a little smaller.  Perhaps you should start by covering a half brick (it makes a nice decorated doorstop).  That will give you an idea of how much line it takes to cover something, and you can scale up as needed.

Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: edward on June 11, 2006, 02:13:54 AM
The line i'm using is 3/4 of an inch.  Since i first posted i've found images of a ball knot but no info on how to make one.  I'm not sure if this would work better or not.  I really just want to make the largest decorative round knot possible out of the line i have.  Thanks for your help,i really need it.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: KnotNow! on June 11, 2006, 09:47:38 AM
Hi, Thank you for posting.
 Monkey's Fists are only one form of spherical covering... or for that matter only one form of heaving knot.
 There are many knots to cover a ball or create a spherical covering.  I have a door stop (to keep the door from closing when the wind blows) which is an 18 panel knot on a 4.5" spherical lead ball of 16 pounds.  It is tied from worn out 5/8" line.  After I tied the first pass I followed the lead to make three passes.  A "monkeys fist" would only be a 6 panel knot.  To cover this same sphere the monkey's fist would need more plies (passes) than 3, perhaps 5?  Soon there would be distortion.  The 18 panel is not the stopping point but just the biggest sphere that I can tie "in hand" with no diagram.  Other persons can do more.  As to size on a .69" core the 18 panel comes up to about 7/8".  On 4.5" it comes out to 7.5".  You can do the extrapolation.
 But I can pick a stone off the beach and tie the traditional monkeys' fist in a minute or two and some other heaving knots even more rapidly.  Are you looking for heaving knots or spherical covering?
 Patrick has a spherical covering for every purpose.. some are "monkeys fists" some double "monkeys fists" and many more as "Turk's Head Knots".  You might work with him for your knot.  I think the monkeys fists are wasteful of line and you can cover a much larger sphere with other knots and the line you have on hand.
 I am glad you found IGKT.  Have fun exploring spherical coverings with us.  Give us a hint about your purpose and we will help you find the knot!
 "Covering knots" will make tools and decorations that you will enjoy every day:  As an example;  Today I used the traditional Monkeys Fist to toss a line over a tree that is a danger in my woods.  Then I used the 18 panel (Knobbly Knot) covering on the fob (handle) that opens and closes the air vent in my bedroom.  Next I drove my car, which has more complex (than knobbley) spherical covering as a key fob.  Next I used a knotting tool with a spherical handle "designed by Patrick" while working decorative knots.
 I hope this discussion helps.
 "Monkeys Fist" cross (as if by magic) from one plane of interstection to another while spherical knots remain within a plane (or so it seems) or work on the surface of the sphere and make a transition at a lateral angle.  For me this is much more the magic.
 I hope you will continue to post here and I hope this discussion has helped your search for a heaving line (which I do not think you are looking for) or a spherical covering to the largest size sphere you can make from your inventory.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: edward on June 12, 2006, 03:21:18 AM
Thanks for all the help,
You are right, I am looking for a spherical covering.  I do knot (hehe) need a heaving style knot.  The monkeys fist is just the only round knot i knew of at the time.  I would like to use most of the line I have.  I'm a sculptor so i'm doing this for artistic concerns.  I have no real need for a knot this size except for visual and conceptual endevours.  A while back I bought two discount knot books and started learning some essential knots which have helped me out in many situations since.  When I found this long length of rope in the trash I decided to liberate it and give it form.  I suppose this is a better way of saying " i just want to make an art project".  Right now i have an old bowling ball, or a cement ball the size of a basketball.  I'm hoping this will work but i can easily make one larger if needed.  
I would actually prefer to make a spherical knot that builds upon itself,but i'm not sure if this is possible.  I hope this helps and thanks again for your time.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: KnotNow! on June 12, 2006, 07:08:41 AM
Hi Edward,
 I am following what you need until I come to "a spherical knot that builds upon itself".  Patrick Ducey makes some layered knots where the core is a knot and the next layer is a knot and the next and the next... like an onion.  In his "onion" there is no core.  I use a core, from a glass bead to a bowling ball.  There is a second consideration.  I tie knots of only one strand.  I do this because ..... well I don't really know why.   I just know that I must.  Other knotters tie with a second, third or ??? strand.  I am not saying "plies"  or following a lead, which of course I do.  I just have only one line from the beginning to the end.  I wish you  had some of the back issues of Knotting Matters and Knot News.  These have some "first published" spherical coverings and how to expand them.  Perhaps some other IGKT members can help Edward with links or references for spherical knots.  So much has been done in the past few years in guild publications that we may be the best location.. but no yet "online".  I don't know where to send Edward to view spherical knots on line.  Help!  I'll bet Edward has not seen some of the awesome spherical knots in steel cable in Knotting Matters!
 Edward, do you have the Ashley Book of Knots?  It will help others (and me) know your "base line".  You said you have some books?  Which ones?
 Once again, thank you for comeing to us.  Otherwise we would sit in the dark and just tie knots.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: PatDucey on June 12, 2006, 11:11:22 PM
Wow! 150' of 3/4" line.  That's some big stuff.  The links that Willike gave show how to tie a Monkey Fist in small stuff, on your fingers.  For 3/4" line you will need something a little bigger, and it wouldn't hurt to have a friend help out.

You can probably tie a Monkey Fist around a large beach ball, and cover it completely.  If you applied something to stiffen the rope, you could deflate and remove the beachball and have a "ball of string".  That would look very artistic, I guess.

I don't know if a beginner should try a Turks Head with such large stuff, but if you want to try something like a Turks Head, I can help with templates and such.  I have posted templates to tie spherical Turks Heads with small stufff using toilet paper tubes as a mandrel.  You should practice with small stuff before you try to tackle a big project.  The templates are a in the tutorials section if you want to take a look.  In the gallery section, on page 2 of the personal galleries, you can see some photos of spherical work I have done.  The templates can be scaled up to suit, you will probably need a concrete tube mold (avalable at Home Depot) for a mandrel if you want to use a template method to tie a spherical Turks Head.  If you live near Seattle, I would love to "hands on" help with this kind of project, otherwise, I can only offer written instructions and encouragement.

Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: Fairlead on June 14, 2006, 09:04:56 PM
I am afraid I must take issue with your statement that a Monkey's Fist is tied around an object - especially something heavy!
The MF is designed to weight the end of a heaving line and will do so without a heavy object.  If you threw a line at me on the dockside with a weight in it - I would cut the MF off and either throw it in the water or keep it as evidence to sue you for attacking me with an offensive weapon.

Loading the MF of a heaving line is a DANGEROUS PRACTICE.

Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: PatDucey on June 15, 2006, 12:06:04 AM
I understand that a loaded Monkey's Fist is dangerous, but that is the history of the use of the knot.  Some Canadian friends have told me that the Monkey Fist is illegal in Canada, I can only assume because of it being used as a weapon.  Any weight with a rope or stick attached to it can become a weapon like a club, but it can also be a tool like a hammer.  It is all in the intended use of the object.

Getting back to the Monkey's Fist as a knot, without some kind of core the knot will not hold its' shape well, unless tied very small.  Anything more that three leads on each coil will probably not hold its' shape.  Finding a suitable size core to tie a 150' of 3/4" line around so it can hold a shape is where I was leading to.

Gordon, do you know of any calculation of determining the length of a known diameter of line required to cover on object?

Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: sledge on June 16, 2006, 05:11:48 AM
Re illegal weighing of Monkey Fist's. It is illegal to add weights to Monkey Fist's in the Royal Australian Navy. This has been since a sailor put one through the windscreen of a car on the Wharf at Darwin.

The heaving line then had to be unweighted Monkey fist or sand bag on end of heaving line.

The easy way the boys got around this was to soak the Fist in a can of enamel paint 5 or 6 times. Adds a fair amount of weight to it. Little bit of useless info for those interested
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: Frank Gibson on June 19, 2006, 07:23:54 AM
On the subject of Monkey's Fist for a heaving line.  Recently, the Offshore Service Vessel I run AB on went through it's Coast Guard Inspection and we were informed to get rid of our classic monkey fist heaving lines.  We were to replace them with rubber balls purchased at local marine hardware store.  The argument is that they tend to be very hard and could injure a mariner on the recieving end.  Another tradition is fading away.  Funny, my basic navy training years ago, taught me to await the messenger lines arrival behind the safety of a structure.  I will tell a funny story that happened a few years ago.  The Offshore Service Vessel I was on was tasked to go alongside an oil rig and send the fuel hose over for resupply.  The fuel riser was located on the lower platform even with the deck of the boat.  The young new roustabout that was sent down to pull the hose over from me correctly attached his safety harness and readied for me to send over the monkey's fist.  (with older hands safely observing).  Not wanting to strike the roustabout.  I sent the line over a railing about 8 ft away from him, ensuring it wrapped around the railing.  Well, with a safety harness, and 6 feet of tag line, he when running after the line.  The laughter was immense from all levels as the safety line stretched out and so did the young roustabouts arms and legs as he abruptly rediscovered gravity and his behind slammed to the deck grating underfoot.   Gotta have thick skin in the oil patch.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: edward on June 19, 2006, 09:36:37 AM
I think what I'm looking for is the layered knot, where each layer is a knot with another knot on top.  This seems the best for making all of the line into one large knot. Right now i wish i did live in seattle but i'm actually in minneapolis.  I know that i want a round knot that has layers like an "onion" while being made from one line.  The books i have are very basic in scope.  The monkeys fist is the only spherical knot shown hence my question.  The book does show a picture of a "pudding" fender used for boats before old tires became the norm.  I just don't know how to make either of these knots.  I like the history and the debate but i don't think the monkeys fist is the knot i need.  I'm testing the turks head on small scales but i'm not sure if this is what i need.  Thanks for the help.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: KnotNow! on June 19, 2006, 09:54:30 AM
An artist looking for a spherical covering has led us through an interesting maze.
 Not every heaving knot is thrown to a person.  Sometimes it is over a branch or over a river.  I used a bow an arrrow to throw the line over a river, almost a Howard Hill distance record; who wanted to catch that one?  Since when is a heaving line or messenger line confined to nautical or arborist usage?  Were not rescue lines fired by guns, similar to harpoon guns used to fire a line to a stranded ship?  Fact is I keep a "monkey's fist" on a heavy lead core in my bag with my survey tape and a pre-coiled messenger.  On my porch is an 18 pannel knobbly knot on a 16 # core.  It is my door stop. Could be a threat, considered,  in some circles; I guess.  I am sorry that the simple heaving knot has so much issues of law to contradict it. Has anyone read the fine print?  May I make a 12 panel knot?  Is the "loading" the issue, so I could use lead core line and still be O.K. as the line is loaded and not the Knot?  Back to the original post.. he just wanted a covering for a sphere.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: KnotNow! on June 19, 2006, 10:05:08 AM
Hi, I posting in  frustration.  One more time.  Patrick has spericals and fists which build as an onion.  I think that is where you need to be.  Pat is a very patient and very busy fellow but I am pretty sure he can help you.  I hope it all works out and I am looking for a photo.
 I made pottery as a "purist".  I dug for the clay.  I milled the clay.  I worked the pots.  I cut the wood to fire the kiln (which I built).  I made my own glaze.  Sometimes it is O.K. to embrace the work of others, who have come before.
 Embrace Pat and others who have spherical coverings.. and try not to get too hung up on the self-same single strand.  Cores are O.K.
Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: PatDucey on June 19, 2006, 11:18:45 PM
Excellent story, Frank.  I too remember standing behing structure awaiting messenger lines during unrep when I was serving in Uncle Sams' yacht club.  Of course they were dangerous, but you needed to have some weight on the messenger to toss a line as far as it had to go.

Getting back to the "Ball of String".  The first real Turks Head I ever tied, under the watchful eye of my Grandpa,
was a fid.  It started as a nail, and I tied a 3Lead x 4Bight TH around the head of the nail.  This was followed by a 4L x 5B TH, and then a 5L x 6B TH.  This brought the head of the nail up to a size I could then use as a fid.  I have also used a Figure of 8 knot as the core of this kind of project.  Edward, if this is what you are thinking of for your project, you are going to need a large fid.  It wouldn't hurt to have some large needle nose pliers around, also.  I can help with templates for a succession of larger Turks Heads, or you can tie a succession of Monkey Fist knots where each one has more turns on each loop than the previous layer.

Title: Re: monkeys fist
Post by: oceanplats on June 25, 2006, 11:59:15 AM
Im ex ran ,lead in the m/fist was normal.
How many saw a bolo fly ,3 leads.
never seen a m/f cut ,plenty of backsplices were.