Author Topic: Knots : tools or structures ?  (Read 12690 times)

xarax

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Knots : tools or structures ?
« on: October 18, 2010, 06:22:10 PM »
0
 

« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 04:05:39 PM by xarax »
This is not a knot.

roo

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2010, 07:45:52 PM »
From a dictionary

TOOL:

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

2
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.

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roo

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #2 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"?

Quote
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?

« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 10:43:40 PM by roo »
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Sweeney

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #3 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. http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=1305.0

Barry

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #4 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.

SS369

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #5 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.

roo

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #6 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.

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Dan_Lehman

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #7 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)!

 :D

roo

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #8 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.
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Transminator

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #9 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
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 08:57:16 AM by Transminator »

Transminator

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #10 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
or
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.

DerekSmith

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2010, 07:56:32 AM »
snip
 I use a basic knot toolbox that is renewed rarely...
snip

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

Derek

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #12 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.
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Scuba Lewis

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #13 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.

IMHO

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« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 05:36:01 AM by Scuba Lewis »
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knot4u

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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #14 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.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 03:48:27 PM by knot4u »