Author Topic: More: rope for knot board  (Read 6628 times)


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More: rope for knot board
« on: November 02, 2006, 03:31:32 AM »
Original post:   My son and I are creating a second generation of a 1932 knot board made by my father with 1/4" cotton sash cord.  Does anyone have a recommendation for rope now?  Everything at my local hardware store is poly and does not look or feel nice compared to the old stuff.

Follow up:  In response to very helpful replies, I'm adding some more information to my original post:

First, the suggestion to make a true second generation instead of a replica is exactly what we are planning.  Son Spencer (16) is a rock climber and will want to add some rock craft knots, and we are also sailors with a world of nautical knots to play with.  Dad was a city boy in the depression with no such privileges.   I'm including an image of Dad's old knot board.  BTW, Dad is 89 and will have a hand in the new board the day after Thanksgiving (US Holiday, November 23). 

Second, the new knot board will have between 50 - 75 knots.  We may include some splices and siezings as well, and perhaps even examples of the different types of whipping.  Some knots, like a sheet bend could use two sizes of rope in order to exhibit their true nature.  How much rope is that?  I would figure 18" to 24" each, allowing for handling ends to trim after the knot is presentable, that computes to a maximum of 150 feet (or 25 fathoms or 50 meters for you overseas friends). 

Third, the cord or rope that we use doesn't need to be braided sash cord.  It can be laid rope, braided, or a combination.  In fact, it may look kind of cool if the different ropes are arranged nicely.  The splices will have to be laid.  I'm not proficient at splicing a four-strand, so I'll be looking for a three-strand which I can handle.  Some of the whippings are designed to work with laid rope.

If you are interested, you can email me at and I'll exchange photos, address, and other info to interested individuals.

Thanks for your replies, and I'll look forward to additional correspondence. 
« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 03:45:20 AM by waltskis »


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Re: rope for knot board?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2006, 05:20:56 AM »
Try the local feed store for twisted cotton rope - or look in the local hardware store for braided cotton clothesline - it may have a poly core, but the outer is still cotton.  Of course you'll have to whip the ends.....  I have also seen some very good knot-boards made with white polypropylene braided.  Just some thoughts - OOOH - try to get some hemp from Des Pawson!  That stuff looks awesome! ;D



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Re: rope for knot board?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2006, 09:34:38 AM »
  Marty Combs (sorry to not post his URL from memory) is vending very nice twisted cotton cord.  The rope walk that made the best three strand has given up on cotton, was up here in WA.  Marty has some 120 thread 4 strand that is so tight it looks impossible.  For a knot board it should be very nice.  I have a bit of trouble with it for very tight Turk's Head Knots as when worked through the knot (at least by me) one strand tries to be come a core for the other three.  Not intended to take you from Marty... as if I were building a board with flat knots and the basic deck knots I am sure you will enjoy this cord.. but I sometimes find a basement stock of cord that isn't on the shelf and yet has not been put to the dump (dustbin).  You might jump to <> and look at the gallery of IGKT-PAB and our show at Family Fun Day... there is an old and quite handsomely weatherd knot board that is on display at the Center For Wooden Boats.... Back to the cord... Contact Marty, nice cord from a good vendor.  Also haunt the basements of local marinas, chandeleries, and such.  Also... haunt us... your fellow knotters.  Most of us have a loft full of stuff and knot boards are not very material intensive... what I don't have enough line for a bell rope or mini fender may be fine for a knot board (stuffed it in a plastic bag.. mayhaps).   You know the effort you will put in far overshadows the cost of a few fathoms of line and maybe one of us has the line in a bag and would just pitch it in for the fun of it.
  I know, you were looking for cotton sash cord.. not twisted cord.  The same idea applies.  Someone has it in the basement.  I have about 500' of "traverse rod cord" which is cotton in the 1/8" size and useless for your project.  It is rotting away as we speak.  I think I'd opt for the best cotton... Marty.. and enjoy working with twisted and not braided.  I'll go look in my loft.. some chance I may have stashed some sash. hehehehe.  Not likely.. my memory is bad for things like "what did I have for breakfast" but mostly I remember my stash of cord.
  Post how much you think you may need, maybe someone has a loft with a hidden bit.  Also think about not making an exact replica but making the current generation of the old board.   As example, about 50 years ago I made a ditty bag.  All from what we had on hand.  When my Alice and I met she saw my bag and wanted one of her own.  Now, mine is cotton and the dye is nut hulls.. yeppum nut hulls... the outer covering of black wall nuts.  All the cotton was cut on the bias and woven on a herrinbone on site.. makes the bag easy to overload, very much able to stretch.  Now times have changed, Alice's bag is all made from polyester double stretch... make it easy to overload.   Her lanyard is knot for knot the same as my vintage bag but now in glossy polyester.. looks like silk and no need for nuthulls, for it is not in earth brown but white as the clouds.  Times change and we can make knotted art with what we have at hand which is exactly what I did 50 years ago and what the knotters before me did.
  Please post a photo of your knotted board and I'll go dig in my loft before you can get yours done....for some all cotton.... but I don't think I have any left. 
« Last Edit: November 02, 2006, 10:10:16 AM by KnotNow! »


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Re: More: rope for knot board
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2006, 10:06:52 PM »
I had found some 3/8's inch cotton cord at the Local K-Mart when I was building the Seachest. Take a look there, if I go downtown again I'll look here, maybe something can be arranged, if you want it.