Tuesday 15 March 2011

Net Making Tools (p1)

Here are a selection of the tools I have made for net making, Including Mesh Sticks/Gauges, Portable bench or table clamps. and various pieces to make life a little easier. Click on the pictures to see them full size.

Mesh Sticks/Gauges.

I have made many sets of Mesh Sticks in various materials including Wood, Plexi Glass, Steel and Stainless Steel.

Below is my current favorite set of gauges, these are made from a selection of Strainless Steel sheet, recycled Bandsaw blades and Steel crate banding, the four on the left are made from 1.4mm Stainless Steel sheet, the top three on the right are made from the back portion of  bandsaw blades which is 0.9mm thick, the next one down and the bottom one are made from Steel Banding which is 0.63mm thick, with the two remaining made from the 0.9mm bandsaw blade, the length of most of my gauges is 130mm (5") this I find the best and most comfortable size for most uses. the last one in the set is only 75mm (3") long. the widths vary from 6mm up to 53mm in this set and all the corners are rounded.

This next set is made from hard Plexiglass; about 2.7mm thick, this was one of the first sets I made; and it was a chore to shape them as are all are feathered to a fine edge on both faces.
these vary in width from 25 - 65mm  the largest one being 150mm long the rest are 130mm long.

This next set is one from Jann's in the US, I bought a couple of these just to check out what was commercially available.
The gauges are molded from plastic, all the gauges are 150mm long and vary in width from 17-73mm.
the edges of the gauges are rounded but the corners a still pretty square, these are cheap and chearful and great if you don't want to; or can't make your own gauges.

These next gauges are some I made for use during Net Making workshops, these are all made from 0.63mm Steel banding, are 130mm in length and 32mm in width, the blue black colour is from heat treating and can either be left as is; or polished as in the second from last gauge in the picture. this and the last one are 19mm in width.

These next two Mahogany gauges are all that are left from a batch I made as workshop hand outs, off cuts from making my Sailmakers Bench, these are 41mm in width; and are tapered to a thin edge across the whole width.

The last is a set of spare gauges, the first two being rather thick 2mm  Stainless Steel sheet which were a  little heavy to use for any lenth of time. the next few are some of the workshop gauges which have been polished up, some Bandsaw blade gauges, Stainless Steel Strapping, and a guage made from Ash which has an eliptical form across the width.

Portable Bench Clamps.

I made these clamps so that I would be able to make nets or hold work shops any where without having to worry about finding places to attach the net being made.

Here you can see how a  a bag net is attached to the clamp using a swivel attchment and Stainless Steel button. the leather chaffing pieces are slid over the Stainless Steel post and are screwed to the clamp.

Here is a double screwed clamp, this one I now use as the base for my Netted Xmas Tree.

Net Making Buttons.

For want of a better name, these buttons are used by inserting the the button and loop though a grommet starting ring of meshes, and hold the net whilst making a cylindrical bag net, the use of a swivel makes for ease of netting.

A Cast Net Making loop.

This wire loop and adustable length lanyard; I used when making a cast net.
All of the starting meshes are held on the wire loop, which can swivel around as you net, the small cam cleat holds the line at any length, and the lanyard is shortened as the Cast Net body grows in lengh.

More To Follow.

Take care,
Barry ;-)

Friday 4 March 2011

A “Single” Strand, Extended Version of ABOK #1389.

Yup’ that’s right a single strand version of the two strand knot found in “The Ashley Book of Knots” ABOK as it is known amongst us Knot Freaks.
The knot is shown in the book as knot #1389 in the Turk’s-Head section though not really a Turk’s– Head except in the definition that it is a continuous cylindrical braid.
This knot is related to ABOK #3054; a 17 strand half round sinnet.
ABOK #1389 is actually a two strand knot consisting of an underlying 6 part Turk’s-Head which is then interwoven with another 11 parts; making this a 17 part knot.
We have the very clever French man Norbert Trupiano to thank for working out the trick to make this knot work as a single strand knot, and Charles Hamel for publishing Norbert’s findings.
Please see Charles Website were you will be able to find more information.
The original Diagram as shown in ABOK has only 14 bights on the edges of the diagram, this extended knot as pictured above left uses a diagram with 98 bights on the edges of the diagram.
I was the second person in the world to have tied this knot in its extended single strand version?
And after tying it I can see why ;-)
Anyone else tried it yet?

How Did I Do It.
But first: I must say thank you to Norbert Trupiano for making this version of the impossible knot possible, and thank you to Charles Hamel for publishing the needed information to get a good start, and also thank you to Ognyan Savov and Alain Legeay for bringing this knot to my attention.
First off; I decided to make a small 50 bight version to see how it would work out and get a feel for the cord length.
The diagram I used was copied from ABOK and resized to suit making a pattern with 50 outer bights, which I pinned to a foam covered tube of the right size to fit the circumference of the joined pattern and then tied the knot you see pictured on the left in 1.2mm hollow nylon braid.
I started with about 8 meters of cord most of which was wasted after tightening the knot fully. The finished knot is about 40mm I/D.

Now for the real deal!
I resized and printed Norbert’s pattern to make a cylinder of 220mm with 98 outer bights on the pattern, I stuck this onto my foam covered form and put in the pins for the base knot, this I tied in blue nylon twine.
I then followed the rest of the pattern with the 1.2mm diameter, hollow Nylon cord.
See the picture below of this stage complete.

On its side you can see the 492 pins I used to keep everything in place ;-/ no easy task making this knot I can tell you!

After completing the interwoven part of the knot, I then replaced the blue nylon guide twine of the base knot with the white nylon cord used to tie the interwoven part, now making this a single strand knot.
You can see the completed knot on the form below, isn’t it funny how someone always manages to cut off your head in photos ;-)

Once we got this far; there was no turning back, I just had to finish it, so after checking for errors I pulled the pins and started the arduous task of tightening this beast up.
It took a fair while to get it down from 220mm diameter to just 75mm inside diameter, and after all that effort you can se the finished result below.
I started with around 20 meters of cord and after completing the knot I had just over 13 meters or so left.
I hope you like?
Please; if you do have a go at this knot; let me know how you get on.

Below: you can see the finished bracelet pictured with one of the gorgeous tools PJ made for me.

Thursday 3 March 2011

A Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend & Variation.

(Edited from my original article which appeared in Knotting Matters #103, June 2009)

A Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend & Variation, for use in net making.

How do all ;-)

A few years ago when I first started working on a design for a monofilament cast net I was planning to make; I found that the many methods of joining in a new line whilst making a net that I knew of were not satisfactory for my needs, by satisfactory I mean that none of the bends I tried fulfilled the role of looking good as well as making a strong, durable join, so I started playing around; like you do; and I discovered a bend that better suited my needs for joining in a new needle of twine, and also a variation of the same bend; both of which I would like to share with you here.
I have not seen either of these in print or documented anywhere else; so I am quite happy to claim these as my own discoveries, if however anyone can give me any book reference or other documentary evidence to either of the two bends I describe here I will happily give recognition were deserved.

I have shown / taught one or both of these methods to a fair few people now over the past few years and I have heard no complaints of failure or unsuitability from anyone (yet) so I will consider it safe to share this information without fear of being sued for premature net failure ;-)

Both of the bends I would like to share with you are variations on the standard interlaced mesh knot method of joining in a new line, which I will also show here first so as to save confusion as these bends are very similar in construction.
Please also note that there are many different methods for joining in a new line whilst net making, some use very strong, simple bends which join the old and new lines together; and some where the old and new lines are bent to the bottom of the above mesh completing a mesh knot whilst making the join, some will be better suited than the ones I describe here for some applications, for instance; where the join may need to be practically invisible or where the strength of the join is a more important consideration than the look of the finished net.

The advantages of the Bends I have discovered are:
Because of the alternately stacked nature of the old and new line parts in the bend it is very hard for the complete join to come loose in use; or for any one line to come out of the join.
The bend is very easy to make and can be made tight from the start, so there is no need to leave a loose starter knot to be followed around with the new line, this also makes getting the meshes even in size much easier and quicker.
In small twine; the bends I have shown here do not detract too much from the overall design of the net as they resemble a mesh knot when finished and their extra bulk is hardly noticeable in the finished net (Please see figure 8 for an example).
I have also found these bends to work equally well in many different types, constructions and sizes of material, including monofilament Nylon, plain and bonded Nylon twines, Polypropylene and Polyethylene twines, Polyester, Cotton, Flax, Linen, Sisal and even in some un-named exotic braid I have tried.

The Interlaced Mesh Bend. (For want of a better Name)
Figures 1 & 2 show the normal method of tying in a new line using this bend
I personally find that this bend can loosen with rough use; and also when tied in some slick materials.

Figure 1:
The end of the old line (Pink) is first tied into a loose mesh knot in the next mesh of the above row.

Figure 2:
The new line (Yellow) is brought in from behind and follows the lead of the loose mesh knot tied in the old line and then all parts are dressed and tightened carefully. (Note; you can follow the old lead above or below but I have found that following it above gives a more secure knot)

The Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend; or S.I.M Bend for short.
This is the bend I prefer for most of my net making.

Figure 3:
The old line (Pink) is passed through the next upper mesh from the rear and the new line (Yellow) is brought in from the rear and placed on top of and across the old line from left to right as shown.

Figure 4:
A hitch is made with the w’end of the old line around the legs of the upper mesh just above the new line and is tightened; completing the first mesh knot in this join.

Figure 5:
A hitch is made with the w’end of the new line around the legs of the upper mesh just above finished mesh knot in the old line and is tightened; completing this version of the Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend

Figure 6:
The new line is then used as normal to carry on with the next section of netting.

Figure 7:
This picture shows the back view of the Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend.

Figure 8:
This picture shows the Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend made in one of my nets.
In a working net I like to leave the ends about ½ a bar in length so there will be no chance of the bend slipping and coming undone, this also makes it much easier to re-adjust the bend if for some reason you needed to.

If the bend is to be used in a decorative net where the ends might detract from the overall design they can be trimmed short and if made in a synthetic material the ends can be very carefully melted to seal the knot.

The Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend (Variation).
This version is almost identical to the previous join but the old and new lines are arranged slightly different from the previous bend. I do not think the lead of the new line coming out of this bend is as fair as in the previous bend.

Figure 9:
The old line (Pink) is passed through the next upper mesh from the rear and the new line (Yellow) is brought in from the rear and placed on top of and across the old line from right to left as shown.

Figure 10:
A hitch is made with the w’end of the old line around the legs of the upper mesh just above the new line and is tightened; completing the first mesh knot in this bend.

Figure 11:
A hitch is made with the w’end of the new line around the legs of the upper mesh just above finished mesh knot in the old line and is tightened; completing this version of the Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend,

Figure 12:
The new line is then used as normal to carry on with the next section of netting.

Figure 13:
This picture shows the back view of the Stacked, Interlaced Mesh Bend (Variation).

Thank you for taking the time to read my article; I hope that one, or both of these bends may be of some practical use to you.

Take care,
Barry ;-)

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Single Strand Matthew Walker Knots.

Here is a picture of a 21 bight Single Strand Matthew Walker knot made with 3mm Bitumee; a tarred nylon solid braid.
This knot was made using the same method described below.
Essentially this knot is nothing more than a collection of carefully interlinked overhand knots in a single line, the trick is in the dressing.
The knot pictured has not been painted or stiffened it is pretty much self-supporting if you handle it with care.

I hope this article sheds a little light on the making of this very handsome and practical knot.

Single Strand Matthew Walker Knots.
(Edited from an article published in Knotting Matters 102)

How Do All ;-)
With reference to an article by Mr John Halifax in KM #95, page 16 “The Single Strand Matthew Walker Ring Knot” and also an addendum to the afore mentioned article in KM #96 page 8 in which John asks; “ if anyone has knowledge of this concept of ring knots, please speak up.”

I am very sorry for my very late reply to this question (too busy getting side tracked with other things).
I had asked a similar question a few years back when I submitted what I thought could be a new knot (a single strand Matthew Walker) to Nigel Harding as I could not find any other reference to this type of knot in any of the available material at the time.
I had also browsed the Knotting Matters index published eons ago and found a reference to a single strand Matthew Walker knot in KM # 42, published in early 1993 so I also asked Nigel if he could check this issue for me to see if the knot I had ended up with was the same as the one mentioned.

Nigel was very kind and made me a copy of KM 42 so I could take a look and decide for myself, on page 27 was a large heading at the top of the page “Single Strand Matthew Walker” The article was written by Neil Hood and his diagrams are dated April 1991.
This was the very same type of knot I had made and tried to submit to Nigel. This type of Single Strand Matthew Walker knot can be made with as many passes as is required, so making a full tucked Matthew Walker knot with anything from One to a Hundred or more Spiralling strands is possible with just one single strand, no need to find somewhere to hide all those ends so making for a very useful knot to decorate bell ropes, lanyards and the like.

Also worth noting is the fact that when braiding some Turk’s-Head knots the first few passes made can be a single strand Matthew Walker knot in their own right; like the 3 pass Headhunter’s knot for instance, (see Bruce Grant’s “ Encyclopedia of Rawhide and Leather Braiding”, Page 413, figure.1) this figure is actually depicting a 3 pass single strand Matthew Walker knot, if you continue this knot by going over all at the front (going down) and under all at the back (going up) you can enlarge this single strand Matthew Walker to any size you like.

Here is a diagram I made in 2005, using Bruce Grant’s drawings of a Headhunter’s knot of two passes as my base drawings.
My drawing shows how to tie a full-tucked 6 pass, single strand Matthew Walker knot.
If you decide try this knot for yourself please let me know what you think and if possible please send me a photo ;-)

Note: I make these knots over a plain tube or mandrel, I do not use pins or any other method to guide the knot other than holding the bights with my hands, alternatively you can use a pinned tube or mandrel if you prefer.