Sunday 21 March 2021

Refurbishment of a customers 140 year old Chest Beckets

How Do All,
I was recently sent a pair of around about 140 year old antique sailors sea chest beckets for refurbishment.
This is something I have not done before, and had both beckets been in better condition I would have opted to preserve them rather than refurbish them.

The owners of the beckets also have the original chest and cleats which they have now refurbished themselves.
Both the chest and beckets still belong to descendants of the original owner. and they actually have lots of original paperwork giving the name and dates of the sailors birth, his travels, and also his passing; I think this is absolutely amazing that these have survived for over 140 years, are still together, and in the same family.
The Able-Bodied Seaman John Lewis was born in 1866. 
You can see some pictures of the finished chest, and also some of the documentation shown at the end of this post, with kind permission of the owners. Thank you.
The chest and beckets had been covered in white gloss and other modern type paints over the years, and about thirty years ago the current owners had a go at removing the paint from one of the beckets, hence why the two look very different in the before pictures.
The chest, cleats and beckets.
Photo with kind permission of the owners. 

The beckets as I received them.

Lovely white gloss over everything.

The other becket stripped bare.

Upon examining the beckets for myself, I discovered that the remaining bolt rope had been chafed through to the iron core, and the rope and tarred marline under the fragile and chafed leather had all but rotted to dust.
The pinked leather washers on one side had been stretched and the holes enlarged, cracking and splitting the dry leather in the process. 

Chafed to the bone so to speak, from use and the harsh marine environment no doubt.

After the leather had been removed the end knots pretty much fell away of their own accord.

The six surviving pinked leather washers, the ones on the right had been enlarged by the becket legs pushing them outward and over the end knot of the bolt rope.

The perished remains of the surviving bolt rope, and one of the leather washers in the background.

On the still painted becket I carefully removed the outer layers of paint (I actually spent several days with paint stripper, white spirit, and methylated spirit baths and an a tooth brush or two) revealing what remained of possibly the original finish. 
The original finish appeared to be a dark red ochre/oxide colour over the tarred marline bails (central handle part), the legs and eyes where in white, and the Turk's-Head knots in a vaguely greenish blue, the manrope knots on the ends of the bolt rope appeared to be the same blue but with a possibly later added red central part.

This was as far as I was willing to strip the good becket, and I wanted to save as much of the remaining finish as possible, had both been like this, then a clear coat to preserve this state would have been my preference.

On the left you can see the original red ochre/oxide colour over the tarred cord.

One of the end knots of the bolt rope showing the later? red centre, it looks as if the blue was painted over with white and then the red centre, but only the original owner/s would know for sure.

After soaking the misshaped becket for several hours I reshaped it as best as possible, but was not able to remove the lumps and bumps under the coving of the bail (handle part), and remaking the becket from scratch was not a viable or cost effective solution.

The reshaped becket on the left. 
Also the makings of the new bolt ropes and a start on the pinked leather washers.

I made up two new bolt ropes from hemp rope over a rust-less steel core and, and made up twelve new pinked washers in 3 different sizes based closely on the originals.

Mocking up the new bolt ropes for size and looks.

After several coats of shellac and primer paint I opted to paint the beckets in colours I thought complimentary to the originals though not an exact match. and the deep teal colour used on the knots was a request from the customer, and I think a good call as the blue colour I was looking at would not have looked half as good in my honest opinion. (the teal knots are actually more green in real life, they appear more blue in the pictures)

Freshly finished with optional cleat fixing hardware.

I was not able to make the pair physically match, as they started out in very different states of repair, also when originally made by the sailor they may have not been made simultaneously so have different thicknesses of material as well as physical proportions, I am however very happy with how they turned out.

The chest  and beckets back together again.
Photo with kind permission of the owners. 

The chest belonged to able-bodied seaman John Lewis
Photo with kind permission of the owners. 

The opposite end of the chest.
Photo with kind permission of the owners. 

Certification of service aboard the Barque "Lota" from the vessels Master
Photo with kind permission of the owners. 

A telegram to Ann Lewis (wife) from the Barque "Lota"
I can only half read it at best.
Photo with kind permission of the owners. 

Certification of service aboard the vessel "Indian Empire" from the vessels Master.
Photo with kind permission of the owners. 

Thank you for looking,
Take care,
Barry / The Knotty Bear

Sunday 28 February 2016

New Shop Items! A Beautiful Hand Braided, Knife, Tool, Wallet or Key Lanyard

How Do All ;-)

I have just added a new item to my Etsy Store

This is a Beautiful hand braided, Knife, Tool, Wallet or Key Lanyard.
Made in Red, 2mm, 16 plait polyester with a small blue fleck in the pattern.
Please see my Etsy Listing. for more pictures and details.

(I can make this lanyard to order, in Red, Blue, Black Fluorescent Yellow or White (see my Dragonfly Brooch listings for actual colours). Also to any length or other custom requirement, please contact me with your request)

The knife, tool, wallet or keys are attached to the end loop with a short tail (loop of cord), made fast with a sheet bend and a doubled wall knot stopper (see pictures), alternatively you can attach whatever you have with split rings or by hitching the item directly to the bottom loop of the lanyard.

The buttoned end can be attached to your belt, belt loops, bag, anything with D-Rings and so on, the uses are only limited by your imagination.

The lanyard is made up from an 8 strand square sinnet, with a 4 strand round sinnet loop in one end, the other end has a button hole braided with two, 4 strand round sinnets, and finished off with a complex rose sinnet knot button.
The button is impregnated with a water proof coating to stiffen the button and make it more durable in long term use.

The total length of the lanyard is 700mm (not including Knife)

A knife / tool lanyard would have been used by a rigger, sailor or any craftsman working at height to attach their tools to their harness, belt, tool bag or other object to save loosing the tool should it be dropped, also possible saving injury or damage to persons and property below.

**Please note: the Dragon Fly Brooch, Leatherman tool, Wallet and keys pictured with this lanyard are not included with this sale, however if you like to buy the matching Dragonfly Brooch you can find it in my store.**

The same design in Blue cord. For more pictures please see here:

Thank you for looking,
Barry ;-)

Friday 26 February 2016

Knotty Bear getting all Knotty again!

How Do All ;-)

So, it's been a while since I did anything new on the knotting front, and when I get the urge to tie something I don't hold back!
I decided to tie a long pineapple knot with a varied pattern, just to make sure I was still on top of my game.

Below is a picture the finished Pineapple Knot being examined by Buddha.
I think he probably approves.

This is a 90 part x 48 bight, 6 Pass, Type 6 Pineapple Knot, with a varied interweave, tied over a beach combed fishing net float which I found on the beach near my old home town of Barrow-In-Furness

There are loops at each end formed from one long length of 10 strand trapezoidal braid U6, O2, spliced and stitched into a continuous strop.

There are two 12 part x 12 bight, 2 Pass, Type 2 Pineapple Knots sitting either side of the main knot, with a foundation of 8 bight, Single Strand Matthew Walker Knots.

All tied in 1.5mm line.

The braiding of the 10 strand trapezoidal braid in my braiding clamp.

The total length is 190 mm (7.5") x 45 mm (1.75") This would make one very large and very buoyant key fob for your boat keys, or a very nice light or fan pull handle, or the grip on a dirty bag, etc. etc..

The main Pineapple Knot is actually made up from 6 separate 15 part x 8 bight Turk's-Head knots, these are all interwoven into one single knotted covering. the fact this has a varied pattern makes it that much more special.

If you are a Knot Tyer and wish to try your hand at this interweave, or at least one very similar which is easily altered to make this interweave, bearing in mind you should be at least able to tie a standard multi pass Pineapple Knot, then please check out my help tutorial here: Pineapple Knot interweave tutorial. please note, this link will open a new window!

A close up of the finished Pineapple Knot, being examined by Buddha and in my hand for an idea of size

Thank you for looking,
Take care,
Barry ;-)

Tuesday 1 December 2015

My Etsy Store, Update #2! More New Items!

How Do All ;-)

I have just added some more new items to my Etsy Store Jewellery Section.
Rather than list every single item here in duplicate here are a few pictures of the items, and you can see the full details in my store. My Etsy Store

These are my beautiful Dragonfly Brooches!

Thank you for looking!
Take care,
Barry ;-)

Thursday 6 November 2014

A Pineapple Knot Variation. Links Fixed!

How Do All ;-)

Just a quickie!
I was unaware that the links to the pdf  file for the below Help Tutorial were broken and the file was no longer where it was stored, 
I have now uploaded the pdf to my Google Drive and the links on my Tutorials and Help page all work again
Sorry to anyone that tried the links and found nothing of any help! And thank you to Graham for pointing this out to me :-)

I copied the tutorial information here to save you having to open yet another window :-D

Thank you for looking.
Take care,
Barry ;-)

A Pineapple Knot Variation.

Click above for the pdf file which includes the Under / Over sequence and some help pictures to enable you to add the white interweave variation to a *27 part x 24 bight 3 pass, Type 3 Pineapple knot.

Please note: the finished knot will be a 42 part x 48 bight, 6 pass, Type 3 Pineapple knot pictured above.
*You will need to be able to tie the mentioned 3 pass, Type 3 Pineapple knot unaided before you start.

Below: is a 7 pass, Type 4 knot made using the same interweave pattern.

Below: is a 4 pass, Type 3 knot made using a variation of the same interweave pattern.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Dice Bags & Shaker Cups

How Do All ;-)
Complimentary Colours.

Back in 2004 on an ice climbing trip to Ouray Colorado I happened into Ouray Toys, as any grown man would do! and found a game called Pocket Farkel (also known as 10'000 among other names) and marketed by Legendary Games inc. 
This came in a little plastic box printed with the Ouray Toys logo and not only became a great souvenir of a great trip, but would become my most favorite game ever and has accompanied me on many climbing and non climbing trips over the years.

I was trying to think of a unique and personal birthday gift for my girlfriend, and as it just so happened she seemed to like Farkel too, so I decided to make her a Ply-Split Braided dice shaker cup and a fully reversible dice bag, along with a set of Chessex Vortex Dice in a nice swirly Teal colour to match the bag, also a set of instructions and some tiny 7mm dice, just for fun.

This Dice Shaker cup is based upon one that I made whilst on holiday in Kettwig Germany last year. This one is made from my own hand made, 4 strand paper cords, made with my cord making machines. the technique used to braid the cup is Ply-Split Braiding, and is Single Course Oblique Twining, SCOT for short.
the pattern is arranged to resemble converging train tracks. also Pictured with the Teal, Chessex Vortex dice.

The bottom of the dice cup. 

The dice bag, reversed.

The dice bag, right side out.

Hidden Treasures! 

This is the afore mentioned dice shaker cup which I made whilst on holiday in Kettwig, made from left over scraps of my hand made paper cords from another project. Ply-Split Braided in SCOT. pictured with multi-coloured dice.

The bottom of the dice cup.

The Prototype dice bag I made first to get the dimensions right, this one came out a little small but will do for me ;-) made from recycled fabric from old combat pants.

A Bag O' Joy!

Take care,
Barry ;-)

Friday 19 April 2013

Cast Net, For Sale!

How Do All ;-)

I have just added this Beautiful hand braided Cast Net to my Etsy Shop

This Beautiful Cast Net was a labor of love and over a year in the making 
The main body of the net is hand braided in 0.33mm, 19lb monofilament Nylon line.
The centre and bottom edge of the net are hand braided in 0.44mm, 32lb monofilament Nylon line.
There are over 29,000 knots in the finished net.
The actual spread diameter of the net is just over 3.65m (12ft)

The lead line is 6mm Polypropylene line, has 118 1oz lead weights on it, is 13m (43ft) in length and hand braided to the perimeter of the net.

The 24 brail lines are made from 0.70mm, 60lb monofilament Nylon line.

 The horn in the centre of the net is turned from Nylatron and has Stainless Steel brail separators mounted inside, the horn is attached to the net with #18 Bonded Nylon twine. 

 The hand line is 9mm hollow braided Polypropylene about 30ft long with a wrist loop spliced in one end, the other end is spliced to a swivel connected to the brail lines.

Well over a hundred man hours (too many more to even count) went into the making of the practical work of art, and the price I am putting on this net is in no way close to the actual value of such work of art, in fact it is a mile off! but I am at a point where I would rather see this item enjoyed, displayed and/or used by someone that can truly appreciate its real value.

I will also include any information on use, care and repair that I have.
The net is supplied in a Plastic snap lid bucket for ease of transport and storage.

Price: £500.00
P+P Via Royal Mail Special Delivery (insured) £30.00 UK mainland only.
Please contact me for overseas delivery quote.

This net can be purchased either via my Etsy Shop or you can buy directly from me if you do not want to set up an Etsy account, and I will invoice you via paypal.

Please contact me if you have any questions: knotty (dot) bear (at) gmail (dot) com

Please check out my Etsy Shop for more items.

Thank you for looking.
Take care,
Barry ;-)