Knotting Tools

Knotting Tools

I love my tools!!! So what tools do you need for knot tying? Well the simple answer is two………your hands. Eventually though you find yourself picking up something to poke, prod or pull the cord into the right position.

Tools Used for Knotting

I remember at the very beginning if I was going to do this knotting lark, I could not do it without the right tools. So as well as starting to collect books, I also started to hunt down the right tools to help me to tie the perfect knot. Ha, ha, ha how wrong I was, the skill comes with lots of practice and the tools do help, but sometimes a Bic biro will do the job just as well!

There is a great deal of pleasure though to be gained from tying a knot using your favourite tool.

In my mind I decided that if I was going to do this seriously, I wanted to have serious tools to enjoy. After a lot of looking on the Internet I came across an American called PJ ( who made tools. After a few eMails back and forth explaining what I wanted, PJ sent me some beautiful crafted tools. They did not improve my knotting, but they were and are an absolute pleasure to use.

Grip Fid

The grip fid came without a handle so it could also be used as a lacing needle. I made my own handle using a bit of antler horn. You will also notice that this is a tapered grip fid, which means that it will handle a few different sizes of cordage.

Tapered Grip Fid
Tapered Grip Fid

Monkey Fist Jig

The Monkey Fist jig is a beautiful piece of engineering; it sits on my desk and

Monkey Fist Jig
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spends most of the time being an ornament.

I think it happens to most of us, you want to just learn how to tie knots and you end

up collecting anything knotting associated.  The knots, books, tools, nautical and other stuff slowly fill a room, nudging out other stuff.

As for cut of strands, they litter the floor and put up a great fight against a vacuum cleaner!!

Marline Spike for Knotting

When it comes to using a Marlin Spike, I have two main spikes that I use on a regular basis. The first one is my Stainless Steel and Brass Marlin Spike. The important thing about this spike is that it is stainless steel to the tip. I often work with white cotton cored, and the stainless steel aspect prevents it from marking the cord. Sometimes a brass marling spike will mark the cord. The difference between my two main spike is the tip of each one. One spike has a triangular shaped sharp tip, that is great of fine cordage. The rather pointed tip allows you to just pull up a fine strand of cord, without interfering with the other cords laying next to it. The other Marlin Spike has a nice round tapered end, that is superb for everyday use.

Stainless Steel and Brass Marlin Spike Dressed with French Hitching

Knives Used for Knotting

I personally use the following knives for my knotting; Myerchin Captain Rigging Knife. I have to say that this is a really beautiful knife, fits nicely in the hand and is also a good weight. It comes with a lovely polished stainless steel Marlin Spike, has a beautiful action and the blade and spike lock open very securely. The other thing that I really like about it is the fact that it has white scales, ready for a bit of scrimshaw.


Opinel Knife

This knife is a very plain utility knife, which I really did not like at first. I think the main reason was that it was a rather plain knife. BUT, having had one for a few years now, I really do love the Opinel Knife. Why, the big reason is that it is so sharp, in fact razor sharp! It certainly stays sharp for a long time and it also takes a nice edge when sharpening. It is a lock knife, and if you do a search for Custom Opinel Knives, you will see some fine examples.

Lansky World Legal

The only downside of the two knives above, is that they are not UK legal, so I also need a general everyday carry knife. Well, because of the statement that it was world legal, this sold it to me. I have yet to be arrested for carrying this knife, so watch this space in the future. It is a rather hefty knife and took a bit of getting used to, but now I do love it!

On another note, why on earth would a world legal knife have the words “Urban Tactical” written on the blade?

I have to say that the Myerchin is an absolutely superb knife.
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This knives are so sharp and easy to keep sharp. The other thing that I like, is the it has a very fine and sharp edge at the tip. This makes it great for cutting cordage close to other cords.
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I just wish I could have one.
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Marlin Spike Carbo Nitride Titanium Bonded Folding Knife-Black, 2.5-Inch
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Hacking Knife
A very cheap hard working knife that can easily be converted into a superb rigging knife. See Post
Hacking Knife Conversion
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Quality Knotting Tool Suppliers

If you are interested in Knotting Tools Suppliers, then you may want to click on this link: Knotting Tool Makers

Swedish Fid Rope Splicing Tool

When splicing rope, a very useful tool is the Swedish fid. The Swedish Fid is designed to part the three strands of a rope and at the same time form a hollow for one of the strands to be passed through.

Swedish Fid
When splicing rope, these are great tools to help you get your strands under the lay of the rope.
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Knotting Tools — 5 Comments

  1. G’Day Mate
    After 20 years in the Royal Australian Navy and one of the last Seaman Branch sailors to do the full 12 week seamanship course, I now find myself looking back to the times we used real rope and sailor skills some of which were the art of knot tying. I have set myself the task of making a sailors ditty bag to selabrate my 20 year anavesary of leaving the RAN, it appeals to my inner sailor and all that the bag represents and the work that goes into it. This has opened up a deeper desire to get back into rope work and knot tying. I have found your blog and this section on tools, my question is where did you get you bras and steel dif’s from or did you have them made.


    Best Regards

    • Oh mate, DON’T make a ditty bag!!! It hurts the fingers too much. Having said that though I have now made 3, the last one was leather and I gave blood to that one. The last time I was over your way was in 88 on the Ark Royal. I also lived in Penrith in the early 70’s as a boy, dad was army and had to fill the gap whilst your lot went to Nam. OK onto the tools; I only know of Mikko Snellman in EU and Peter Nelson who is States side (Mine are from Peter Nelson). Like everything else in the world of knotting, nothing is easy. It may also be worth contacting Philip Le Masurier, who is Sydney based, he may know someone more local? Let me know if you want to touch base with any of them and I will fire over some contact details for you? Nice meeting you Shippers! John

  2. In your video titled, “How to tie a Broach Knot” you show a tool that looks somewhat like a very large knitting needle.

    What is that tool? Where may I find one?

    Thank you.

    • Many thanks for your comment. I have just watched the video and the tool that you are referring to is a Marlin Spike. If you are in the States, PJ Nelson makes them. If you are based in the EU then Mikko Snellman is the go to person. You can also do an internet photo search and you may come up with other suppliers? If you want the contact details for one of the above, please let me know?

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