Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oysterman's Knot

Everyone knows stopper knots - for many sailors, the first knot learned is the figure eight, and for that matter the overhand knot is a stopper knot. Other stopper knots involve going around the standing part three or more times, instead of twice as in a figure eight. No matter how many times the standing part is passed, however, these knots are all of the same diameter. What if a fatter stopper knot is needed?

Enter the Oysterman's Knot, so called by the great Clifford W. Ashley, born New Bedford 1881 and author of The Ashley Book of Knots. The book claims to have "7000 drawings representing over 3900 knots". It was a labor of eleven years.

The oysterman's knot is easily tied - I'll let the pictures tell the story. It must be drawn up carefully and worked tight.

You can see that this knot is quite a bit wider than a figure eight (shown below, with an oysterman's knot) or similar stopper knot. It is useful to know.

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