Sunday, January 22, 2012

Making a bellrope - Part 1

The holidays are always a busy time of year and this year was no exception. The hull pieces were tucked away in the basement to hibernate until it is warm enough to continue epoxy work. Our plan was to build the cross beams, mast, gaff and tillers indoors during the winter. No progress on that front yet other than building workbenches long enough for the mast.

In the mean time, here is a small nautical project I made as a Christmas gift - a bellrope!

My father in law lives aboard a trawler and I noticed while visiting that his ship's bell was lacking a nice bellrope. Having just read several marlinspike books I thought this would be a nice opportunity to try my hand at some fancy knot work.

I based my bellrope on this excellent tutorial at Frayed Knot Arts which also has tutorials on ringbolt, hitching, and grafting which are used to decorate the bellrope. The materials came from Marty Combs' website that sells both the hard cotton line and brass thimbles.

I started by picking the general proportions based on a length of around 7" to fit with the diameter of the bell. Here are #1, #2, and #3 thimbles; I chose the #2 for this project.

Then loop strands of #15b cotton line around the thimble making sure the grove of the thimble is full but not too full that there isn't room for the ringbolt hitching. In this case it took three strands. Secure each side with a small constrictor knot to hold things together and mark the ends of the ringbolt hitching. Things are still a bit long at this point but will be trimmed up later once the eye of the bellrope is formed and tightened permanently.

This is what the ring bolt hitching looks like when complete. It is made out of single strands from the cotton line which works out nicely.

Here it is all together with a piece of bamboo skewer to the middle to fill out the six pieces of line into a nice circle and also add some stiffness to the finished bellrope.

To be continued ...

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