Monkey's paw hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon Dec 18 15:37:06 UTC 2006

If anyone wants to lear how to make a monkey's fist in order to impress their friends they should go to The Ashley Book of Knots by Clifford Ashley. It looks spectacular but is ridiculously easy to tie as is the turk's head, another spectacular looking knot. They are both very useful as well as decorative in their various incarnations aboard ship in order to make it easier to hang onto a hand rail which is no doubt the reason you see them on so many old navy ships.

The monkey's fist the way I tie it is basically round but then I use something like a marble or round stone in the center.

Many years ago I made a bolas with three monkey's fists at the ends although I always thought of it mainly as decorative rather than useful and some times would tie them in the middle of my hammock strings, etc. just to impress my friends.

The Ashley Book of Knots btw is incredibly useful as a source for information on knots and knotting which is probably the reason it is still in print  these many years.

Richard Henry Dana's book The Seaman's Friend is another resource which might shed some light on this subject.

It was in this work that I first saw the phrase stowed bung and cuntline which has always intrigued me in terms of its origins although its meaning is clear in terms of the way barrels are stowed aboard ship.

Dana's book is also in print so if anyone wants to learn more about this subject these are two places to begin.

Page Stephens

> [Original Message]
> From: GLL <guy1656 at OPUSNET.COM>
> Date: 12/17/2006 5:14:40 PM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Monkey fist - Monkey Paw
> There is a knot known as a monkey-fist (and sometimes a monkey paw.) It
> creates a small, somewhat cube-shaped concentrated mass to weight the end of
> a rope so that it can be thrown so as to cause the rope to pay out, such as a
> need to lob it over a boom or spar, or pass a line from ship to ship, and
> possibly to self-wind around a distant object in the manner of a bolo.
> Perhaps its use as a verb below would mean a procedure of how to gather fabric
> of a sail split by wind force in preparation for removing and replacing it,
> or it could be a jury-rig which would gather or reposition part of the torn
> fabric in some way to continue collecting wind force.
> I don't think it has anything to do with seaming or finishing the edges or the
> clews of a sail.
> Any other hints?
> - GLL
> : OED lacks this, as does HDAS because I couldn't find an American ex.
> :
> : 1832 Basil Hall _Fragments of Voyages and Travels_ (Series 2) II 192: The
> : to the proper points, "monkey paw" the split sails, clear the
> : ropes,...and in a very few moments reduce the whole disaster to the
> : dimensions of a common occurrence.
> :
> : Hall (1788-1844) became a prominent British travel writer after his
> : retirement from the Navy in 1824.
> :
> : The redoubtable scholar-sailor-scientist-numismatist Adm. William H.
> : Smyth omits "monkey-paw" from the _Sailor's Word-Book_ (1867), but does
> : list
> :
> : "MONK'S SEAM. That made after sewing the edges of sails together, one
> : over the other, by stitching through the centre of the seam."
> :
> : JL
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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