Tag Archives: knots

Common Whipping

Here is the third companion video to the Second Edition of The Prop Building Guidebook: For Theater, Film, and TV. It is a quick demonstration of whipping a rope. We usually whip a thin cord around the end of a thicker piece of rope to keep it from fraying. You can also whip the handle of a knife or ax (or similar implement) to add a bit of decoration.

You can see all the companion videos at the Prop Building Guidebook website.

Monday Link-a-tastrophe

By now you should know about This to That, a great tool for finding out what glue to use. Well, Beacon Adhesives, makers of such prop-friendly glues as Magna-Tac and Fabri-Tac, have their own Adhesive Selection Chart.

I know I just did a post on knots, but I had to show off this hot knot diagram. It’s from a site I just discovered called Low-tech Magazine, which “refuses to assume that every problem has a high-tech solution”. How very apropos for those of us in the world of ever-shrinking prop budgets.

Dug North has started compiling a great big list of Automaton plans in one single page. Some are even free!

Finally, here’s a neat little Repair Manifesto. You can view the image in a larger size as well.

36 Knots, Bends, and Splices

Who here likes knots? Who doesn’t like knots? When I was first starting out as a stagehand apprentice, I was told there were three knots I should memorize: the square knot, bowline, and clove hitch. These, I was taught, made up the bulk of all knots needed in theatre. Any other specialty knots came into play when you were doing specialty jobs. This has held fairly true throughout my career; other than the odd decorative knot or particular rigging challenge, I can usually solve my knotty problem with one of these three knots.

To that end, here are diagrams of thirty-six common knots, bends, and splices I pulled from an old book. These aren’t decorative or pretty knots; these are heavy-duty working-class knots, including the three I mentioned above. There is, of course, the larger question of what circumstances each of these knots should be used in; perhaps I will address that in a later post. Until then, why knot just enjoy the pictures?

Parts of a rope, overhand knot, figure eight knot, stevedore knot
Parts of a rope, overhand knot, figure eight knot, stevedore knot

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