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This page is an "educational" page on which I talk about aspects of my trade and projects / products that might interest visitors. Read on to find out about aspects of marlinspike seamanship.

• About beckets

What is a becket? Why not just call them rope handles? The disctionary gives this definition:

n. Nautical A device, such as a looped rope, hook and eye, strap, or grommet, used to hold or fasten loose ropes, spars, or oars in position. [Origin unknown.]

I do know they are generally thought to be the hardest piece of knotwork for the sailor to tie. Once tied, painted and installed on the side of his personal chest (locker) the has every right to consider it a personal masterpiece.

When I tie beckets I often catch myself holding my breath during a particularly tricky step in the building process. It's hard to find words to convey the special touch needed to tie a pair of these intricate beauties. The key word here is "pair". It's hard to make one, never mind making a masterpiece times two.

I've tried to imagine the sailors a hundred years ago working on one, with roughened hands and calloused fingers, the ship pitching back and forth. Now that's dedication.

Sailors of today still tie these elaborate box handles. I've had the pleasure and privilege of visiting and sailing on a number of modern day ships and I've seen a dozen beckets in different stages.

• About ditty bags

When I have an opportunity to view a nautical collection I always look for a pair of beckets and a ditty bag. The heavily decorated canvas bag is, like the beckets, a very useful item. The ditty bag holds all of a sailor's personal small hand tools.

Both my beckets and ditty bags are available for purchase from Adriance Furniture Maker, South Dartmouth, Mass.

 


The Marlinspike Artist / 360 C Gooseberry Rd. / Wakefield, RI 02879 / (401) 783-5404 FAX (401) 822-3545