Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Marlingspike Hitch / how to tie and use

Learn to tie the Marlingspike (or Marlinspike) Hitch - a useful knot for making rope ladders, hanging hammocks or pulling hard on light line without cutting into your hands.

Alright so today on Repairs101 I’ve got this really great knot for you. It’s called the Marling Spike Hitch and it’s an old sailors knot used to hold onto a marling spike or a similar tool - you can use a wrench or a screwdriver. 

definition of marline

The idea of the hitch is that it gives you a really solid purchase point in the line to heave against – so you can pull really hard without hurting your hand. It’s also really great for creating a temporary rope ladder like you’d use for – I don’t know – a tree house or something.

definition of marlinspike
So you know I always pronounced it Marlinspike because I thought it was in reference to a marlin fish’s spear. But it turns out that the Marlin’s spear is actually named in reference to the Marlinspike.

Now I wouldn’t trust a rope ladder made like this on the side of a ship or anywhere hazardous, really, but if you need a really easy temporary ladder that allows you to quickly reclaim the rope – then this is how it’s tied.

ladder made out of Marlingspike Hitch knots

Alright here’s what I was talking about, you know, you need to pull tight on a light line and it cuts right into your hand.

But using a marlinspike or another tool will increase your pulling power and prevent injury.
So you create a crossing turn. You turn that upwards to cover the standing part of the line and then you weave through the marlinspike.

Now, you see how the binding knot is on the bottom. If you accidentally tie it upside down the knot won’t hold, it will just run apart and spill itself on you.

OK so make a crossing turn, fold it up on the standing part or the load end of the line and then weave your tool through over, under and over again.

wrench with a marlingspike hitch tied on it

So you create a crossing turn, you turn it upwards to cover the standing part of the line – that’s the line that’s loaded up – and then you weave the marlinspike through.

marlinespike hitch in red rope

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