September 24, 2020

Seizing

An endlessly useful technique! And just one of many methods to approach it…

Sometimes you want to make an eye in a line without having to splice it. In this case, you might try your hand at seizing. This is just one way to do it (we followed instructions from Ashley's Book of Knots) but there are many ways you could approach it. Let us know what your preferred method is in the comments if you like to do things differently! We might not rely on this method if our lives depended on it, but it looks perfectly nice as a decorative seizing. A note on materials: a fid is a very useful tool that is pointed but not sharp. They come in a variety of styles shapes and sizes, and they are useful for many different tasks – for example, to help thread strands through tight spaces, as in the final stages of this project or when you are splicing heavy line. Don't worry if you don't have one – you can use a flat screwdriver or anything small, blunt and thinner than your fingers that works for you.

Supplies:

Rope

Marlin or twine

Scissors

A fid (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Gather your materials; we used about a 2' length of cord for this, and had extra to spare in the end. See what works for you!

Step 2: Create your eye in the heavier line

Step 3: Prepare your seizing cord by threading the bitter end through a strand of your standing part

Step 4: Thread the bitter end through again a little ways further down; this is called a "tucked eye"; our tail is a bit too long here, it only needs to be the length of your seizing – trim if it's too long (like ours was!)

Step 5: Thread the working (longer) end through the eye you just made and cinch it around the (much larger!) eye in your line

Step 6: Start wrapping in the opposite direction of the lay of the rope. While you're doing this, make sure your tail (the short end you tucked before) is now tucked underneath the wraps you are making

Step 7: We did about 10 wraps. At this point, bring your working end up between the pieces of line you are seizing

Step 8: Wrap two times around the seizing you just made, passing through the eye of the line

Step 9: here's where you might need a fid or a screwdriver: on the third pass, take your end under one of the wraps you just made

Step 10: Bring it over the top, and under the second wrap. You should end up where you started this threading process

Step 11: Pull very tight to lock the knot in! You might try wrapping your marlin or cord around your screwdriver or fid to give you a handle to pull with

Step 12: Trim your end, and you're done!

Now if you want to see how the real experts do it on big ships, check out this video from the rigger on the Charles W. Morgan restoration a few years ago at the Mystic Seaport Museum!

We hope you enjoyed this project! Let us know what you think in the comments. As with all our At Home Activities we would love to hear what you thought of this project. Share your photos with us by emailing us at lima@herreshoff.org, posting on our Facebook page or tagging us on Instagram @herreshoff #HerreshoffFromHome, especially if you got the kind of expert assistance we did while trying to do this at home…

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