December 2013

Mastering marlinespike

Back splice

Most sailors prefer the back splice’s symmetry and firmness to prevent unlaying when ending a line.

To make a back splice, razor-cut the end of three-strand laid nylon line. Unlay 12 to 14 inches of line, and apply masking tape to each strand to form points.

Cast a crown knot with the unlaid strands, and tighten by pulling and twisting with the lay (Figs. C and D).

Back splice A-E

Make a total of five sets of the following tucks:

A. Pick any of the three end strands and go under the adjacent working-part strand.

B. Watch for two parallel strands on the working part (railroad tracks); go over the first and under the second of these strands.

C. Turn the entire working part, and go over the first and under the second of the working-part strands with the third end strand.

D.–H. Pull each strand tight, paying attention to keeping a tight lay. Continue this pattern and shape the splice with your fingers as you go.

Back splice F-J

I. & J. For decoration, end the back splice with a wall and crown knot, pulling it tight with pliers and hiding the ends by heat melting (dimpling).

Want more knot tips? Take our Knots, Bends, Hitches seminar at a squadron near you.

Original materials used with thanks to Irene Rodriguez and John Bennett


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Mastering Marlinespike


Cleat hitch

Round turn with two half hitches

Clove hitch

Sheet bend

Figure eight

Anchor bend

Rolling hitch

Double sheet bend

Eye splice

Becket bend

Reef knot

Blood knot

True lover’s knot

Monkey’s fist

Carrick bend

Angler’s loop

Strangle knot

Jar sling

Japanese success knot

Spanish bowline

Stevedore knot

Heaving line knot

Three-part crown knot

Sack knot

Short splice

Constrictor knot

Slip knot

Japanese bowline

Hawser bend

Slipped bowline

Bowline on a bight

Lark’s head

Buntline hitch

Jury mast knot

Slipped buntline hitch

Painter’s bowline

Binder’s loop

Wall and crown knot

Inside cow hitch

Toggled reef knot

Long splice

Tugboat hitch

Crown sennit

Toggled lark’s head

Matthew Walker knot


Back splice


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