Author Topic: Knots : tools or structures ?  (Read 22669 times)


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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2010, 10:02:00 AM »
Hi Xarax

To start with, I do not accept you criteria that you lay out to proof your point:

You accept the use of knots as tools only when the use is everyday use AND critical AND important!
That is very convenient to dismiss most uses such as: mountain climbing
which for you is just a  
  [...] life threatening (less for the participants than for the rest of us, of course !) redundant, silly activity, that can not offer any excuse wharsoever because it uses, (among other things !), a few life saving, necessary, serious knotting practices. [...]

But even though you set these harsh criteria to proof your point, there are still examples found:

You never commented on search and rescue? Is that not important, critical and daily use?
What about surgery? They use knots there daily, in important and critical situations!

For not so harsh criteria that I apply (to proof that the use of knots as tools is alive and kicking and indeed more important):
> mountain climbing, caving
> search and rescue
> sailing
> fishing (commercial and pass-time)
> arborists, farmers
> surgery
> shoes, ties, Furoshiki
> sailing
> circus (see the other thread about circus knots)
> cowboys use lassos and tie there horses to poles
> scouting
> military
> household (wrapping up gifts, bundling stuff etc.)

  I have asked them, and guess what I have found : All those professionals are less interested in knots than most of us, the amateurs knot tyers. They use them, in fact a very small number of them, but they do not know why they use those particular knots and not some others. Most of them do not understand why knots work, and indeed they do not want to learn ! They are very conservative in their knot choices, and many times they are really hostile with the knot tyers ! As they know next to nothing about the knots as structures, they are less qualified than amateur knot tyers to answer the posted question, I believe. Because the question was not if there are some people that still use knots as tools, but if the use of knots as tools is more or less important and interesting than the study of knots as structures.

Basically you are confirming that for them, at least, the study of knots as structures is not important at all. They are more interested in using knots as tools, which seems to be more interesting and important.
"Old times sailing ships, "gaffers and schooners and clippers" that made intercontinental commerce possible" seems to be the only crucial, important and critical use of knots that you accept, but alas, they have disappeared and you have thus proven your point.

You dismiss a lot of knot tying practices as unimportant because it is a silly activity or because the use is not critical (shoes, ties), but at the same time you declare that studying knots as structures as more important and interesting. For you perhaps, but really it is not important at all. It is a pass-time activity for knot-nerds such as me and you.  :D
It might be of some importance if at the end of it there would be a new knot that solves a critical and important problem in the real world ( a new knot for search and rescue or mountain climbing perhaps that out-performs the knots that are currently used), otherwise it is redundant.
Knots are there to be used. If there is no application for them (functional or decorative), they are redundant. And in fact, most of the 1001 knots out there are redundant, because they have no use or they suck and there is a better knot with the same function, but better properties.

Studying of knots as structures is perhaps more interesting (because once you found the right knot for the right purpose, there is not much to follow up on) but not more important.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 10:04:33 AM by Transminator »


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Re: Knots : tools or structures ?
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2010, 05:20:20 PM »
Just to keep my toe in the door I'm going to propose this: I think that this will continue to be a perspective call.

Those of us who use knots on an almost daily basis will press the opinion that they are more-so tools. In my case the slant can be taken, not always, that they could be potential life saving tools, depending on the "perspective".
If I improperly tie a knot in securing/lift, etc. loads that have to do with my livelihood, then someone could get terminated at worst.

When I do a bit of climbing I think that my properly tied knots are potential life savers tools.

Sometimes I can not find or there is no better alternative to the use of rope to clamp a irregular piece of wood work for gluing and since it does or could influence my earnings I find that a most useful Tool.

Granted I am not thinking of myself in the grand hall of explorers or captains of the sea who immeasurably influenced history, but maybe I will go into some mental history annal that I put food on the table and roof overheads.

"noun:   an implement used in the practice of a vocation."  This is if we use it.
"noun:   a thing constructed; a complex construction or entity."  This is if we ponder it and talk about it.

So, unless we are doing structural analytical theorizing or mathematical knot theory, I believe I will classify knots as tools.
Once again. ;-)
Amazing that knots can generate heat.
Especially when they have good structure.

Smiling out loud.