Ropes, Knots- and
application to fun.
Click the links below to jump down the page to the spot
I enjoy climbing up things: trees,
mountains, houses, rocks, cranes . . . . but going down can be
A few years back a friend of mine learnt some ropes and
really wanted to build something. Together we (and a few others,
notably our brothers) made a rope-ladder, lashed-platform
and swing system to climb about 50 ft. up this giant oak
tree behind my parents house. Then of course we rappel
Notice the two trunks? I made the platform free to
slide back and forth when the trees swayed by only
lashing it to the trunk on the right. Otherwise it
would come apart after the first storm (you can still
see it today but I would not recommend climbing up).
Okay, its not as
exciting as rappelling but its fun tying boy
scout/sailor knots with dough.
That's just a classic 6 strand braid
From right to left, a Monkeyfist then some kind of
Both are tied with ropes
in the photo at the top of the page.
pendulums (a favorite activity of mine), whether
they be Foucault,
any random pendulum.
A free hanging cable forms a catenary,
y=cosh(x). Its amazing how quickly nature
performs the most complicated calculations.
Click here for more details
and pictures about my demonstration.
I got this crazy idea one summer that I could make a string hammock from scratch. I took a long hard look at some hammocks while away, then put one together when I got home. I designed and built the stand too.
The Raw Materials
Halfway through, (it is made from one long strand)
I had to tighten it somewhat because the ropes
It turns out that I should have taken a closer look
before jumping into it because there were a few
useful design features of modern hammocks that I did
The rope has sadly frayed over time, and my hammock
has since passed away. The frame lasted a lot longer
(holding a purchased replacement hammock) but it too
has passed on.
Some idiot contractor renovated the room with a light
switch ten feet from the door. Nothing that fishing
line, duct tape and paper clips with a toothbrush can't
In 2012 I once again found myself living with an
incomprehensible light-switch situation. Below left
shows the light at the top of the staircase, as seen
from the entrance to the apartment. This arrangement
would typically have a 3-way electric switch so you
don't need to walk up or down the stairs in the dark.
I built a mechanical 3-way switch
which allows you to turn the light on and off from the
bottom of the stairs by pulling on some wires. Learning
from my previous experience, I used wires instead of
stretchy fishing line. I eventually replaced the
cereal-box cardboard gears (shown) with some sturdier CD
case plastic which I will post photos of eventually.