Friday, November 15, 2013

Seaborne chest part 9, cleats and beckets.

With the basic chest completed, I have started making the handles for it.
As per popular demand from the readers of this blog, I am trying to go the traditional route and installing cleats and beckets.
I won't be able to finish those while on board, since we don't have any leather. The leather is required for the axle.

I am making my beckets approximately half the size since the chest is also smaller than a normal sea chest, roughly half the size. So my guess is that it will end up looking OK.

Becket making wasn't being taught at the basic seaman school I attended (Kogtved Søfartsskole). 

So I trawled the Internet and found this page which is an absolute treasure trove concerning rope art. 
There is a tutorial on making beckets + loads of other stuff. 

It is recommended that the beckets are like, so I made a small device for starting my beckets. That way I can start both of them at the same time, and they will be equal in length. The core material is tarred marline, and it smells a lot! 
The lighter brown material is hemp twine. 
I hope the smell of the tar will disappear over time, if not I'll have to keep the chest in the barn.

As can be seen on the lower picture, I have made a test becket to try some of the techinques required. You can also see the two cleats that will be attached to the chest once I get home and have access to some longer brass screws again.

Making two beckets at the same time

My test becket and the two cleats.


  1. I have a very low self esteem, so I cave in pretty easily :-)

  2. I'm having trouble envisioning the finished loop, and that is probably because I am not a sailor by any stretch. Will you be able to purchase leather in your travels, or will you need to wait until you are home?

    1. I am waiting until I get home. We are scheduled to sign off tomorrow, so spirits are high out here :-)
      The plan is to make a fairly simple becket with coachcombing all the way and a Turkish head knot near the eyes. The axle will end in a stopper knot. Finally the whole becket is going to be painted white. I have a pretty good idea in my head of how it will look, but that is by no means a guarantee that it will also end that way.