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Click any Pic to enlarge for more detail and clarity
(Pic. #R-01) Here we have a line which has broken in mid belt.  
Not the disaster you may think it is, but still a bit tricky to fix:
(Pic. #R-02)Take the line which has broken (or a new line, if
you're not sure of the integrity of the broken line)  and put a
figure-eight knot in the end.

As I say farther on in this page, ONE broken line is OK... the
repair will cover the weak spot just fine, but two or three start to make
you wonder about the quality of the line you bought and the honesty of
the feathermerchants that made/sold it.
Unlay enough knots (I like to do at least two complete rows so that
I have enough line to grip on the broken stub) until you have the
broken line prepared to be a filler line. (Pic. #R-03)  (Remember,
the two outer lines are the working knot lines and the two inner
lines are the filler lines).

The stub should be at least three or four inches long to provide
you with enough to grip well.
Put the knotted end of the new line in between the two fillers and
then grasp all three (broken, new and good filler line) and treat
them all as though there were only two lines. (Pic. #R-04)

Cast your squareknot around all three lines (broken, replacement
and good filler) in the proper direction to maintain the pattern and
pull things tight, making a knot.  A bit of extra tension here will
keep the knot from being a lot larger than the rest of them: a little
larger is unavoidable.

TIP:  (although not shewn here)  
Bend another line to the stub and
put this and the good filler on the bellyhook, and then hand-tighten
the replacement after you've done the
top of the squareknot.
(Pic. #R-05) As you pull the top of the knot together
you will notice the broken stub has a tendency to roll
under the knot and be the bottom of the three filler
lines.  If it does not do so,  try to position it so that it is
the bottom of the three filler lines. This will
contribute to a cleaner appearance when trimmed off.
(Pic. #R-06) Continue knotting as though nothing' had happened for
at least THREE full rows,  then turn the work over and trim off the
new line and the stub close aboard the knot.  You do NOT want to
nick the knot while doing this but you DO want the trimmed parts to
be fairly level with the edges of the knot so that it "disappears".

Here's the FRONT of the work with the toothpick pointing to the
repair knot.
(Pic. #R-07) The BACK of the work with the toothpick pushed through
from the other side.  The nice thing about this repair method is that it is
strong, fairly undetectable and permanent.
For a broken line while doing half hitching, there are two

If a tailing breaks,  simply unlay the half hitches until you come
to a square-knotted portion then proceed as above until your stub
is long enough to grasp.  Do the repair as per above and proceed on
course from that point.

If (more likely) a core breaks , unlay the hitches until you have
enough stub to allow you to bend it out below the work and grasp it
firmly (one inch is usually sufficient), then take a new line and
lay it alongside the broken line and cast a set of hitches around
BOTH the old and new cores with the NEW core sticking out the
back of the work  between the hitches.  Cast one or two more sets
of hitches, then lead the OLD core out the back and continue
casting onto the new core.  (Pic. #R-08 - RIGHT side)
Normal rows
Again, after proceeding on course for a few rows, go
back and trim off the "loosers" so that they'll be hard
to find, but don't nick or shave the hitches or you'll be
doing this again very soon.
PLEASE NOTE: One broken line is acceptable, but two repaired breaks close together start to
compromise the strength of the belt and three breaks mean you probably have defective line and
should buy anew and start again.  There are times when it's better just to survey the whole thing and
restart the piece.

I have been told that with a lot of patience and no inconsiderable amount of skill, it is possible to repair a break in a
completed belt but I confess that I have never been able to satisfactorily figure this out.  If there are any who read this
who do know the trick,  perhaps they'd share it?
Vince Brennan
Philadelphia  2005

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