Frayed Knot Nautical Arts
Flemished or Coxcombed Wheels
The tradition of coxcombing your helm is an old one... Originally
developed to protect the wood from salt and sun on wooden wheels, it
was continued on the steel wheels commonly found on sailing craft
and the better class of motor vessels found today in pleasure service.

Since these wheels lack the belaying-pin-type protrusions found on
wooden wheels, it also provides a better grip for the hands when at
the helm, especially when encountering a quartering sea.  Anyone who
has had to hang on for dear life to a slippery steel wheel in heavy
weather can attest to the remarkable grip such coxcombing can give.  
It is also a decorative feature which can enhance the appearance of
your cockpit and hark back to the days when sail was a "working"
form of transportation.

The wheel used in these pictures is a 15" "destroyer"-style wheel,  not
something you'd usually find on a rag-bag, but much more common on
20-36' powercraft, on which it looks superb!  It's small and easy to
transport and I can change the whipping and combing as required to
either demonstrate something new or I can buy one and leave it at a
marine emporium as a sample without breaking the bank.  (Can't do it
with a 32" or a 40"!  Costs too much!)

CLICK on any picture for a larger version (some are large... dial-up
users be warned!).

The cane is something I whipped up so that I could have a quick was of
demonstrating the five whippings it contains, as well as some of the
common sizes of turksheads available...

I charge $50.00 per hour for these wheels... A 40" can easily run into
18 to 20 hours of work, but smaller wheels are correspondingly faster
to do and so the final charge would be far less.  The number and
complexity of turksheads will also affect the final cost.

You can
EMAIL me for further details or to make an appointment for a
work date, or call me at 215-843-7207 to do this or ask questions.  I
travel to do this (East Coast US  mid-Atlantic area, from Manasquan to
Cape Henlopen) but I will travel further if there are several
commissions in the same area or.....  
 (more information here)
Wheel flemished with "running" or
"French" coxcombing but with no
finial turksheads installed
Four-strand turk covering both sides of
the gap where the stanchion meets the
rim.  Not my favourite as the knot always
comes out looking "crowded"
Another finishing method: Three-bight
turksheads ending off the rim
coxcombing.  Note that they are
mirror-images of each other... No
small accomplishment!
Some of the variations available on a wheel.
Click on the picture for some closeups.
St. Mary's hitching on a wheel
stanchion... Compare to wheel
pictures to right...

Personally, I'm getting to where
I like a bare steel stanchion.. It
detracts less from the work on
the wheel's rim.
"Reversing" or Diamond Moku hitching from the side:  
The Moku gets hitched down to the side point then reverses
to form a series of diamond shapes. EXCELLENT grip
Six-bight  three pass turkshead which will go
between each segment of rim and also "close
off" the top of the stanchion... This took me a
WEEK to figure out how to do and it was well
worth the time spent.. Makes a nice transition
Two versions of three-strand  
coxcombing: #18 cotton cord to LEFT
and #15 Nylon to RIGHT.

The Nylon makes a much smaller
braid and also "fills in" around the
wheel quite well.  The cotton is larger
and coarser.

The Nylon will resist weather better
but both MUST be lacquered or
varnished once received.

All wheels are shipped with a coat of
spray lacquer for protection from dirt
and handling but your particular
location will determine final
applications and type of
lacquer/varinsh to be used.
A completed 15.5" "destroyer" type wheel with Spanish
(3-strand) coxcombing on rim, (especially positioned to account
for the spoke offsets) and split six-pass turksheads at the

1' dia rim and all in S/Steel (probably by ABI or SCHMITT) takes
3/4" tapered smooth keyway shaft.

The "split" turkshead will be a feature on all my wheels unless
something else is requested.
FOR SALE   $550.00 incl shipping
Here's an eight-bight split turkshead.  This took FOREVER to figure
out (as opposed to the six-bight split which only took a few
weeks) and makes a very pretty cover knot, but it takes about two
hours to make and tighten.... Not practical unless you really want
the "WOW!" factor on your wheel,  big time!  (White lead inserted
just to give some contrast for the foto:  I much prefer my
turksheads to be all one colour.)
As time goes on, I shall be posting many more fotos (hopefully I'll get the clarity angle
fixed!) of wheels and flemishes for your consideration.  Thank you for looking in at
the page(s) and I hope you'll consider my services when deciding on fancy work for
your craft.

I also do handrails,  belts,  bags and other fancywork suitable for mariners.

Vince Brennan
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Here's the "Half-Moku" on a tiller arm done in #30
cotton line with two 7-strand turksheads as

This is "as shipped" to customer, a painting
contractor, who will varnish it on-site.
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