The Story Behind The Old Marlinspike
I have always enjoyed things from the past. This explains my interest in history, antiques, classic cars, old books and genealogy. Growing up, I was constantly reading historical books about pirates, naval battles and adventurers crossing the great oceans to explore distant lands. John Paul Jones, Horatio Hornblower, Thor Heyerdahl, Blackbeard, and an uncle who was in the Navy, all sparked my interest in the sea and the ships that sailed upon her.

Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, I grew up as part of a constantly moving military family. We lived on the coast in Virginia and I was happiest when I could be at the water’s edge fishing, swimming and exploring the beach for treasures; something I still love to do. I enlisted in the Marine Corps and spent four years traveling throughout Asia and Europe, mostly by ship, visiting ports and remote islands. After my tour, I decided to go home and try a different lifestyle, with only occasional trips to the coast. Several years later, I moved to Beaufort, North Carolina and rekindled my spirit of adventure. I was able to enlist in the Coast Guard, learn to operate boats and serve my country again while being stationed on the east coast and in Alaska.

Marlinspike seamanship, is the craft used by every sailor, fisherman and boater who ties up to a pier, repairs a net, tows cargo or baits a hook. Tying knots and working with rope or lines, requires skills learned over time and with much practice. All knots are good for practical use and some can be also be beautiful pieces of art.

I was mystified after seeing a monkey’s fist for the first time. How was this possible? Someone showed me how to make this fascinating item and I wanted to learn more about this craft. I read books on the subject and was taught how to make items by those I worked with. My skills improved as I learned to make deck mats, bell ropes, key fobs and more. The fancywork I create is practical as well as decorative and adds a nautical touch however it is used. All items are handcrafted by me using rope remnants, which means no two will ever be completely alike. Many will definitely be one of a kind! I want others to be able to enjoy this great art form as much as I do by creating items not commonly seen that celebrate our maritime history and craftsmanship.

Don R. Van Hoy
by Don R. Van Hoy
Donald Van Hoy- Craftsman
Sneads Ferry, NC 28460
Pricing depends on size of item and material it is made from. Contact me for prices.
Upcoming Events
Bell Ropes
Covered Bottles
Misc. Items
Key Fobs
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