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Knots and Stuff

The Bowline

The Bowline Knot is one of the most used loop knots.  This variant is most used in the world.  Probably due to its simplicity, security and its relationship with the Sheet bend. Keep the cross point in step A between a finger and thumb and make a clock-wise turn with your wrist.  Without the loop between it is the same knot.

If the loop is expected to be heavily loaded the bowline is in fact not secure enough.  There is a rule of thumb which states that the loose end should be as long as 12 times the circumference for the sake of safety.

The Dutch Marine Bowline / or The Cowboy Bowline

Only the Dutch Marine uses this variant of the bowline.  And, of course the Dutch Marine sailor says this one is superior. The loose end is not so easily pushed back by accident, they say.  Until I see a proof in favour of one or the other, I think it is just a difference in culture.

The Dutch also tie this with a loose end as long as 12 times the circumference for safety.

Double Figure-of-eight loop.

Double eight is a knot used by climbers.  It is easy to tie and safe as the bowline.  There is a discussion if there should be a stopper at the end of the loose end or not.  Speed of (un)tying is a safety factor itself.

The first way of tying is equal to the way of tying the Flemish eight, but now in a double rope. The 'loose-end' is the loop.  This way is only applicable when the loop is 'empty' during tying.

The Double Figure-of-eight loop

If the loop is to be tied round something (your self for instance) you first tie an eight then lay the loop and double the eight.  It is important to have enough rope for the loop.  It requires experience, so start practising.


The figure-of-nine knot can be used as an alternative to the figure-of-eight.  It is very similar to a figure-of-eight with just an extra turn before finishing the knot.  It is a little bulkier than the figure-of-eight but has greater strength. Strength: 70% (normal), 55% (abnormal)

Caving Knots


This can be used for tying a rope around a belay but is most often used for tying the end of a safety line rope around a person when belaying them up a climb or ladder.

This knot does have a tendency to loosen and can come undone so it is a good idea to use a half hitch to secure the "tail" of the knot to the loop. Strength: 50% (normal)

Yosemite Bowline

This is a variant of the basic bowline which gets around the problem of the knot loosening itself by taking the end of the rope and threading it back through the knot.  This is a neat alternative to using a half-hitch to secure the end of the rope and the resulting knot has the strength of a figure of eight.

Alpine Butterfly

A good knot for rebelays or for tying rub points out of a rope.  Its main advantage is that the two strands of rope emerging from the knot are at 180 degrees to one another rather than emerging in the same direction as in a figure-of-eight for example.  This makes it a good mid-rope knot and good for rebelays because it has greater strength than a figure-of-eight if the rebelay fails.

Double Figure-of-eight on the bight

This double loop knot is most commonly used for rigging V-belays.  The nature of the knot means that it is reasonably easy to adjust the loops by moving rope from one of the loops to the other.

Prusik knots

A classic prusik knot is shown on the left, and a Kleimheist prusik knot on the right. Either of these, along with other prusik knots, can be used to prusik up a rope.  The rope used for the prusik-loop should be a fair bit thinner than the rope to be climbed.

The Constrictor Hitch

The constrictor knot is important as temporary whipping and as permanent binding from which you need more than on in a row, but not in line (when you should use the strangle knot). Laid well, it is virtually impossible to untie without tools (needle or knife).  Never use it if you need to untie it. It is almost the strongest among the 'simple' hitches. Only the double constrictor is stronger.  Because the constrictor may be tied in a bight, it is often preferred over the strangle knot.

Laid in the bight, it is possible to use the constrictor virtually everywhere where a permanent hitch is needed. In fact, it is my favourite permanent hitch.

One of the best applications for this knot is the temporary whipping of rope strands during marlin spiking. With one yarn, you easily can whip more than one strand at the time.  Once tied, you pull them strong all at once.

When you cannot place the knot around the object after the knot is formed, you have to tie it round the object.  This may be difficult if you did not leave enough room to put the end through.

For tying a fence rope, you can tie the constrictor in this interesting way. It allows working it up with to one end while you maintain a limited force on the other end.  So, you easily make a straight rope fence (As long as your posts stand firm)

The Constrictor Knot

The Transom Knot

The Transom Knot (Constrictor)

Tied this way the constrictor is an excellent cross knot, called the Transom Knot. (I used it for my kite when I was a kid).  If you want to secure it, use two closely laid overhand knots in both ends, or simply use a good kit or glue.  An extra knot above this knot does not have much effect. If more strength is required, tie another Transom Knot on the back.

The Transom Knot (Marlin) 


Tied this way the Marline Hitch is an even better cross-knot as the previous version of the Transom. It is not possible for the half-knot to work itself between both rods where it is not held by the overlaying rope. Therefore, it is a better cross knot than the constrictor-version of the Transom.  (Thanks for the comment!  I wish I knew this as a kid.  On the other hand I did not have any trouble with the constrictor version.  But I agree this is better.)

The Noose

The strangle-knot is an excellent knot to be used a running knot for a snare.  The pull is easy adjusted.  The more force is applied from inside the loop the more firmly the running knot prevents opening of the loop.

The Scaffold knot or Gallows Knot.

The third noose is based on the Multifold-Overhand-knot.  As its second name already suggests it has a dark history. It is also used as a knot to tie angles to fish line.

Never play hangman. It can really kill.

The Scaffold knot or Gallows Knot.

The Hangman's Knot.

This knot is used for the gallows as well.  The force to close it is adjusted better as with the gallows knot.  And because it is bigger in the neck it is believed to break the neck more easily.  That would make it more merciful as the gallows-knot witch kills by strangling. The Hangman is also used as a knot to tie angles to fish line.

Never play hangman. It can really kill.

The Hangman's Knot

The Reverse Eight-noose.

This is (so far) the only 'wrong' running noose I know.   Applications for it to tie a package and ... for tying YoYo's.  Experts use one loop to make it possible to let the yoyo spin on the end and to call it up with a little firm pull.  The yoyo has to spin fast and the noose has to be trimmed carefully. Starters use two loops and tie it firmly.

Use eventually an overhand-knot on the cross-marked ends.

The Reverse Eight-noose

The Multifold-Overhand-knot

If you make more than two turns in the overhand knot it will be fatter.  (But hardly stronger.)  In twined rope it is important to work up the knot very carefully.  (It will not only look neater, it will prevent ‘kinkingÂ’ which will weaken the rope even more!)

The (Flemish) Eight

This knot is larger, stronger and more easy to untie than the overhand knot.  It does not harm your rope as much the overhand knot does.  So therefore sailors use this knot in most cases. (! not for bend support, where the smaller overhand is used, or in rope, a permanent small stopper).

Knots on the end of a rope or yarn.

There are a lot of situations where you need a knot like this.  Every application has its own special demands for knot properties.  So you have to choose carefully.  You can use a stopper to prevent a rope or yarn from unfolding, but please do that only in cheap rope/yam.  Use a proper whipping in all other cases.

The Overhand Knot

The Overhand Knot or Half Knot

This is the simplest knot. Therefore probably the most used. The knot is very useful to support knots in yarns.  The loose ends become a bit thicker.  When this support makes the total bend too bulky you have to look for another bend. The overhand knot is not strong, so you do not use it in situations where you might expect great force.  It also reduces the strength of the rope or yarn by about 50%.  But as an "anti-slip-knot" it does not have to withstand a lot.

The Double Overhand knot

The double overhand knot is beautiful, thicker than the common overhand knot, but not any stronger. Only use it with caution.  The double overhand knot is also called the blood knot if it is used at the end of a whip.  This knot has several ways of tying and in principle two ways of working up. Both ways of tying shown here also show both results.    The blood knot shown in the middle is the preferred way of working up the second way of tying marked with the crosses.  The blood knot is very hard to untie after it has been under stress.  If you put an object through the cross-marked hole the knot will work up as the strangle knot.  It is useful to learn this way.