How to Tie Basic Knots

CraigHardy

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I've got my hands on an awesome book of knots and I intend to show you how to tie every last one - right here. I'll start off with the easy ones and then move onto the more complex of the bunch. The book says that there are over 200 knot tying techniques, but I'm not sure there are that many actual knots contained within. After I'm finished with this book. I'll purchase the arborist knot tying book as well. That one not only shows instructions for trying the knot in question, it also explains when you'd want to use it, which is super helpful. Okay, let's get going.
 

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Simple, Overhand, or Thumb Knot​


This is the knot that ties itself. It's the one you use when tying the ends of thread that you just guided through the eye of a needle. If you had a rope in your pocket and pulled it out, only to find that it was tangled up, this is the knot it would have found itself in. It's a stopper knot and the most simple of stoppers at that. If you were to thread a rope through a hole and if you wanted that rope to stop at a certain point, just tie this knot and it'll be stopped. I'll only show one or two photos for this knot because it's just so easy to tie. You really don't need any further instructions.

In this case, we've got a working end and a standing end of rope. The working end is exactly what we think it would be. It's the short end that we're looping around the rest of the rope to create the knot. The standing end is the long end of the rope that's sitting on the table.

To make the knot, create a loop with the rope and then snake the working end through the loop. Take a look at this photo for clarification.

001-overhand-knot-loose.jpg

To tighten the knot, all you need to do is pull the two ends away from one another. Continue to pull until you can't anymore. That's going to make for a tight knot.

002-overhand-knot.jpg

While the knot in my picture isn't all too tight, if using this one as a stopper and a tremendous amount of pressure is put on it, it'll almost turn to stone. Don't expect this knot to be untied very easily. It's a tough one.
 

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Overhand Knot with Drawloop (Slipped Half Hitch)​


Today we've got an extremely handy knot. It's not one that the knot people talk about much, but it sure does have its uses. It's basically the same knot as above, but it's got a loop at the end. This loop serves a few purposes. First, the end of the loop (the working end of the rope) beefs up the actual overhand knot. So if you're using this one as a stopper and need the knot to be slightly more substantial than originally tied, you can add a piece of rope to accomplish that. Also, the loop that's included in this knot acts as a slip. In other words, once the overhand knot has tightened up, you'll be able to pull the end of the loop (the end of the rope) and pull the entire knot out so it becomes untied. Hopefully. That all depends on how tight the knot became. If it's something you used to pull a truck 100 miles, then you may never get that knot out. Otherwise, this one works just fine.

I do want to let you know one thing before I get to the photos though. Don't be tempted to use this loop for anything other than what I described above. It can't hold any weight. Because the loop is held in place by friction only, if you decided to hang something from the rope, you'd pull the loop right out.

Okay, here are the photos.

There are a few ways to tie this knot. They end up the same, so take your pic. The way I tied it in this example is simple, but in practice, I would probably tie it the way I'll explain below.

First, tie a loose overhand knot, just as I did in the above post.

overhand-knot.jpg

Next, take the working end and slide it through the loop.

loose-overhand-knot-loop.jpg

Finally, pull the standing end and the top of the new loop apart, so the overhand knot tightens, squeezing the working end of the rope.

tightened-overhand-knot-loop.jpg

It's a good looking knot, but as you can see, if you hung that loop over anything and put weight on the rope, the loop would pull right out.

The other way to tie this knot would be the same way as tying a shoelace. You'd simply pull a loop through when you're creating your overhand knot as opposed to pulling the end of the rope though. It's that easy.
 

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Two Strand Overhand Knot​


This is the identical knot to the regular overhand knot. The only difference is, you use two parts of the rope as opposed to only one. If you make a loop at the end of your rope, you can simply fish that through and tie an overhand just the same. What's best about this knot is that it gives you a fairly large stopper as well as a possible loop that you can actually hang things from. If you're tying just the two ends of a rope or string, you can use this knot to tie things together. Think about tying the string on a pair of sweatpants or a pair of swimming shorts. We use this knot all the time and most likely don't realize it.

Here is an example of a loose two strand overhand knot.

two-strand-overhand-knot.jpg

And he's the knot all tightened up.

two-strand-overhand-knot-tight.jpg

Now that's a good stopper!
 

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Double Overhand Knot​


This knot serves two purposes. First, it's used as a somewhat large stopper knot and second, it creates the foundation upon which other knots later on will be built. While this doesn't make an overwhelmingly large stopper, it is larger than a single overhand knot. In my opinion, this is the first interesting knot in the bunch. Just wait until you try it. I think you'll like it.

Okay, here we go. Grab your piece of rope and make a loose overhand knot.

loose-overhand-knot.jpg

Next, take the working end and fish it around the loop one more time.

second-working-end.jpg

Pretty easy, right? Now comes the fun part. Take hold of the standing end and the working end and gently pull those two ends apart from one another. As you do this, you'll feel the two ends beginning to twist on their own. With your hands, twist the ropes in the directions they want to go. They'll twist opposite one another. Twist the ropes and continue to pull. You'll see the rope arrange itself into a beautiful stopper. This is what the stopper should look like.

double-overhand-knot-stopper.jpg

And that's it! You've got yourself a solid little stopper knot.
 

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Triple Overhand Knot​


If you liked the double, you'll love the triple. While it's merely a continuation of what I just showed you above, it's a very solid stopper knot. And the best part about these overhand knots is that you can keep on going. You don't have to stop at triple. As a challenge, why don't you go ahead to see how many you can make it up to before losing total control. That would be fun.

Anyway, to tie this wonderful knot, make yourself a double overhand and then simply add one more turn around the loop with the working end. What you'll end up with is something that looks like this:

tying-triple-overhand-knot.jpg

Next, begin to pull the two ends of rope apart, exactly as you did for the above knot.

loose-triple-overhand-knot.jpg

Continue to pull those rope ends apart and twist them in opposite directions from one another. You'll feel which way they want to turn. With this knot though, you'll want to be careful. It's easy to pull the ends of rope apart and think you're finished. You actually need to twist and arrange the rope so it's tight up against itself. Take a look at the two photos below. They're of both the top and bottom of the completed knot.

triple-overhand-knot-bottom.jpg

triple-overhand-knot-top.jpg

Notice how snug the turns of rope are against each other? Besides using this knot as a large stopper, you can also use it if making crafts with rope. Perhaps taking advantage of something like this would be appealing in macrame or something like that.
 

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Strangle Knot​


Believe it or not, the strangle knot is simply a double overhand knot that looks a bit different than it usually does. This is a useful binding knot that's great for holding things together. Think about a rolled up carpet or one of those large pieces of project cardboard that can be rolled up as well (like a poster). Whenever we roll these types of things, we always wonder how we can keep them bound. Well, here's our answer. This handy knot creates friction and the harder its pulled upon, the more friction that's created, keeping the object bound even more.

Let me show you how this completed knot appears when it's not around anything. This will give you a good idea of how the rope travels among itself.

loose-strangle-knot.jpg

Here's the same knot around my fingers.

strangle-knot-fingers.jpg

Okay, here's how to tie the strangle knot. Find yourself something to wrap your rope around like this:

rope-around-log.jpg

Do you see how the rope travels around the log twice? Now, if you loosen the rope a bit and snake both ends underneath the center part of the rope as well as the opposing part, you'll have a completed knot.

strangle-knot-log.jpg

You can't get any easier than that. By the way, this is also useful tied with a drawloop, so you can pull it out even more easily.
 

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Single Hitch​


Like the overhand knot, the single hitch is one we've all surely tied. It's the simplest method for attaching a rope to a loop, ring, or some other stationary object. The single hitch alone isn't a reliable knot to use for such things, but it's there and we should all learn about it. Plus, additions can be made to it to increase its reliability and effectiveness.

To tie the single hitch, find yourself a ring of some sort and then snake the working end of your rope over the bottom portion of that ring. Then, bring the working end back under the ring, over the top of your rope and then through the loop you've created. Pull both ends of the rope tight and there you have it.

single-hitch-knot.jpg

If you'd like this same knot, but with a drawloop, then instead of taking the working end of the rope and snaking it through the loop, take a longer piece of the working end and fold it over upon itself. Then, snake that fold through the loop. Pull tight and again, you've got yourself a single hitch. But this time, you've got a drawloop involved as to pull it out more easily.

single-hitch-drawloop-knot.jpg
 

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Two Half Hitches​


If you're looking for a more substantial method for attaching a rope to something, look no further than the two half hitches knot. This version of the above is much more secure as there's a lot more friction between the rope and itself involved. The best part of this knot is that it's extremely simple to tie. And if I didn't know any better, I'd guess that you've already tied one of these.

Okay, to start out, tie yourself a single hitch like above. Just be sure to leave yourself some length on the working end.

beginning-two-half-hitches.jpg

Next, take the working end of the rope and guide it under the standing end and through the loop you create.

loose-two-half-hitches.jpg

Pull both ends of the rope tight and there you have it. The two half hitches knot.

two-half-hitches.jpg

Here's a better view of this one.

two-half-hitches-knot.jpg
 

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Round Turn & Two Half Hitches​


Here's another classic knot that's used widely. Think tying a boat to a dock or towing a car or truck. Personally, I like this knot because it goes around the ring twice as opposed to only once. That's got to make it stronger. Also, I just wanted to mention that if you ever wanted to use this knot for an ultra secure situation, you can always tie an overhand knot on the tail of the rope as a stopper. Pulling this one out with that stopper in place will be nearly impossible. I love using stoppers when I'm climbing trees. I consider them insurance.

To tie this knot, make two turns around the ring like below. Start above the ring and turn the working end below. Twice.

two-turns-around-ring.jpg

Next, tie a half hitch with the working end around the standing end. Make sure your working end of rope is long enough. I had to shorten mine to make a nice picture. I would have kept it longer in real life.

half-hitch.jpg

Tighten that first half hitch up snug and then repeat the process with a second half hitch. Remember, over and then under.

second-half-hitch.jpg

And finally, slide the knot up and pull the ends of the rope to tighten the knot. This is called dressing a knot. Whenever you hear someone say, "Hey, dress that knot nicely," they mean for you to arrange the ropes in the knot so they're neat and tight. This will increase the performance of the knot.

dressed-two-half-hitches.jpg
 

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Overhand Loop Knot & Half Hitch​


This is a great knot if you'd like to lasso your friends. It combines a sturdy knot that won't pull out with a loop that easily tightens. No one can tie this knot without trying to lasso whoever it is who happens to be standing next to them. Give it a try. I bet you'll misbehave.

If you're of the more mature type, this loop knot combo may benefit you as you attach bait to a fishing line. It's also popular for tying string around boxes. I'm sure bakeries use this one all the time.

To tie this knot, go ahead and make a loop with your rope. Then, tie a simple overhand knot around the standing end of the loop.

overhand-knot-loop.jpg

Please note that I kept the tail (working end) of this rope short for the photo. You'll need to have yours slightly longer.

Next, tie a half hitch around the standing part of the rope like below.

overhand-knot-loop-loose-half-hitch.jpg

And finally, pull the proper ends of the rope to tighten both knots together. I think you'll find this one very sturdy. It also slides quite nicely.

overhand-knot-half-hitch.jpg
 

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Overhand Loop​


This knot is just as easy to pull off as the overhand knot is. The only difference is that you need to make a loop in your rope before you lie it. This knot also serves many purposes and you can actually put weight on this loop. The knot will tighten substantially though, so be prepared to cut this one with a knife to release whatever it is you tied up.

To tie this knot, make a loop at one end of your rope. Then, just as you would with a regular overhand knot, place the working end (loop) over the standing part of the rope.

working-end-loop.jpg

Next, snake the working end under the standing part and then through the hole.

working-end-through-hole.jpg

Pull the ends of the rope apart from one another and you've got your knot. Here's the bird's eye view and a more up close view.

overhand-loop.jpg

overhand-loop-knot.jpg
 

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Double Overhand Loop​


Now we'll take things up a notch. Let's try the overhand loop knot again, but this time, we'll make it a double. Just like the overhand loop knot, we'll take the working end and loop it over the standing part. But this time, we won't stop there. We'll bring that working end over the standing part one additional time.

loose-double-overhand-loop.jpg

I'll give you a piece of advice here. If you want this knot to end up as pretty as possible, it'll be important for you to neaten up the rope just as I did here. If the rope is unorganized, you'll certainly be able to tie this one, but it'll be very ugly.

To tighten this knot, we'll follow the same instructions as I shared for the double overhand knot above. Pull both ends of the rope apart while twisting. This one is tougher than the single version. It wants to get tangled up and messy. You need to make sure it stays neat during this process. Again, while pulling, make sure you twist the ends of the rope in opposite directions. You should end up with something that looks like this.

double-overhand-loop-knot.jpg

Here are two more shots. Both are up close. One is of the top of the actual knot itself and one is of the bottom.

double-overhand-loop-knot-top.jpg

double-overhand-loop-knot-bottom.jpg

See the way the knot looks like a barrel and how it crosses over on the bottom? That's exactly how it should appear. This is a beautiful knot.
 

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Surgeon's Loop​


Here's a tricky one for you. It's essentially a triple overhand loop with a fancy name. It's tied exactly the same way as the triple overhand knot is above, but with a loop. To tie this knot, follow the instructions for a double overhand loop, but add in an extra wrap around the standing part of the rope with the working end. Here are some photos.

EDIT: I went to tie and take photos of this knot and discovered that it's nearly impossible to work out. Because of the three wraps, the rope becomes twisted beyond workability. Even the book I'm using says to use your fingers to "eliminate any unevenness" and to "make a smooth barrel shaped knot." I found this knot completely unrealistic. If anyone has any advice for tying this one, I'd love to hear it. I'll do some additional research into it and I'll update this post if I find anything.

UPDATE: Okay, apparently this is a very easy knot to tie, just not with the rope I was using. Just so you know, the double overhand loop knot I showed directly above is also considered a surgeon's loop knot. The variation I was attempting in this post included three wraps as opposed to just two. And with the thicker rope I was using, there was no way it was going to turn out the way I had intended. It was too rigid. It twisted and turned too easily. Or, actually not easily enough.

------

Let's try this one again. This time, with some paracord. To start, I'll make a bight and then give it three wraps with the working end loop. It's messy, but if you look closely, you'll see how the rope is woven through.

triple-surgeons-loop-knot.jpg

At this point, all I did was pull both ends of the rope (the bight and the standing end) and wait until the knot was pretty snug. Then, I began twisting the ends of the rope in opposite directions, just like I did with the above double overhand loop. Since the paracord is much softer and more flexible than the other fatter rope I was using, it fell right into place. Yes, I did need to adjust some of the overlapping parts of the rope to get a nice finish (to dress it), but that was expected. Take a look at the final knot.

Here's the surgeon's loop, or otherwise known as the triple overhand loop.

surgeons-loop.jpg

And here are both the bottom and top of the knot, up close.

triple-overhand-loop.jpg

triple-surgeons-loop.jpg

I do want to mention how tight this knot gets. It gets tight quickly. I actually had trouble untying the rope once I pulled it snug, so don't think you're going to untie this one. You'll need a knife to unleash whatever it was you leashed.
 

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Simple Noose​


This is an extremely easy knot to tie, but there is one thing to be careful of. When tying it, you need to be cognizant of where you snake the working end of the rope. Follow these instructions carefully if you want the working end of the rope to lay flat against the standing end.

Make a bight (bend, loop) with your rope and then take the working end and bring it over the standing part. Then, continue under the working end and then through the loop. Take a look at the photo below to see where the working end goes.

loose-simple-noose.jpg

Next, pull the working end of the rope until the knot is tight.

simple-noose.jpg

Do you see how the working end and the standing part are parallel? That's the way this is supposed to be. Take a look at this knot more close up.

simple-noose-knot.jpg

It's a simple knot. Actually, it's just an overhand knot tied a certain way.
 

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Scaffold Knot​


This one is a bit trickier because you've got to work the end of the rope around the rest of the rope a certain way. Once you get used to it though, it becomes an easy knot to tie. It's actually just an expansion of the previous knot (simple noose). Both are sliding knots that tighten well under pressure. The more pull that's on these knots, the tighter the knots get.

To tie this one, make a bight with your rope and cross the working end over the standing end.

bight-crossover.jpg

I suggest keeping the loop you make in parallel near the crossover point.

Next, take the working end and bring it under the standing end. Wrap the working end around both pieces of rope. Notice how the working end lies towards the loop end?

one-wrap.jpg

That working end is making its way back up towards the loop.

After that, do what you just did, again. Basically, make two wraps around the two pieces of rope.

two-wraps.jpg

And finally, take the working end and slide it under both wraps away from the loop. This is how the knot should appear.

scaffold-knot.jpg

This is a great slip knot. Let me know what you think.
 

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Multiple Scaffold Knot​


This is the same exact knot as the regular scaffold knot, but with one additional wrap. This knot doesn't offer much beyond it's less complicated counterpart, but it sure looks good. And if you pull on this one enough, it'll eventually turn into the one above. As a noose type knot though, it's a good one. Personally, I wouldn't waste my time with this knot. If I want to use a slip knot noose, I'd use the one wrap scaffold knot above.

To tie this one, follow the instructions from above. The only thing you need to do is make one extra wrap around the standing part of the rope. Here's a loose photo for you.

loose-multiple-scaffold-knot.jpg

And here that it up close.

loose-multiple-scaffold-knot-up-close.jpg

If you look closely, you can see where the rope travels. It's not complicated, but it takes a minute or two of practice to get it right.

Here are two additional photos of this one. To tighten it, pull on the working end while keeping the knot intact in your other hand. You don't want to just pull on the end of the rope or the knot will fall apart.

multiple-scaffold-knot.jpg

close-up-multiple-scaffold-knot.jpg
 

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Overhand Bend​


This is an excellent knot for joining two ropes together. You'll need two ropes for this one, or just both ends of one rope. You can easily create a continuous loop with one rope if you wish. To tie this knot, first tie a loose overhand knot with one of your ropes. As you can see, I've done that in the photo below with the black rope. After that, begin to trace that knot with your other rope. For this, I'll be using the orange rope.

overhand.jpg

What you want to do is tie two overhand knots, one for each rope, but have them intertwine with one another. The only way to do this, however, is slowly and by hand. To continue on, I took the orange rope and copied the knot of the black rope exactly. I merely followed it along. I went around the bend and then under the working end. Then up and around and under again. Take a look.

two-overhand-knots.jpg

After I completed this, I pulled on both ends, just as if it were only one rope. The knot tightened wonderfully and easily. I made sure to fix the knot as I did this so it was as pretty as possible. Take a look.

overhand-bend-knot.jpg

When tying this knot, be sure to be conscious of where you place the second rope in relation to the first. If it's supposed to go under a bend, then go under the bend. If above, go above. That way, it'll come out nicely in the end.
 

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Fisherman's Knot​


What a handy knot this is. It can easily attach two ropes to one another and if it's tied with rope, you can actually untie it. If you use string, however, you'll definitely need to cut that string to remove these knots. Ropes are large enough to work with, unless, of course, if you super tighten these things. Then you'll never get them out.

To start out, lay the ends of both ropes opposite and parallel to one another. Then, with the working end of one rope, tie an overhand knot around the standing end of the other.

two-rope-overhand-knot.jpg

Next, follow the same pattern with the working end of the other rope.

two-overhand-knots.jpg

Finally, pull the ends of the ropes to tighten the knots and then pull the standing ends of each rope to slide the knots toward one another. Here is the final result.

fishermans-knot.jpg

And here's a close up view of the same things.

close-fishermans-knot.jpg

UPDATE: If you'll notice in the pictures above, I tied the overhand knots unevenly. With one rope, I guided the working end under the standing end of the other and with the other rope I guided the working end over the standing end of the other. This made for a dirty fisherman's knot when it was tightened.

I just tried this one again and did it correctly. I followed the same exact pattern for both ropes and it resulted in a much neater looking and probably better functioning and more reliable knot. Take a look at these photos. Take notice of how the rope ends travel around the opposing rope.

both-under-overhands.jpg

tightened-fishermans.jpg

Ahh, that's better. That was annoying me. Just having an incorrectly tied knot in this thread would have caused me to lose sleep.
 

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Double & Triple Fisherman's Knot​


These knots are also quite often referred to as the grinner and the double grinner knot, respectively. Both of these are stronger than the single fisherman's knot. While the single version of this knot is fairly strong, the double is stronger. The triple, however, is used with lighter rope, as that's easier to work with. I'll tell you though, the way these knots are tied is straightforward. I think you'd have no problem tying the double grinner knot with heavy rope. Okay, let's get to it.

To start off, lie the two ends of rope opposite one another and in parallel. Then, take the working end of one of the ropes and bring it over and then under the other rope.

one-loop-over.jpg

Next, bring the tail end of the same rope over the other rope again, making sure to overlap itself. Notice how I'm working my way toward the tail of the black rope. Well, you can't see the tail of the black rope in this picture, but you can below.

double-loop.jpg

Then, bring the working end under the standing end and through both bends in the rope.

through-loops.jpg

Pull the ends of the working rope to tighten the knot. Then, do the same exact thing with the other rope. So in this case, once I was finished with the orange rope and tightened that knot, I repeated the process with the black rope.

double-fishermans-knot-apart.jpg

Pull both ropes apart from one another and the knots will meet in the middle. Here's a view of the bottom of the know.

double-fishermans-knot.jpg

And here's the top.

double-fishermans-grinner-knot.jpg

To tie the triple fisherman's or the double grinner knot, all you need to do is follow the same process as above, but add one additional wrap around the rope you're tying. So instead of going around the rope twice in the beginning, just go around three times. And then snake the working end through and you'll be all set. Here are two pictures of this knot.

triple-fishermans-knot.jpg

triple-fishermans-double-grinner-knot.jpg
 
How to Tie Basic Knots was posted on 12-28-2020 by CraigHardy in the Outdoor Forum forum.
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