1. Stopper knots
- Prevent ends of ropes from fraying
- To stop rope from slipping through a knot or hole
- To add weight to a particular point of the rope
- To provide a handhold (e.g. it is tied at regular intervals of lifelines as multiple handholds, to prevent the rope from slipping through the hands)
Practical Application: To stop the end of a sewing thread from passing through the eye of the needle
1.1 Thumb Knot(Overhand Knot)
Once tied and put under strain, it is difficult to untie as all the strain is acting on one point.
1.2 Figure-of-Eight Knot
Compared to thumb knot, it is easier to untie as there are more gaps created by bends and cuts. It is also stronger as it is bulkier thus any force acting on the rope is spread over a larger surface area, reducing pressure or strain.
2. Loop Knots
General Function: A knot that primarily uses the loop formed in its function
Function: Creates an un-adjustable loop that does not jam or slip easily even under severe strain; used to secure a rope to a ring
- However, it may not hold, if very rigid and slippery ropes are used.
- For extra security, tie a stopper knot or 2 half hitches around the loop.
Practical Application: Rescue purposes by reeling somebody when they fall in a hole
2.2 Tent Guy Loop
Function: To creates an adjustable loop that acts as a pulley mechanism
Practical Application: Give mechanical advantage, in the tightening of guylines for tent pitching and flagstaff
Function: The loop acts as a handle for hauling of objects
- Provides an alternative to tie a loop in the middle of a rope instead of at the end
Practical Application: Halyard loop for flagstaff
General Function: For joining two ropes together
3.1 Reef Knot
Function: To join two ropes together, typically ropes of equal diameters
- “Right over Left; Left over Right”
- Check that it is a flat knot, with both working ends on the same side
- Capsizes when the standing end (A) and working end (B) from the same rope are pulled apart
Practical Application: Parcel tying; First-aid bandaging
Common Mistakes: Granny Knot and Thief Knot
3.2 Sheet Bend
Function: To join two ropes, especially ropes of unequal diameters
- The thicker rope forms the “U”-shape, with working ends on the same side
- It can be further secured by making an additional turn, forming double sheet bend
Practical Application: To attach a flag to a halyard
3.3 Fisherman's Knot
Function: To join two ropes of equal diameter, especially thin and slippery ropes
- Made of 2 parallel sliding thumb knots, which lock into each other under strain
- 2 thumb knots should lie parallel to each other, with working ends on the same side
Practical Application: Joining fishing lines
4. Shortening Formations
General Function: To shorten ropes without cutting them
Function: To shorten the rope without cutting, and to bypass worn sections of the rope
- Position the worn section in the centre of the knot, such that it will not be under strain when the knot is loaded
- When unloaded, the knot is easily undone
- Can be tied using the ‘S method’ (figure below) or the ‘3 loops’ method
Practical Application: Used in nautical and maritime operations where ropes are costly or where cutting is not feasible (e.g. a rope tied to the shore or ships)
4.2 Chain Knot
Function: To shorten ropes without cutting, especially ropes of small diameter.
- Made up of a series of slip knots. Hence it can be undone quickly with a pull.
- To prevent the knot from undoing, insert the working end into the final loop.
Practical Application: Shortening of bootlaces
General Function: Used to tie a rope to an object e.g. spar, pole or ring
To attach a rope to an object
5.1 Clove Hitch
Function: Used to tie a rope to an object like spar or ring. Works best when the standing end is pulled tangentially to the knot
Practical Application: Used to start off and anchor rope obstacles; commonly used to start off a lashing
5.2 Timber Hitch
Function: To attach a rope to cylindrical object and works best when the standing end is pulled perpendicularly to the knot
- Check that there is a loop encircling the standing end.
- The security of the hitch depends on the strain. The greater the strain, the more secured it is. When not loaded, it unties easily, and can be easily adjusted.
- Tighten the timber hitch by pulling the standing end perpendicularly to the pole; lock the timber hitch by pulling the standing end perpendicularly to the hitch.
- The standing end can be secured perpendicularly to the hitch by tying another half hitch along the pole (also known as Killick’ hitch).
Practical Application: Often used for logging purposes; used to start a diagonal lashing
5.3 Highwayman's Hitch
Function: To temporarily secure a rope to an object, for a quick release of the rope.
- Comes undone when one of the ends is pulled
5.4 Marlinspike Hitch
Function: To attach a rope to a rod to be used as a handle
- Can be tied using tracing method (thumb knot) or by inserting the rod through a slip knot
- If tension is applied on the wrong end, the knot capsizes
Practical Application: Used in nautical activities for heavy pulling of ropes; used to construct rope ladders
Lashing is a means of fastening two or more poles (or spars) together using rope. They are heavily used in pioneering projects.
6.1 Common Terms in Lashings
As with knots, there is also a consistent set of terms used in lashings to minimise confusion when teaching.
- Complete Round: When the start and end of the round coincides at the same point
- Turn: Transition between the different phasing of tying a lashing
- Frap: Used to bind rounds together, increasing the security of lashing
6.2 Basics of Lashings
When tying lashings, these 5 basic rules should be observed at all times:
- T: Make sure that all the turns are tightened as you go
- O: Ensure there is no unnecessary overlaps
- N: Ensure neatness by keeping the ends short
- G: Ensure minimal gaps in the lashings
- S: Ensure sufficient rounds and fraps are made (Fraps binds the rounds together, adding more security to the lashing.)
6.3 Round Lashing
Function: Bind 2 even poles/spars together
- Tie a clove hitch over both poles with the cut of the clove hitch at the side of a pole.
- Wind the rope over both poles. Tighten as you go.
- End with a clove hitch over both poles with the cut of the clove hitch diagonally opposite that of the starting clove hitch.
Round lashing will not be secured enough if too many spars or spars with poor orientation are tied together. Security can be enhanced by driving an object like a small wooden peg or excess ropes into the gap between the poles and the ropes (wedging).
Practical Application: To bind the spars of a flagstaff
6.4 Shear Lashing
Function: To bind 2 uneven poles/spars together
- Tie a clove hitch on one of the poles.
- Wind the rope over both poles.
- Frap between the poles after having sufficient rounds.
- End with a clove hitch on the other pole diagonally opposite the starting clove hitch.
Practical Application: To construct shear legs or Aframes in pioneering
6.5 Square Lashing
Function: To bind 2 poles/ spars at right angles to each other
- Position your poles at right angles. Tie a clove hitch on one pole and ensure its standing end pulls tangential to the other pole.
- Wind the rope alternatively around the 2 poles: Run the rope over the top pole, behind the bottom pole, then back over the top pole on the other side. The “in-out” method is preferred.
- After sufficient rounds, frap between the poles.
- End with a clove hitch on the same pole.
Practical Application: To construct trestles in pioneering
6.6 Diagonal Lashing
Function: To bind 2 poles/spars together at any angles.
- Start by tying a timber hitch over both poles, across an angle. e.g. the larger angle
- Wind rounds across the other angle (i.e. the smaller angle), perpendicular to the timber hitch. These are the ‘primary rounds’.
- Make a turn around a pole, before continuing to the ‘secondary rounds’, over the first angle (i.e. larger angle).
- Ensure that all the rounds are parallel with no unnecessary overlaps.
- Frap between the poles.
- End with a clove hitch.
Practical Application: To construct A-frames and braces in pioneering
6.7 Gyn Lashing
Function: To bind 3 or more poles/ spars together to create a stand
- Start with a clove hitch on one of the side poles.
- Wind the rope alternatively across poles.
- Make a turnabout the first pole, before frapping between the poles.
- End with a clove hitch on the last pole, diagonally opposite the starting clove hitch
Practical Application: To create a tripod in pioneering
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