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A pocket full of knots.

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Picture of A pocket full of knots.
Traditionally, a knotting board is a large display of the knots a Scout can make. Being large, they became unpopular.

Now, though, spend a few minutes with card, wire and a cigar tin, and you can have a pocket-sized display fit to earn any Cub or Scout that bit extra credit towards a badge.

(You could consider this to be eight Instructables in one, since will also learn how to tie seven different knots. How's that for value?)
 
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Step 1: What you need.

  • Most small tins will do for this project, but the best tins are those flat, conveniently pocket-sized tins that hold a handful of slim cigars*.
  • Odd lengths of electrical wire. Mains wire is good for this as it gives you a choice of colours, enabling you to tell one part of a knot from another.
  • Wire cutters.
  • A piece of stiff card.
  • Superglue.
  • Fine pen for labelling knots.
  • Optional: paints to disguise the carcinogenic origins of the tin.

*Please remember, folks, all forms of tobacco are very, very bad for you. I in no way condone smoking, but I have a friend who does smoke, and he lets me have his empty tins in exchange for me shutting up about what he is doing to his health.

Step 2: Select your knots

Picture of Select your knots
The exact number of knots you use depends largely on the size of your tin.

In this tin, I am going to display the following knots:

If you are just starting out in knotting, you could make a new tin every time you master a new set of knots, or themed tins - fishing knots, sailing knots, climbing knots etc.

If you are just learning how to tie knots, there are many excellent books available, and several well-produced websites include animations of a variety of useful or decorative knots.

My current favourites are Grog and the 42^nd^ Brighton (Saltdean) Scouts pages.
mtngrown1 year ago
I've been in Scouting for about 15 years and never heard this referred to as a "Scout Knot". As a matter of fact, the Boy Scout handbook calls this a square knot. The US Army FM 5-125, Rigging Techniques, Procedures, and Applications calls this knot a square knot (p. 2-7). I'm curious about your use of the "Scout Knot" nomenclature. Care to share the etymology with us?
Great tutorial. I love using the wire to make the knots. The running ends really stand out that way, and you don't have to worry about them moving while you take the pictures. I'm going to employ this technique with our knot board.
~Kevin~
Kiteman (author)  mtngrown1 year ago
It's the knot used on our World Badge.
But still, In the last three editions of the scout handbook, that I know of, it is referred to as the square knot. Your statement of "It is known (incorrectly) as a "square knot" in the US." is false. It's like trying to say Gasoline is known as (incorrectly) as petrol in the UK.
Kiteman (author)  frisbeechamp19831 year ago
Might I point out that the <em>British</em> Scouting Association is the <em>original</em> (and inclusive) Scouting Association?
That's great, but, the British call things differently than us Yanks. I could make a long list of things that the British call "incorrectly" but I won't. They're just different terms, not incorrect.

I mean, just because we calls things differently doesn't mean they're incorrect, just different.
Nice!
Kiteman (author)  ThatKnottyguy1 year ago
Thank you.
avatar_i2 years ago
That is a very nice way to show- and remember- how to make those knots.

When I was a kid, I remember an Uncel telling me how to remember the bowline like this:
[Rope held out in front of you, verticle]
Make a loop.
Think of the loop as a hole beneath a tree.
A rabbit comes out of the hole,
The rabbit goes around the three,
The rabbit goes back into the hole,
Voila, a bowline!
hjjusa2 years ago
On the Bowline, when I was a ScoutMaster in Las Cruces NM, I was fooling around with a piece of rope. I tied a slip knot and stuck the loose end through and slipped the knot and Voila, a Bowline. I showed this to another SM and we went round and round about whether it was a Boline or not. Fast forward 10 years I was SM in another town, I was looking through a knot book and ran across the very same knot. It is called an Eskimo Bowline.
brdavid hjjusa2 years ago
there are 4 types of "Bowlines" but 2 classes! the bowline, the left handed bowline AKA: The Dutch Marine Bowline, The Cowboy Bowline, the Working end of the knot is on the outside of the look where as the working end of the Bowline is on the inside of the loop, all fall in the first class, let us call normal. The second class is harder to explain. the last loop(bright) ties around the working end and not around the standing end of the rope, thus again you will have two versions of this knot, one with the working end inside of the main loop and the other outside of the main loop. here is a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo_bowline 
Kiteman (author)  hjjusa2 years ago
It's amazing the number of knots there are. It sometimes seems that almost any tangle of string has a nautical name...
reddevved2 years ago
One of my Scout leaders called it a "Cat's Eye Knot" or something like that before but that might be because I didn't tie it with a loop I tied it with a piece of rope on a pole.
reddevved2 years ago
I tie the "Reef Knot" (in quotes because I'm in the BSA and I know it as a Square Knot) this way. I find it faster and easier to do behind my back (to show off) in competitions.
ERCCRE1235 years ago
didn't bear grylls demonstrate this but he cut the center so it will seperate with slack?
bear grylls used it but cut it.. he used the rope tied off to a tree to rappel down a cliff. BUT, he did not want to just lose the rope, so; he tied a sheep shank and cut the center cord, that way when there was tension, it would hold, but when slack, it would come apart, so the cut allowed him to pull most of the rope down with him.
Kiteman (author)  ERCCRE1235 years ago
It unfastens with slack anyway - cutting it just wastes rope.
Cheezpaper3 years ago
Isn't this just a clove hitch formed outside of the anchoring object?
Its a clove hitch with an overhand knot under the crossing. Much more secure and it only becomes tighter as it is worked.
Kiteman (author)  Cheezpaper3 years ago
Not quite - look at the cross-overs of the finished knot.
I like this. It is easyer to cary than that big bord. I added a taunt line and two half hiches
Kiteman (author)  butterfly grower3 years ago
Cool. Got a picture?
berserk5 years ago
I like your idea of a reference box rather than book :-)
Something felt wrong when I saw the sheet bend, so I looked it up on wikipediaWikipedia. I think it's backward, making it much less secure. The loose ends shound both be sticking out on the same side.
Greetings beserk (and Kiteman). I know this is an extremely belated reply but I've only just discovered this 'ible due to Kiteman's recent entry into the paracord contest.
The sheet bend is not "much less secure" for having the tails on opposite sides of the knot unless you are using the ropes at close to their maximum load.
If used to join a line to a tarp or something similar it makes no difference as the tarp will rip before the rope breaks. If joining a small rope to a larger one for the purpose of  hauling or securing the larger rope, no difference as the load is not great. If slippage is a problem then use a double bend and/or a stop knot in the tail.
When a knot or bend is placed in a rope the load capacity of the rope is significantly reduced at the point of the knot or bend (by about 20 to 50 percent depending on it's complexity), and even more so if they are incorrectly tied.
The lines need to be aligned for maximum strength and not offset around the area of the knot or bend, because when a load is applied the knot or bend will twist as the ropes pull into line, severely weakening this area. This problem is eliminated by having the tails on the same side.  For uses that have little or no load such as Kiteman's contest entry, tail orientation doesn't matter.
Kiteman (author)  berserk5 years ago
It works either way. When used properly, the red line is much thicker than the yellow line, and the tension that locks the cross-over in the yellow part of the knot is provided by the stiffness of the red line.
Kiteman (author)  struckbyanarrow5 years ago
Simple reason: I didn't have an Altoids tin (they're not so common in the UK).
That's weird, since the curiously strong altoids claim to hail from England! Hmm, want to buy one from me off ebay? :D
Kiteman (author)  Lithium Rain5 years ago
Oh, they may be English, but they're more often sold in corner shops than supermarkets (for no reason I can see), and then only in the better-stocked shops. Far more popular are Polos and gum.
Don't forget Fisherman's Friend!
That's weird. It's exactly the opposite here-supermarkets are lousy with them, but the little stores? Forget it.
Not so common... meaning they are found in places? Where would you find them in the UK? I haven't found them anywhere. ZZZZ
Kiteman (author)  zoltzerino5 years ago
In "corner" sweet shops, and I think I've seen them in either Tescos or Morrisons.

M&S have a similar product, except I think their tins are green.
I've come across the Marks and Sparks ones - they are not all there cracked up to be. ZZZZ
Nice!! Well Done! Is there a boy scout program in the uk? Is it affiliated with the US scouts? Just wondering, thanks
Kiteman (author)  joejoerowley6 years ago
Oh! My bad, I didn't know that. Very Interested!! Are you a scout master ?
Kiteman (author)  joejoerowley6 years ago
Cub Leader - my pack name is Mang - the bat who brings the night.
Cool! So are cubs the younger group?
Kiteman (author)  joejoerowley6 years ago
Nearly - there are now Beavers as well (age 6-8), then Cubs (8-10.5), Scouts (10.5 - 14), Explorers (14-18), then Network up to about 25.

http://www.scouts.org.uk/
http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/
Cool, I am not a scout. In america they won't let anyone with parents that are homosexual join and my parents don't believe thats cool so they won't let me join. (There not gay btw)
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