Picture of Basic Knots Guide

Step 1: Thumb knot

Picture of Thumb knot
knots 024.JPG
The most simple knot.Used as a stopper and prevent ropes from fraying .
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Kozz7 years ago
Very good! Some brief comments and suggestions: #1. aka "Overhand knot" #2. I think you meant "Reef Knot" (aka square knot) #4. For the beginner, it can be easy to mistakenly twist in the wrong direction (like a multi-turn overhand knot). The thing to remember is that the free end doubles back and wraps on itself. #6. aka "Sheet Bend" #7. aka "Sheep Shank" I must admit to never knowing about #8, what you're calling a Marlin Spike. I've tied these when needing something like an overhand knot but with the advantage of easily being undone. Which parts of the knot are under tension? Just the free ends, or also the bight? Can you explain further when you might use it? Nice work!
Kiteman Kozz7 years ago
All that, plus: A marlin spike isn't a knot - it's the pointed tool used to knot and splice ropes. What you have drawn is a simple slip-knot - an over-hand knot with a draw loop; the working end has not been pulled all the way through.
loy266 Kiteman5 years ago
i am a scout and you are WRONG!!!
HandiGirl loy2667 months ago

Do we always have to be harsh to our fellow man/woman? This person is sharing his knowledge and we should be kind and gracious. I love these instructables with their diagrams and photos. We should be grateful. After, all this time has passed, I hope you are sorry for your actions!

Kiteman loy2665 years ago
I am a Leader, and have the manners not to shout at people I don't know, as well as the sense to check my facts before I look foolish in public:

loy266 Kiteman4 years ago
i am sorry for shouting but there is a knot called a marlinspike hitch
Kiteman loy2664 years ago
Correct. Marlin spike hitch, not marlin spike.

It's used for temporarily fastening a marlin spike to a rope.
Definitely correct kiteman,
as a professional fisherman (one of my trades) I can
confirm that there is a Marlin Hitch ( sometimes referred to as a Marlin spike hitch)
which is used to provide a temporary anchor point for a Marlin Spike in order to provide a firm anchor point for someone to haul on the rope.

But technically the hitch doesn't fasten the spike to the rope, rather the spike actually holds the hitch in place and once removed the hitch unknots leaving the rope clear to run through pulley's etc.

For some more good info on ropework check out the International Guild of Knot Tyers and their founder Des Pawson.

PS before the invention of the truck the knot we now know as the truckie (truckers) knot was known as the waggoner's hitch ( sorry love trivia, check out the story of the Matthew Walker Knot as well )

Would that be the same Des Pawson that wrote the Dorling Kindersley Handbook of Knots?

I met him at a Scout leader training day a couple of years ago. Very nice chap.
kitemans right your wrong haha!!!!
glorybe Kiteman4 years ago
Isn't there a type of wheel on older ships in which the hand holds plugged in and then were pulled back out in order for the very large wheel to clear the deck? I seem to recall that the "spikes" used in those wheels for hand holds were called Marlin spikes. Perhaps I am wrong but I think those marlin spikes were used as clubs when fights broke out aboard ship.
Sorry glorybe, but Kiteman is right in his definition of a Marlin Spike and its use, in a lot of European its other name is a Fid. There is also a Swedish Fid which is basically the same as a Fid except it is grooved along one side in order to facilitate passing rope strand through the lay of a rope when splicing it.
As a professional fisherman and mariner I can recommend checking out the International Guild of Knot Tyers and the books by their founder Des Pawson for some good info.
I could also tell you the correct terminology for your "Marlin Spike Clubs" but that would deprive you of the pleasure of finding it out for yourself. Cheers matey

PS for a bit of fun check out International Talk Like a Pirate Day ( Sept. 19 ). "ARRGH Avast there Matey!!"

PPS The day after is International Talk Like a Parrot Day!
Kiteman glorybe4 years ago
I think you are thinking of these things used to anchor ropes.

The removable handles in capstans are bigger.
AOGutierrez3 years ago
The reef knot is basically a parcel knot and likely to capsize under strain, i.e. it will turn into a cow hitch sliding along the line being heaved on. The preferred knot for anything being lifted overhead or supporting body weight would be some form of the sheet bend or becket bend regardless of the relative sizes of the line.

Never use a reef knot(square knot) for lines under strain.
A great Instructable.
As a high steel rigger of twenty years, responsible for millions of pounds over tens of thousands of souls, the preferred knot, the "King" of knots, for overhead or most anything else, is the "Boline". The most common error in tying it results in a "Cow" knot. A very dangerous mistake.
Knots fall into three catagories, all of which most people just call knots. They are: Knots, Hitches, and Bends. The "Boline" is a knot. The "Clove", (the second most useful), is a hitch, and also mentioned in this article, the "Sheet Bend", is, just that, a bend. The venerable "Bow", and a variation of it called an "Opera knot", should not be discounted due to it's simplicity. It's a great knot.
THEE best knot site I've ever encountered online is one that a boy scout troup posted, but I don't recall the URL.
Thanks, Zorro!
axiesdad5 years ago
Thanks for the intro to knots.  One caveat though;  the reef or square knot (same knot, it just has two common names) should NEVER be used to "tie two ropes together."  It can spill under tension and turn into two half hitches in one rope that will slip right off the other.  It is a good knot for tying a rope around a bundle to hold it together.  The sheet bend is a much better choice for tying two ropes together, but some of the more slippery synthetics require more specialized handling.  If personal safety is going to depend on the knot (as in climbing trees or mountains) be sure you know what you are doing with your ropes.

The best "how to" for knots that I have found is:


except for Ashley of course : )

it's pretty confusing
lobo_pal6 years ago
What about a trucker hitch, bow line, or square knot, those are the most important ones for a scout.
loy266 lobo_pal5 years ago
the one i use most is figure 8 on a bite and they didnt even teach it to me
wizerd 7456 years ago
your "reef knot" is actually called a square knot btw :-)
It is called reef knot in Singapore
And you are commenting on a 3 month old comment that has already been corrected why?
also add two half hitches!
MegaMaker6 years ago
Show how to make the knots.
GreatSage6 years ago
Could you, like, maybe tell me how to make these knots?
that one's a bit hard to understand. could you make a clearer pic?
lets see... i use that one to connect my hair bands into a bracelet...
hey, i use that to tie my shoes! lol
gyve.munky16 years ago
sorry, forgot my manners. good instructable Thanks for your time.
gyve.munky16 years ago
scouts should study grammar a little more... but who cares? we're American!! "I'm a scout and knots is (should be are) one of ........"
trooster896 years ago
looks just like a square knot
tron1o76 years ago
Hey man, I see your a scout too. I am star rank, and i enjoy knot tying and the best in my patrol and i just stumbled onto your guide and relized you got the name of one of the knots wrong. The first knot is not called a thumb knot, its called a overhand knot. Ofther than that nice instructable even though it didnt help me it could sure help some of my patrol members... happy knoting!
zorro3355 (author)  tron1o76 years ago
cool....but most knot have a few name...for example,the reef knot is also called a scout knot and things like that...thx for enjoying it
So why not list those other names?
Because much few people still give to attention the so basic things. Without these bases, does not have as to have development in this art. In my Country, it is called Macrâmé. Thanks P.S. It pardons me for my precarious English
Wonderful Work! Congratulations!
zorro3355 (author)  Carlos Marmo6 years ago
thanks...but wat's the congratz for?
dchall87 years ago
Yes, all that, all that, and five more comments. 1. If you can find rope that is braided instead of twisted, your pictures will be easier to follow. Use 3/8 or larger rope. Find the macro button on your camera. Also if you have a background color different from the rope color it will be easier to see what you are doing. 2. If you can find two ropes of different colors your sheep shank knot will be easier to follow. 3. Spell check. I'm not sure what I'm reading. 4. As a sailor I am looking for your instructions on the bowline. I use three knots on my boat: the bowline, Figure 8, and the half hitch (often a slipped half hitch). If anyone ever ties an overhand or a reef knot on my boat, we stop what we're doing and have a little chat about ropes and knots. They waste far too much time for whatever minimal value you get from them. 5. Knots are very hard to make Instructables for. Thanks for trying. With a little tuning up this could be the definitive Instructable on knots.
Could you make an instructable on knots?
qwerty dchall87 years ago
If your a sailor and only use three knots I really hope you don't do it professionally.
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