Introduction: How to Tie a "Cobb & Co" Hitch

When I was growing up I had the privilege of living in the Australian bush and getting to know some true bushmen. People with the skills and resourcefulness that allowed them to thrive in an environment that would leave most city people helpless.

One of essential skills for anyone living and working a long long way from town is the ability to fix just about anything with fencing wire and a pair of pliers. For this you need at least to know how to tie a "Cobb & Co Hitch". This probably has other names in other places, but I like Cobb & Co because the name is from one of Australia's pioneering transport companies.

The Cobb & Co Hitch is very simple, and very effective. It uses only fencing wire to make a very tight lashing for joining anything you like. Mostly it is used to join timber.

In this ible I will try to show how to tie a "Cobb & Co. Hitch". I will just tie some sticks together to show how it's done.

Step 1: Assemble Materials

You will need something to cut wire with. Pliers are the best. Sadly I no longer have my trusty old fencing pliers, but these red ones will do.
You will also need something to use as a lever to twist the wire and crank up the tension. Here I have used a bolt, If your pliers have plane steel handles they are even better. Whatever you use must not get thicker at the end or it will get stuck when you tighten the hitch.
Most important of all you will need wire. If you are in a rural area it shouldn't take too much scouting around to find some old fencing wire. Don't cut it off a fence though; that would be stupid and thoughtless.

Step 2: Now for the Hitch

  1. Cut yourself a bit more than twice the length of wire to go around the job.
  2. Fold the wire in half.
  3. Pass the folded part (bight) of the wire around the job.
  4. Put your lever (my bolt in this case) through the bight.
  5. Use the lever to drag the bite around the other parts of the wire (this isn't easy to describe; hopefully you can see what I mean in the pictures). NB Start the twist as close as possible to the job or you will twist the wire off before it's tight.
  6. Keep twisting the bight around the wire. The lever allows you to apply a lot of force and you will probably notice the wire cutting into the timber. If you go too far at this point you will break the wire and will have to start again.
  7. When you are happy with the tension and the shape, cut the scratchy excess wire ends off to make it a bit safe.

Step 3: The Result

Here I've simply tied three sticks together to make a very rigid structure. It took all of about three minutes to complete.

This process can be scaled up to build all sorts of things: sheep yards, roof trusses, etc. or scaled down using tie-wire to repair tools, furniture, etc.

I hope you enjoyed my Instructable. If you have any comments or questions please post them.

And I would be really interested to read what this is called in your part of the world.

Cheers,
Cammers


Comments

author
Takelababy made it!(author)2012-03-15

Thanks so much for this. It's going to come in real handy.

author
donedirtcheap made it!(author)2012-01-11

Very good. I have to ask myself how I would use wire to secure these pieces. Answer: Not as well as your method will allow. Thank you for this simple ible.

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Void+Schism made it!(author)2011-11-30

Is "bite" an Australianism, or did you mean "bight"

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cammers made it!(author)2011-11-30

Spelling error. Thanks.

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allanstewart made it!(author)2011-12-31

To be totally obnoxious, I will mention that pliers have PLAIN steel handles, not PLANE. Wonderful tip, though. Thanks!

author
cammers made it!(author)2012-01-01

Good on you.

author
9w2xyz made it!(author)2011-12-31

Nice pictures. We use light gauge galvanised wire for all sorts of things but the bolt... I never thought of. Thank you. For multiple ties.... I tend to use one of these. http://www.marshalltown.com/Products.aspx?D=200&S=217&C=C2160

author
glorybe made it!(author)2011-12-28

I have tied with wire that way but never even knew there was a name for it. If my memory is correct I was tying rebar of fairly large diameters and had to make every joint tight to hole shape since a lot of concrete would be poured over the joints.

author
m913 made it!(author)2011-12-06

So essentially, this is just like using a twist-tie to close the bread bag, except with thicker wire and a tool to add leverage. But I like the "use what's available" philosophy.

author
CaseyCase made it!(author)2011-11-30

Interesting. I just saw something similar but utilizing rope instead of wire. It's called the "Thai Tie."

http://www.umanitoba.ca/cast_building/assets/downloads/PDFS/Fabric_Formwork/Thai-Tie_PRINT_SMALL.pdf

author
RichardBronosky made it!(author)2011-12-03

It's very cool to see that there is a name for that. I came up with that exact concept when I was about 6 years old. Trying to build a fort I wasn't strong enough to tie knots as tight as the bigger kids so the knot would come loose. I started twisting sticks in them to take up the slack and then I'd try to wedge the stick some way so it couldn't spin loose. I tried stick with a Y in them and it'd work okay until it got bumped. I got tired of having to retwist it and quickly realized that even a weak knot could hold the stick in place. I didn't use a rope and a string though. I just left a long tail on the rope and used that to tie the stick the way the string is used.

The older kids teased me about it.

author
dreiseratops made it!(author)2011-11-30

OMG COOL! I always wondered.

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cammers made it!(author)2011-11-30

That's cool.

author
shantinath1000 made it!(author)2011-12-03

I wonder if it would be better to NOT cut off the Bight- that way if you want to temporarily undo it and then redo it you can.

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cammers made it!(author)2011-12-03

Thanks. You're right. I never cut the bight off. I usually just trim off the ends.

author
pfred2 made it!(author)2011-11-30

Sometimes when I don't have wire cutters and I need to cut a piece of wire making a notch in the wire lets it break bending it back and forth a lot faster. Anything you can bash a piece of wire with that is somewhat sharp can notch it. Usually I do it with the claw of a claw hammer. But I'm not above using sharp rocks etc.

author
cammers made it!(author)2011-11-30


Maybe you could do us a "How to cut wire without tools" instructable for the wire challenge.

author
pfred2 made it!(author)2011-11-30

Maybe I already have an entry in?

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rimar2000 made it!(author)2011-11-30

Good work, cammers!

People says "tied with wire" contemptuously, but I always say that a thing well tied with wire may be for ever. Example, a wire clamp (brace?) for rubber tube, made with two turns, no more, no less, is perfect.

author
cammers made it!(author)2011-11-30

I agree Rimar. A large part of this country would fall in a heap if the wire ties were removed.

author
mrmath made it!(author)2011-11-30

Looks like this could be done with wire coat hangers quite well!

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cammers made it!(author)2011-11-30

Absolutely. In fact the wire I used here came from an old clothes drying rack.
The point is to use whatever you can get your hands on.

author
paganwonder made it!(author)2011-11-30

"Bush" craft (in whatever language) could save us all these days- no matter where we live. The more a people can do for themselves the more our communities can do for us all.

author
jessyratfink made it!(author)2011-11-30

Nice! Great photos, and I love the idea of using a lever to get the wire extra tight. It's always so tricky to work with.

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