Picture of How to tie various knots
Knots, as a way of joining rope without special equipment, are useful in many situations. On a sailboat, knots are essential both for daily use and for emergency repairs. This instructable describes several different common knots:, e.g.

Sheet Bend - to tie two lines together
Bowline - to make a loop
Reef Knot - to fasten a bundle of material
Fishermans Bend - to secure a line to a post or ring

These knots are good for regular rope - braided or 3-strand polyester or natural fibre (hemp, sisal). Monofilament (fishing line) or steel cable performs better with different knots.

Knots are typically quite a lot weaker than straight rope - when rope goes around a tight radius, such as in a knot, the outside is under more tension than the inside. Splices (which require special tools, and are time-consuming to make) are stronger, so permanent fittings usually have eye-splices

Step 1: Sheet Bend

Picture of Sheet Bend
The sheet bend is used to tie two lines together. It is perhaps the most generally useful knot of all. When used to tie a line to itself, making a loop, it is called a bowline.
The strain is taken on the ropes in the middle - not the one coming out the side.

How the knot is made is not critical - it is the final shape that is important. One can make the flat loop first, and work the other rope around it. Or one can make the crossed loop first - required when tying a bowline.

The two images show front and back views of the same knot

Easy to make
Easy to undo when tension is removed
Does not easily capsize

Hard to make under load
Dangerous to make under heavy load

Joining two equally-sized ropes
Extending a towline or stern line

Method 1: the same as a bowline

Method 2: starting with the flat loop

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amin.Naderi2 years ago
I am a boy scout.
Scouts love.
I live in Iran.
usb-e-kits3 years ago
I was looking for this...
Very useful!!
tigerbomb83 years ago
speaking about knots.....

sellulose5 years ago
Please could you post a video for this one and for all the other knots without videos. Its will make it so easy to learn.

I totally did not understand this one.
Well, the simplest way to explain it is to first master the fisherman's bend.

Make a fisherman's bend but only with the first half hitch (you know through the round turn). You then take the end of the rope you are working with back through in the opposite direction of only one loop of the round turn. If you take it through both it will undo the half hitch you just made as you are going back in the opposite direction to the first half hitch.

The underside of the knot should look like the second picture on this page shows you. The first picture is not that helpful.

That is terrible as an explanation but the only one offered in over a year. Hope it helps a bit.
big al 10485 years ago
when i clicked onto this comment site, i got the we have a 'be nice' comment policy statement so i'm going to slip and slide on the side of political correctness.

When a rope has a splice formed at its end, again stronger and more permanent than a loop or bight, that is called an 'eye splice' !

when two ropes are joined making an open splice, and used to apply equal 'sideways' pressure from the directions of the newly formed ropes 'new ends' the pull exerted 'closes' the splice against the bullard,pin,spike,or cleat
-- said splice is technically called a c*nt splice, and was listed along with
instructions to make it in both the midshipmans manuals, and blue jackets
manuals,at least until just before WW 1 ! !

Good info on splices! One trick I picked up as a lifeguard in the Boy Scouts (aeons ago, now) was to take a two-foot length of three-strand hemp rope (or something thereabouts, just not too short and not plastic), put about six or eight inches of end-splice on one end for a handle. On the other end, start the same thing, but after tying the crown knot to hold the un-twisted ends in place, leave the three strands free and start to untwist the individual strands until you have a nice fuzzy "mess" hanging. Grab the spliced handle, and the fluffy part makes for a very excellent fly-swatter, an essential tool for anyone sitting still for hours on end in horsefly country. Everyone had one, and everyone loved em...until some idiot tried to cat-o-nine tail the wrong person with it, and ended up in the deep end. The individual threads on the fly end are strong enough to stand up to several weeks' worth of fairly frequent use, yet limber enough that you don't feel like your whacking yourself with heavy-gage wire.
durgledoggy4 years ago
This needs a video methinks. I could do it, but my method is still a bit sloppy and "not pretty".
ibcallus5 years ago

Very well explained thank you very much,

rspetersga5 years ago
I'm not understanding how to tie this knot from the pictures.........
The looped end of the rope is passed through the double loop far enough to open it up enough to  pass the whole of the rest of the knot back through it, which effectively puts it on the other side of the free ends of the rope. It is then pulled back through the double loop to tighten the knot.
(dope slap to forehead) I call myself trying that and it not working, but tried again with your instructions and it did.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious!
cbrown2225 years ago
sheet bends are for joining two ropes of different thicknesses
That they are, and reef knots are for tying ropes of equal thicknesses. Great Instructable though !
Well, the sheet bend can be used for rope of the same thickness.  The reef knot can come apart (capsize) under tension and so should not be used, for instance, to tie together two ropes you are planning to climb.
rspetersga5 years ago
This knot (at least used to be) taught in the boy scouts, to be used for rescuing people - the rope goes around the waist and the knot tied in front.  This knot is good for this application since the knot doesn't travel (and therefore the loop won't tighten around the person) and the knot gets more secure with tension.
Great instructable!  It coincides nicely with my new ropework hobby.  Your pictures look a lot better than the ones from the 1800's manual I've been working with. hehe
Nathan_5 years ago
 Bends connect two ropes. Isn't this a hitch?
[Respectfully] A hitch is used to attach a rope to a fixed object, a bend is used to join two lines, and a knot is a general term used to describe some sort of line or cord bound into some sort of configuration. Bends and hitches are both knots. Stoppers are knots. A tangled mass of line is a knot. All bends, hitches and stoppers are knots, but not all knots are bends, hitches or stoppers.
 So yes, it is a hitch and not a bend?
Technically, yes, although it seems to be known as the fisherman's bend. This knot might have had another life in the past, attaching a fishing line to another line or leader. The name could also refer to the part of the knot that differentiates it from a round turn & 2 half hitches.

The term bend can also refer to a part of a knot. For example, a bowline is made up of a loop and a bend. A bend in this case is a turn in a piece of line that doesn't cross over itself, whereas a loop crosses over itself.

The arcana of knot lore hides a lot of the details of why knots got the names they have...
draghi5 years ago
A lot of these knots have to be learned by scouts (I'm not talking about "boy scouts" because I'm Australian ergo i don't know what they need to learn)! BTW Great instructable.
Truckie's Hitch? Australian term...
I think that's also what jlhuge is referring to... It's a great knot, I have never had the chance to learn it though!
 You're probably looking for what's actually a "bell-ringer's hitch" formed in the bight  and used as a tackle.  It's 1/2 of a sheepshank, if that helps.  Also known as a trucker's hitch (there's an ible for it), taut-line hitch, or lorry knot it's most often used with a loop knot in the middle of a rope being used to bind a load.  Unfortunately, if a loop knot is tied, as previously mentioned the rope is weakened at that point, and the end of the rope must be fed through (reeved) the loop- tedious with long rope.  The sheepshank version (couldn't find a decent link, sorry) allows you to make a trucker's hitch in the middle of the rope.

Thank you so much! =]
It's nice for someone to bring it all together!
and I'll now go searching, armed with the keywords you've given.
Thanks s much once again. =D 
Technologic5 years ago
Those are great, but can you teach me how to tie my shoes?


Tech. Maybe this link will help with you. It show you how to tie shoes. Chuck

solo.card5 years ago
 Bowline and Figure 8 can also be used for tying in to a harness, for climbing purposed, 

ndinitz5 years ago
 Another useful knot is the Fisherman's knot.

It joins two pieces of fishing line in a low profile knot which is very secure.

androcinco5 years ago
very usefull!!
sukinmaru5 years ago
how about a noose? :D
attilas5 years ago
bravo ! i nodi soni cose molto e sempre utili , perche' non ne fanno materia anche per le scuole ?
seamountie5 years ago
Sorry Adaveil, but you have laid up the Carrick Bend incorrectly. Have a look at the photo here ( http://www.uspowerboating.com/images-knots/carrick-bend.jpg ) for the what a Carrick looks like before you pull it to.
adaviel (author)  seamountie5 years ago
Thanks for pointing this out. I have deleted the step. It's not one I use much and I mis-copied it.
static5 years ago
Oddly enough most of the knots shown here can be found illustrated in my Websters print dictionary under knot. On the web somewhere there is an animated knots page, where you can slow down the animation speed to suite yourself.
adaviel (author)  static5 years ago
I confess I didn't check what other material was already out there - I had some time to kill while sailing home, with a camcorder and lots of rope lying around. I had someone shoot over my shoulder so the camera would see my hands the same way round as I did.
berky935 years ago
I like the idea of that prussic knot. Ill have to try climbing something (small, with a harness) sometime. I know I have some climbing rope around here somewhere...
Gage9875 years ago
now we can hang stuff(like um sesame street that bid bird gets on my nerves)foo
with a noose, which is relatively easy to make(my older brother taught me how to make one when i was 6 lol...and still havent forgot, and its been 8 years)
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