A Knot Board for the Cabin or Den

Introduction: A Knot Board for the Cabin or Den

About: Steward to about 20,000 trees on 40 acres.

Reminiscent of Scout camp or the week in a Northwoods cabin is a knot board.  It is nothing more than a display of knots attached to a board.   While it is not difficult to make, it can be frustrating for the "knot challenged".  Learning to whip a rope and tie the knots may be totally new to you but there are plenty of web sites that will show you how to do it.  
3/8" sisal rope
1/2" sisal rope
1" x 6" x 18" board (new lumber, salvaged or rough cut) For a 3 knot board.
1" x 10" x 18" board (new lumber, salvaged or rough cut)  For a 5-6 knot board.
1" wire nails
Light brown string-not thread
Picture hanging materials
      2 screw eyes
      picture hanger wire
Varnish or stain and cleanup materials (optional)
3/8" wooden dowel
Wood glue

Paint brush
3/8" drill bit
Rasp or sanding block
Pen or marker

Step 1: Preparing the Wood and Learning to Whip a Rope

Cut the board to length and remove any rough edges using the rasp or sanding block.  Use plywood if you want.  My boards are both 18" long.  Use a 6" wide board for 3 knots or a 10" board for 5 or 6 knots.  Cut a piece of 3/8" dowel for each knot that will need one.  These include the clove hitch, the taut line hitch and the two half-hitch knots.  Use a rasp or sanding block to smooth the exposed cut end of the dowels and to add a taper to the circumference to make it look better.  

Stain or varnish, if you want, and let dry completely.

Since you will whip the cut end of each end piece of rope you use, this is the time to learn how to do it.  Refer to this site to learn how: http://www.arklowseascouts.ie/resources/whipping.pdf

Attach the 1/2" rope around the perimeter of the board.  To start, position the whipped end at the middle of the lower edge of the board and attach it using a wire nail.  Drive the nail through the rope and tap the head so that it is just hidden.  Continue attaching the rope around the outside edge of the board, using nails every 3-4".  Use nails closer at the corners.  Stop nailing just after making the 4th corner.  Determine how much more rope will be needed to just reach the middle starting point.  Mark the rope.  Whip the rope on both sides of the mark and then cut it cleanly at the mark  using a sharp knife.  (I find whipping twice and then cutting is easier than cutting and then whipping.  Your choice.)  Start back at the corner and finish nailing the rope into place.  

Step 2: Lots of Knots

This also the time to learn how to tie the knots you will use.  I suggest that you start with the clove hitch, the taut line hitch, the two half-hitch knot, the square knot and the bowline.  There are lots of sites but I know this one shows how to tie all five I named.  http://artofmanliness.com/2009/06/24/7-basic-knots-every-man-should-know/

Using the 3/8" rope, tie a sample knot just as it would appear on the board.  You can combine knots using the same piece of rope.  For example, tie a taut line hitch at one end and a bowline at the other.  Once you have your knot(s) tied, mark where the end of the rope will be and mark it.  Whip it and cut cleanly.

Physically or mentally lay out the locations of the knots.  Mark the board where any dowel pegs will be located.  With every thing in mind or recorded as a sketch, remove the knots and drill the holes for the pegs.  Glue them into place and let dry completely.  

Step 3: Finishing Up

Retie all the knots, as needed, and position them on the board.  Nail them into position as was done with the perimeter rope.  

Sign and date the back.

Install two screw eyes in the back of the board.  Position them above the midline, about 2" from the ends of the board.  Securely attach the picture hanging wire to the screw eyes.  Hang the completed knot board over 2 picture hanger hooks.  

A knot board might make nice gift for a Scout as they attain their ranks.  

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    2 Discussions

    That is an awesome idea. I am planning the construction of a Thoreau sized cabin in Alaska next year, I have a feeling that there will be one of these on the walls. Thank you for the idea, I will post a pic once it comes to fruition...


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice looking. I especially like the rope border.

    I hate to say it, but your bowline looks incorrect. The tag (short) end should be inside of the loop.