Basic Knots Guide





Step 1: Thumb Knot

The most simple knot.Used as a stopper and prevent ropes from fraying .

Step 2: Reef Knot

Used to tie two ropes of equal thickness together.It is pretty easy to tie and untie but under tention,it may be diffcult to untie.It is also not sutible for smooth ropes.(eg.nylon ropes)

Step 3: Figure of Eight

used as a stopper,prevent ropes from fraying and its more secure than tumb knot. it's is also used to tie Caribinas to ropes and is often used in rock climbing.

Step 4: Timber Hitch

used for pulling logs.

Step 5: Clove Hitch

Used to tie a rope onto a pole or log.
The pole must be round.
The pole lust be thicker then the rope itself.

(greatly used during pioneering)

Step 6: Sheet Band

used to tie ropes of different thickness together.(works on same thickness of ropes too.)

Step 7: Sheep Shank

To shorten Ropes
To prevent middle fraying.

Step 8: Slip Knot

Used as a grip for pulling things.(when tied on a stick or small pole)(marlin spike hitch)



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    51 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    14 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 3 years ago

    not to be ignorant, but Wikipedia is not the end all of references.


    Reply 3 years ago

    True, but in this case it did the trick.

    Unless you think the article is wrong?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    i am sorry for shouting but there is a knot called a marlinspike hitch


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Correct. Marlin spike hitch, not marlin spike.

    It's used for temporarily fastening a marlin spike to a rope.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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 )


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    7 years ago on Step 2

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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 : )


    10 years ago on Introduction

    What about a trucker hitch, bow line, or square knot, those are the most important ones for a scout.