How to Tie a Sheepshank

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Introduction: How to Tie a Sheepshank

About: I am a teenager who loves to tinker around with anything he can get his hands on. When I grow up I want to be a priest with a church in the back of a truck. God bless! —MRH06

So, this time I thought I might start with a great story about the sheepshank.
So there was once this climber. But he was no ordinary climber. He was a smart climber. That’s right, he used his smarts, his rope, and his knots to get him down a mountain face after his rope started to fray on him. So he thought, “Ok, so, I’m in this situation here where I have a frayed rope up at the top. What do I do?” And then it dawned on him that he could use a sheepshank to get down. You see, a sheepshank can be used to bypass a worn section of rope and you’ll see how that’s so in just a minute. So he climbed back up the face, and when he got to the top, he tied two sheepshanks. One to get around the fray, and another to fasten it to the top of the mountain. Sheepshanks are only good if they’re kept under constant tension, or else they’ll fall right apart. So with his two knots tied he proceeded down the mountain and he was just fine in the end.
So, this knot suddenly seems pretty cool, but now you’re probably wondering how to tie this knot. So then, I’m going to teach you how to tie a sheepshank now!

Supplies:

There’s not much that you’re going to need for this project. Just some rope, two hands, and 10 fingers is all you need. Let’s get started!

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Loop

Make 3 underhand loops as shown in the pictures.

Step 2: Flip

Flip the left loop over the center loop so that the center loop is through the left loop.

Step 3: Slide

Now slide the right loop over the center loop. See the pictures.

Step 4: Pull and Fair

Now pull your knot tight, and make it look all pretty (fairing). And there you have it! A sheepshank!

Step 5: Notes

• When using this knot to bypass a worm section of rope, you should put the worn section at the top of the center loop.
• In my Boy Scout Troop, we call this knot the “Shaun The Sheep Knot”. Post a comment for what silly names you come up with for the sheepshank!

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    18 Discussions

    0
    CassieH34
    CassieH34

    6 weeks ago

    The sheepshank is my favorite knot! Thank you so much!

    0
    MRH06
    MRH06

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thanks!

    0
    GFire
    GFire

    6 weeks ago

    I may have a better way for you to teach this knot if interested.

    0
    MRH06
    MRH06

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    How were you thinking of tying it?

    0
    GFire
    GFire

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    It starts with a big letter "S" instead of the loops. Have you seen this method? Its great because you can take whatever length of rope and virtually cut it down to a 1/3 of its original length. If not maybe I should post this method as an instructable.

    0
    u20417
    u20417

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    I would love to see this method. Pictures are great. If possible a short video clip showing the Sheepshank being tied would be even better... Thanks in advance.

    0
    GFire
    GFire

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Rather than recreate it I found this method on a site years ago. It was and drawn animation site which I can no longer find... but I did find it on this site. Seen it drawn originally really made it stick in my head. This link is to the same knot....but they have many more. Seeing some animated makes more sense than learning it step by step. Probably in this case since its really only three steps.
    https://www.animatedknots.com/sheepshank-knot

    0
    MRH06
    MRH06

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    I saw the animation and this is a completely different knot altogether. Look at the center bottom. There’s no crossover there, and if you try to push the sheepshank apart it won’t work, but if you push on the loops there, it will fall apart. Cool knot, but not the one I’m thinking of!

    0
    u20417
    u20417

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Yes the animation makes it easy to follow. Especialy when you click it one step at a time. Very helpful. Thanks!

    0
    MRH06
    MRH06

    6 weeks ago

    Please vote for me in the Rope and String Speed Challenge! Thanks!

    0
    MRH06
    MRH06

    6 weeks ago

    Thank you so much to everybody who has commented on my Instructable! It means so much to me to see people giving feedback on my projects!

    God Bless,
    MRH06

    0
    u20417
    u20417

    6 weeks ago

    I very much enjoyed learning how to tie a Sheepshank. Your MOV clip was most helpful. I would like to ask that the next time you teach us a knot that it would be most helpful if you could make a video clip of the entire knot being tied. Thank you and keep up the good teaching! (c:

    0
    MRH06
    MRH06

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thanks for the feedback! I’ll do what I can to get a clip of the knot being tied up soon.

    0
    tytower
    tytower

    6 weeks ago

    Well I am more interested in how you use this . Can you put up a photo of it on a worn rope or any rope in fact to indicate what you mean?
    I'm thinking it might be useable on my glasses cord to lock to each plastic frame.
    Why on a climbing rope would you not just join one rope to another with a bowline or something?
    Knowing a knot is pretty useless unless its purpose is understood.
    I would have thought it was used to tie a sheep in a tree for slaughtering head down?

    0
    MRH06
    MRH06

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Hope this helps. As far as the bowline part goes, I can see where you’re coming from there, but at the same time, where are you going to put the worn section of rope? If it’s in one of the bowline loops, then it’ll snap and the toes will come undone. If it’s above or below the loops, then it’ll snap and the ropes will indeed be together still, but the rope is snapped, so you’ll fall back down again. If you could reply with a picture of what you’re thinking I would find that very helpful so I could give you more help here.
    Best,
    MRH06

    0
    GFire
    GFire

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    The Sheep Shank knot original purpose was meant for shortening a length of rope. This used to be one of the required knots for Scouting but has since been dropped as required rank knot. The knot is useful but only if you keep tension on both ends. There is a variation call Sheep Shank Man O' War, where there is and additional securing joint in the center of the knot. One can be seen on my knot box in the top right corner.
    https://www.instructables.com/id/Knot-Training-Knot-Box/

    FrontOfBox.JPG
    0
    seamster
    seamster

    6 weeks ago

    Nicely done, thank you for sharing!

    0
    MRH06
    MRH06

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    No problem! Thank you for your comment!