Quick Skills #7: How to Tie the One-Handed Bowline




Introduction: Quick Skills #7: How to Tie the One-Handed Bowline

About: Hi I'm Alex and I love to make stuff! I mainly work with different metals but I also love to explore new (to me) materials and dabble in woodworking, jewelry, knife making, design and many more.

Hi Instructables Community,

I was thinking about a new episode for this week and since I'm very busy at the moment I decided to do another Quick Skills Instructable.

Users of the mobile app may use this link to view the video.

Since I already had a number of requests for this knot I decided to give it a try. So far I was hesitant since I wasn't entirely sure how I could demonstrate the technique in a way that was easy to follow and replicate. I have therefore combined video, pictures and a GIF animation and hope that you will be able to do it yourself! Please let me know in the comments what you think!

This knot can become very handy when you have only one hand free to tie a secure knot around yourself. This might be a rope someone throws to you while you are holding on to something or someone with the other hand. There are a number of techniques for this knot and while they all have pros and cons I prefer this one as I feel it is easy to tie and still safe.

Cheers Alex

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Step 1: Grab Onto the Rope...

...and pass it around your body one from left to your right side.

You should have approx. 50cm (20") of the working end in your right hand whilst the standing end should be running below your left armpit and away from you.

Step 2: Safety Twist

Place your right hand on top of the standing end and twist the rope around your hand thus creating a loop. I prefer to have this loop around the middle of my hand and not all the way up around my wrist. Sudden strain on the rope could seriously injure you if the rope is around the wrist and I also find it more difficult to complete the knot. You should hold the working end with your thumb and index finger.

Step 3: Pass the End Around

Now pass the working end around the standing end from below.

Step 4: Almost Done

Grab the working end with your middle finger and pass it through the loop towards you.

Step 5: Finish the Knot

Ensure that the working end is on the inside of the loop. You may have to twist your right hand slightly counterclockwise to achieve this.

Now tighten the knot and it should start to resemble a bowline. Ensure during the tightening that you keep the working end some 20cm (8") long.

Step 6: Stopper Knot

The bowline can shake loose when not under tension so to reduce that risk I recommend you tie a stopper knot (Simple overhand knot in this example) with the working end.

Step 7: Now Repeat

Ok that was my try at explaining how to tie the one handed bowline. If you have trouble following the instructions I don't blame you as it took me quite some time to pick the technique up. A few suggestions though:

  1. Start to tie this know very slowly step by step
  2. Once you get more confident you can speed it up.
  3. Try to mirror the technique with your left hand.
  4. Get a partner and go outside. Let him or her throw you a rope and try to do this knot after you caught the rope.

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    3 years ago

    This was the only way I knew to tie a bowline for years. My father taught it to me so when we hiked in the mountains, we could tie it one handed with either hand in case we fell into somewhere and broke an arm and had to be hoisted out.