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Knot Tying for Beginners

Updated on September 24, 2017
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Eugene, an avid self taught DIYer, has acquired 30 years of experience with power/hand tools, plumbing, electrics and woodwork.

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4 Basic Knots Everyone Should Know How to Tie!

The ability to tie various knots is a useful skill to have in the home, garden, when fishing, camping or taking part in other outdoor activities. You may have learned how to tie knots in the Scouts, Girl Guides or at summer camp, but by this stage the steps involved in tying them may be a dim distant memory! There are probably 50 or more types, however this guide concentrates on four useful knots and how to tie them.

overhand knot
overhand knot | Source

Overhand Knot

If someone asks you to tie a knot, this is probably what you would tie. An overhand knot can slip though, especially if the cord/rope is made from low friction slippery material. Therefore it can become undone and is unsuitable and potentially dangerous in many applications.


The Photos

Ignore the pins in the photos which I used to hold the cords in position. I only had two hands to operate the camera and needed some assistance!

Figure-of-eight knot
Figure-of-eight knot | Source

Figure-of-Eight Knot

A figure-of-eight knot is much more secure than an overhand knot and less likely to become undone. It's useful for stopping a rope pulling through a hole, e.g. the starter cord on the pull grip on a lawnmower

Make a loop
Make a loop | Source
Put a twist in the loop
Put a twist in the loop | Source
Take the end of the cord around the back
Take the end of the cord around the back | Source
Thread the end of the cord through the loop
Thread the end of the cord through the loop | Source
Reef or square knot
Reef or square knot | Source

Reef or Square Knot

A reef or square knot is useful for joining two ropes together. However it is only reliable and safe if the two ropes are of similar diameter.

To tie the knot, remember "right over left and under, then left over right and under" as described in the photos below.


Right (blue) over left
Right (blue) over left | Source
.........and under
.........and under | Source
Left ( now blue) over right
Left ( now blue) over right | Source
....and under
....and under | Source
Sheet bend knot
Sheet bend knot | Source

Sheet Bend Knot

A sheet bend knot is safer than a reef knot for joining together two ropes or cords of differing diameter.

Thread the smaller diameter cord through as shown
Thread the smaller diameter cord through as shown | Source
Take the small diameter cord around the back
Take the small diameter cord around the back | Source
.......and then feed it back
.......and then feed it back | Source
Bowline knot
Bowline knot | Source

Bowline

A bowline knot can be used to create a loop at the end of the cable. The loop doesn't pull tight when tension is put on the rope. A variation of this is the "bowline-on-a-bight" which is tied in the same way but the rope is doubled over initially. This results in two loops and can be used for hauling up something from the ground.

Make a loop
Make a loop | Source
Feed the end of the cord through the loop
Feed the end of the cord through the loop | Source
...around and back into the loop
...around and back into the loop | Source
Finished bowline
Finished bowline | Source
Knots (Learnabout)
Knots (Learnabout)

An excellent Ladybird book showing how to tie lots more knots than described in this article. Out of print know, but still available new or second hand. I bought this as a child 40 years ago and it's one of my favourite Ladybird titles in my collection, which I still occasionally reference.

 
From the Ladybird book "Learnabout... Knots"
From the Ladybird book "Learnabout... Knots" | Source

© 2012 Eugene Brennan

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    • profile image

      saji 3 years ago

      it is nice

    • eugbug profile image
      Author

      Eugene Brennan 4 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks a lot for the comments. Glad you liked it!

    • MomsTreasureChest profile image

      MomsTreasureChest 4 years ago

      Great hub with terrific how to instructions, thanks for sharing!

    • eugbug profile image
      Author

      Eugene Brennan 4 years ago from Ireland

      I can knot believe they were knot detailed enough!

      Thank you for the comments!

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 4 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      I'm knot getting it. Do you have more detailed instructions? :-)

      Voted Uop, useful, interesting and depending on your reply maybe Funny.

    • eugbug profile image
      Author

      Eugene Brennan 4 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Patsy. Thanks for the kind comments and glad you found it useful!

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 4 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      I really like this hub. I can use several of these knots in the garden. Your photos are very helpful. Voted up and useful. I like your style.

    • eugbug profile image
      Author

      Eugene Brennan 4 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks Angelo! Glad it was of use!

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Nice articles on tying these knots. The photo step-by-step was very useful. Voted up and sharing.

    • eugbug profile image
      Author

      Eugene Brennan 4 years ago from Ireland

      Glad you liked this moonlake! Thanks for the comments!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Very good information. Your pictures are great they really help. Voted up and Shared.

    • eugbug profile image
      Author

      Eugene Brennan 5 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks Marcy and forall. I had sort of forgotten how to tie the sheet bend and had to look up my "Ladybird" book on knots which I got when I was 11. I knew it would come in handy someday!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I have always wondered how some of these knots were made, and what they were called! I wasn't lucky enough to be in a scouting program, so this was very interesting to read. Thanks! Voted up!

    • forall profile image

      forall 5 years ago

      Great hub. I like the tips you shared. Well explaining pictures. Voted up, interesting and useful.