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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Knotty Problems

We use knots virtually every day.  We tie our shoes.  We tie a necktie.  We tie an apron.  We tie one on (oh wait, that's different!).

There are a handful of "specialty" knots, that, if you can perfect them, can make things better around the house or the yard, plus have the added benefit of having developed a survival or emergency skill.

These knots are my choices for the very MINIMUM everyone should know how to tie.  They are all very easy to do, and they are all very easy to practice, practice, practice.

Oh, and this is MY list.  I'm sure someone may come along and say, "Well, you should have included XYZ knot."  I'd say that there is no way to ever come up with a definitive list.  It's like when you have discussions about what is the best shotgun, handgun, or 4-wheel drive.  Everyone's got their own choices.

Obviously, if you have some specialized hobby or job, your list will be different.  For instance, I fly fish.  So, in addition to the Trilene knot and surgeon's loop I'm including on my list, I'm very good with a blood knot, nail knot and many others.

This list is for general purpose, regular human being needs!

BTW, the absolutely, positively BEST place to learn how to tie knots is  You pick the knot you need, and they have very clear and accurate animations on how to tie the knot.  It is an invaluable asset to have in your preparedness arsenal.

The List:

Square knot - your basic, everyday knot for tying two pieces of similar sized rope together.  It's not an overly secure knot, but it gets the job done in most instances.  For a knot that does the same thing, but is virtually "bullet proof" for holding together, consider learning the Double Fisherman.

Bowline - makes a very secure loop at the end of a rope.  This can be used for snares by running the other end of the rope through the loop to make a noose, or in conjunction with other knots, such as the Truckers Hitch for securing loads.  The knot won't slip as long as it has tension on it, but can be undone easily once the tension is released.

Trucker's Hitch - is an incredibly versatile knot.  It is used to secure loads, generally in the back of a truck.  It allows you to tie everything down, then tighten up the line to make sure it is secure.  If you're taking a load of garbage or yard waste to the dumps, the Trucker's Hitch is what keep the load secured in the back of your truck bed.  It is also used for stringing a line between two points.  For instance, if you have two trees or stakes in the ground, you can make a bowline loop at one end of the rope, run the line through the loop and around the first tree, then use the Trucker's Loop on the other tree and tighten the line between them.  Hang laundry or use it for the top ridge of a tarp tent.

Trilene knot - is used for attaching a fishing line to a hook or swivel.  It is the very basic and most important knot for a fisherman.  If your hook doesn't stay attached to the line, you're goin' hungry!

Surgeon's Loop - another very versatile knot.  I use it to make loops in fishing line to hold hooks and swivels, and to place loops in the middle of a multi-hook line, such as a Trot Line.  I also use it for the middle loop in the Trucker's Loop.  Like the Bowline knot, it can also be used for making a noose for snares, and is much easier to tie.

Accept The Challenge

Learn these knots and any other knots you feel you may need because of your hobbies, interests or situations in which you may find yourself.  Practice these knots at least once each month.  I set a reminder in my computer calendar to "Practice Knots".  I spend an hour tying stuff up (my dogs really hate me around this time) and keeping my skills sharp.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Andrea said...

Snort! Please tell us that you don't hogtie your dogs.

I am married to a former Army flight medic, which means he came with all kinds of perks. He can tie knots, do medical stuff, fix sewing machines (they had to mend their own parachutes) and pack one helluva B-O-B. Myself, I can tie shoes. That's about it.

Anonymous said...

Animated knots is a great site. I used it to learn a number of climbing knots.

I would have included the Prusik knot. You can use it to escape from hungry bears!

Very helpful site you have here.

Chief Instructor said...

Andrea, my oldest son just finished his paramedic internship, so we've got a medic in the house as well! He needs to work on his knots, though ;-)

Anon, I've actually used a Prusik once - it's a pretty cool knot. Amazing how it grips the rope.

Sgt. Jarhead said...

If you cant tie knots, tie lots!!!

Great post! These knots should be common knowledge.

Keep up the good work!

Chief Instructor said...

LOL, I need to remember that phrase!