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Basic Instructions
Kalinga Hewageegana
A Step by Step Guide to
Knot Tying for Beginners
by Kalinga Hewageegana

Introduction to Rope and Knots
Rope and Knot Ters
!"erhand Knot
#are and Handling o$ Rope
%igure &ight Knot
Ree$ Knot
Grann' Knot
Thie$ Knot
Sheet Bend
#lo"e Hitch
Round Turn and Two Hal$ Hitches
%isheran(s Knot
Tautline Hitch

Introduction to Ropes and Knots
Since the Stone Age, Man has had to contend with the moving of weights and the lifting of heavy
loads. As the loads became progressively heavier and more complicated to handle, crude tools
were fashioned to deal with these problems. At first, vine stems were twisted together to form a
rough rope of sufficient strength. At various times, other materials were used such as the fibrous
bark of certain trees, coconut hair, camel hair, horse hair, thongs of sinew or cut hides from
animals, cotton, jute, sisal, fla and wild hemp ! and so on through the ages until today we have
the modern manilla, nylon, polypropylene, steel wire rope and cable.
Ropes are ade $ro a large "ariet' o$ )*res plus wire strands+
%i*re rope can *e di"ided into two *road groups- those ade $ro natural
and synthetic )*res+
Natural Fibre Rope
These are ade $ro se"eral di.erent natural )*res such as a*aca /*anana01
hep1 sisal /coconut01 2ute and cotton /in decreasing order o$ strength0 with
hep *eing the ost coon+
Fibre Rope Construction
Reverse-twisting 3 gi"es rope sta*ilit' and 4eeps it $ro twisting under a
strain+ This ethod o$ construction is as $ollows- /see )gure 10
%i*res $ro si5 to 26 $eet in length are co*ed to *ring the parallel to each
other1 and a de)nite nu*er o$ )*res are right hand twisted to $or a 'arn7
A nu*er o$ 'arns are then le$t3hand twisted into a strand7 and
%inall'1 three or $our o$ these strands are right3hand twisted to $or a rope+
This twisting pattern produces a right3la' rope+ Re"erse order o$ twisting
produces a le$t3la' rope+
The 'arns o$ a rope can *e $ored into strands1 and the strands into rope1 in
"ar'ing degrees o$ tightness to a4e hard-laid1 medium-laid /8coon8 or
8standard801 or soft-laid rope+ So$t3laid rope has the greatest tensile strength
*ut gi"es poor ser"ice i$ run o"er shea"es1 and it does not stand a*rasion
Fibre Rope Size
Rope is easured in two wa's- *' diaeter or circu$erence+ Ropes up to
one inch are generall' easured *' the diaeter and ropes o"er one inch *'
their circu$erence+ This ust *e clearl' understood1 since a rope one inch in
diaeter has a circu$erence o$ appro5iatel' , inches1 while a rope one
inch in circu$erence has a diaeter o$ :;1< o$ an inch+
Synthetic Fibre Rope
S'nthetic )*re ropes are used e5tensi"el' in industr'1 due to their strength1
shoc43loading capacit'1 and resistance to natural weathering+ =ost industrial
s'nthetic )*re ropes are the standard three3strand1 right3hand la' rope1 *ut
*raided and other special construction st'les are also a"aila*le+
Nylon Rope
N'lon rope is "er' strong and elastic1 and is used where shoc4 loading is
coon or a rope saller than hep 3 *ut o$ e>ual strength 3 is needed+
N'lon resists ineral oils and greases1 *ut is a.ected *' paint1 linseed oil or
acids+ N'lon rope *ecoes slipper' when wet and loses a sall part o$ its
strength1 *ut it will not rot or ildew+
N'lon is also the ost e5pensi"e o$ the coon industrial s'nthetic ropes+
Poly Ropes
?ol'eth'lene1 pol'prop'lene and others o$ this group are used as an
ine5pensi"e su*stitute $or n'lon rope+ ?ol' ropes ha"e the ad"antage o$
*uo'anc' and are there$ore used a great deal around water+ The tensile
strength "aries slightl' aong the pol' ropes+
Braided Synthetic Rope
In recent 'ears1 the use o$ *raided n'lon ropes has *een increasing steadil'+
Braided n'lon rope does not stretch as uch as other t'pes1 and certain
t'pes o$ *raided rope are stronger than an' laid ropes o$ the sae )*re+
Ree*er alwa's that a rope $astening is N&@&R as strong as the original
rope+ Aou do not increase the strength o$ a rope *' t'ing a 4not in it 3 e5actl'
the opposite is the truth+ The *ending o$ the rope in the a4ing o$ a 4not or
hitch causes the outside )*res to carr' ore than their share o$ the load1 and
the resultant stretching o$ the )*res wea4ens the rope+ When a $ailure occurs1
the outside )*res are the )rst to *rea4 $ollowed *' the inside )*res+ As a rule
o$ thu* onl'1 ree*er that e"en with a new rope1 a 4not reduces its
eBcienc' *' 96C to :6C1 whereas a splice reduces its strength *' 16C to

Whipping or 8seiDing8 is the coon wa' o$ pre"enting a rope $ro
unra"eling+ This ethod is $ast1 and1 ore iportantl'1 it does not increase
the diaeter o$ the rope which can there$ore *e ree"ed through a *loc4
without diBcult'+
To a4e a whipping1 a )ne 'arn is generall' used+ =a4e a loop in the end o$
the 'arn and place the loop at the end o$ the rope1 as shown in )gure 2+
Wind the standing part /B0 around the rope appro5iatel' 1: 3 26 ties1
co"ering the loop o$ the whipping1 *ut lea"ing a sall loop unco"ered as
shown in )gure ,+ ?ass the reainder o$ the standing end up through the
sall loop1 and pull the dead end /A0 o$ the 'arn 3 thus pulling the standing
end /B0 and the sall loop through which it is threaded *ac4 toward the end
o$ the rope underneath the whipping1 as shown in )gure ,+
#ontinue pulling the dead end /A0 o$ the 'arn until the sall loop with the
standing end through it reaches a point idwa' underneath the whipping+
Tri *oth ends o$ the 'arn close up against the loops o$ the whipping+
The )nished whipping is shown in )gure 9+

Rope Terms
Line ! another term for rope.
Running End ! the free or working end of the rope.
Standing Part ! the balance of the rope, ecluding the running end.
Knot ! the intertwining of the end of a rope within a portion of the rope. A good knot must be
easy to tie and untie and must hold without slipping.
Bend ! the intertwining of the ends of two ropes to make one continuous rope.
Hitch ! the attachment of a rope to a post, pole, ring, hook or other object.
Bight ! a "!shaped curve in a rope.
Loop ! a fold or doubling of the rope through which another rope can be passed to form a knot or
Oerhand Loop ! made when the running end is passed over the standing part of the rope.
!nderhand Loop ! made when the running end is passed under the standing part of the rope.
"urn ! the same as a loop, but usually used to describe the placing of a rope around a specific
object such as a post, rail or ring, with the running end continuing in the opposite direction from
the standing part.
Round "urn ! the same as a turn, with the running end returning in the same direction as the
standing part.
Splice ! the joining of the ends of two ropes, or, the end of the rope with the body of the rope by
weaving the strands over and under the strands of the other part.
#hipping or Seizing ! a means of fiing the end of a rope so that the strands will not unravel.

Overhand or Thumb Knot
Is the sallest1 siplest and ost coonl' used o$ all the 4nots+
Starting point $or an' 4nots+
Fsed to pre"ent the end o$ a rope $ro untwisting+
When tied at the end or standing part o$ a rope1 this 4not pre"ents it $ro
sliding through a *loc41 hole1 or another 4not+
Fsed also to increase a person(s grip on a rope+
This 4not reduces the strength o$ a straight rope *' :: percent+
Gas easil' 3 *etter to use a %igure &ight Knot+
"o tie an Oerhand Knot$
=a4e a loop near the end o$ the rope+
?ass the running end through the loop and
Iraw tightl'+

Care and Handling of Fiber Rope
#aken from ".S. Army $ield Manual $M!%!&'%
(igging #echni)ues, *rocedures, and Applications
New rope is coiled1 *ound1 and wrapped in *urlap+ The protecti"e co"ering
should not *e reo"ed until the rope is to *e used+ This protects it during
storage and pre"ents tangling+ To open the new rope1 strip o. the *urlap
wrapping and loo4 inside the coil $or the end o$ the rope+ This should *e at
the *otto o$ the coil+
The strength and use$ul li$e o$ )*er rope is shortened considera*l' *'
iproper care+ To prolong its li$e and strength1 o*ser"e the $ollowing
o &nsure that it is dr' and then stored in a cool1 dr' place+ This reduces
the possi*ilit' o$ ildew and rotting+
o #oil it on a spool or hang it $ro pegs in a wa' that allows air
o A"oid dragging it through sand or dirt or pulling it o"er sharp edges+
Sand or grit *etween the )*ers cuts the and reduces the rope(s
o Slac4en taut lines *e$ore the' are e5posed to rain or dapness
*ecause a wet rope shrin4s and a' *rea4+
o Thaw a $roDen rope copletel' *e$ore using it7 otherwise the $roDen
)*ers will *rea4 as the' resist *ending+
o A"oid e5posure to e5cessi"e heat and $ues o$ cheicals7 heat or
*oiling water decreases rope strength a*out 26 percent+
The outside appearance o$ )*er rope is not alwa's a good indication o$ its
internal condition+ Rope so$tens with use+ Iapness1 hea"' strain1 $ra'ing
and *rea4ing o$ strands1 and cha)ng on rough edges all wea4en it
considera*l'+ !"erloading rope a' cause it to *rea41 with possi*le hea"'
daage to aterial and serious in2ur' to personnel+ %or this reason1 inspect it
care$ull' at regular inter"als to deterine its condition+ Fntwist the strands
slightl' to open a rope so that 'ou can e5aine the inside+ =ildewed rope has
a ust' odor and the inner )*ers o$ the strands ha"e a dar41 stained
appearance+ Bro4en strands or *ro4en 'arns ordinaril' are eas' to identi$'+
Iirt and sawdust3li4e aterial inside a rope1 caused *' cha)ng1 indicate
daage+ In rope ha"ing a central core1 the core should not *rea4 awa' in
sall pieces when e5ained+ I$ it does1 this is an indication that a rope has
*een o"er strained+
I$ a rope appears to *e satis$actor' in all other respects1 pull out two )*ers
and tr' to *rea4 the+ Sound )*ers should considera*le resistance to
*rea4age+ When 'ou )nd unsatis$actor' conditions1 destro' a rope or cut it up
in short pieces to pre"ent its *eing used in hoisting+ Aou can use the short
pieces $or other purposes+

Figure Eight Knot
Fse the )gure3eight 4not to $or a larger 4not at the end o$ a rope than
would *e $ored *' an o"erhand 4not+ The 4not pre"ents the end o$ the rope
$ro slipping through a $astening or loop in another rope or $ro unree"ing
when ree"ed through *loc4s+
It is eas' to untie+
"o tie a Figure o% Eight Knot$
=a4e an under3hand loop in the standing part+
?ass the running end around and o"er the standing part1 pass the end under
and then down through the loop+
Iraw tight+

Reef or !uare Knot
Fse the ree$ 4not to tie two ropes o$ e>ual siDe together so the' will not slip+
Note that the running end and standing part o$ one rope coe out on the
sae side o$ the *ight $ored *' the other rope+
The ree$ 4not will not hold i$ the ropes are wet or i$ the' are o$ di.erent siDes+
It tightens under strain *ut can *e untied *' grasping the ends o$ the two
*ights and pulling the 4not apart+
"o tie a Ree% Knot$
?ass the right3hand running end o"er and under the le$t3hand running end+
Bring the two running ends together+
?ass the le$t3hand running end o"er and under the right3hand running end+
Iraw tight+
It a4es no di.erence whether the )rst crossing is tied le$t3o"er3right or right3
o"er3le$t as long as the second crossing is tied opposite to the )rst crossing+
"rann# Knot
Fnsa$e and should ne"er *e used as it will slip under load+
Note that the running end and standing part o$ one rope are on !??!SIT&
sides o$ the *ight $ored *' the other rope+
The reason this 4not is worth 4nowing a*out is to pre"ent 'our t'ing one *'

Thief Knot
Fnsa$e and should ne"er *e used as it will slip under load+
#losel' rese*les a true Ree$ Knot+ Note that the running ends are on
!??!SIT& sides o$ the 4not+
According to legend1 sailors would tie their sea*ags closed with a Thie$ Knot1
assuing that a thie$ would pro*a*l' retie the *ag with a Ree$ Knot+ This
would alert the *ag(s owner that his *ag had *een opened+
The reason it is worth 4nowing a*out is to pre"ent 'our t'ing one *' ista4e+
The *owline is one o$ the ost coon 4nots and has a "ariet' o$ uses1 one
o$ which is the lowering o$ en and aterial+
It is the *est 4not $or $oring a strong single loop that will not tighten or slip
under strain and can *e untied easil'+
The *owline $ors a loop that a' *e o$ an' length+
"o tie a Bo&line$
Hold the standing part in the le$t hand+
With the right hand1 a4e an o"erhand loop in $ront o$ the standing part+
Hold with the le$t thu* and $ore)nger+
Ta4e the running end in the right hand+ ?ass up through the loop1 *ehind the
standing part1 and down through the loop on the other side+
Iraw tightl'

heet $end
T'ing together two ropes o$ une>ual siDe+ I$ used this wa'1 the saller
diaeter rope should pass around the larger one+ Keep in ind that the
*rea4ing strength o$ the co*ined rope will *e less than that o$ the saller
#an *e used to tie a rope to an e'e $or light loads+
#opare the Sheet Bend to the Bowline and 'ou(ll see the' are essentiall'
the sae 4not+
"o tie a Sheet Bend$
=a4e an o"erhand loop in $ront with the )rst rope+
?ass the second line up through the loop and ta4e it around *ehind the
standing part1 and down through the loop on the other side+
%or a *ight with the larger rope+
Ta4e the thinner rope and *ring it up through the *ight+
?ass it around *oth parts o$ the thic4er line+
?ass the running end o$ the thinner rope under the sae line and o"er the
thic4er rope+
Clove Hitch
The clo"e hitch is another widel' used 4not+ It can *e tied using the end or
the iddle o$ the rope+
Fsed to $asten a rope to a ti*er1 pipe1 or post+ !$ten used to start and )nish
With practice1 this can *e easil' tied with one hand+
"o tie a Cloe Hitch$
Loop the rope around the o*2ect 'ou(re t'ing to+ Hold an end in each hand+
#ross the end in 'our right hand o"er the end in 'our le$t hand1 $oring an K
with 'our hands holding the pieces at the top o$ the K+
Wrap the end in 'our right hand around *ehind the o*2ect again in the sae
direction as *e$ore1 lea"ing the wrap loose+ When 'ou *ring it *ac4 around to
the $ront1 po4e the end under the piece o$ rope that 'ou 2ust wrapped around+
To a4e a #lo"e Hitch in the center o$ the rope 3 see )gure 19+

Round Turn and T%o Half Hitches
This 4not is used to secure a rope to a colun or post+
It is easil' tied1 will not 2a1 and can withstand strain without slipping+
%or greater securit'1 seiDe the running end o$ the rope to the standing part+
"o tie a Round "urn and "&o Hal%'Hitches$
With the running end o$ the rope1 ta4e one coplete turn around a )5ed
?ass the running o"er the standing part o$ the rope1 and tuc4 it *ac4 up and
under itsel$1 $oring a hal$ hitch+ Repeat $or a second hal$ hitch+

Fisherman&s Knot
Fsed to tie two ropes o$ e>ual thic4ness together+
Fsed *' )sheren to 2oin )shing line+
"o tie a Fisher(an)s Knot$
Tie an !"erhand Knot in the running end o$ the )rst rope around the second
Then tie an !"erhand Knot in the second rope1 around the )rst rope+
Note that the !"erhand Knots are tied such that the' lie snugl' against each
other when the standing ends are pulled+
Tautline Hitch
This hitch is "er' use$ul $or rigging tents and tarps *ecause it can slide along
the standing part o$ the rope to ta4e up slac4+
I$ tied tightl'1 the 4not will hold its position1 4eeping the rope taut+
"o tie a "autline Hitch$
#reate a *ight *' passing the $ree end o$ the rope through the groet or
around the pole 'ou are t'ing the rope to+
Loop the $ree end twice under the standing part o$ the rope1 o"ing closer to
the groet or pole+
=a4e another loop around the standing part with the $ree end1 *' wrapping
o"er1 then under the standing part and pulling it through the loop+
?ull the hitch taut+ It can now *e wor4ed up and down the standing part as
needed and will hold tight under pressure+

=illwright =anual o$ Instruction *' Richard A+ =ichener
*rovince of +ritish ,olumbia Ministry of -abour
=illwrights and =echanics Guide 9
&dition *' #arl A+ Nelson
Audel *ublishing
=achiner'(s Hand*oo4 Re"ised 21
&dition *' &ri4 !*erg1 %ran4lin I+ Gones1
H+L+ Horton
.ndustrial *ress .nc.
=illwright L =echanics Hand*oo4 *' #arl A+ Nelson
,oles *ublishing
Knots 3 A Step3*'3Step Guide to T'ing Loops1 Hitches1 Bends1 and IoDens o$
!ther Fse$ul Knots *' Kenneth S+ Burton
,ourage +ooks

+nternet Resources$
Fnited States Ar' %ield =anual No+ :312:
(igging #echni)ues, *rocedures, and Applications
Get KnottedM Aniated Knots $or Scouts
by the /'nd +righton 0Saltdean1 Scout 2roup, 3ast Susse, "K


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