International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum

General => Chit Chat => Topic started by: DaveRoot on January 02, 2005, 03:40:35 AM

Title: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: DaveRoot on January 02, 2005, 03:40:35 AM
Imagine that a neighbor learns that you know a lot about knots, and he says, "The other day I grabbed a length of rope in my garage in order to tie up something in my back yard, but I didn't really know what knot to tie.  Can you show me the best knot that I should learn?"

Now, we know that there is not one knot which is "the" best knot, because there are a number of variables which will determine the knot that is best for a particular application.  However, your neighbor says that he has neither the time nor the interest to learn dozens of knots and their strengths/weaknesses (I know, I know, it's difficult to imagine someone not having any interest in knots! ;D).

You give his request some thought, and you show him one or two knots in several categories (bends, hitches, mid-line loops, end-of-line loops, etc.) which you consider to be the "best of breed" in those categories, taking into account the ease of tying/untying the knots, the strength and security of the knots, and so on.  Granted there are a number of important issues such as the type of rope, the type of conditions in which the rope will be used, etc., but you recognize that your neighbor is only looking for some useful, general-purpose, around-the-house-and-yard information about knots.  In other words, he is an "average person" who uses knots infrequently, rather than a climber, sailor, fisherman, arborist, weaver, etc., who has specialized needs for knots.

With this scenario in mind, what are the few knots that you would teach your neighbor, and why?
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 02, 2005, 10:03:50 AM
Quote
Imagine that a neighbor learns that you know a lot about knots, and he says, "The other day I grabbed a length of rope in my garage in order to tie up something in my back yard, but I didn't really know what knot to tie.  Can you show me the best knot that I should learn?"

Now, we know that there is not one knot which is "the" best knot, because there are a number of variables which will determine the knot that is best for a particular application.  However, your neighbor says that he has neither the time nor the interest to learn dozens of knots and their strengths/weaknesses (I know, I know, it's difficult to imagine someone not having any interest in knots! ;D).

You give his request some thought, and you show him one or two knots in several categories (bends, hitches, mid-line loops, end-of-line loops, etc.) which you consider to be the "best of breed" in those categories, taking into account the ease of tying/untying the knots, the strength and security of the knots, and so on.  Granted there are a number of important issues such as the type of rope, the type of conditions in which the rope will be used, etc., but you recognize that your neighbor is only looking for some useful, general-purpose, around-the-house-and-yard information about knots.  In other words, he is an "average person" who uses knots infrequently, rather than a climber, sailor, fisherman, arborist, weaver, etc., who has specialized needs for knots.

With this scenario in mind, what are the few knots that you would teach your neighbor, and why?


You've probably heard the saying, "When all a man has is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."

When you show your aforementioned type of person a "best" or "favorite" knot, assume that they might use it for something important someday.  So, it's probably best to choose secure knots even if that security won't be put to the test with their average use.  Besides, your friend might have some slick, springy rope.

Bend:  Zeppelin Bend (Rosendahl Bend)

Loop on the bight: Butterfly Loop

End Loop:  I'm firmly undecided on this one.  It might be best to show a bowline with its augmented cousins such a the Double Bowline or a Water Bowline.  Or you might just teach a Zeppelin Loop (Rosendahl Loop) to keep it to one knot.

Hitch:  A Slipped Buntline is fine, but so is a good Timber Hitch, but the Timber Hitch's simplicity might tip the balance.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: drjbrennan on January 02, 2005, 05:19:38 PM
Simple answer. Constrictor knot. Because I think it is of most use to most people to know a good binding knot, that is simple to tie.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Fairlead on January 02, 2005, 07:33:53 PM
You only need teach him ONE knot.....The Figure of Eight.
When he has mastered that as a Stopper Knot, show him how to use it to make a Bend, a Single Loop, a Double Loop, a Slipped Loop and a Hitch.  Polish it off with a Packer's (or butcher's) knot and I think you will find he has enough to cope with almost any 'back yard' situation.

Gordon
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 02, 2005, 08:33:21 PM
Quote
You only need teach him ONE knot.....The Figure of Eight.
When he has mastered that as a Stopper Knot, show him how to use it to make a Bend, a Single Loop, a Double Loop, a Slipped Loop and a Hitch.  Polish it off with a Packer's (or butcher's) knot and I think you will find he has enough to cope with almost any 'back yard' situation.

Gordon


Even in (perhaps especially in) backyard situtations rope can be highly strained.  Your neighbor might develop a dim opinion of knots if he keeps having to get out a knife to cut apart his brand new rope because he can't untie a figure eight used as a loop or bend.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Brian Grimley on January 02, 2005, 09:43:05 PM
I thought Fairlead's approach to teach one basic knot (figure-of-eight), and from this knot generate the others, is super. As I read Fairlead's post, the overhand knot crossed my mind. Below, I did a Delete and Insert to Fairlead's post. :) However, I could argue Fairlead's figure-of-eight is a better choice.  

You only need REMIND him of ONE knot.....The OVERHAND knot.
When he has mastered that as a Stopper Knot, show him how to use it to make a Bend, a Single Loop, a Double Loop, a Slipped Loop and a Hitch.  Polish it off with a TAUTLINE HITCH and a CONSTRICTOR and I think you will find he has enough to cope with almost any "around-the-house-and-yard" situation.  :)

Brian.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Brian Grimley on January 02, 2005, 11:04:14 PM
Roo wrote:
"Even in (perhaps especially in) backyard situtations rope can be highly strained.  Your neighbor might develop a dim opinion of knots if he keeps having to get out a knife to cut apart his brand new rope because he can't untie a figure eight used as a loop or bend."

It seems to me that jamming and security for knots, in a particular type of rope, is a function of the load as a percent of the breaking strength of that rope. Different types of rope would have different points at which jamming and security becomes an issue.

I was concerned about jamming and security when I was using an 1/4 inch synthetic rope in the garden. So, I used different knots, in the same application, to see which knot was best. When the season (six months) was over, I checked the knots. No knots slipped, no knots jammed. I wondered why. Then, it occured to me that a modern rope is so strong that the weights I was suspending was never greater than 10% (perhaps, more accurately, 5%) of the rope's breaking strength.  Therefore, I concluded that the jamming and security of a particular knot was simply not an issue in this particular case.

I guess one might ask if "general-purpose, around-the-house-and-yard" applications generate enough force for jamming to be an issue. If twine is used, then jamming is an issue, but who cares?

When does jamming and security become a significant issue in which knot (bend, loop, hitch etc.) you select for a job? Is there a threshold for the load/breaking strength ratio? I have no idea. Would like to know though.

Brian.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: KnotNow! on January 02, 2005, 11:42:06 PM
A great question and excelent answers.  Not long ago a friend flew from US to England, bought a senior BMW motorcycle, worked his way South to Gebralter and crossed to North Africa, with the goal of parking at the Great Pyramids, thence North through the Holy Land and finally back to GB.  The mess in NYC on 911 came in the midst of his planning but he went anyway.  He didn't finish the loop but had a great trek and a safe return home.  He brought me a bit of sand.  Before he left he asked for knots and here is what he took:  Bowline, Sheet Bend, Constrictor (as binding, midloop and end loop), Alpine Butterfly and the related bend published by Brion Toss and called Strait Bend.   Since Brian's publication I had started tying it by the method which most use to tye the butterfly and published that method in our "Knot News", calling it a "Straight Bend".  I chose these because: the Bowline and Sheet bend are the same hand moves so you get two for one.  I teach the constrictor as a one hand knot but taught him the standard way as well.  Three knots for one (O.K... two) hand moves.  Finally the Alpine butterfly and the Straight Bend gave him an extra mid span loop and a good bend with only one set of hand moves (two for one again).  As a last shot I showed him how to use a loop in the bight to form the Truckers Hitch, for which he needed a Slipped Half Hitch.  With various bits of 550 cord he managed to get along without bungee cord or a cargo net.  His budget did not allow the traditional aluminium paniers and fancy luggage.  ::)
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: mchalkley on January 03, 2005, 04:18:03 AM
This is a very interesting and informative thread to me, albeit in a somewhat humorous way, in addition to the expected one.  I've learned that not all knot-tyers are "obsessive compulsive".  Now, I say that somewhat "tongue in cheek", but not completely - it's just that I find the notion of a person who sits around playing with new ways to connect rope to something (if only itself) - and isn't[/i] at least the "obsessive" part - a bit self-contradicting... ;D  As an admitted obsessive, I'd have to show him, at the very least:

Hunter's (bend) - And no, not using the method most books I've seen show that's much, much harder to tie.  I'd show him using the interlocking overhand and underhand loops method.  Very simple and almost foolproof - no deliberate capsizing necessary.

Alpine butterfly (loop in the bight) - Hard to get much simpler and more secure than this one.

Boom (hitch) - Hey, it's not that much harder than the others,  but look at the advantages...

Double dragon (end loop) - Hey, it's not that much harder than the others, but look at the advantages...  ;)

Midshipman's (sliding adjustable loop)

Ichabod's (sliding loop)

And, I don't know, while I was at it, I think I'd have to show him the Versatackle, since he already knows the butterfly and double dragon loops to make it with.

All that having been said, I like the idea of just showing him the figure-of-eight knots.  But no obsessive compulsive person could sleep at night, having shown him so little... :)

Mark
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: DaveRoot on January 03, 2005, 04:55:20 AM
I like the idea of sticking with a "family" of knots, but for me it's the Double Dragon family (Edit: This list was revised in a later post.):

End-of-line Loop: Double Dragon.

Mid-line Loop: Double Dragon.

Double Loop, Triple Loop: Double Double Dragon, Triple Double Dragon.


Hitch: Slipped Double Dragon.  When used as a hitch, the Double Dragon does not require tying an initial knot such as an Overhand Knot (e.g. the Alpine Butterfly) or a Figure-Eight Knot (e.g. the Rethreaded Figure-Eight Loop).

Hitch: Slide-and-grip knots are also useful as hitches, and I tend to prefer the Adjustable Grip Hitch over the Tautline (Midshipman's) or the Tarbuck.  The Sliding Sheet Bend (http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/explode.htm#4) is a nice slide-and-grip knot as well, because it is easy to tie, it can lock in place, and it "explodes" when the free end is pulled.  Haven't quite decided whether I prefer the Adjustable Grip Hitch or the Sliding Sheet Bend.


Bend: Double Dragon (imagine tying a small Double Dragon loop, then snipping the loop.  That's what the bend looks like).  In the same way, the Double Dragon can also be used to isolate a damaged section of rope.

Bend: I tend to prefer the Fisherman's Knot when security is not critical because it is simple to remember, simple to tie, and it results in a compact, nice-looking knot.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 03, 2005, 08:24:08 AM
Quote
I like the idea of sticking with a "family" of knots, but for me it's the Double Dragon family:

End-of-line Loop: Double Dragon.

Mid-line Loop: Double Dragon.

Double Loop, Triple Loop: Double Double Dragon, Triple Double Dragon.


Hitch: Slipped Double Dragon.  When used as a hitch, the Double Dragon does not require tying an initial knot such as an Overhand Knot (e.g. the Alpine Butterfly) or a Figure-Eight Knot (e.g. the Rethreaded Figure-Eight Loop).

Hitch: Slide-and-grip knots are also useful as hitches, and I tend to prefer the Adjustable Grip Hitch over the Tautline (Midshipman's) or the Tarbuck.  The Sliding Sheet Bend (http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/explode.htm#4) is a nice slide-and-grip knot as well, because it is easy to tie, it can lock in place, and it "explodes" when the free end is pulled.  Haven't quite decided whether I prefer the Adjustable Grip Hitch or the Sliding Sheet Bend.


Bend: Double Dragon (imagine tying a small Double Dragon loop, then snipping the loop.  That's what the bend looks like).  In the same way, the Double Dragon can also be used to isolate a damaged section of rope.

Bend: I tend to prefer the Fisherman's Knot when security is not critical because it is simple to remember, simple to tie, and it results in a compact, nice-looking knot.


The Double Dragon is unsuitable as a bend or a midline loop in rope if you wish to untie the rope after a heavy strain.  As I pointed out to Paul Kruse when he first asked about the Double Dragon Loop, it doesn't seem to jam as long as you don't pull on what is ordinarily the free end.  A midline loop pulls on this free end, as does what you show as a Double Dragon Bend.  The Fisherman's also has jamming issues.

As I mentioned in another thread, the Double Dragon Loop loses its moderate ease of tying (memorability) when tied around something before completing the knot.  

For better or worse, knots that end up being used by the general public must be fairly simple to remember for the average joe or they will be ignored.

Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Brian Grimley on January 03, 2005, 04:24:20 PM
mchalkley -

I share your good natured humor about this thread.  I loved and had a great laugh at Clyde Soles' description of the two extremes of knot tyers in his "The Outdoor Knots Book". One extreme with their "thingamajig" knot and the other extreme, "the knot obsessed", who might belong to the IGKT, with their arcane knots. I think that Clyde Soles effectively expresses the frustration of the middle group, who simply ask, "What knot should I use?".  Clyde Soles then answers that question with "practical knots" and the advantages and disadvantages of his selection.

I think that few of us can remember what it was like when we first tried to sort out the reef knot.  For me, it is like sorting out the construction and materials of the modern ropes that Clyde Soles covers so well in his book.  Sometimes, it is great to be reminded of how little we really know. Or, perhaps, to be reminded about how much there is left for us to learn!  ;D  I think it gives us a little empathy for the "middle group of knotters", who simply ask, "What knot should I use?"

Brian.  :)
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: DaveRoot on January 03, 2005, 07:01:56 PM
Quote
The Double Dragon is unsuitable as a bend or a midline loop in rope if you wish to untie the rope after a heavy strain.  As I pointed out to Paul Kruse when he first asked about the Double Dragon Loop, it doesn't seem to jam as long as you don't pull on what is ordinarily the free end.  A midline loop pulls on this free end, as does what you show as a Double Dragon Bend.

Hmmm...What's the consensus on the jamming issues with the Alpine Butterfly?  It used to be my "family of choice," except for that pesky Overhand Knot which needs to be tied when using the Alpine Butterfly as a hitch.  There are obviously other good hitches which that "average person" might learn, but sticking with a family of knots would seem to help with the issue of remembering how to tie useful knots in the various categories.  I only found one post in this forum concerning the Alpine Butterfly jamming (http://www.igkt.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=news;action=display;num=1084141552;start=0), but the post points out that it was a single test using one type of rope.


Anyone have any test data or thoughts on the Sliding Sheet Bend (http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/explode.htm#4) as a slide-and-grip knot?  The locking and "exploding" features are nice, but I sometimes find it awkward when trying to unlock the knot, then slide it up or down the rope, then re-lock it.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: DaveRoot on January 03, 2005, 07:04:52 PM
Quote

Hunter's (bend) - And no, not using the method most books I've seen show that's much, much harder to tie.  I'd show him using the interlocking overhand and underhand loops method.  Very simple and almost foolproof - no deliberate capsizing necessary.

Boom (hitch) - Hey, it's not that much harder than the others,  but look at the advantages...

Ichabod's (sliding loop)

Mark, what's the Boom Hitch and the Ichabod's sliding loop?  And what's your simple method for tying the Hunter's Bend?
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: PatDucey on January 03, 2005, 07:31:20 PM
I have often felt that the eight "Boy Scout Knots" are perhaps the most usefull all-around knots.  There are many websites that have excellent teaching proceedures.  The trick is knowing when to use which knot for the job at hand.

Patrick
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 03, 2005, 09:13:49 PM
Quote

Hmmm...What's the consensus on the jamming issues with the Alpine Butterfly?  It used to be my "family of choice," except for that pesky Overhand Knot which needs to be tied when using the Alpine Butterfly as a hitch.  There are obviously other good hitches which that "average person" might learn, but sticking with a family of knots would seem to help with the issue of remembering how to tie useful knots in the various categories.  I only found one post in this forum concerning the Alpine Butterfly jamming (http://www.igkt.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=news;action=display;num=1084141552;start=0), but the post points out that it was a single test using one type of rope.


Anyone have any test data or thoughts on the Sliding Sheet Bend (http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/explode.htm#4) as a slide-and-grip knot?  The locking and "exploding" features are nice, but I sometimes find it awkward when trying to unlock the knot, then slide it up or down the rope, then re-lock it.


Although the Butterfly Loop can jam, it's hard enough to accomplish this jamming that it's usually tolerated because of the Butterfly's simplicity.  The Butterfly won't jam if the loop is unloaded or if it is used in a bend form.  I wouldn't call it a jam-prone knot in other words.  If you do come across a jammed Butterfly Loop, you can make it easier to untie by pulling hard on the parent line while leaving the loop unloaded.

The Butterfly Loop is not a hitch.  Look through the Ashley Book of Knots to see examples of where the line is drawn on the "hitch" label.  Hitches usually collapse to the size of an object or at least have the potential to collapse to the size of the object to which they're attached.

I'm not overly impressed with the exploding knots.  The one you specifically mentioned can capsize after it slides to the object and therefore become difficult or impossible to release by pulling its "ripcord".
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 03, 2005, 09:41:08 PM
Quote

When does jamming [...] become a significant issue in which knot (bend, loop, hitch etc.) you select for a job? Is there a threshold for the load/breaking strength ratio? I have no idea. Would like to know though.

Brian.


Jamming seems to a function of a few different variables.  Here are some in no particular order:

1.  Strain applied.

2.  Material elasticity and probably its Poisson's Ratio which describes how much a materal shrinks laterally when pulled longitudinally.

3.  Friction, including if the rope is wet, since water is a lubricant.

4.  Knot geometry, of course.

Anything that allows a knot to store up spring energy inside itself will make a knot harder to untie.  If a lot of spring energy is stored up within it, there may be a lot of internal forces left in the knot even if you are able to force a few millimeters of rope into the jam.

Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Brian Grimley on January 03, 2005, 10:40:26 PM
Roo -
Re: different variables for jamming

Good points!  I am going to have to look up this Poisson's ratio. Thanks.

I can not help wondering if a knot can be labeled jamming independant of the rope, or the type of rope, in which it is tied.  Perhaps, a particular knot in a unsheathed spectra will not jam, while that knot will jam, with a vengence, in manila.

Just a thought, cheers - Brian.  

Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 03, 2005, 11:46:32 PM
Quote


The Double Dragon is unsuitable as a bend or a midline loop in rope if you wish to untie the rope after a heavy strain.  As I pointed out to Paul Kruse when he first asked about the Double Dragon Loop, it doesn't seem to jam as long as you don't pull on what is ordinarily the free end.  A midline loop pulls on this free end, as does what you show as a Double Dragon Bend.  The Fisherman's also has jamming issues.

As I mentioned in another thread, the Double Dragon Loop loses its moderate ease of tying (memorability) when tied around something before completing the knot.  

For better or worse, knots that end up being used by the general public must be fairly simple to remember for the average joe or they will be ignored.



I'm going to retract one aspect of my statement about the Double Dragon Loop Midline variant being jam prone.  While it is jam prone as a midline loop when the parent line is under tension, or when tied as a bend as Dave Root has depicted on his site, the Double Dragon Midline Loop variant doesn't seem to be jam prone when the loop is loaded and either the standing part is pulled by itself or when the loop is loaded and what is usually the free end is pulled by itself.  

In other words, the midline variant is OK when pulled on from one side only.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: mchalkley on January 04, 2005, 03:18:48 AM
Quote

Mark, what's the Boom Hitch and the Ichabod's sliding loop?  And what's your simple method for tying the Hunter's Bend?



Dave, the Boom Hitch is in most of Budworth's books.  It fact, it's on the cover of his "A Handbook of Knots and Knot Tying".

As for the "Ichabod" knot, there must be another name for it, because of its simplicity.  I got the name from John Shaw's "The Directory of Knots".  I'll look to see if I can find it under another name somewhere.  If you want to send me a private message with a fax number in it, I can fax you a diagram of each.

With regard to the alternate method of tying "Hunter's bend", I haven't seen this method in a book (as far as I can remember), but it's very simple:  (And please bear with my verbal instructions...)  1)  Make a clockwise overhand loop with the end in your left hand.  Now, assuming we call the side of the loop closest you, if you hold it vertically, the "front" of the loop  2)  Feed the end in your right hand through the loop from step one, starting from the front side  3)  Make a counter-clockwise underhand loop with the right hand end.  4)  Feed the right hand end through both loops from front to back.  5)  Feed the left hand end through both loops from back to front.  6)  Draw tight by pulling on all four parts.  Can you tie it using this description, or should I try again?

Mark
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: DaveRoot on January 04, 2005, 03:20:33 AM
Okay, if the Alpine Butterfly is reasonably resistant to jamming, then here's a second pass:

Mid-line loop: Alpine Butterfly.

End-of-line loop: Alpine Butterfly.
End-of-line loop: Bowline.  Almost seems like a crime not to teach our neighbor the "King of Knots"!  ;D

Double and triple loops: Alpine Butterfly variations.

Bend: Alpine Butterfly Bend (looks like an Alpine Butterfly, but with the loop cut).  Is this the "straight bend" that Roy described on page 1 of this thread?  Edit: In "The Complete Book of Knots," Geoffrey Budworth mentioned that the damaged area of a rope can be isolated by tying an Alpine Butterfly around it (p.86).  This would seem to be another confirmation of the strength of the Alpine Butterfly Bend, considering that a length of rope can't get much more damaged than being cut through.

Hitch: Adjustable Grip Hitch or Tautline Hitch.  They can be snugged up to the object like a proper hitch, plus they have the advantages that slide-and-grip knots provide.

Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: DaveRoot on January 04, 2005, 04:49:12 AM
Quote
With regard to the alternate method of tying "Hunter's bend", I haven't seen this method in a book (as far as I can remember), but it's very simple:  (And please bear with my verbal instructions...)  1)  Make a clockwise overhand loop with the end in your left hand.  Now, assuming we call the side of the loop closest you, if you hold it vertically, the "front" of the loop  2)  Feed the end in your right hand through the loop from step one, starting from the front side  3)  Make a counter-clockwise underhand loop with the right hand end.  4)  Feed the right hand end through both loops from front to back.  5)  Feed the left hand end through both loops from back to front.  6)  Draw tight by pulling on all four parts.  Can you tie it using this description, or should I try again?


Thanks Mark, that sounds essentially like this, right?
http://www.layhands.com/knots/Knots_Bends.htm#HuntersBend.  
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: mchalkley on January 04, 2005, 05:02:31 AM
Quote


Thanks Mark, that sounds essentially like this, right?
http://www.layhands.com/knots/Knots_Bends.htm#HuntersBend.  



Yes, exactly like that, except that I described it with the under- and over-hand loops on the opposite sides...  Obviously, you already thought that was an easier way to tie it.  ;D

Mark
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan Lehman on January 05, 2005, 01:17:14 AM
Way back, I submitted the following article on this topic for publication
in KM; that hasn't happened, obviously.
I'd post it here, but for the (&^%^#$) mystical msg. limit that keeps
posts to soundbite size; grrrrr!  So, let's see what bits can  be given
separately, w/o great loss of thought.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

                  Setting About Knotting

This article addresses the issue of a "basic knots set", which has
been raised by several prior articles to some degree.  To my mind, it
is an ideal task for the IGKT to draw upon the collective expertise
of its membership and by consensus build some knot sets to be promoted
to the appropriate users.  This issue was most recently raised by
Howard Denyer's & Colin's requests for comments (KMs 68:45, 69:04) on
the "Surrey Six" (km65:06ff), which I hope garner many contributions.
A similar issue was raised earlier by Peter Goldstone's challenge of
the six "Tenderfoot" knots at the 1996 Gilwell Park AGM (km53:32).
Two replies to Peter were published, and both he and Tony Doran offered
to receive further comments and to publish results (km57:62); but
nothing more was published.  This current focus on the scouts-knots
issue is good (overdue!).  It's especially good to address the knots
taught to scouts, as thus the IGKT can build its reputation with large
organizations who reach the youth--our future--; this should become an
*official* IGKT task, with healthy deliberation and peer review.

I suggest that we also extend our deliberations to cover other
various users' needs, beyond consideration of "6 scouts knots";
i.e., let's focus on the scouts issue and come to consensus, but
continue the deliberations to try to build some other basic sets
--e.g., for sailing, climbing, and Search & Rescue (SAR).  To the
objection that each field has its own experts and can better determine
its own needs, I simply point to extant sets and ask Can they be
improved?  I believe that they can.  And, re the scouts, we might
want to also suggest something beyond a required or "basic" set,
for those with an interest to pursue knotting beyond the minumal set
(there is presently such a request by an American scout master--cf
www.folsoms.net/knots).

Finally, of my introductory thoughts, I suggest that we try to
define not merely a set of *knots* but rather a set of "solutions to
rope problems" (to borrow Peiter van de Griend terms).  Let us give
particular applications to the knots presented, which will help
novices understand the knot; let us describe some rigging paradigms.
And also, let's increase the comprehension of knots with an explanation
of their constituent parts--such as the effect of a round turn (on an
object or within a knot, e.g. double sheet bend)--and how to UNtie them.
Like teaching fishing instead of merely providing fish, let's teach
knotting in explaining the knots in our knot sets;  let's seize a good
opportunity for the IGKT to gain recognition as "an authority on knots."

   ---------------------------------------------------------
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan Lehman on January 05, 2005, 01:22:06 AM
[Well, that was rather more than a mere "sound bite"; but there's more.  :-]

---------------------------------------------------------------------

                  Setting About Knotting
   ---------------------------------------------------------

The immediate issue is the challenge--express or implicit--to the (an?)
old, six "Tenderfoot Knots" (the reef bend, clove hitch, sheepshank,
bowline, round-turn & 2 half-hitches (RT&2HH), and sheet bend).  As
these knots are parts of other knot sets, one can see the challenge
applying more broadly as well.  Peter's concerns re these knots were
only summarily reported, but include a recognition that they don't
behave well in synthetic ropes.  Howard states that the S6 resulted
from similar concerns, and were chosen after deliberation by interested
& experienced members of the IGKT Surrey branch.  It would be good to
learn of their specific rationales, as Tony asks (km66:46).

What do we know of the Tenderfoot knots?  We might call part of them
the Fundamental Four (bowline, clove hitch, reef knot, & RT&2HH), as
these knots appear in a great many knot sets.  The S6 departs from
tradition in omitting the clove & reef, retaining only the RT&2HH
and bowline.  The Tenderfoot set also includes the sheepshank & sheet
bend; the S6 retains the latter.  (Among some sets used by the Boy
Scouts of America (cf km50:30), the timber and tautline/rolling hitches
are used.  But I see NO required set in the BSA Guide 10th edition!?)

In defense of the Tenderfoot knots, Mike Lucas observed (km55:07)
that the bowline is one of the best known and most used knots aboard
boats, quite the opposite of the fig.8 loop.  His criticism of the
latter as needing a back-up knot for security is wrong--it needs it
arguably less than the bowline.  But he should have remarked
about untying the knots after a load:  the fig.8 can jam.  And then
there are my own observations at km66:11 about the "slop" in how
the fig.8 knots are tied (the S6 presents them ambiguously, as do
most sources).  Mike cited uses for the clove hitch.  Still, it has
shortcomings, liable to slip under load or sometimes--depending on
the nature of the rope & object--jam.  Will a constrictor adequately
meet those applications?  I think that it does meet some, though it
might seem an awkward alternative.  The RT&2HH, faulted by Peter for
slipping, but retained in the S6, can be simply secured by an extra
"HH" (suggested by Mike & R.C. Taylor's book, "Knowing the Ropes"--but
questioned by Budworth's review (km45:24)).  What other way to secure
a line under tension--a rolling hitch?  The sheet bend is retained,
and the S6 wisely includes the "double" version; there are other
versions of this, such as ABOK#488.  For the sheepshank, there is
little support other than tradition.  (I've read of a scout master's
thinking it a good decorative lesson.)  And for the reef knot, Mike
cites its maritime use in reefing sails.  In an unrelated letter
(km58:21), Paul Evans cited the British Merchant Marine's REQUIREMENT
that ropes of equal size be joined with a reef bend!  We've all seen
the parroted admonitions against this, yet there remains much
documentation to promote this use:  well, where then are all of the
alleged catastrophies from its use?!  Scouts use it in tying bandages.
But it tests poorly for strength, can jam hard in some ropes or fail
to hold in others, and can snag (if not also capsize upon snagging).
The fact is that the reef knot is often presented as a bend and so
learned (though I note that the BSA guide warns against this).  The
general population uses it on shoes; sailors use it to reef sails;
should scouts learn it as a basic knot?

[...]
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan Lehman on January 05, 2005, 01:28:45 AM
[Well, down in three, methinks!]

---------------------------------------------------------------------

                  Setting About Knotting
[...]
This last point raises a question:  what should we assume about
the knot-knowledge of the intended audience for a knot set?  E.g.,
should we presume that such things as tying off a plastic trash or
produce bag with a reef or overhand knot is common knowledge?  It's
something I do without thinking--usually with a slipped overhand.
Yet neither the S6 nor the Tenderfoot knots includes the overhand
knot.  Maybe such applications are deemed less important.  But
maybe we're silently assuming such knowledge; let's expose
assumptions.

The fundamental consideration in building a knot set is  p u r p o s e:
what expected needs must the knots meet?  One must know the intended
applications:  under what circumstances and in what materials will the
knots be tied, and what are the conditions of use?  Is the set to give
sufficient capability--or a fundamental building blocks to a larger set?
Is there a need for a knot from each class?  Is the set perhaps to be a
small, easily learned intro to knots?  If there isn't so much a focus
on particular uses, but exposure to knots in general that's desired,
then the lack of a *pull-together* knot such as the fisherman's bend
(and I mean "bend", not a hitch!) misses one interesting knot mechanism.

Among the possible (but not always necessary) qualities wanted in a
knot might be:  ease of tying, integrity when slack, security under
load, strength, and ease of untying.  (Charles Warner lists some
qualities in km41:22.)  NB: It is NOT the case that such qualities are
always good--e.g., anglers don't want ease of untying usually, and will
sacrifice ease of tying for great strength & security; for other
applications ease of tying or ease of untying are critical.  A knot set
might try to provide most of these qualities, with various knots; or it
might contain knots that all have a few of the same qualities.

Knots can behave remarkably differently in different media:  a rope's
size, flexibility, and surface qualities (including structure--laid
or braided) determine a knot's effect; tape, with its flat cross
section, is quite structurally different than round rope.  Rope can be
silky, slippery soft, or agedly frictive and stiff; it can be steel-like
inelastic or stretchy.  And even with the same qualities, in proportion
to diameter, relative to manual strength large and very small dia.s can
make differences (e.g., it won't be a man who realizes the elasticity of
a mooring hawser!).

In the particular S6 case, we should also ask "Why 'Six'?", as this
is a small number for covering the potential uses of rope & other
knottable media!  There are as many different classes and even more
functions of knots:  hitches, bends, loops, stoppers, binders, &
network (e.g., net knots); and then there are ring, spar, pile, sliding
hitches, and bends for same or unequal ropes; there are single and
multiple-loop loop knots.  (Tony enumerates nine potential general
functions at km57:63.)

So, why "Six"?  Howard states that this number was based on a survey
of how many of 15 scouts knots a large gathering of scouts recognized
--"on average, they could recognise 6 knots" (km68:45).  But note that
the S6 is actually comprises 9 knots: for the "fig.8" comprises a
stopper, loop, bend, and "hitch"[*nb*]; and both the single & double sheet
bends are given.  So, even the S6 exceeds "six"; let it grow.
(*nb* The S6's fig.8 "hitch" is a loop + RT; but it could show the real
fig.8 hitch--i.e. ABOK #1666, a minimal timber hitch.)

[...]
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan Lehman on January 05, 2005, 01:33:13 AM
[okay, four]

---------------------------------------------------------------------

                  Setting About Knotting  (part 4 of 4)
[...]
It might be that indeed one reasonable approach is to introduce
the fig.8 structure in its full glory--as it can be:  a quick hitch,
a slip loop, a (strong) loop, a double loop (in a few variations),
a bend (in a few variations, too!), a stopper, a middle loop (which
implies one of the bend variations), a bag closure, and even a binder
(yes! --at least in frictive rope).  Not only that, but it works
fairly well in tape, a flat medium, in some of the above uses.
But we mustn't confuse having one topological form with simplicity:
manifesting the fig.8 into the various forms above will sometimes be
as challenging as learning a different knot.  However, some of these
forms DO exhibit an efficiency in knot knowledge:  the Fig.8 bend,
loops, & stopper are similar structures.

In this discussion and esp. on the point of "Why Six?", consider
km38:18, where Bill Marshall enumerates the knotting requirements for
Girl Guide Knotter badge--lest we put our male scouts in a state of
inferiority.  This Girl Guide set is in four "levels", starting with
9, adding 10, and ultimately numbering around thirty; they also
specify various tying methods and uses.  The IGKT should be able
to design this sort of progressive learning (esp. those who favored
some sort of IGKT competence/badge program!).  And while I don't wish
to further gender sterotyping, it occurs to me that girls might be more
inclined to (also) engage in decorative knot work--to craft bracelets,
mats, etc. (which recognizes the breadth of knotting).

Let me argue for at least one particular knot.  Most knot sets with
which I'm familiar lack a fully decent bend; often, it is only the
reef and sheet bends that are given, and they aren't always so strong,
secure, and easy to untie as desired.  Some sets include the Carrick
bend, but the collapsed carrick can be insecure absent tension.
There are some interlocked overhand bends that are derivable from it
that are quite good:  the bend that Harry Asher named "shakehands"
(its structure evident in ABOK#1048), and the "Ashley bend", #1452.
This latter knot can be tied with its collars* a bit loose such that
they ride up around and bind against the knot body, enhancing security;
or they can be drawn tighter, for a more easily untied knot.  Either
form appears to be strong, though I know of no test data for it.
Sadly, C.L.Day published an awkward tying method for it (like that
done for SmitHunter's bend (#1425a)), which has been propagated by
others.  Alas, it's really a simple knot to tie by first tying one
rope into an overhand and then reeving the other end in appropriately
--which is also a way to ensure proper orientation of the ends!

Charles Warner privately took strong exception to my recommendation,
on the grounds that #1452 is unknown.  Why keep it so?  And to what
benefit is it to use known but grossly inferior knots?  And how well
does the general public--and even some in the specialied fields
cited above--know ANY knot?  There is evidence to suggest that
prior knowledge shouldn't be a big concern.

   --------------------------------------------------------

I hope that I've stirred IGKT members' minds with my discussion.
Knots sets are developed by various users over time, with varying
degrees of deliberation.  The changes in knottable media has led to
changes in many of these sets.  A group of people with keen
interests in knots, such as the IGKT, should be helpful in devising
sets of knots appropriate to modern needs & materials.  Let us be so!

======================================================================
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Brian Grimley on January 05, 2005, 06:37:27 PM
Dan,  

What an excellent article! You have certainly stirred my mind! The issues you raise require some serious and careful thought. Your thoughts on applications struck a chord (or is it cord? :)) with me.  

Below, I am trying to help us define the "boundaries" or limits within which our advice is valid. These boundaries exist whether we recognize them or not.

How can one suggest one knot over others without an idea of the knot's application?  I would suggest, simply classifying a knot as a binding knot or as a bend is not sufficient. Examples of the present or past use of a knot would help define the strength, security and stability requirements of that knot and of its application. This may be a basis for suggested change. Otherwise, choose the knot you prefer.

How can one suggest one knot over others without understanding the user's intangible criteria for that knot? Some choose knots as a basic for developing knotting skills, some for appearance, some for speed of tying, some for tradition, and some for a combination of the above.  I would suggest these might help define some knot sets. (If you are correct that Girl Guides are attracted to decorative knots, one might be remiss not to give Boy Scouts skills in decorative knotting. Naturally, the opposite also holds true.  :))

It seems that many calls for changing knots cite the different properties of modern ropes. How can one validly suggest one knot over others without explicitly addressing the material used in the application? This may define knot sets.

It seems to me, if one is using descriptive terms for knots, for example, security, stability, strength and jamming, it is then necessary to define these terms. Best would be a quantitative definition. If that is not possible, there needs to be an agreed qualitative definition.  And, a glossary needs to be available to the reader of the advice.

Many modern ropes have a defined maximum working load. Loads (static plus dynamic) over this load increase the possibility that the rope will permanently change both structurally and chemically. Are we suggesting knots with characteristics within this maximum working load? Alternatively, are we suggesting knots with characteristics to the breaking strength of the rope? At the extremes, loads can be static or dynamic. Are we including this in our knot preferences?

One may ask many more questions. Most questions arise by looking at the knot's applications. These questions are not asked in an attempt to invalidate a knot's preference; but, to help us identify the boundaries within which our preference or advice is valid. Otherwise, one can always say, "Yes, but what if ...!"

I support Dan's suggestion of choosing a defined set of knots, for example, knots in scouting, and use it to develop an understanding of how preferred knots will be chosen. I might suggest the first step would be building a list of all present and historical uses of the each knot in scouting knots. Further, the Burden of Proof is on those advocating change to show that the change is not change for fashion or change sake.

I look forward to comments,
Brian.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Breton on January 06, 2005, 08:38:19 PM
My first posting - Hi, everybody ...

Based on experiences with soldiers, farmers and garage owners, most of whom wish to tie awkward lumps of metal onto trailers or such, my vote would go to:

1) a Bowline to secure one end to the trailer (perhaps as a running bowline),
2) a Clove Hitch (in the bight) around at least one part of the item to be secured, and
3) a Rolling (tautline) hitch to secure the other end and haul everything down tight.

This generally leaves us with 50 feet of oily, muddy cordage to stow securely.  A coil with a Strangle knot all round it can be weaved through when forming the tautline hitch and slipped over some convenient handle, thermostat housing etc.  Not elegant, but a useful combination.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: DaveRoot on January 06, 2005, 08:54:07 PM
Quote
I hope that I've stirred IGKT members' minds with my discussion.
Knots sets are developed by various users over time, with varying
degrees of deliberation.  The changes in knottable media has led to
changes in many of these sets.  A group of people with keen
interests in knots, such as the IGKT, should be helpful in devising
sets of knots appropriate to modern needs & materials.  Let us be so!

Wonderful article, it will be fascinating to watch the progress as knot sets are defined and refined!


Quote
How can one suggest one knot over others without an idea of the knot's application?  I would suggest, simply classifying a knot as a binding knot or as a bend is not sufficient. Examples of the present or past use of a knot would help define the strength, security and stability requirements of that knot and of its application. ...

Many modern ropes have a defined maximum working load. Loads (static plus dynamic) over this load increase the possibility that the rope will permanently change both structurally and chemically. Are we suggesting knots with characteristics within this maximum working load? Alternatively, are we suggesting knots with characteristics to the breaking strength of the rope? At the extremes, loads can be static or dynamic. Are we including this in our knot preferences?

One may ask many more questions.

I can foresee some type of "user interface" (such as a Web application) in which a person would be able to select from various lists of criteria such as type of rope, type of use (hitch, bend, etc.), categories of applications (climbing, sailing, farming, etc.), with further refinement within categories, and so on.  The result of these choices would be suggestions of knots which are likely to be appropriate based on the given criteria.  Ideally (in my opinion), such an interface would provide some descriptive rationale as to why the suggested knots might be appropriate, along with the pros and cons of using each knot.  This interface would potentially be quite helpful to a large group of people not addressed in Dan's article: All of the "average, everyday people" out there who are hoisting, tying, towing, hitching, and binding with a limited understanding of the issues and dangers involved.

This would be quite an enjoyable, though perhaps unrealistic, project to do, and I have thought of working on a rudimentary prototype.  But as they say...so many knots, so little time!
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: DaveRoot on January 07, 2005, 09:20:56 PM
Quote
If you want to send me a private message with a fax number in it, I can fax you a diagram of each.

Mark, did you receive my fax #?  If not, check my profile and send me an email.  Thx!
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: mchalkley on January 07, 2005, 10:58:38 PM
Quote

Mark, did you receive my fax #?  If not, check my profile and send me an email.  Thx!



No, I didn't, Dave, but I just sent you an e-mail.

Mark
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan Lehman on January 08, 2005, 05:50:32 AM
Quote
the Boom Hitch is in most of Budworth's books.
As for the "Ichabod" knot, there must be another name for it, ...æI got the name from John Shaw's "The Directory of Knots".

Both are Budworth--"Shaw" is pseudonym.
---------------------------------------

Quote
... you recognize that your neighbor is only looking for some useful, general-purpose,around-the-house-and-yard information about knots.

And here's what's come up from various posters to answer the problem (with my
additions marked by '+' at the bottom of each set; and items in parenthesis are
things only implied or mused):

Bend:
Rosendahl's (Zeppelin) Bend
SmitHunterÍs Bend
Fig.8 Bend
Fisherman's Knot
Dbl.Dragon-derived (end-loaded) Bend
(Fig.8 Fisherman's?)
((Offset Fig.8 Bend?))
((OJ's Interlocked Fig.8 Bend?))
+ Sheet/Dbl.Sheet Bends
+ SquaREef Knot

End Loop:
Bowline, plus the Dbl.Bwl or a Water Bwl.
Rosendahl's Zep. Loop
Dbl.Dragon
Fig.8 loopknot
+ Half-Hitched Bwl

Mid-Line Loop:
Butterfly
(Overhand)
((Fig.8?))
+ Dbl.Bwl (#1074) [for inlineuses (what else would there be?!)]

Double Loop:
Fig.8 Dbl.Loop
Dbl.Dragon Dble/Trbl.Loop
+ Dbl.Bwl (#1074)

Hitch:
Slipped Buntline is fine, but so is
(a good) Timber H. ["good" might = #1669!]
Boom H. (#1687)
Fig.8 H. [whichway?]
+2HH (w/RTurn or not)
+Clove H.
+Rolling H.(w/stopper)

Stopper:
Fig.8
Overhand
+Ashley's (#526)

Noose:
IchabodÍs (#1123)

Friction H.:
MidshipmanÍs H.
Tautline H.
+Rolling H. (#1734)
(+Blake's [ProhGrip] H.)

KnotStructure:
Versatackle
+Combined HH & Rolling H.

"Slipped Loop": [?? What's (the point of) this?]

Miscellaneous Other:
Packer's Knot
Constrictor Binder
+Stangle Knot
+Common Whipping (version)
+French Whipping

We some favorite-knot advocacies (!) here--Rosendahl's, Dbl.Drgn, Fig.8, Oh.--,
which I think go beyond practicality.  Applying arguably a single knot form such
as the Fig.8 into some particular knot for each functional class isn't as easy as
it might nominally sound (it's esp. a reach in my citing a binderuse!).
And it leaves open what variant of bend & hitch are intended:  one can make offset
or pull-together (i.e., like the Fisherman's) bends with it, or an interlocked knot
(like #1452) as "OJ" has advanced in rec.crafts.knots, and of course there is the
usual traceknot commonly shown by this name; qua hitch, there is the minimal
Timber H. version (#1824), but also some none-"snug" (Ashley's term) hitches like the
Overhand form in #1825, a sort of noose-hitch.

[END PART I OF II --ARGH, THIS MSG. LIMIT!*^%&$]-:
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan Lehman on January 08, 2005, 06:00:55 AM
[PART II of II  (DaveR--nb ABOK #s for Boom/Ichabod in Part I)]

But what rope problemsdo these proposed basic knot sets anticipate?  --clearly NOT
tying shoes!  So, perhaps the neighbor came over well shod.  But how many times is one
going to be wanting to tie Rosendahl's bend vs. a SquaREef or Sheet Bend, which both are
simpler?  What do you gain from the more cumbersome fiddling of a Dbl.Dragon over the
quickly tied Bwl?

In none of the sets suggested by others did I see a way to tie off a load under some
tension other than the Tautline H./Midshipman's H.; 2HH or RT&2HH is a pretty common
& venerable knot for that.  (The presentation of TlH/MdspH it typically really of an
adjustable loopknotand one should better be providing just the *knot* part that
does the work, and which can do work on other than its own medium!)  I'm assuming that
by "<MdspH>" one intends the 2nd-turn-jammed-into-1st version; books show various things
for this name.  Some studies suggest that this form is less effective (than #1734).
A Clove H. can also serve here, backed-up with a stopper or 3rd HH, or a Clove on its
SPart (i.e., "2HH").

I included whippings because, dang it, one too often sees the ends of ropes unraveling,
for want of such a simple treatment--which, yes, could come from tape.  But the Common
Whipping mechanism of wrapping a bight that then nips securely an end can be applied
more broadly (with some imagination), so it's worth presenting this.
As for the French Whippin, that extends use of the Clove H., showing
broader binding application.

Btw, my "+Stangle Knot" of course => 'Strangle'.  This knot I see useful in
various ways, though many functions are addressed also by some of
the other knots.  It's helpful to give a secure knot to back-upanother knot,
e.g. in tying off something w/slippery-springy PP rope (or to make
a surer stopper in such)--e.g., RT&2HH + Strangle.

On the "mid-line loop", I question exactly what one is anticipating here?  If it's the
use of a loop to build a MA leveraging structure (Trucker's/Wagoner's H.), then it's an
inlineloop function, to which the Butterfly is an awkward solution; the Inline
Fig.10 might be the most robust, for some heavier uses where end-2-end loading absent
eye loading might occur.  But for quick Trucker's H. building, borrowing on the Bwl's
quick tying & untying seems best.  Where that Sheepshank-like common knot might seem
a bit TOO quick & unstable, the simple further tucking of the end bight to make #1074
removes all doubt, and provides additional material at the wear point (dbl.eye).
(There are some single Bwl-in-bight that can work here.)  Heck, just an Overhand or
Fig.8 loopknot works as well--they're pretty non-jamming in an offsetorientation.

Quote
... I think it is of most use to most people to know a good binding knot ...

DRJBrennan, what common/frequent uses do you find for the Constrictor? (I find use for it, or for
its cognate doubled version, #1253 (no, not the one most books show, which is #1252), as a whipping;
but I donÕt use it much.)

Quote from: PABPres
Constrictor (as binding, midloop and end loop)

Sorry, but this doesnÕt compute: the Constrictor is a binder, not a loop.
Do you mean #1045, as results from an inchoate in-the-bight Constrictor form?

--dl*
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 08, 2005, 08:33:30 AM
Just a couple random thoughts:

One of the reasons a Butterfly Loop is so popular is that unlike some (many) inline loops, you don't even have to think about which way it needs to be oriented after you tie it.   It's not really tough to tie, either.

Also, part of the reason for teaching a secure bend versus a sheet bend for your neighbor's alleged backyard use is that your neighbor isn't limited to his backyard and will use his limited array of knots everywhere.  If this theoretical person insists on knowing just one bend, it's not unreasonable to give him one that works in the most situations, so that when he ties on an extra line to his buddy's crab trap, he doesn't lose it.

Just a few weeks ago, I was working out with a rope sling attached to some cable equipment that I thought would probably be "good enough" with a quick sheet bend.  Well, in nice, big, soft nylon rope, the bend rolled around a handle and popped apart.  No harm done, but I don't use it for that anymore.  :)

I could be over-estimating novices' abilities, but once you see the symmetry of a Rosendahl bend and know the "b" and "q" memory trick, for example, it's hard to forget.  After that, why save a good knot for only special occasions?

I think such theoretical, open-ended questions will always cause a wide range of solutions with various rationales because the problem is fuzzy, not well-defined, with the limits of how many knot types and functions unclear.

In the end, it's a little like arguing over how music could be best represented with the least amount of songs.  Good luck! :-/
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: knudeNoggin on January 11, 2005, 09:37:28 PM
Quote
One of the reasons a Butterfly Loop is so popular is that unlike some (many) inline loops, you don't even have to think about which way it needs to be oriented after you tie it.   It's not really tough to tie, either.

Or the Farmer's Loopknot, which has that fun dance of a tying method!
It might better resist jamming than the Butterfly (YMMV), too.

Quote
Also, part of the reason for teaching a secure bend versus a sheet bend for your neighbor's alleged backyard use is that your neighbor isn't limited to his backyard and will use his limited array of knots everywhere.

This is an excellent point!  There is some evidence that knots of an
offset nature used for abseil-ropes (e.g. "EDK") can become quite
unstable in stiffer ropes.  If one learns it only in a flexible rope,
and without caveats, the consequences can be bad!

Quote
the "b" and "q" memory trick, for example,

Ah, yes, that's a good one!  (If only it could be "pdq"!)

Quote
I think such theoretical, open-ended questions will always cause a wide range of solutions with various rationales because the problem is fuzzy, not well-defined, with the limits of how many knot types and functions unclear.

The problem's not all so impractical, is it?  We have all such  acquaintances.

About the "how many", that was discuss a little somewher by those
who originated the Surrey Six.  Their number was small on account
of fears that more would overwhelm learners.
But there is some binding strength to learning enough knots
to be able to see similarities, and to also learn sorts of changes
and structures that give rise to the different knots.  Another
thread in this Forum e.g. discusses extensions to the common
Bowline.  And there is hint about how odd it is for books to present
the Tarbuck Knot as some great invention when it should be
obvious to the eye that it is a variation on the old Rolling Hitch
(or Tautline--whatever you call it).

It is a worthwhile topic, endeavor!

*knudeNoggin*
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 11, 2005, 09:55:43 PM
Quote
.Or the Farmer's Loopknot, which has that fun dance of a tying method!
It might better resist jamming than the Butterfly (YMMV), too.


Gosh, I'll have to re-visit the Farmer's Loop.  I seem to recall avoiding it because I had problems with it being a pain to untie.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: knudeNoggin on January 12, 2005, 05:01:53 AM
Quote
Gosh, I'll have to re-visit the Farmer's Loop.  I seem to recall avoiding it because I had problems with it being a pain to untie.

As I wrote, "YMMV".  One end enters the knot to nip the opposite
end and part of the knot, and the opposite end nips the legs of the
eye.  Loaded with the eye slack, the bight around the first end should
be loose enough to enable untying.  With the eye loaded against this
end, that bight ("collar") again should exist.  But, like those parts
in the Butterfly, loading the other side can tighten this bight (if the end
is not loaded to hold it out).  However, then there should be some
play with the bight around the eye legs.

I don't doubt that it might become difficult, as you know, given some
hard loading in certain ropes.   (And I thought like you, but  on some
further play and consideration, found it not so bad.   YMMV :-)

*knudeNoggin*
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on January 12, 2005, 08:44:51 AM
Quote

As I wrote, "YMMV".  One end enters the knot to nip the opposite
end and part of the knot, and the opposite end nips the legs of the
eye.  Loaded with the eye slack, the bight around the first end should
be loose enough to enable untying.  With the eye loaded against this
end, that bight ("collar") again should exist.  But, like those parts
in the Butterfly, loading the other side can tighten this bight (if the end
is not loaded to hold it out).  However, then there should be some
play with the bight around the eye legs.

I don't doubt that it might become difficult, as you know, given some
hard loading in certain ropes.   (And I thought like you, but  on some
further play and consideration, found it not so bad.   YMMV :-)

*knudeNoggin*


Upon a quick revisting of the Farmer's Loop, its ease of untying seems OK, so perhaps it was some instability in slick, springy rope that gave me misgivings.  It was a long time ago.  
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Jimbo on May 01, 2005, 07:46:10 PM
Hi all!

Knot to haul up an old thread (as I notice these threads tend to fray & fall behind), but re: the Farmer's Loop, I must post this:

When I follow the directions I can find for it (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Farmer%27s+Loop+knot) (knot owning an ABOK), it resembles a small handful of midline loops (I call 'em "Dropper Loops" because I mainly use 'em fishing) I started learning before I settled on the Alpine Butterfly...  You've seen them, they all start with "throw three turns around your hand, then weave this one over/under/around that one then ..."

Anyway, when I tie the Farmer's, I get a loop that fails when I pull on the working parts.  No, I don't think I misread the instructions, nor do I think I just had a "brain fart" repeatedly.  The loop part gets pulled directly through the knot by one of the working ends.  Okay, I admit the loop should be serving it's purpose, but I don't always load loops as the ends are being pulled.  I'm guessing if you used the loop to haul the ends it should be okay, but why not a Pile Hitch in that case??  I'll be the first to admit I don't always "get it", hence my insistence on sticking with knots, hitches, loops, & bends I've tied myself & used successfully in the past &/or have personally tested to failure...  If I die at the end of a rope, I do not want to leave someone saying "I shoulda learnt that knot Uncle Jimbo kept trying to show me!"  Better they should say "Awww, he wasn't such a knot geek after all!"

As soon as I can, though, to be fair, I'll kill another one of my pets by drawing & quartering it with pickup trucks, having carefully (carefully) laid in the best Farmer's Loop I can.

Okay, apologies in advance for "dissing" someone's pet loop, but you won't ever, EVER see my favorite gluteus maximus hanging from one of these!!
Title: d it.Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: KnotNow! on May 01, 2005, 10:35:57 PM
Hi Jimbo,  You sure are exploring the old threads.  Good man.  The farmers loop (I know you have no ABOK) is ABOK #2565 and to quote the text "Three loops may be taken with soft cord around the left forefinger."  I think CWA was offering it as a twine knot as was the Cornell University Bulletin which he credits for the first publication.  I actually knew a farmer who used it!  The ever present bailer twine on the farm is about the right stuff for this loop.  I'd not be using in in life support context, greatly prefering the Alpine Butterfly.  I am not sure the nip is right for monofilament.  Might be ok as a fishing drop loop.  I think the attraction is the easy way of tieing it.  Even I can remember it from one seldom usage to the next.  The fact that CWA put it in the chapter with tricks and puzzles might be a clue as to his thoughts on it?
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan Lehman on May 02, 2005, 10:04:29 AM
Quote
Hi all!

Knot to haul up an old thread (as I notice these threads tend to fray & fall behind), but re: the Farmer's Loop, I must post this:
...  No, I don't think I misread the instructions, nor do I think I just had a "brain fart" repeatedly.  The loop part gets pulled directly through the knot by one of the working ends.

Clearly you mistied the knot, and mistook good instructions if that they
were.  A general verbal description of how to move each of those three
turns over one's hand is as follows:  lift the center turn over one side
turn; then lift that side-now-in-center turn over the opposite side turn;
now lift that opp.-side-now-in-center turn over its (present) opp.-side
turn (which is the original center turn); finally, the orig. center turn
now being back in the center, draw out this center turn as the knot's
eye.  It certainly does NOT lead directly to either end.

Or, as described for a specific order of jumps:
"Take three turns of the rope round your hand, then:
1. Move center part (b) over right part.
2. Move new center part (c) over left part.
3. Move new center part (a) over right part. [NEW C. => ORIG. C. THUSLY]
4. Pull new center part (b) up to form the loop
5. For most satisfying results, remove hand before fairing or loading knot."

--dl*
====
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on May 02, 2005, 09:17:29 PM
Quote
Hi all!

Knot to haul up an old thread (as I notice these threads tend to fray & fall behind), but re: the Farmer's Loop, I must post this:

When I follow the directions I can find for it (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Farmer%27s+Loop+knot) (knot owning an ABOK), it resembles a small handful of midline loops (I call 'em "Dropper Loops" because I mainly use 'em fishing) I started learning before I settled on the Alpine Butterfly...  You've seen them, they all start with "throw three turns around your hand, then weave this one over/under/around that one then ..."

Anyway, when I tie the Farmer's, I get a loop that fails when I pull on the working parts.  No, I don't think I misread the instructions, nor do I think I just had a "brain fart" repeatedly.  The loop part gets pulled directly through the knot by one of the working ends.  Okay, I admit the loop should be serving it's purpose, but I don't always load loops as the ends are being pulled.  I'm guessing if you used the loop to haul the ends it should be okay, but why not a Pile Hitch in that case??  I'll be the first to admit I don't always "get it", hence my insistence on sticking with knots, hitches, loops, & bends I've tied myself & used successfully in the past &/or have personally tested to failure...  If I die at the end of a rope, I do not want to leave someone saying "I shoulda learnt that knot Uncle Jimbo kept trying to show me!"  Better they should say "Awww, he wasn't such a knot geek after all!"

As soon as I can, though, to be fair, I'll kill another one of my pets by drawing & quartering it with pickup trucks, having carefully (carefully) laid in the best Farmer's Loop I can.

Okay, apologies in advance for "dissing" someone's pet loop, but you won't ever, EVER see my favorite gluteus maximus hanging from one of these!!

If you Google for "Farmer's Loop" you'll get this:

http://notableknotindex.webs.com/farmersloop.html
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Jimbo on May 02, 2005, 11:29:47 PM
Quote

Clearly you mistied the knot, and mistook good instructions if that they
were.  A general verbal description of how to move each of those three
turns over one's hand is as follows:  lift the center turn over one side
turn; then lift that side-now-in-center turn over the opposite side turn;
now lift that opp.-side-now-in-center turn over its (present) opp.-side
turn (which is the original center turn); finally, the orig. center turn
now being back in the center, draw out this center turn as the knot's
eye.  It certainly does NOT lead directly to either end.

Or, as described for a specific order of jumps:
"Take three turns of the rope round your hand, then:
1. Move center part (b) over right part.
2. Move new center part (c) over left part.
3. Move new center part (a) over right part. [NEW C. => ORIG. C. THUSLY]
4. Pull new center part (b) up to form the loop
5. For most satisfying results, remove hand before fairing or loading knot."

--dl*
====


Dan,

Not only did I obviously miss something (although after a lot of tries, I still didn't catch it), but according to Roy, my use of 10mm Dyneema might've been a little ... uh ... "optimistic", shall we say...   :-[

It never occurred to me to do it in twine or mono!!  I should've known when the three turns almost swallowed my hand, something wasn't exactly right!  ;D

Well, chalk up another one to the wonders of global telecommunications!  Had I been that 18th Century farmer, what a world of hurt I'd be in!  (But of course, then I'd have a neighbor demonstrate it to me in real time and check me on the spot...)

Thank you for the kind and gentle correction.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Jimbo on May 02, 2005, 11:34:59 PM
Quote


If you Google for "Farmer's Loop" you'll get this:

http://www.geocities.com/roo_two/farmersloop.html

Hi, roo.  Thank you for the reminder, but actually, whenever I have any questions or doubts, your site is one of the first I check to make sure I'm not misreading somebody else's description!  ;D

(And I always check Google!)

But thank you for the reminder!
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Jimbo on May 03, 2005, 12:34:45 AM
Quote
Or, as described for a specific order of jumps:
"Take three turns of the rope round your hand, then:
1. Move center part (b) over right part.
2. Move new center part (c) over left part.
3. Move new center part (a) over right part. [NEW C. => ORIG. C. THUSLY]
4. Pull new center part (b) up to form the loop
5. For most satisfying results, remove hand before fairing or loading knot."

--dl*
====

First off (ere I alienate everyone), I distinctly recall the loops & weaving action from some knot or another...  Isn't there at least one or two more knots that start like this?  With the three loops and the hopping over this way & that??  Or do I need to play with a different knot for a while?

Okay, I'm still seeing the same structure as before, just smaller.  When you start your first-of-three turns, call the part you've nipped coming in from the "left" (as described) the "beginning".  Do your steps as listed, Right, Left, Right, BUT...  Between 4 & 5, after you've pulled up your "final loop", as you fair and dress the knot, do it slowly & watch where the "beginning" goes into the knot, makes a bight around the final loop, then goes right back out the same "hole".  That's what mine does, anyway!  That's where the Dyneema failed on me.  The bight formed around the final loop by the "beginning" end pulled the final loop back through, making, in effect, a big elaborate slipknot.  On my pocket pet rope it binds somewhat, but I can't strain it w/o drawing blood, so ...

Anyway, there's a "way out of the rabbit hole" for the final loop, unless it's already around something.  That's what I get, and that's what scares me.

Actually, (props to roo), roo (http://www.geocities.com/roo_two/farmersloop.html) had the best comment yet:
Quote
...it can shift into different configurations and contract.  The shape it assumes when tied is highly variable, making it somewhat difficult to ascertain its range of properties...

Nailed that one, big guy!!

Sometimes on my pocket pet (the same one I used to illustrate the Single Bottle Knot earlier), the "beginning" will pull the main loop partway back through, but the knot will cinch before it comes completely apart...  Whew!  That's a different look!!  That actually holds pretty well, BTW, insofar as I'm able to pull the ends w/o slipping (not much).  (I'm probably still thinking "life and death" too much, but with a 2000# "widowmaker" in my side yard right now I'm a little "distracted") ...

So I must ask (props to Roy): What is is used for?  I thought we were collecting the Best Knots to share with our less-well-informed neighbor...

So I'll play with it, as the hippity-hopping action is loads of fun, but the "neighbor" is going to learn the Alpine Butterfly!  Sorry. :(
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: KnotNow! on May 03, 2005, 02:01:42 AM
Hi Jimbo,  Actually I was only responding to your comments on the farmers loop.  Someone else, several threads back suggested it for the original problem... the neighbor without a knot of his own.  My farmer friend would, when the baleing twine broke on a bale, tag on some more twine, then put a farmers loop at a convienent spot and use it to compound the pull, as in a truckers hitch.  I can't remember his bend at this moment but a couple of farmers loops and he could rebind the bale about as well as the machine did in the first place.  I think he had only one bend, one loop, one hitch.... but then it was a very small farm.  Too bad we are at opposite sides of the US.  I'd put my spurs on and we'd risk our necks taking down that widow maker.  Plenty of good knots for amature arborists.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: gaessne on December 10, 2005, 02:39:29 AM
Ok, I'm a beginner. I'm looking for the "best" knots for the following job: I'm tying down a load (let's say a motorcycle) in the back of my pickup. I have metal ring tydowns on both the truck and the bike. I'm fairly sure I want to use two hitches for this. I'd like one of the hitches to be "tightenable" (maybe a driver's hitch?). The other one doesn't need this property. I'd like them both to be as strong as possible. Second to that, it'd be nice if they were both reasonably easy to untie (although I'd cut the knots off the ends of the rope without too much remorse - is this sacriligeous?) I'll be using bullrope (http://www.knotandrope.com/bullrope.htm), mostly because it seems to be the stronger/est of the ropes I've looked at. The knots can be complex, as long as there's a reference (somewhere) on how to tie them. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

p.s. I'm hoping that there's at least some consensus on the two best knots for the job...
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: roo on December 10, 2005, 03:16:41 AM
Quote
Ok, I'm a beginner. I'm looking for the "best" knots for the following job: I'm tying down a load (let's say a motorcycle) in the back of my pickup. I have metal ring tydowns on both the truck and the bike. I'm fairly sure I want to use two hitches for this. I'd like one of the hitches to be "tightenable" (maybe a driver's hitch?). The other one doesn't need this property. I'd like them both to be as strong as possible. Second to that, it'd be nice if they were both reasonably easy to untie (although I'd cut the knots off the ends of the rope without too much remorse - is this sacriligeous?) I'll be using bullrope (http://www.knotandrope.com/bullrope.htm), mostly because it seems to be the stronger/est of the ropes I've looked at. The knots can be complex, as long as there's a reference (somewhere) on how to tie them. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

p.s. I'm hoping that there's at least some consensus on the two best knots for the job...

It's OK to start a new topic if you want.  It seems appropriate here.

As far as something "tightenable" goes, you may wish to consider something like this:

http://notableknotindex.webs.com/Versatackle.html

If you do this, you may not need to use another hitch.  But if you are interested in hitches, here are a few selections:

http://notableknotindex.webs.com/knotindex.html

Have fun. ;)
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan_Lehman on December 10, 2005, 09:28:26 AM
Quote
I'm tying down a load (let's say a motorcycle) in the back of my pickup. I have metal ring tydowns on both the truck and the bike. I'm fairly sure I want to use two hitches for this. I'd like one of the hitches to be "tightenable" (maybe a driver's hitch?). The other one doesn't need this property.

Conceivably your initial anchoring knot could be a loopknot; were you to make it
with a large/long eye, up about 2/3 of the span to the motorcycle, then the other
side's structure could be a few half-hitch/turns, the last/uppermost of which would feed
the line across to grab the first side just below the knot, between the eye legs
(so to prevent this connection from slipping up higher).  This connection would act
as a sort of "frapping turn", to pinch the anchoring legs into greater tension.

Quote
I'd like them both to be as strong as possible.

Not really:  you shouldn't be close to finding out any difference between various ways of
tying the rope--that would show poor cordage selection (or some extraordinary
circumstance!).  Given the suggested use & cordage, you've got nothing to worry about
for strength.

Quote
Second to that, it'd be nice if they were both reasonably easy to untie (although I'd cut the knots off the ends of the rope without too much remorse - is this sacriligeous?) I'll be using bullrope (http://www.knotandrope.com/bullrope.htm), mostly because it seems to be the stronger/est of the ropes I've looked at.


Yes, there'd be an audible gasp of horror (& also "Horreurs!" (?)) were this forum's members
to learn that you'd chopped that rope for this task.  (then a lunge for the fiddly bits)
A point to much knotting is being able to untie it (though there is also a fair amount that
doesn't get untied), esp. in pricey bullrope.

Whatever are you REALLY tying down?  --say an elephant?  Those bull ropes are
way strong for any usual tie-down application.  (I think that if you check with certain
webbing products suggested for a motorcycle, e.g., you'll find strengths around 3-6,000#?!
Common chain that might do such a job will be maybe 2-3,000#?
In getting such great strength, you're getting thickness & stiffness that might
frustrate tightening.  (And what dia. are those rings you're tying to--likely about
1cm & maybe thinner--which isn't good for the thick rope.)

Quote
p.s. I'm hoping that there's at least some consensus on the two best knots for the job...

That's the wrong hope, really.  There are many solutions to this problem; some might
turn on the question of how much rope you have--e.g., were you employing a long
bull rope normally used for lowering logs, and didn't care to cut it shorter, or if you are
buying the rope new per foot expressly for some job.
Indeed, I'd imagine that various folks here might each have different solutions
depending on their mood or maybe just what they'd NOT used the previous time!

But your sense of the solution is on target:  one side more staticly anchored,
then the other used to adjust tension and finish.  It COULD be the case that one
would want adjustability on both sides (for centering an object).
And some variation of the Trucker's Hitch could serve on each side, or just the one;
the other could have an Anchor/Fisherman's Bend (hitch), or a round turn (well,
given that thick rope, perhaps NOT!) & 2 Half-Hitches; or perhaps you'd not need
the MechAdvan. of the Trucker's H. and could tension manually well enough and tie
off with a turn/Half-hitch and backed up with a Rolling Hitch, putting an Overhand
stopper (or Slip-Knot) in the tail for security.

So far, all this discussion's been focused on the tie-down's legs; but what of the
exact nature of the thing tied down--tying to a bike's handlebars, or ... ?
That's another issue to address.

--dl*
====
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: neolyth on January 13, 2006, 10:15:46 PM
hello all, i just found this thread while searching for good illustrations of speed and trick methods of tying the sheetbend and bowline...

but if you all don't mind i'll jump in with a vote for the sheetbend/bowline/slipknot as "the best knot"

my approach would probably madden the average neighbor over the fence, but i'm of the opinion that teaching someone one versatile knot and numerous ways of tying it and applying it would be most useful,
as well as providing opportunity for 'critical mass' if the student explored the knot relations and transformations:
slipknot to bowline
slipknot to sheetbend
sheetbend compared to bowline
one handed bowline
bowline under tension

conceptually starting with this bowline/sheetbend (an interpenetrating loop and cursive E)
and on from there, a person learning all that they can do and all of the pitfalls of the oldest and most versatile of knots...
[-a visual aid and almost a magic trick in itself, when tied as a sheetbend in 5-7mm line you can animate it by holding both ends of one line near the knot in one hand and both ends of the other line near the knot in the other hand, then pushing and pulling the knot to explode and contract it.]


best to you all,
i'll check back and look around this bbs now,
thanks for being here!
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: neolyth on January 13, 2006, 10:28:41 PM
whupps i can't edit my post as a guest...

i just wanted to add to the list of related functions of "the best knot" that from the slipknot you can move into trucker's hitch'esque' mechanical advantage pulley systems...

realistically i'm voting for a 'best non-nuclear family of knots' ;) but my premise is that with an understanding of these a person could explore the interactions, understand the forces at work, and learn to choose the best application for the problem at hand... from there they would be in good position to appreciate more special purpose knots.

knots are more like verbs than nouns i think.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Andreas on August 19, 2018, 03:58:43 PM
On page 3 Dan Lehmann mentioned a "half hitched bowline"

What does that mean? Abok number?
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: kilogulf59 on August 19, 2018, 04:09:14 PM
ABOK #1012. It's what's called a water bowline nowadays, if I'm not mistaken.

Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Andreas on August 19, 2018, 04:17:48 PM
No.

.. 1012 was mentioned additionally
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: kilogulf59 on August 19, 2018, 07:29:07 PM
OK...but this is what I found with regards to "half-hitched bowline"...

"The Water Bowline is described by Ashley as a Bowline with an extra half hitch (ABOK # 1012, p 186). It makes a secure loop in the end of a piece of rope."

Source: https://www.animatedknots.com/bowlinewater/ (https://www.animatedknots.com/bowlinewater/)

I searched and found nothing under that specific name...PM Dan and ask him.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Dan_Lehman on August 19, 2018, 08:19:27 PM
On page 3 Dan Lehman [n] mentioned a "half-hitched bowline"

What does that mean? ABoK number?
(I should know this, but that was 2005 ... .
IIRC, ...)

No #,
but #1010 extended by taking the tail around
--taking it in the direction the SPart's draw pulls it
  the natural disposition--
the eye legs (both) and then tucking it out
through its just-made turn (hence the "half-hitch")

This can give adequate security of the material of
the knot to prevent loosening pretty well.  It can
also require a bit of care & maybe dressing and
maybe skipping this variation with inflexible rope
at the point where the tail begins this extension.


--dl*
====
and the central nipping loop.
Title: Re: "Best of breed" knots?
Post by: Scorpion Regent on January 31, 2020, 04:13:54 PM
If I had to keep it really simple I would go with these to start with.

Bowline
Sheetbend
Alpine butterfly
Marlinespike hitch
Midshipman's hitch
Backhand hitch