Author Topic: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots  (Read 19714 times)

Transminator

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2011, 11:00:36 AM »
My suspicion is that Ashley greatly exaggerated the danger of
this knot, and others have parroted him.  Otherwise, please
show me the long (or even short!) list of tragedies rightly
attributable to a knot that has quite some history of teaching
(scouts, e.g.) !!  Where is all this bloodshed?


I think the lack of "bloodshed" is less due to the security of the reefknot
but can be attributed to the fact that in 99.99% (my estimate) of all cases the reef knot is used
for non-critical applications. Tying shoes, parcels etc. Scouts might bend there ropes with it
and in most cases it is fine because there is no high load on it. In other words: its fine for
casual use but you would not recommend it as a bend in mountain climbing now, would you?
And mountain climbers, cave divers, fishermen etc. don't use the reef knot as a bend, because they know better.

So why teach students the reef knot as a bend, if there are better knots out there which are not more complicated but secure? 
The zeppelin or the butterfly bend for example.
Why teach anybody the clove hitch instead of the bundline hitch (they get the clove hitch for free in that one)?

Sweeney

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2011, 11:31:15 AM »
It has been repeated in many newspapers that more people are kicked to death by donkeys than are killed in plane crashes - that and the deaths from the reef knot might be apocryphal but who knows?

Barry

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2011, 08:55:14 PM »
My suspicion is that Ashley greatly exaggerated the danger of
this knot, ...
  Where is all this bloodshed?


I think the lack of "bloodshed" is less due to the security of the reefknot
but can be attributed to the fact that in 99.99% (my estimate) of all cases the reef knot is used
for non-critical applications.

Again, the knot has been in many of the available guides
to knot tying for some significant duration.  One might
wonder how Ashley came to make (to know) his allegation.

Quote
but you would not recommend it as a bend in mountain climbing now, would you?
And mountain climbers, cave divers, fishermen et al. don't use the reef knot as a bend, because they know better.

Actually, it is so recommended (by some sources)
--with the caveat of tying off the tails with a "double fisherman,"
by which is meant strangle knots.  Which, while one
might defend this as a notable difference (indeed!),
should provide some insight as to the behavior of
the bend : i.e., seeing whether the strangle protectors
have actually had much call to service.  (But this might
take some deliberate noting of positions, as it seems
that the tie-off knots are left at some remove from the
bend, so limited slippage won't show obviously.)
(In the interest of easier untying, and arguably surer
integrity of the tie-off knots, using the thief as the
bend might be better, where slippage is surer and will
thus bring the tie-off knots into pressure on the bend.)


Quote
So why teach students the reef knot as a bend,
if there are better knots out there which are not more complicated but secure?

Because (1) it's an age-old simple knot, and might as well
be known (to beware of, et cetera) and (2) it is ideal for
some tasks (e.g., joining rubber-band ends).  How else
would you tie a rubber-band together?  The squaREef
is highly efficient of material and sets tight quite well.

Quote
The zeppelin or the butterfly bend for example.
Why teach anybody the clove hitch instead of the buntline hitch (they get the clove hitch for free in that one)?

Enough has been said about the first two knots.
As for the latter two, those are rather different : the former
a hitch (able to be tied under strain), the latter a noose-hitch.
And here you might again think of your earlier looking to what
"mountain climbers, cave divers, fishermen ..." do use.


--dl*
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knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #33 on: May 30, 2011, 12:18:00 AM »
So why teach students the reef knot as a bend, if there are better knots out there which are not more complicated but secure? 
The zeppelin or the butterfly bend for example.
Why teach anybody the clove hitch instead of the bundline hitch (they get the clove hitch for free in that one)?

Students of knots want to learn the fundamentals.  Non-students don't.  A Clove Hitch is a fundamental knot that is a building block to many other knots.  A Buntline is not.

I think you may be bootstrapping your knowledge onto someone else.  Let's assume the student knows zero knots.  If you teach this student the Buntline and not the Clove Hitch, then the student will be stuck in a relatively small box.  In contrast, if you teach the student the Clove Hitch and then highlight the Clove Hitch in several other knots, then a light bulb should go on in the students head.  With a little luck, the student will "get it" and will seek their own knowledge of knots.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #34 on: May 30, 2011, 04:29:54 AM »
Quote
So why teach students the reef knot as a bend, if there are better knots out there which are not more complicated but secure?
The zeppelin or the butterfly bend for example.

Reef knots should be taught as a binder.  There's no way they should be taught as a bend.  The reef knot should be taught nonetheless.


Really?  With knowledge of a Reef and a loop, someone can bend ropes of any size difference.  It may not be elegant, but it works.



That's a Reef Bend (or Thief Bend) because the Reef (or Thief) is doing most of the work.  The students who are merely given knots without understanding, they probably wouldn't think to tie this all-purpose bend.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 07:00:11 AM by knot4u »

Transminator

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #35 on: May 30, 2011, 09:13:13 AM »
So why teach students the reef knot as a bend, if there are better knots out there which are not more complicated but secure? 
The zeppelin or the butterfly bend for example.
Why teach anybody the clove hitch instead of the bundline hitch (they get the clove hitch for free in that one)?

Students of knots want to learn the fundamentals.  Non-students don't.  A Clove Hitch is a fundamental knot that is a building block to many other knots.  A Buntline is not.

I think you may be bootstrapping your knowledge onto someone else.  Let's assume the student knows zero knots.  If you teach this student the Buntline and not the Clove Hitch, then the student will be stuck in a relatively small box.  In contrast, if you teach the student the Clove Hitch and then highlight the Clove Hitch in several other knots, then a light bulb should go on in the students head.  With a little luck, the student will "get it" and will seek their own knowledge of knots.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

I fully agree with you, but I thought we are talking about students who have no interest in knots. They only want to learn a handful (basic set) of knots that gets them through life. The starting post pointed out that the currently taught knots (and the reef knot is one of them), are somewhat deficient as standalone knots.

The ideal case is to teach fundamentals to build on, to teach general principles of knotting, encourage seeking of their own knowledge of knots. But that is for students who are interested. I think that should come later, in the advanced class as it were, after we give them a small but fine toolbox of simple, secure and versatile knots. That way, even if they are knot interested beyond that, at least they have a better hitch then the clove and a better bend then the square knot.
Why should they not profit from our knowledge and learn some knots that have been tested, discussed, improved etc. before they learn basics to find their own ideas?
The danger is that they are taught basics, they have no interest in learning more and they go on using those basic knots for all sorts of tasks for which they are not really recommended or suitable.
The Surrey-six approach is, I think, an attempt in the same direction. That, combined with Barry's approach of teaching problems and then give them the right knots to solve those problems, should teach them good knots, give them knowledge on when and how to use and combine them and what's more, perhaps kindle the interest in knots so they come back for more. And then we teach them basic principles, more complex knots and so on.


@Dan
why go through all the trouble and tie a reef knot and back them up with double fishermens, when there is a zeppelin or butterfly bend available? Or indeed, why bother tying a reef knot first if you are going to tie the double fishermen afterwards anyway. It can handle it by itself, so you might as well drop the reef.
The point is, I would not use this knot (reef knot) for bending ropes, for heavy duty or critical tasks. Whether it is more secure then some people claim or not, one should not use a knot if he/she cannot be certain it is secure. Simply use one that is and has been tested.
With regards to Ashley: I don't know how he got his knowledge, but I wonder why he would put a warning for the reef knot in, if he did not know it to be insecure?
Why bother? Personal dislike of the reef knot perhaps? Or maybe he witnessed incidents while aboard ship? We can only speculate, but I think such a warning should not just be dismissed. I think he put it in there for a reason, even though he does not give any further data. I guess we just have to take his word for it.
But then again, we can all go ahead and do some testing with the reef knot.

@ Knot4u
We discussed that knot you showed before. You can see it as a reef backed up with bowlines or you can see it as an improved bowline bend. For me it is the latter, because all you do is to reef knot the bowline loops (of course you have to tie at least one of the bowlines last) and you can omit the reef knot and you still have a secure bend, the bowline bend. Therefore the reef knot merely improves the bowline bend and not the other way round, to my mind.

P.S.:
Just don't get me wrong. I do teach and use the reef, but more "en passent" and only for casual use as a quick binder or bend, provided there will not be any load on that knot, let alone a person dangling at the end of the rope. In general I discourage using it as a bend, because it is just as quick and better to tie a zeppelin or butterfly. Well, for rubber bends, the reef might be the simplest option and that is fine.

knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #36 on: May 30, 2011, 07:56:01 PM »
I fully agree with you, but I thought we are talking about students who have no interest in knots. They only want to learn a handful (basic set) of knots that gets them through life. The starting post pointed out that the currently taught knots (and the reef knot is one of them), are somewhat deficient as standalone knots.

I know you mean well, but your statements here are filled with contradictions.  "A student who has no interested in knots" is an oxymoron.  If they're a student of knots, then they have at least some interest.  If they're just some kids in school who aren't here to learn the subject at hand, then they're NOT students of the subject at hand.

You say the students have no interest.  Then, in the next sentence you say they want to learn a handful of knots.  That's your own direct contradiction right there.

My mom has been a school teacher for over 40 years.  One thing she taught me is that you cannot teach a kid motivation.  The kid has to derive their own motivation.  Without motivation, you cannot teach the kid.  The teacher can only do so much.  So, how do all the unmotivated kids graduate?, you may ask.  It's simple:  They cheat, and they learn nothing.  With knots, you can't fake it, either the knot works or it doesn't.  So, the kids have to learn.  The best way to teach a student (someone who is interested in learning the subject) is from the basics upwards.

I'll say this for about the fourth time, I think a few people here are bootstrapping their own knowledge and experience onto students.  Have you guys actually taught someone a few cool knots and nothing else?  I have, and it didn't work out too well.  I taught my niece the Slipped Buntline and the Butterfly Loop.  Keep in mind she has about zero prior understanding of knots, and that's the type of person we're talking about here.  The result is her trying to solve all of her knot needs with the Slipped Buntline and the Butterfly.  (Yuck!)  Further, these two knots are so cool that she got impatient with me when I tried to teach her a boring Reef to tie her shoes properly.  So she currently knows a couple cool knots that will be inappropriately applied about 95% of the time.  :-\
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 08:58:42 PM by knot4u »

knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #37 on: May 30, 2011, 08:12:11 PM »
why go through all the trouble and tie a reef knot and back them up with double fishermens, when there is a zeppelin or butterfly bend available? Or indeed, why bother tying a reef knot first if you are going to tie the double fishermen afterwards anyway. It can handle it by itself, so you might as well drop the reef.

I explained the answers to that above.  Let's say you teach a kid a Reef and a Bowline, which are two knots that have many uses on their own.  Then the kid wants to bend something.  Well, with the Reef and the Bowline, you can make a bend that will work with ANY size difference in rope.

I'm not saying don't teach the Zeppelin.  I'm countering the idea of the Reef being less useful.  The Reef is generally more useful, easier and more versatile for total beginners.  Everybody should already know a proper Reef anyway for their shoes!

By the way, merely interlocking loops is not a bend because the ropes are not tied to each other with friction; they're just passing past each other.  The pic I showed above is a Reef bend because the Reef is doing most of the work.  The loops are backup.

Why tie a Reef instead of a Double Fisherman?  Well, a huge reason is that a Reef doesn't jam.  To untie a Reef, you first pull the diagonals and the Reef loosens enough to pull it apart.  I've never had a Reef jam on me.  As you may know, the Double Fisherman is capable of jamming rock solid.  If you want to get someone disinterested in knots, go ahead and show them knots that jam.  A second reason is that a Double Fisherman is NOT a knot for beginners.  It appears simple, but it's easy to get it wrong.  A third reason is that everybody should already know the Reef for their shoes!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 08:59:51 PM by knot4u »

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2011, 11:28:01 PM »
Quote
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Maybe only the shorter, lifetime of the fishery.   :(

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #39 on: May 30, 2011, 11:39:14 PM »
why go through all the trouble and tie a reef knot and back them up with double fishermens {strangles}, when there is a zeppelin or butterfly bend available? Or indeed, why bother tying a reef knot first if you are going to tie the double fishermen afterwards anyway. It can handle it by itself, so you might as well drop the reef.
The point is, I would not use this knot (reef knot) for bending ropes, for heavy duty or critical tasks. Whether it is more secure then some people claim or not, one should not use a knot if he/she cannot be certain it is secure. Simply use one that is and has been tested.

The rationale is to --as Knot4U states-- have the squaREef for easy untying,
the strangles for security (while remaining not too tight).
(In fact, the preferred abseil-ropes-joiner is the offset water knot which
has the added benefit of being offset and so *free-flowing* over edges.)

As for substituting those other knots, that would entail gaining knowledge
of how to tie them (the strangle knot is part of the known set), and
confidence in their security rubbing against rock surfaces.


--dl*
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Transminator

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #40 on: May 31, 2011, 09:21:01 AM »
I know you mean well, but your statements here are filled with contradictions.  "A student who has no interested in knots" is an oxymoron.  If they're a student of knots, then they have at least some interest.  If they're just some kids in school who aren't here to learn the subject at hand, then they're NOT students of the subject at hand.

Ok, maybe I used the wrong word "students" here. But you know exactly what I mean. Some people are not interested in "studying knots" in-depth starting from the basics, learning lots of knots and when to use them. They only want to learn a handful of knots and they want your word for it that the knots you show them are reliable. You may want to call them customers instead of students, cause all they want is to "buy" into your knowledge and get some "products" out of it.
For those there should be a package available of a handful of knots that will serve them well for a good number of tasks.

You say the students have no interest.  Then, in the next sentence you say they want to learn a handful of knots.  That's your own direct contradiction right there.

As already explained above: They WANT to learn a handful of knots, but they don't want to STUDY knots.  they are not interested in the basics, the structures, knot testing etc. That is the target group I was referring to.
If one of those asks me if I can show them ONE bend, I show them the zeppelin, as it is easy to learn and remember, strong and secure. I would do them a disservice by teaching them the reef knot, as for me, it is not a bend. In some cases it may be safely used as a bend and may be the easiest knot for a particular task, but not as a general purpose bend.

The best way to teach a student (someone who is interested in learning the subject) is from the basics upwards.
I already agreed with you on that.

I'll say this for about the fourth time, I think a few people here are bootstrapping their own knowledge and experience onto students.  Have you guys actually taught someone a few cool knots and nothing else?  I have, and it didn't work out too well.  I taught my niece the Slipped Buntline and the Butterfly Loop.  Keep in mind she has about zero prior understanding of knots, and that's the type of person we're talking about here.  The result is her trying to solve all of her knot needs with the Slipped Buntline and the Butterfly.  (Yuck!)  Further, these two knots are so cool that she got impatient with me when I tried to teach her a boring Reef to tie her shoes properly.  So she currently knows a couple cool knots that will be inappropriately applied about 95% of the time.  :-\

Two things: 2 knots are not enough, but nevertheless, those 95% of cases in which the not is used inappropriately, at lease she is using a reliable knot. It could be worse. She could be using the reef knot or clove hitch for 95% of cases and then the use may not only be inappropriate but also dangerous.
As I said before: this is the basic idea behind the basic set of knots. To give somebody who has no interest in studying knots in-depth just a handful of tools to use. At least they are using reliable knots, because we did all the work for them.

P.S.: When I started learning about knots, I was just looking for a handful of knots to use for most tasks. I had nobody to teach me, so I started browsing the web, reading this forum, learning from books, getting from one knot to another, learned the basic in passing and became a fervent student of knots. I had it in me. I am still learning and I have a list of preferred knots that I use for most tasks. It took me quite a while to arrive at that list. So many bends to learn and try, so many loops, hitches and binders, so many knots to compare. For me it was fun though. I don't see anything wrong with sharing my hard learned knowledge with somebody who is only interested in some of my findings, as it were.
For those "customers" we need a package deal. The surrey six is one example. Though not the best knot for every task, at least they have an acceptable solution. My list would be different, but that is a different matter. They also have their six as a 1 sheet pdf for printing. Anybody who is not interested in learning more then two knots by heart, can put that in his wallet or camping bag for reference. If they have it in them to be a student "rather then a customer" they will ask for more and THEN we teach them from the basics upwards.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 09:26:22 AM by Transminator »

knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2011, 06:57:21 PM »
There's not much disagreement here.  I know what the problem is with this discussion.  We're talking about these knots in bits and pieces.  What I mean is each person here needs to describe their entire system of knots for beginners.  Then, each person's thought process can be more clear.

We'd have to agree on ONE total number of knots (e.g., 6 knots total).  You can't cheat and have alternatives, add-ons or whatever.  You also can't make assumptions like "Well, I showed the customer the Buntline, so now the customer knows the Clove Hitch and the Half Hitch."  No, you showed the customer the Buntline, but did NOT teach the customer the Clove Hitch or the Half Hitch by themselves.  You CAN teach the student various uses of the Buntline.  Six knots are all you get, and six is probably the maximum number of knots you could teach to the average, disinterested "customer".  (Five is even stretching it.)  Then, each person here explains their reasoning behind their system of knots for pure beginners.

It's easy to criticize the Surrey Six, but let's see others come up with a system of six knots for a disinterested customer who knows nearly nothing about knots.  This calls for a new thread so the discussion is focused...
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 08:48:38 PM by knot4u »

TMCD

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2011, 09:26:37 PM »
Bend-Double Sheet Bend for everyday use, Alpine Butterfly for heavy duty purposes.
Stopper-Stevedore's Knot (Fig 8 isn't a good one IMO)
Hitch-Buntline, slipped Buntline, Round Turn and Two HH and Clove Hitch. A Cleat Hitch would be good too, lots of water folks in this world. I could go on here for ever with hitches, but those would really do most jobs for the average person.
Fixed Loop- Double Bowline
Loop on the Bight-I love the single bowline or fig 8 for Truckers Hitch, but you can't go wrong with the Apline Butterfly Loop. A good one would be the Artillery Loop because it's SiMPLE to tie and remember. 
Adjustable Loop-Scaffold Knot.

I'm fairly new to the world of knotting, but those mentioned above would serve most people very well. I don't like the Reef Knot at all, or maybe I just don't know when or where to use it. It's not a good binder IMO. I think the Trucker's Hitch should be taught to everyone in middle school because we're all going to find ourselves in situations where it's very much appropriate to tie a TH.

Hrungnir

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2011, 03:39:25 PM »
It's easy to criticize the Surrey Six, but let's see others come up with a system of six knots for a disinterested customer who knows nearly nothing about knots.  This calls for a new thread so the discussion is focused...

Do you start the new thread and apply the rules then? The knots should be suitable for modern slippery rope.

Transminator

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #44 on: June 01, 2011, 03:43:09 PM »
It's easy to criticize the Surrey Six, but let's see others come up with a system of six knots for a disinterested customer who knows nearly nothing about knots.  This calls for a new thread so the discussion is focused...

Do you start the new thread and apply the rules then? The knots should be suitable for modern slippery rope.

New Thread:
http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=3105.0