How to Tie the 10 Most Useful Knots

Whether it's a simple overhand or the more complicated sheepshank, here are ten useful knots to know whether you're homesteading, boating, or camping.

| May/June 1979

Headin' back to the land (or making any move toward greater self-sufficiency) will, sooner or later, mean a return to the use of ropes. Without simple hitches (single ropes tied to objects) and bends (ropes joined together), loads fall off trucks, an expensive cow or goat escapes, a boat goes adrift, and hoisting hay from wagon to mow becomes a major problem.

Rope Rhetoric

However, before you start to learn down-home knotsmanship, a brief summary of rope vocabulary is in order.

Bitter End: The end of a rope that's being manipulated — also called the "working end."

Standing Part: the segment of the rope that you aren't using at the moment. It can be coiled, stretched, or otherwise left inactive.

Bight: a curve or arc in the rope. This can be a semicircle or a loose loop through which the working end may run.

There are over 4,000 hitches and bends used in special crafts, but — with the following 10 useful knots in your rope repertoire — you'll be able to handle just about any situation that requires you to fasten two objects together, secure one line to another, or tie a rope to a solid object.

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