I’m tying a lot of knots in the back of the van on long trips. That’s right, I’m a harsh nerd. My dad drilled the importance of the bowline for tying up horses into me a very young age. I can tie that one drunk in my sleep. Then there are all the old standbys, square knot, sheet bend, half hitches. The sheet bend is great. It’s for joining two ropes of unequal size, and I know everyone has to do that every couple of days for one reason or other. It’s also good for tying a rope to the corner of a tarp or sail and I think that’s where it got its name.
Another favorite is the sheepshank, which you can use to temporarily shorten a length of rope. It’s super cool because you can put all kinds of tension on it and it holds fast, then when you’re done, take the tension off and it just falls apart. Awesome. Another of my very favourites is the trucker’s hitch. It’s right up there in the top five most useful day to day knots, and hardly anyone knows it. I only learned it a few years ago. It acts like a bungee cord and a pulley, all in one. It’s for tightening down a load on the back of a truck or what have you. Wins the prize for overall best specific use knot. Thanks to all the connected wires we have these days, you don’t have to know a salty old sailor/cowboy/uncle to learn these, you can just look them up in five seconds on your information machine. So no excuses.
Here’s a good tip too. When you’re tying up a package with a square knot, and it’s annoying you because you have to get someone to put their finger on the first half of it so you can tie the second without the first loosening, try this. When you tie the first half, pass the ends under each other TWICE instead of once, and tighten it down. It will hold snug until you tie the second half, for which you should also pass the ends under each other twice instead of once. Snug that down, your package is all squared away and you have tied yourself a surgeon’s knot. Bam.
More knots next week if you’re lucky.