Bends are used to tie the ends of two—or occasionally three—ropes together. In accomplishing this, a bend is generally an easier, quicker, and less bulky solution than tying two loop knots through one another. Some bends work best with ropes of similar diameter, while others are optimized for ropes of different sizes, and some work well in flat materials such as leather straps or nylon webbing.
Uses: load bearing; bending flat materials or rope
Pros: easy to tie; secure; straps remain flat
Cons: difficult to untie in rope
Uses: temporary light-duty applications where constant load will be maintained
Pros: simple to tie and untie in ropes of equal or different diameter
Cons: insecure when unloaded
Uses: joining lines of dissimilar diameters; connecting heaving and messenger lines
Pros: less prone to slippage than a Sheet Bend; easy to tie and untie
Cons: relatively insecure when unloaded; may catch on obstructions if it will be dragged
Uses: joining two lines that will be dragged or towed; dinghy painters; towlines
Pros: reduced chance of catching on obstruction, less drag when towed in water
Cons: somewhat insecure if not kept under load
Uses: two-to-one or one-to-two towing
Pros: an easy three-way bend; easy to untie; works with different size ropes
Uses: standing rigging, static and dynamic loads
Cons: difficult to untie in natural fiber rope; only for ropes of equal diameter
Uses: joining ropes for climbing, mountaineering
Pros: very secure and strong, absorbs shock
Cons: none known
Uses: joining heavy, stiff ropes
Pros: more secure than Sheet Bend or Reef Knot, easy to untie
Cons: reduces rope strength considerably
Uses: load lifting, safety
Pros: strong; remains secure when unloaded; easily untied
Cons: tricky to tie; bulky; may catch when dragged
Uses: load bearing
Pros: remains secure with or without load; holds slippery rope well
Cons: fussy to tie in hand; hard to untie
Uses: load bearing in thin rope, bungee cord
Pros: very secure
Cons: fussy to tie in hand, difficult to check; hard to untie
Uses: joining small or medium cordage
Pros: easy and quick to tie
Cons: can capsize or slip under tension; difficult to untie
Uses: joining cordage of any weight, including monofilament and anchor lines
Pros: easy to tie, quite secure
Cons: difficult to untie
Uses: joining ends of rope of any weight, especially monofilament
Pros: very secure, simple in concept
Cons: difficult to manipulate, very difficult to untie
2. Continue threading the second working end parallel to and around the first Overhand Knot so that it forms its own Overhand Knot.
3. Pull the working ends to remove slack, then pull the standing parts to tighten.
4. When tying in straps or webbing, keep the two lines flat, untwisted, and parallel to one another all the way through the knot.
5. To keep flat materials from bunching up, the knot must be tightened gradually and continually faired.
1. Tie a standard Sheet Bend.
2. Bring the working end of the thinner rope back around its own standing part.
3. Tuck the working end through the crossing turn at the end of the thinner rope from back to front. This completes a Figure 8 Knot in the thinner rope.
4. Hold both parts of the bight in the thicker rope together with the working end of the thinner rope. Pull the standing part of the thinner rope to tighten.
5. The finished knot.
1. Tie a Figure 8 Knot in the end of one of the ropes.
2. Pull a long working end of the other rope through the first crossing turn of the first Figure 8, parallel to the first one’s working end but from the opposite direction.
3. Use the second working end to follow the first figure 8 around in parallel. Go over the first rope’s standing part and follow its second crossing turn, going next through its first crossing turn from back to front.
4. Keep following the first figure 8 with the second working end. The last move takes it back through the second crossing turn of the first rope from front to back.
5. The threaded nature of the knot is apparent before tightening. Both lines run parallel throughout.
6. Tightening requires holding one standing part and pulling alternately on the two strands on the opposite end of the knot, then switching to hold the other standing part and pulling alternately “new” opposite ends.
1. Tie a Figure 8 Knot in one rope. Turn it over if necessary, so the working end emerges from the first crossing turn from back to front. Pass the working end of the other rope through the figure 8’s first crossing turn from front to back, parallel with the first working end but in the opposite direction.
2. Make an underhand clockwise crossing turn with the second rope’s working end around the first rope’s standing part.
3. Finish the second figure 8 by taking the working end over the front of its own standing part, then drawing it through its first crossing turn from back to front. Tighten both figure 8s separately.
4. Pull the two standing parts to draw the figure 8s together. The two may also be left some inches apart as shown, to absorb shock loads.
5. The finished knot with the two figure 8s drawn together.
3. Holding the two ropes together at the Overhand Knot, pull a bight into the standing part of R2 below the knot.
4. Pull the working end of R2 through the bight from back to front.
5. Pull the working end of R2 through the Overhand Knot from front to back.
6. Hold both standing parts together in one hand and pull the two working ends tight with the other.
7. The knot assumes its proper shape after the two standing parts are pulled tight in opposite directions.
8. The opposite side of the finished knot.
1. Lay out the two ropes with their working ends facing each other and overlapping by a foot (30 cm) or more, with the rope on the right (R1) above the one on the left (R2).
2. Make an overhand clockwise crossing turn with R1, then a counterclockwise underhand crossing turn with R2 parallel to and around the first one. The working ends will continue to face the same direction as in the original layout.
3. Pass the working end of R1 through both crossing turns from back to front.
4. Pass the working end of R2 through both crossing turns from front to back.
5. The knot before it is tightened.
6. Hold the working ends stationary between thumb and index finger as shown. Grab the standing parts between your other fingers and the heel of your hand, and pull the standing parts to remove all the slack.
7. The knot will collapse into its proper shape as the slack is removed. Pull the standing parts to tighten.
1. Lay the two ropes side by side facing the same direction. Make a clockwise underhand crossing turn with the left rope (R1) around R2.
2. Make a clockwise underhand crossing turn with R2, placing the working end on top of the standing part of R1.
3. Take both working ends and pass them through both crossing turns from front to back.
4. Pull both working ends against both standing parts to remove slack.
5. Pull the two standing parts to tighten. Fair the knot so that the working ends are parallel and adjacent, with each working end perpendicular and adjacent to its own standing part.
1. With the ropes facing opposite directions, overlap their working ends by several inches. Tie an Overhand Knot in the working end of one rope around the standing part of the other.
2. Tie a second Overhand Knot in the second rope around the standing part of the first. Tighten both Overhand Knots.
3. Pull the standing parts to draw the Overhand Knots together.
4. The finished knot drawn tight.
1. With the ropes facing opposite directions, overlap their working ends by several inches. Make a crossing turn with one working end around the standing part of the other rope.
2. Make a round turn around the standing part, working back toward the first rope’s standing part.
3. Pass the working end through the round turn and the crossing turn to finish the first Double Overhand Knot. Pull it tight.
4. Tie an identical Double Overhand Knot in the other working end around the first rope’s standing part.
5. Pull the two standing parts to draw the Double Overhand Knots together.
6. The completed knot. Trim the working ends short for fishing line; leave them long for load-bearing applications such as anchor lines.
Also known as: Barrel Knot, Blood Knot with Inward Coil
This is a very popular fishing knot, but it works well in heavier stuff too. It snugs up so tight that it’s quite difficult, if not impossible, to untie.
1. With the ropes facing opposite directions, overlap their working ends. Make a crossing turn in one working end around the standing part of the other rope.
2. Pull the crossing turn tight and make a round turn around the other rope’s standing part, working toward the first rope’s standing part.
3. Keep wrapping round turns around the standing part of the second rope.
4. With a minimum of five turns altogether (including the original crossing turn), pass the working end between its own standing part and the working end of the other rope.
5. Holding the first working end in place, make an identical set of crossing and round turns with the second working end around the standing part of the first rope. This requires some dexterity or a superabundance of fingers.
6. The two working ends should face the same direction between the standing parts as you pull on the standing parts to draw the coils together. If tying in monofilament, a drop of water or spit on the coils will help them slide more easily and tighten more securely.
7. The finished knot.