I've previously demonstrated some basic, foundational knots. They are pretty much the building block of all rope work. However, on their own, they don't get much done. Today, I want to show you some knots that really do the work.
A bowline is a great knot for lifting or pulling a load. I use them almost daily at work. It makes a strong loop, which will not slip under load or when tension is loosened.
1) Start with your rope in this position, with whatever you're lifting in the bottom of the bend.
2) Make a loop like this.
3) Pass your rope under, around, and back through as per the next two pictures.
4) Pull tight, and you're done.
A bight is simply a piece of rope or cord that has been doubled back on itself. The bowline-on-a-bight is used to provide a second loop in your bowline. It can be used to lift a person, for example, with one loop under the arms and around the back, and the second loop under the thighs.
The process for tying on a bight is the same as a normal bowline, just doubled, as shown below.
Two loops shown.
Hitches are used to attach a rope to a bar, post, or other fixed item that doesn't have a hole or eyelet. The Clove hitch is probably my favorite of these. It is simple, easy to tie, and easy to remove when work is done. If you ever watch a western movie and see the cowboy tie his horse to the rail, the knot he's using is almost always a Clove. It is also commonly used to secure boats, canoes, and the like.
1) Pass your rope over the bar you're tying to.
2) Cross back over, making an X.
3) Make a third pass, under the X.
4) Pull tight.
A lashing is not a knot, per se, but is one of the most useful things that a rope can do. There is an unending list of reasons why you may want to secure two poles together at an angle, and lashing is how that happens.
1) Start with a Clove hitch.
2) Pass your rope under the bottom bar and over the top bar as shown, pulling each pass tight. 4-6 wraps are commonly used. 2 are shown, simply for demonstration.
3) Double back against your lashing, over the bottom bar and below the upper, pulling tight. This locks in the lashing, pulling everything tight.
4) Again, use 4-6 wraps, if possible. More wraps mean a more secure lashing.
5) Finish with a second Clove hitch and pull tight.
Practice these knots, and you'll soon become an expert at holding it all together.