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Book of knots the klutz


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Book of knots the klutz

  1. 1. KLUTZ is a kids company staffed entirely by real human beings. We beganour corporate life in 1977 in an office we shared with a ChevroletImpala. Today weve outgrown our founding garage, but PaloAlto, California, remains Klutz galactic headquarters. For thoseof you who collect corporate mission statements, heres ours:• Create wonderful things.• Be good.• Have fun.Write UsWe would love to hear your comments regarding thisor any of our books. We have many!Visit Us C o m e on in IKLUTZ455 Portage AvenuePalo Alto, CA 94306Book printed in Korea. Do You Teach?Rope manufactured in Taiwan. Would you be interested in a©1985 John Cassidy. classroom set of build-your-All rights reserved. own Klutz books? E-mail, write,Klutz® is a a registered or visit our website for details.trademark of Klutz, Inc.Design, Art Direction and Production:Design Office Bruce KortebeinIllustrations: Ed Taber, HeatherPreston, Zahid SadarCover Design and Lettering:Michael Doret More Great Books from Klutz The Book of Classic Board GamesISBN 0-932592-10-4 The Buck Book4 1 5 4 2 4 0 7 3 9 The Best Card Games in the Galaxy The Footbag BookAdditional Copies and More SuppliesFor the location of your nearest Klutz Country & Blues Harmonica for theretailer, call (650) 857-0888. Should Musically Hopelessthey be tragically out of stock, addi- Juggling for the Complete Klutz®tional copies of this book and the The Klutz Book of Magicentire library of 100% Klutz certifiedbooks are available in our mail ordercatalog. Visit our website,
  2. 2. Introduction laces. Less romantic perhaps, but oc- casionally we have to face these kinds book about knots is a book of realities. about personal organization on the real world level, But Which Is Really the where shoelaces untie, BEST Knot? packages fall apart, and clotheslines droop. This A true landlubbers question, but oneis lifes ground floor, the everyday battle that is inevitably raised. The correctagainst the small-scale forces of chaos. In answer should be the responsible—the course of a modern lifetime, it is not albeit boring—"It depends." Are youthe struggle that receives the most notice, knotting together sheets for an open-but it is the one that seems to consume air exit from a burning hotel? Or arethe most time. you tying up your hair?Knots are tools employed in this noble But lets say youve really only gotcause. They are meant to connect and room for two or three knots inthus to simplify. Despite the popular mis- your long-term memoryconception, a properly tied knot is gener- files. If such were the case,ally distinguished by its simplicity and I could bethe ease with which it can be untied, notby its strength or complexity. Any mixed-up tangle of rope can be reasonablystrong but it would be neither appropri-ate to the job, nor simple to undo. Itwould be, as most one-of-a-kind knotsare, an over-elaborate solution to theproblem. And a pain in the neck besides. forced to recom-There exists, in the knotting literature, mend theapproximately 4,000 different knots, bowline (#1),I n choosing < ^ the 24 that went into the sheet bendthis book, ^ / we kept to a single (#7), and the cloveremorse- / y less criteria: hitch (#2). The three of them are the classBasic, { rU work-a-day, of the three primary knot categories— mal-life, 9-to-5 loop knots, rope-to-rope knots (bends), utility. Remember- and rope-to-something-else knots ing that most of our (hitches). Between them, they should get readers have forsak- you into most binds. en the sea, and are neither woodsmen, Incidentally, the opposite question, wranglers nor Which is really the worst knot? is far soldiers of fortune, simpler to answer. As disillusioning we left off such as this sounds, its the square things as the mule- knot, the most over-hyped, under- packers dia- strength knot in creation. Clifford Ashley, mond hitch, an the author of the definitive encyclopedia excellent knot on the subject of knotting, states that thefor loading up trail animals, and in- square knot"... has probably been re-cluded the short-end sheet bend, a sponsible for more deaths and injuriesspecialist in the repair of broken shoe- than all other knots combined."
  3. 3. The reason is that the square knot "cap- A Glossary of Termssizes," i.e. it unties itself. A couple ofquick tugs on the rope, or an inadvertentbump, and the honest square knot turnsinto thin air, an unhappy result that dem-onstrates the difference between a"strong" knot, one that weakens therope the least, and a "secure" knot, onethat resists unraveling. In the normal K n o t . Any lump in Bend. A knot join-course of things, its "security" thatll the rope. ing two ropes.carry the day, not "strength."How to use this bookThis is a tool-book, that is to say, it ismeant to be more than just read. Allthose knots which are designed to betied to something, can be tied to theboard pages of this book, next to theirillustrations.A word of general advice. To the tying ofany knot, there are two parts: one, H i t c h . A knotcrossing the ropes in the right order; and joining a rope totwo, working the knot closed—tighten-ing it. This second part is occasionally something else.more difficult than the first, and almost Loop. A knot join-always as crucial. On some knots, the ing a rope to itself.shoelace bow for instance, all you needis a simple tug to bring the knot intoplace. But on others, the short-end sheetbend or the bow tie, for example, work-ing the knot shut is practically theentire problem. Overhand. nfortunately, its a problem that illustra- tions can only help with a little, because its such a general "pulling-together" kind of process. What it requires is a reason-ably clear idea of where the knot is going.My best advice is to work the ropesgradually at the final stage, pulling all theloose ends in turn until you discoverwhich pull or which tug shapes the knot Half-Hitch. Slipped. A "quickin the ways that you want. release" modification.
  4. 4. 1 The BowlineIf you were marooned on a desert island andcould only take one knot with you, this would bethe one. Properly tied in ordinary rope, there islittle danger of the bowline slipping before thebreaking point of the rope itself is reached—acomforting thought if you should ever have to tiea rope around your waist. And nearly as impor-tant, the bowline is easy to untie, even after hav-ing been dunked in water and put under load.Like most knots, the bowlines origins were onboard the full-rigged sailing ships where it wasused almost to the exclusion of all other loopknots, and where it was said that ". . . the devilhimself would make a good sailor, if he couldonly tie a bowline and look aloft."If you should ever have to deal with particularlythick or stiff materials—a rolled-up bedspread forexample, or anything cable-like, one of the bestways to join them is with two interlocking bow-lines.
  5. 5. 2 The Clove HitchMy favorite nearly-all-purpose hitch. Simpleto tie, simple to untieand wont jam understrain. There arebetter hitches if youreespecially concernedabout security, and ifyoure attaching a ropeto a square s h a p e - like a piece of lum- tie-this-thing-to-that-ber—the clove is not post kind of problem,appropriate, but for the clove is your best Note the slipped varia-your run-of-the-mill, choice. tion for quick release.3 The Two Half HitchesThe only other con-tender for the title ofAll-Purpose Hitch.More common than theclove, probably be-cause it seems easierto tie (although itreally isnt). Neverthe-less, on shapes and inplaces where the clovewont go, two halfhitches is probably thebest choice, both forsimplicity and security.The slipped variationis particularly impor-tant, since this knotcan often be tough tountie without it.4 The Tautline HitchA specialist, but a par-ticularly good one. Thetautline hitch is usedmainly when you needto keep a rope tightthat tends to sag overtime (clotheslines, tentguys, etc.). The taut-line holds in one di-rection, but can be slidin the other, whenslack has to be takenout. Its a one-way"ratchet" knot, thebest of its kind.
  6. 6. 5 The Better BowYou only think you knowhow to tie your shoes.The better bow untieswith a simple tug, justlike the soon-to-be-out-dated model you haveon your shoes rightnow, but the differenceis—it doesnt jiggleloose. Learn it andyoull never go back, Ipromise.As the illustrationsshow, theres only onecrucial difference be-tween this knot and theold style. Instead oftaking a single turnaround the middle ofthe loops, youll taketwo. Be sure to wrap your finger, the "hole"both these turns around it leaves is the placethe end of your finger. where you push theWhen you withdraw second loop through.6 The Bow TieThis may come as aminor revelation, butthe knot you tie on yourshoes (old style) is thesame knot you tiearound your neck—atleast the finished prod-uct is the same. Thedifference is how youget there.You can practice withcord, as per the illus-tration, but to really getthe idea, you need flatmaterial, ideally thereal thing. Follow thesteps as illustratedwhile remembering thatthe trick is in the laststep—pulling the wholething into shape.
  7. 7. 7 The Sheet BendDoubled VariationThis is the knot that you thought the square an all-star knot, the basic of its category.was—a strong, simple, honest, easy-to-tie con- The doubled variation is a bit more secure. Id usenection. One that you can trust. In the same way it if something important was on the line.that the clove and bowline are, the sheet bend is8 The Square Knot The Surgeons VariationOriginally this was known as the reef knot, usedon board ship to secure the furled-in sails, not aparticularly critical application. Somewherealong the way, though, it picked up a reputationfor reliability that it most certainly doesnt de-serve. As mentioned in the introduction, it is arather unstable knot, capable of capsizing ifbumped or jiggled in the wrong way, particularlyif tied in dissimilar materials.Offsetting these qualities is the fact that you al-ready know how to tie it. As a result, I include ithere for all the lightweight applications, bundleand parcel wrapping for example.The surgeons variation, incidentally, is the oneto use when theres no one around to lend a thirdhand when youve got the knot half-tied on top ofsome box.
  8. 8. 10 The Grass Bend Another specialist. Tied in rope or cord this is called the whatnot and ranks near the bottom in terms of security. But in flat semi-flexible mate- rial (seat belt webbing, leather belts, etc) it changes its character entirely. It is, in fact, the best, if not the only, useful knot for joining this kind of hard-to-knot material.As its name suggests, the fishermans knot isused quite frequently to join together two piecesof fishing line—to form a leader, for example.With cold or wet hands, it is far simpler to tiethan the sheet bend. In larger materials it makesa strong, clean and neat looking connection. Ihave used it in places where it will be both visi-ble and permanent.
  9. 9. 11 The Truckers HitchThe truckers hitch is actually a combination of half of the resulting loop through the slot. Theknots put together in order to get some leverage other end of the cord comes through the holeon the tightening process. It is a super knot for punched in the board and is threaded through thecinching down a load. Properly tied, you can get exposed part of the bowline loop. Follow the il-a line guitar-strumming tight with this hitch. lustrations for the remainder of the process, not-In order to practice this knot here, start with a ing that the final step is two half hitches.bowline. Tie it behind the board page and insert12 The Constrictor KnotClifford Ashley invented this arrangement of rope,making it one of the very few knots with an iden-tifiable source. It is a supremely good knot for"seizing" bundles of loose material, or for clos-ing the necks of bags. Ive used it in a lot ofplaces as a substitute for tape to bundle thingsup. Simple to tie, it will not work loose, possess-ing a ratchet-like bulldog grip. As a result ofthese fine qualities though, its best untied with asharp knife.
  10. 10. 13 The Ring KnotProbably most familiaras the knot you use witha rubber band, the ringknot is the ultimate insecurity when youre deal-ing with a closed loop,but its also used occasion-ally with a loose end,as it is illustrated here.14 The Prusik KnotThis is a climbers Start with two short sheet bends, as per the second loop. If the cordknot, and youll proba- pieces of cord, of illustration. (Or, even youve tied the prusik inbly never need it. But smaller diameter than better, use the doubled has a smaller diameteron the other hand, if the rope youre intend- variation.) Take one of than the rope youll beyoure ever faced with a ing to climb. These will the loops and tie what climbing on, youll bevertical rope that you be your "footholds." amounts to a twice- able to slide this foot-have to climb, the pru- through ring knot hold up, step in it, and Make the two cords intosik could be a potential around the vertical rope not have to worry about two loops with singlelifesaver. (see the illustration). it sliding back down. Do the same with theI5 The Timber HitchDeceptively secure ifyou tie it around arough surface, the tim-ber hitch is childishlyeasy to tie and never-failingly simple toundo. Its particularlyappropriate if the ropeis going to be under aconstant strain. On theother hand, dont use itwhen security is a highpriority, or when the di-rection of the pull isliable to jump around.
  11. 11. 16 The Killeg HitchActually just an application of the timber hitch,the killeg is designed for big messy bundles orodd shapes—a rock for example, or a duffel ofsome kind. The killeg is the universal tie-on,adaptable to most any shape.17 The Sheep ShankA knot designed to solve the problem of too muchrope, the sheepshank will take up slack and holdit, as long as theres a strain on the rope. Whenthe job is over, you can shake it out with a cou-ple of flips.
  12. 12. 18 The Rolling HitchA near cousin to thetautline hitch, the roll-ing hitch is about thebest knot for staying puton a pole when the pullon it is lengthwise, upor downwards. Its alsothe knot of choice whenyoure tying one rope tothe middle of another.19 The CoilNot really a knot, but a way to keep and arrangerope so it stays tangle-free. Its simple to form,keeps the rope neat, and comes undone in a sec-ond when you need it.Incidentally, the key, once again, is pulling thewhole thing snug at the end.
  13. 13. 20 The Package KnotThe department-store-certified system—a neat,no-slip combination of knots.Start with a bowline and wrap the cord aroundthe page as the illustration indicates. On thebackside of the page, cross the cords as illus-trated. Itll keep everything from sliding off thecorners. Finish up with the basic two half hitches
  14. 14. 21 The Harness LoopA simple little knot for putting a loop in the mid- hauling field artillery into place. Sounds exciting.dle of a rope when you cant use the ends. Ash- Personally, I use it the most when tying thingsley states that the knot was originally used in onto the top of my car.22 The Short End Sheet BendA sub-specialist in the field of broken shoe laces,the short end sheet bend is the knot to use whenone of the lace ends is so irritatingly short thatyou can barely get a hold of it.The only real trick to this is the last step, pullingit all together. You have to work it a bit slowlyhere, keeping an eye on where the whole thing issupposed to be heading. Note, too, that the finalproduct is the familiar sheet bend—youve justtaken an alternative route in getting there.
  15. 15. 23 The Figure 8 StopperStopper knots are noth-ing more than lumps inthe rope, designed tomark a spot, or to keepthe rope from slippingthrough some kind oftight spot. The simplestis the overhand knot,described on page 2,but just about as sim-ple, and easier to untieafter having been reallytightened, is the Figure8 stopper.24 The Incredible Magic Loop