Knots Every Scout Should Know

By Samuel A. Moffat, Boy Scouts of America

Every scout knows what rope is. From the earliest moment of his play life he has used it in connection with most of his games. In camp life and on hikes he will be called upon to use it again and again. It is therefore not essential to describe here the formation of rope; its various sizes and strength. The important thing to know is how to use it to the best advantage. To do this an intelligent understanding of the different knots and how to tie them is essential. Every day sailors, explorers, mechanics, and mountain-climbers risk their lives on the knots that they tie. Thousands of lives have been sacrificed to ill-made knots. The scout therefore should be prepared in an emergency, or when necessity demands, to tie the right knot in the right way.

There are three qualities to a good knot:
  1. Rapidity with which it can be tied.
  2. Its ability to hold fast when pulled tight, and
  3. The readiness with which it can be undone.

The following knots, recommended to scouts, are the most serviceable because they meet the above requirements and will be of great help in scoutcraft. If the tenderfoot will follow closely the various steps indicated in the diagrams, he will have little difficulty in reproducing them at pleasure

In practising knot-tying a short piece of hemp rope may be used. To protect the ends from fraying a scout should know how to "whip" them. The commonest method of "whipping" is as follows:

Lay the end of a piece of twine along the end of the rope.  Hold it to the rope with the thumb of your left hand while you wind the standing part around it and the rope until the end of the twine has been covered. Then with the other end of the twine lay a loop back on the end of the rope and continue winding the twine upon this second end until all is taken up. The end is then pulled back tight and cut off close to the rope.
 For the sake of clearness a scout must constantly keep in mind these three principal parts of the rope:
  1. The Standing Part--The long unused portion of the rope on which he works;
  2. The Bight--The loop formed whenever the rope is turned back upon itself; and,
  3. The End--The part he uses in leading.
Before proceeding with the tenderfoot requirements, a scout should first learn the two primary knots: the overhand and figure-of-eight knots.

01.  The Overhand Knot.

Start with the position shown in the preceding diagram. Back the end around the standing part and up through the bight and draw tight.

02. The Figure of Eight Knot.

Make a bight as before. Then lead the end around back of the standing part and down through the bight. After these preliminary steps, the prospective tenderfoot may proceed to learn the required knots.

03. Square or Reef Knot.

The commonest knot for tying two ropes together. Frequently used in first-aid bandaging. Never slips or jams; easy to untie.

04. False Reef or Granny.

If the ends are not crossed correctly when making the reef knot, the false reef or granny is the result. This knot is always bad.

05. Sheet Bend or Weaver's Knot.

This knot is used in bending the sheet to the clew of a sail and in tying two rope-ends together. Make a bight with one rope A, B, then pass end C, of other rope up through and around the entire bight and bend it under its own standing part.

06. The Bowline.
A noose that neither jams nor slips. Used in lowering a person from a burning building, etc. Form a small loop on the standing part leaving the end long enough for the size of the noose required. Pass the end up through the bight around the standing part and down through the bight again. To tighten, hold noose in position and pull standing part.

07. Halter, Slip, or Running Knot.

A bight is first formed and an overhand knot made with the end around the standing part.

08. Sheepshank.
Used for shortening ropes. Gather up the amount to be shortened, then make a half hitch round each of the bends as shown in the diagram.

09. Clove Hitch.

Used to fasten one pole to another in fitting up scaffolding; this knot holds snugly; is not liable to slip laterally. Hold the standing part in left hand, then pass the rope around the pole; cross the standing part, making a second turn around the pole, and pass the end under the last turn.

10. The Fisherman's Bend.

Used aboard yachts for bending on the gaff topsail halliards. It consists of two turns around a spar or ring, then a half hitch around the standing part and through the turns on the spar, and another half hitch above it around the standing part.

11. Timber Hitch.
Used in hauling timber. Pass the end of the rope around the timber. Then lead it around its standing part and bring it back to make two or more turns on its own part. The strain will hold it securely.

12. Two Half Hitches.
Useful because they are easily made and will not slip under any strain. Their formation is sufficiently indicated by the diagram.

13. Blackwall Hitch.
Used to secure a rope to a hook. The standing part when hauled tight holds the end firmly.

14. Becket Hitch.
For joining a cord to a rope. May be easily made from diagram.

15. The Fisherman's Knot.

 Used for tying silk-worm gut for fishing purposes. It never slips; is easily unloosed by pulling the two short ends. The two ropes are laid alongside one another, then with each end an overhand knot is made around the standing part of the other. Pull the standing parts to tighten.

16.  Carrick Bend.

Used in uniting hawsers for towing. Is easily untied by pushing the loops inwards. Turn the end of one rope A over its standing part B to form a loop. Pass the end of the other rope across the bight thus formed, back of the standing part B over the end A, then under the bight at C, passing it over its own standing part and under the bight again at D.
Sumber :
Boy Scout Handbook 1911,  at

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