Knot Master. Levels.

Level Description Action

This level introduces seven basic Boy Scout knots, a couple variations on those knots, and a few others you typically learn as you advance to First Class. These knots are commonly used throughout Scouting and you’ll use them the rest of your life. In addition, the techniques you use to tie several of these knots serve as the foundation for future knots and lashings.


Level Two consists of a combination of two knots (or hitches), all five lashings. The lashings are essential for pioneering activities and to create camp gadgets, tripods, flag poles, towers, and bridges. Pioneering is a First Class skill that gives you a chance to be an engineer and build something. When you’re working with wood there are really only three basic ways to hold two pieces together; penetrating through both pieces with a nail, bolt or peg; joinery (cutting the pieces to fit and lock together like the ends of a log cabin); and tying them together (lashing).


Level Three consists of a combination of six fishing knots that work well in monofilament fishing line, a climbing knots and two knots used to secure heavy loads. Monofilament fishing line is made from various plastics and is prone to slipping. Regular knots used on a multi-stranded ropes do not hold well in monofilament so fishermen have developed ways to handle this problem. Take special note of the comments on line size, number of turns and always remember to wet the knot (with saliva) before drawing it tight.

The instructions for tying knots use some general terms and you will see them used for the fishing knots as well. Something to realize with fishing knots is that you work with only one end of the line. The “standing part” refers to the long portion of line that goes to the fishing reel. As before, the “tag end” is just that, the end of the line.

Fishermen often use a short, heavier (stronger) piece of monofilament called a leader at the end of the regular line to prevent a fish from biting through it. Other times a loop is used to tie on a lure so it moves more freely. When you start learning fishing knots you will find that there are dozens, even hundreds, of special purpose fishing knots!

When you tighten a knot tied with monofilament you typically only pull on one end (usually the standing part) and let the knot slip until it tightens up completely. At that point you can trim the tag end close to the knot. Fishermen often use a pair of common nail clippers to trim the tag end close. You need to be careful tightening fishing knots for two reasons. Monofilament can easily cut your skin. Also, more importantly, when you’re tying on a hook or a lure there’s a sharp, barbed point that doesn’t pull out of skin very easily if you get stuck with it. It’s always best to hold a hook with a pair of pliers (needle nose pliers work best) when you’re tightening the knot.

The last four knots can prove useful in various situations. The two loop knots allow you to tie a secure knot in the middle of a rope without using the ends. The two packing knots have been used to tie camping and prospecting equipment to the back of a mule or onto a pack frame, or to tie down a canoe to the top of a car.


Level Four consists of a combination of more difficult, decorative and useful knots. These knots will challenge your knot tying capability and prepare you for the “Knot Master” level. The Turks Head, or '“Woggle'” is probably the most popular because of its use as a neckerchief slide.


Level Five is the final level of the Knot Master Program. The level of Knot Master is achieved by combining the skills you’ve learned in completing Levels One through Four, and then going a little further on your own, to create a decorative or functional rope project. Decorate a walking stick or make a key fob from a combination of Round and Square Sinnets and modifying the Chinese Button as a lanyard knot. Make a decorative lanyard to clip on a whistle and/or compass using variations of the knots you’ve learned. Make a decorative wall hanging or a door mat using a variation of the Turks Head or the Ocean Plait. The field is wide open. Do a little research, think it over, use your imagination and be creative! Once you’ve done so, you will truly have become a Knot Master.

But like anything else, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it! Make sure to stay proficient on all of the knots you’ve learned. Wearing the black rope is a symbol to all that you can be relied on to demonstrate and teach any of the knots at any given moment.