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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.
The Square Knot (also known as the Reef Knot or Joining Knot) is a common and simple binding knot. It is easily used to connect two ropes of equal size. You can loosen the square knot easily by either pushing the ends toward the knot or by “upsetting” the knot by pulling back on one end and pulling the other through the loops.
The Sheet Bend is an important knot for joining two rope ends, especially if the ropes are of different sizes. Sailors named it in the days of sailing ships when they would “bend” (tie) the “sheets” (ropes attached to the clew of the sail).
The Figure-Eight Knot is very important in both sailing and rock climbing as a method of stopping ropes from running out of retaining devices. It creates a bulkier end on the rope than just an overhand knot.
The Bowline has been called the “king of knots”. It will never slip or jam if properly made and, thus, is excellent for tying around a person in a rescue. Begin by forming an overhand loop, or eye in the standing part. The way you form the loop matters. Look at the picture, grab the line using your right hand with the back of your hand up and roll your hand over to face palm up. This simple trick will always work! Take the tag end up through the eye, around behind the standing part, and back through the eye where it came from. Tighten as shown in the last picture. There are many different ways to tie a Bowline. Try tying one around your waist using only one hand.
This is a reliable and useful knot for attaching a rope to a pole or boat mooring. A single Half Hitch serves as the basis of many other knots. As the name suggests, this knot is just two Half Hitches, one after the other. The only '“trick'” to tying the Two Half Hitches is to go through the loop and over the rope as shown, and always keep the rope looping in the same direction. To finish, push them together and snug them by pulling on the standing part. A variation on this knot is to wrap the line around the pole twice (called a round turn) before tying the Two Half Hitches.
The Taut Line Hitch is an adjustable loop knot for use on lines under tension. It is useful when the length of a line will need to be periodically adjusted in order to maintain 3 tension. It is very similar to the Two Half Hitches except that before tying the second hitch the rope is wrapped a second time around the standing part (step 2 in the picture). Tension is maintained by sliding the hitch to adjust the size of the loop. It is typically used for securing tent lines or pulling a tarp tight. The Two Half Hitches is a knot that will always slide down the standing part of the rope to the pole. So you might as well slide it down when you tighten the knot. Wrapping the rope a second turn around the standing part before tying the second hitch is what keeps the Taut Line Hitch from sliding like the Two Half Hitches.
The Clove Hitch (along with the Bowline and the Sheet Bend) is often considered one of the most essential knots. It consists of two identical half hitches made successively around an object. It is most effective as a crossing knot. Although it can be used as a binding knot, it is not particularly secure in that role. Because it passes around an object in only one direction it puts very little strain on the rope fibers. Another way to tie a clove hitch is shown below.
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