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Tying the Square Knot & the Sheet Bend

Joe Borowski, Dec. 6, 2019

The Square Knot was one of the first that I learned as a young Scout and one that I still hold dear today. But he has a cousin, the Sheet Bend, that has a superpower of his own and I think you should learn about both.

First up we have the Square Knot, or as it’s technically called the Reef Knot, which is a pretty strong type of joining knot. Joining knots, or binding knots, combine two ropes together or two ends of the same rope. We commonly know the Square knot from when we tie packages and we are combining two overhand knots. As kids, we remember repeating the old saying “Right over left, left over right” to remember how we make sure we end up with the knot we want. If you tie the same overhand knot twice, you will end up with a Granny Knot instead. It is not easily done with two ends of the same rope, but you can tie it in a way that you can have one long end and one short end opposing each other and this would be called a Theif Knot which is not as strong as the Reef Knot because of how the friction works then the ropes bind.

Now if you’re tying together ropes of two varying sizes, I would lead you to use the Sheet Bend. This knot puts an extra bend in that will create a secondary binding point. In the video below I’ll show you more on this, but if you get to a point where you are combining drastically different sized ropes, I would look at some even stronger bends like the Racking Bend or Seizing Bend.

Try it on your own and let me know if you have any feedback.


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