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The Knotting Dictionary of Kännet
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About Jan Korpegård

Reef Knot (Square Knot (A.E.))

Reef Knot (Square Knot (A.E.))
The knot everyone knows!!?! This is a knot for tying the ends of a piece of rope or string together, for example when tying up a parcel. Remember this is a called a knot NOT a bend, as it should not for tying two ropes together, especially when your life depends on it, as it is easily spilt. Learn the knot by name one of the parts Bertil, and the other one Sture. When they fight, Bertil is stronger so he will get on the top. They twist, and the same thing happens again. Bertil gets on the top again. They twist again, and the reefknot is done.
Pleas note! No matter what some people thinks below, this knot should not be used when you tie two ropes together that you are going to climb!
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Reccomended Books
At amazon.com (USA):
The Ashley Book of Knots
The Marlinspike Sailor
Knot Tying: Advanced Knotting (CDROM)

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Everything in this box is submitted by other users on Internet. I take no responsibility of the information.

Submitted by: Rick
If you tighten this knot enough it won't come undone easily.

Submitted by: Myriam
In Egypt we took this knot as symbol of union for an activity called Mouvement partage.

Submitted by: Dan Cashin
Industrial riggers require each side to be backed up with half hitches when used as lashing.

Submitted by: Jim
The Reefknot is used to reef, reduce sail size, hence the name.

Submitted by: b.bergman@stud.tue.nl
Dutch sailors of the 17th and 18th century on VOC ships use this knot to prevent their personal luggage. They use a subtle variation of this knot to close their luggage, when the knot is in the 'normal' form as presented here they know that there was someone who has looked in their luggage. I can't show the subtle variation here because everyone then know's the trick and it won't work any longer. But you can mail me for questions.

Submitted by: Damir Visic
In Croatia we call this knot "muski" ("men's"), and we usualy use it to tie two ropes of equal radius

Submitted by: Joca
in portuguese: "nу direito"

Submitted by: c. f. hammel
This knot is also known as "joining knot" in Webelos (cub scout prior to being a Boy Scout).

Submitted by: joseph
the surgeons is almost exactly the same and it is better all you have to do is an extra twist on the first over and under

Submitted by: Andy Adair
This knot is not for bearing human loads, This "change" has come about with the use and testing of the newer kermantle and nylon ropes. As testing on these newer ropes shown knots that were one time safe are now shown to be questinable. It is advisable if you learned a knot years ago look into its performance with todays ropes, BE SAFE!

Submitted by: Andy Adair
This knot has injerd more firemen than any knot,

Submitted by: I do not wish to give this info
This is not a reef knot. A reef knot has a loop at the end of the right rope (the black one in this picture). It is used to reef down a sail the loop is used so that you can puli down that end and it will easily come out.

Submitted by: Scouter Thomas
This knot is actually easy to untie, even when put under heavy strain. Just pull both ends of one rope taut, that line will straighten and the other line will slide right off.

Submitted by: David
This really isn't a good knot. It jams, and it capsizes. At least it's better than a granny knot.

Submitted by: Jim
b. bergman's comments are correct: This knot, tied slightly differently (or "wrong") and called a "Thief's knot", was used by sailors to close their personal bags. If the sailor discovered the knot was tied "right", they knew that someone had opened their bag. Don't know how that would help them: their valuables were probably already gone!

Submitted by: Fred
This is a good knot. When my brother and I climbed out a window, we tied this knot, and it held us while we climbed out.

Submitted by:
Good,useful and easy to tie. My gramdpa used it in the navy

Submitted by: Darko
In Croatia (Scouts)we call this knot as ambulance knot becouse it is flat and we use it for bandage.

Submitted by: Andy
This is a knot that no one should never be used to hold anything important. Its the most dangerous knot in the world and has probably killed more people than any other. There is no excuse for using this knot and I can't believe there are still people who recomend it. Its just plain poor.

Submitted by: Sean
If you are becoming a boy scout one of the requirements for the scout rank in the BSA is knowing how to tie this knot so, learn to tie it if u are becoming one ASAP.

Submitted by: christin
Well i am doing aprojecton this knot and i came here for some info. about this knot and yall ppl need to decide if it is a good one or not b/c yall are all saying different stuff ! None of the info was useful!!

Submitted by: Geraint
Children are tought this knot in the UK by "left over right, right over left".

Submitted by: Ilya Sleptsov newsurgery@freemail.ru
In Russia we call this knot "бабий" or "женский" which means "granny" or "women`s" knot. I do not recommend to use this knot during surgical operations in my book "Knots in surgery" (2000) because of its possible slippage.

Submitted by: Shay Tzinder
In Hebrew it called "Shatuach" ("Platted") or "Kaful" ("Double-Knot").

Submitted by: Alex Arroyo
In Spanish the name of this knot is : llano

Submitted by: Donna
I am a den leader for Cub Scouts. I taught this knot to my boys as part of the things they need to know. They loved it because it was so easy to learn. I taught them the "left over right, right over left" method.

Submitted by: milan
its a hobby, all the knots are cool...

Submitted by: Amy
Somebody who knows something about this knot needs to write in, because one person says this is the best knot, the other says it's the worst!!! You're confusing me!!!!

Submitted by: Adam
The surgeons knot is a lot harder than the reef knot

Submitted by: kat
In Germany this knot is called "Weberknoten" or "Pfadfinderknoten". (Pfadfinder=Scout)

Submitted by: Andrew
The reef knot is not to be used as a bend(a knot to join two pieces of rope). This is because it cannot hold heavy loads. The Sheet Bend is a simple bend and is much more trustworthy than the reef knot. The reef knot\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s true purpose is to tie a parcel closed.

Submitted by: F. Van Gould
The only uses for this knot are reefing a sail, tying a sling for an injured arm (it will not dig into your shoulder), or for tying a broken shoelace. The slippery reef knot has the end wove thru but this is not necessary. As pointed out above the knot will capsize to give a lark\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s head (cow hitch) around the other part and the whole thing comes undone. This is how reefs were shaken out. The granny knot is actually more secure but jams badly.

Submitted by: Sharon
This page has led to some interesting theories and facts. Yes, in the UK the children are taught to do the knot by tying it \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"left over right, then right over left\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\". It IS a useful knot - it lies flat which is why the UK ambulance service use it to tie slings and bandages in an emergency. The UK Scouts and Guides are also told to use this knot in first aid only. It is NOT a safe knot to use for rescue purposes. It will NOT hold the weight of a body as it DOES slip. This is demonstrated by once tying the knot, pushing it gently together will release it. Hope this helps the confused out there.

Submitted by: Dan Lehman
Well, it's interesting to read knots books through the ages and all around, to see that a great many of them simply parrot what others have similarly parroted, ad nauseam. I can see Ashley's and others' admonitions against this, the assertions "it's not a bend, ...!", etc. --and what I wouldn't be surprised to learn is nothing but an urban legend sort of myth, re the Thief knot being a means to discover a theft (think: won't you know this by the loss of goods?)! (Why knot books repeatedly show the Thief is beyond me.)
The reef knot here IS a bend, it does join the two ends of ropes (and other material--particularly good w/rubber bands, btw), no matter how well or desireable you might find it--a bend, but one needing limits on use. The knot can slip, also can jam (note that these are opposite actions!), and can be a pain to untie (the "simply pull one end" doesn't work after serious loading of many ropes).
The reef is one of the most size-efficient bends, and this point was driven home to me upon finding washed up ropes from some commercial fishing net (headropes) that were joined (in surprisingly short--10 metre or less--segments) with reefs b a c k e d u p b y tucking the ends into the rope (once or twice). This structure pretty much was the bulk of just 2 diameters of rope! And some climbing books recommend using a sort of similar stucture, where the ends are tied off in double overhand knots to their SParts (unlike the tucking (or seizing), however, this won't give the ends such active *participation* in the knot, such approach to balance in loading; rather, it will simply safeguard against the knot capsize and spilling).
And, yes, the knot CAN also gain some security when used qua binder, in that the bound object provides some friction to the SParts at their marriage point.

Submitted by: Amir Mortal
There seems to be a great amount of ignorance still alive and kicking about this knot. As a professional rope rigger, this knot is NEVER TO BE USED FOR HUMAN WEIGHT OR OVERHEAD LIFTING OF ANY KIND!!
This knot has been a source of many nightmares for myself, any Rigger, any Climber or rescue technician.
however this does remain a fine knot for an arm sling, tying packages, and with a small variation it becomes the beloved shoestring bow!

Submitted by: Sriram - Chief Officer - merchant marine
It was very interesting to read all the different points of view on this knot. I feel that its the most popular ropework at sea, the first one I teach my cadets, and easiest to tie!!
the reason we normally don't use it to tie heavy weights (eg: while picking up tug line) is that it jams badly and is difficult to pry open after a really heavy weight has slung over it!! The bowline , on the other hand, is very easy to open (sometimes tied a lil differently to enable opening it with a fid/spike) as filipino bosun once taught me - and popular for picking a rope attached to a heavy weight when you cant afford the knot coming off.
By the way, I have never seen a reef knot come off (unless, of course , you use a slippery rope...in which case even a bowline would come off!!!)

Submitted by: David McGwire 4-26-02
If you can't do a square knot,put the rope around your knee and do two overhand knots. There you go you got a square knot.

Submitted by: V. Lenin
I say that this knot is unsafe because once I used thid knot for camping to tie two pices of short rope together then used that same rope to tie my food in the tree. About a day later it fell and hit me with about 12 cans of food right on top of my head! how's that for proof!

Submitted by: Heather Kinkle
The knot is very helpf ul but it does not show you step by step how to do it and that was what I was looking for not the knots history I would have looked it up in the History of knots not a website I wanted to know how to tie knots if you know a website answer this problem I'll be back later waiting for an answer and if you can't find one I'll call You and this beter be printed ont the front page get it I want people to know what kind of web this is before they waist their time

Submitted by: ribiscunt
If you loosen the knot you can se a squarein the middle

Submitted by: Brian Draper Australian State emergency Service
In reply to all that have stated the dangers of this knot YOU ARE CORRECT, We only use this knot for first aid ie a shoulder sling and never on joining two ropes where the ropes will be umder strain.

Submitted by: Jimi Hendrix
O.K., This knot is not safe, DON'T USE IT FOR IMPORTANT OR HEAVY LOADS!! use the sheet bend, it's very similar to the reef knot BUT IT'S SAFE.

I agree with Milan all knots are cool, even the useless ones like monkey\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s fist.

Submitted by: Me
the most important knot

Submitted by: david
use a sheet bend or a hunter's bend they are more reliable

Submitted by: Terry
This knot is easily untied by simply pulling two parts of the same line apart. i.e. pull the two parts of the white line apart.

Submitted by: David Coetzer
In South Africa it is called a "skuifknoop" in Afrikaans.

Submitted by: David Coetzer
It is also known as a slip-knot or running knot in South Africa.

Submitted by: robert
in polish its called: babski

Submitted by:
I get all knoted up in cord.

Submitted by: Eon
The Reef Knot CAN be made to slip. It is safer than a Granny Knot, but less safe than a Sheet Bend. It is safer than a single overhand knot, but less safe than three overhand knots. Listen to all the advice - if your life, or someone else's life, depends on it, USE A SAFER KNOT! If you don't know how to tie a safer knot, tie several Reef Knots on top of each other. By the way, the difference between a Reef Knot and a Granny Knot is what causes some poeple's shoelace knots to always come untied. Check out my web site: http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace

Submitted by: GengHui
in China, this knot is called -- ping knot.
please note, the "ping" is the local word

Submitted by: Rush Shortley
This knot should be used only in situations where the line is kept at a constant tension, such as tied packages or reefing sales. It should not be used for any situation involving variable tension on the line since it is too easily loosened by constant variations in tension, such as climbing or rescue work can bring to the task. With little or not tension on the line it loosens naturally or the knot can be easily capsized and undone completely by a gentle tug on the loose, hanging, end. Sheet bends, prussick knots, bowlines and other specialized knots and bends are much more secure knots for this sort of activity. A Carrick Bend is a secure way of joining two lines of equal size, but is extremely difficult to undo after heavy stress has been applied to the joined line. Also a response to the fellow who stated this is not a reef knot shown here: It is. The type to which he referred is a "slipped" reef knot or Single Bow, and that is the form often used for reefing sails to allow for a quick release.

Submitted by: me
can you do the Reef knot with one rope

somebody did it but i can't

Submitted by: knotter
In Finnish: Merimiessolmu (mariner's knot)

Submitted by: Rahim Munir
Reef knot was also called Hercules knot in Unan for its strength,, It is also called doctor's knot beacuse it is tied in the ends of bandages, it is also called decoratie knot because of its beutiful shape....if u need any kind of help in knotting...not my mail address mind_knowledge@hotmail.com , i will help more than possibilities.

Submitted by: jean-pierre clec'h
This knot is the logo of the city of Brest (navy port in Brittany - west of France)

Submitted by: TreeSpyder
Hey Dan!

i kinda think that the Square is preferred in a loop; as knot to self; rather than a bend of 2 lines together.

If, holding/lowering from 2 seperate lines, and 1 line is Static; but the other moves, moves faster, stretches, starts to tear; the static leg takes over the load. As a Bend, a Square Knot would not be allowed this protection; of the 'buddy' Static line.

i think the reason is that there is a Static leg in a loop, that takes the load if the Square goes to slide some in a loop. As a single loaded line, this is not present. Plus, in a loop, the jointing of the knot carries only 1/2 load, then less if it goes to slip.

Conversely an adjsutable splice in Tenex bending 2 lenghts together holds, as the load becomes the gripping force. As an adjsutable loop, a Tenex adjustable splice can walk with little provacation sometimes. As the Static side of the loop can take the load at disturbance, unloading the locking pressure, and the splice slides while load is on. As and adjustable bend or eye splice, needs lots less friction i think to hold.


Submitted by: Sharon
Monkey Fist knots are used for anchors on some river boats.........!

Submitted by: pj samson
this knot not to be used when joining two different sizes and kinds of ropesn as it may slip off.

Submitted by: lee
more info needed on what a reef knot is used for

Submitted by: Dave
Some body wrote"
I am a den leader for Cub Scouts. I taught this knot to my boys as part of the things they need to know. They loved it because it was so easy to learn. I taught them the "left over right, right over left" method."

This is how to tie an unrelible granny knot for a square knot it is right over left first

Submitted by: tommy tbone
There are much better ways to tie 2 ropes together than this knot. This knot could be made more reliable by wraping it 3 or 4 times around the standing part, then send it back through the loop.
Or just use a Carrick Bend. Holds to the full strength of the rope under load, and is easy to untie as well.
check it out.

Submitted by: Unknown
Could you teach me what website can i found step-by-step in tieing a knot...

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