The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Name that knot

Make a loop in the rope

I only use one knot other than a half hitch on a regular basis. 

Make a knot with the loop by passing through itself

(Yes, I did almost fail kindergarten because I couldn't learn to tie my shoes correctly.  I figured out the normal method while bored one day in high school calculus, but I still make two rabbit ears and then tie them into a knot when my shoe laces need securing.)

Pull the knot tight

I learned this knot from my father, who used it to tighten a canoe down on top of a car during our paddling forays.

Wind the free end of the rope around the stake, then pass the free end through your loop.

It's a bit complex, consisting of first making a solid loop, passing the free end of the rope under the bumper of the car (or other solid object), slipping the end through the loop, pulling tight, and then securing the line with another knot.

Pull on the free end until the rope is taut, then pinch to hold the tension in place.

The photographs here show the steps in more depth.

Make a loop with the free end of your rope and pass it around the rope leading to the stake.

The knot is great for securing a line tightly in such a way that you can untie the knot quickly and easily.

Pull the loop up to where you have the line pinched to tighten the final knot.

My question for you is --- what is this knot called?

Pull on the free end to release the knot

I use it to secure the ends of my quick hoops, which will be profiled in the October volume of Weekend Homesteader, and I'd like to use the knot's real name.  Any ideas?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I learned this knot from Silas who called it a "come-along knot."
Comment by Errol Fri Sep 23 08:25:01 2011
And here I thought the knot came with the canoe somehow! :-) I'm not seeing come-along knot turning up results in a quick google search, but I'll hunt more on that name later today. Meanwhile, maybe someone else has a more common name for it?
Comment by anna Fri Sep 23 08:37:54 2011
Actually, it's the whole system of tying the loop, running the line thru it, then drawing it tight that is the come-along. We used it to tie thousand pound baskets of tobacco onto the back of a truck.
Comment by Errol Fri Sep 23 10:37:33 2011
i, too, know this knot as a come-along - which my scout master taught me so many moons ago.
Comment by kevin Fri Sep 23 10:50:11 2011

What you're doing is like a truckers hitch, but the base knot you're using isn't really a truckers hitch- it's a half hitch on a bight (well, that's what i would call it).

A 'come along' is also the name of the mechanical gizmos that are used to tie things down- they use a winch-like gear to tighten the webbing. I've never heard a knot called that (but i dropped out of boy scouts).

Comment by matt Fri Sep 23 13:05:07 2011

You have to love the internet --- by the time I got around to spending more time googling "come along knot", this post was the second hit. :-) I can't seem to find any tutorials on the knot, but I think that I'm going to assume Daddy and Kevin know what they're talking about.

Daddy --- I loved the extra bit of info about using it to tie down tobacco baskets. My memories of riding on top of those towering piles of tobacco baskets while going down that scary steep hill on the way to the tobacco warehouse at night are very vivid.

Matt --- "Trucker's hitch" does seem to be a much more used term, but it doesn't quite match my knot. It looks a bit more complex --- perhaps to get the same effect but in a more long term fashion?

We do have comealongs that we use regularly to winch our truck out of the mud. :-)

Comment by anna Fri Sep 23 18:50:11 2011

It's an overhand loop with a halter hitch to secure it.

I've used this combo many times myself. The main disadvantage to using the simple overhand loop is that it is a (insert expletive here) to undo after being loaded (tension put on it).

A bowline on a bight is a better knot for that application.

Hope this helps.


Comment by Colin Sat Sep 24 12:42:01 2011
Colin --- Excellent point. I tend to use this knot if I'm not going to have to untie the solid loop ever, but the few times I've tried to untie one, I've been very sad... :-) Thanks for the definitive answer on the knot types!
Comment by anna Sat Sep 24 18:33:50 2011

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