The square knot has been known by many names: The Reef Knot, The Hercules Knot, and The Square Knot. Its uses are varied and many. It has been used to secure medical bandages, tie shoelaces, tie belts and sashes, tie down sails, bundle sticks together, joining two ropes of equal diameter together, and much more. In this post we are going to talk about how to tie this simple, but copiously useful, knot.
The tying of the square knot starts by holding the end of two pieces of rope in each of your hands. Follow these steps and you should have a square knot in no time.
- Start by taking the rope in your right hand and placing it over top of the rope in your left hand, and making a simple over hand knot. You should have an overhand knot with about 6″ of rope sticking out.
- Next take the rope that is on the left side of the overhand knot and lay it over top of the end on the right making another overhand knot.
- Finally pull the ends and you have a square knot.
Many people simplify the process for memorization by using the simple phrase, “Right over Left, and Left over Right.”
Learning to tie the square the knot is a basic skill that everyone should know. It’s usefulness abounds and its application in a variety of situations will help general preparedness, and serve to impress some people who don’t know.
The square or reef knot was, and is, extensively used in the maritime industry. Often Captains of ships would keep their valuable belongings in a foot locker, and then as an extra measure of security would wrap a rope around the foot locker and tie a square knot to add extra security, and hopefully keep some people out of his good food.
Many of the sailors obviously knew how to tie a square knot, so it wasn’t long before the security measure was not enough. To add an extra amount of security the captain would start using the Thief’s Knot. This knot looks and functions exactly like a square knot with one exception. Instead of the ends of the rope ending on the same side of the knot, they end on opposite sides.
This simple know, the Thief Knot, would allow a captain to know that someone was in his foot locker without having to open it up and check it.