How To Tie A Square Knot


One of the most useful knots to learn how to make, or tie, is a square knot. It is the type of knot that fastens two lengths of rope, or string, together. It is a knot that will not slip in most cases. It is not a knot to depend on with your life, but is ideal for many typical uses.


Simple Instructions how to make a SQUARE KNOT


Hold the two rope ends, one in each hand as shown.


Cross the ropes as shown, right rope over the left rope.


Tuck the right rope (the end that you crossed over the left in previous step) under the left rope.


Finish the rest of that motion by twirling all the way around as shown. In other words, you’ve just looped the right rope under and then over the left rope.


Now, with the ends in hand as shown, place the left rope over the right rope. This is the same motion as you just did in the previous steps, but with the other rope end.


Tuck the left rope under the right rope.


Finish the motion. Twirl the left rope all the way under and then over the right rope as shown.


The final square knot should look like the image above. It will not slip. If you’ve looped the rope ends the wrong way, it will slip and come apart when you pull on it (which would then be called a Granny Knot). So, be sure to give it a tug.

Knowing how to tie a few basic knots are very essential to the overall knowledge and skills of Survival Preparedness. More examples to come later.


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  1. Quoting from the Ashley Book of Knots (pg 258) “The Reef or Square knot is a true Binder Knot, for which purpose it is admirable, but under no circumstances should it be used as a bend. If tied with two ends of unequal size, or if one end is stiffer or more slippery than the other, it is bound to spill. … There have probably been more lives lost as a result of using a Square Knot as a bend (to tie tow ropes together) then from the failure of any other half dozen knots combined.”

    To spill means to come undone. If you want to pass a rope around a rolled bedroll, the square knot is great to tie it off (use as a binder knot). It is dangerous as a bend.

    1. Very good – regarding the caveats to a reliable square knot. We started with a simple knot, to keep it simple – more to follow later…

  2. Us old Anglo Boy Scout types call it the Reef Knot – for tying ropes of equal diameter.
    Left over right, right over left.

    In the old days, British and colonial (Australian) Boy Scouts had different branches – Land Scouts, Sea Scouts and Air scouts. The Sea Scouts got to learn a few more variations of knots than the land lubbers.

  3. Yes, Us old scouts have different names for knots… Personally, when knotting: ( if I have enough Iength go over-kill… ) Leave length to knot taught line hitches on both sides of your square knot. Yeah it seems over-kill but I’ve landed many a fish, that bowline or other knots would have failed…

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