How to Tie the Impossible Knot


Boy Scout Knots

To many, knots are synonymous with the Boy Scouts. And for good reason: The Boy Scouts movement began in England, courtesy of a chap named Robert Baden-Powell. Baden-Powell was a famous British war hero who wrote a military field manual called "Aids to Scouting." Young boys discovered this book and found its lessons on tracking and observation fascinating. So Baden-Powell penned another book, "Scouting for Boys," aimed at this younger audience. That book, published in 1908, was the start of the Boy Scouts [source: History].

"Scouting for Boys" contained information on activities like camping, woodcraft, boating and lifesaving. It's here that the necessity of learning various knots came into play — a whole chapter was devoted to saving lives with knots. Additionally, the book taught the importance of morality, chivalry, patriotism and good deeds [source: History].

Britain's The Telegraph reported scout leaders in England no longer are required to know how to tie knots, as today's merit badges are more focused on learning skills like public relations and IT than climbing or sailing. Still, many scouts there and in other parts of the world do learn how to tie many knots during their years in the organization. Here are six of the more common knotsAmerican Scouts are taught [sources: Boy Scout Trail, Boy Scouts of America]:

  • Square knot. Simple binding knot that can be used on shoes or for holding a pad on a wound. It's the first knot boys learn when they join the Scouts,
  • Bowline. Called the "king of knots"; used to make nonslip loop at end of a rope
  • Sheet bend. Good for tying two ropes together
  • Clove hitch. Used with stiff, thick ropes; good for lashing together two poles; required for rowing merit badge
  • Two half hitches. Versatile binding or hitch knot; required for rowing merit badge
  • Tautline hitch. Adjustable knot used in tent guy lines; required for canoeing merit badge

Author's Note: How to Tie the Impossible Knot

I've never been good with knots. Actually, the only one I know how to reliably tie is the good old bunny ears. But I'd like to take a stab at the double fisherman's. I just need to find two things I can tie together that can remain tied for eternity!

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Sources

  • A Site About Nothing. "Andy's Most Useful Knots." (May 11, 2015) http://www.asiteaboutnothing.net/cr_most-useful-knots.html
  • Animated Knots By Grog. "Constrictor Knot (Twisting Method)." Nov. 24, 2014. (May 11, 2015) http://www.animatedknots.com/constrictor/
  • Bisharat, Andrew. "The Seven Need-To-Know Climbing Knots." Backcountry. May 6, 2015. (May 11, 2015) http://www.backcountry.com/explore/the-seven-need-to-know-climbing-knots
  • Boy Scouts of America. "Canoeing." (May 13, 2015) http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-CANO.aspx
  • Boy Scout Trail. "Scout Requirements Study Guide." (May 13, 2015) http://www.boyscouttrail.com/webelos/boyscoutreqsaid.asp
  • Boy Scouts of America. "First Class Rank Requirements." (May 13, 2015) http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/firstclass.aspx
  • Boy Scouts of America. "Pioneering." (May 13, 2015) http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-PION.aspx
  • Boy Scouts of America. "Rowing." (May 13, 2015) http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-ROWG.aspx
  • Climbing Knots. "How to untie a Figure eight Loop." (May 14, 2015) http://www.climbing-knots.com/how-to-untie-a-figure-eight-loop.html
  • De Decker, Kris. "Lost knowledge: ropes and knots." Low-Tech Magazine. (May 11, 2015) http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/06/lost-knowledge-ropes-and-knots.html
  • Geffre, John. "The Six Boy Scout Knots." Merit Badge. Aug. 20, 2001. (May 12, 2015) https://meritbadge.org/wiki/images/5/5d/Six-Boy-Scout-Knots.pdf
  • History. "Boy Scouts movement begins." (May 20, 2015) http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/boy-scouts-movement-begins
  • Indoor Climbing. "Tie the Fisherman's Knot." (May 17, 2015) http://www.indoorclimbing.com/Fishermans_Knot.html
  • Knots 3D. "Constrictor Knot." (May 11, 2015) http://knots3d.com/binding/constrictor-knot/
  • NetKnots. "Constrictor Knot." (May 11, 2015) http://www.netknots.com/rope_knots/constrictor-knot/
  • NetKnots. "Double Fisherman's." (May 11, 2015) http://www.netknots.com/rope_knots/double-fishermans/
  • RopeBook. "Knot History." (May 11, 2015) http://www.ropebook.com/information/knots/history
  • The Telegraph. "Modern scout leaders 'don't need to know how to tie knots.'" Nov. 2, 2014. (May 20, 2015) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/11203889/Modern-scout-leaders-dont-need-to-know-how-to-tie-knots.html
  • Titan Paracord. "Constrictor Knot." Oct. 1, 2014. (May 11, 2015) http://titanparacord.com/constrictor-knot/
  • YouTube. "The Impossible Knot." Sept. 1, 2009. (May 11, 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiwZvnU_6KQ

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