Author Topic: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots  (Read 23760 times)

Sweeney

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2011, 04:57:09 PM »
I wonder what would be the result of asking say 50 people on the high street to tie a loop in the end of a piece of paracord? My guess is that over 90% would tie an overhand loop and for most everyday purposes what is actually wrong with it? There is a danger that those of us who know the subject believe that everyone else needs to as well when clearly they don't! For the few who would like to learn knots (probably for a reason eg work, fishing etc) then a toolbox makes sense as they already have the problem. But for everyone else their approach is "here is my problem - can knots solve it and if so how?" and that is just as valid an approach to encouraging people to learn more. In short I would like to see the "6 problems" rather than the "6 knots" - same thing actually but better marketing?

Barry

knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2011, 02:08:57 AM »
I learned the double dragon pretty fast. I don't find it hard to remember compared to a lot of other popular knots - like hitches for lengthwise pulls, adjustable loops and even the zeppelin loop.

Layhands guide for tying the knot is close to hopeless and I hope you aren't referring to that method.

Gotta link?

knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2011, 02:21:28 AM »
Everybody worth their salt DOES need to know basic knots.  For those of you who learned knots as a child, perhaps you're not aware of why everybody needs to know basic knots.  Here's one of many examples:  At some point in life, everybody is going to have tie down a load for themselves, unless you're a wealthy turd who never has to lift a finger.  I'm talking about regular people.  You may think tying down a load is common sense.  WRONG, it's not common sense!

I recall trying to tie down a load on a truck for my then girlfriend when I was about 30 years old.  I spent about 45 minutes trying to get the rope tight, no exaggeration.  The rope would NOT get tight.  Even worse, I had to cut the rope every time I formed a jam.  Eventually, the rope was too short.  Further, I didn't know how to tie a proper bend to join the short pieces of rope.  I thought it was standard procedure to jam a knot and then cut the rope.  I just never paid attention.  My girlfriend eventually had to call her brother because I could not tie down the load.  That single incident with my girlfriend left an impression in her mind, and I recall she did start to view me as less of a man.  All of the men in her family could tie down a load with ease.

My journey into the world of knots then began.  That one example is enough reason why every normal person needs to learn how to tie basic knots.  (There are other examples as well.)  My signature below indicates I may have a slight obsession with Trucker Hitches.  :D
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 02:42:12 AM by knot4u »

Sweeney

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2011, 09:54:46 AM »
Everybody worth their salt DOES need to know basic knots.  

I don't disagree - but the fact they don't is my point because in my experience those occasions of towing, tying down a load etc are dealt with with by off the shelf mechanical contraptions (eg bungee cord & hooks, webbing with a ratchet, tow rope with fittings already attached) - I have seen only one lorry with a roped load in the past 6 months (it was so unusual I tried to photograph it but he was too quick). To be able to get people interested we need to  show that knots do have a place and are a lot less expensive and specialised a solution than a multitude of hardware and I think that the way to do that is to look at actual uses for rope and knots then teach how to tie and use the right knots in context.

Barry

Transminator

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2011, 01:50:13 PM »
But for everyone else their approach is "here is my problem - can knots solve it and if so how?" and that is just as valid an approach to encouraging people to learn more. In short I would like to see the "6 problems" rather than the "6 knots" - same thing actually but better marketing?

Barry

Ok.
Lets get that started then.

1. Camping
One example from myself:
Whenever I put a tent up, I went about that by attaching the ropes to the tent pegs and then tighten them by putting the pegs into the ground at the spot where the ropes are tight. Idealy the tent peg is put in the ground in an angle, pointing to the tent and often the ropes are slack afterwards or the annoying stone in the ground, just at the perfect spot, spoils your endeavor. Until I learned about knots and in particular the adjustable grip hitch. Just put the pegs in nicely at a convenient spot were there is no stone in the ground, hook the grip hitches over the pegs and tighten them by sliding the grip hitch up. It usually stays tight, if not, re-tighten it every now and then or re-tie the grip hitch with extra turns for more friction. When done camping, loosen it by sliding the grip hitch down and the loop can stay in for the next time you use it. Simple, efficient and my friends wanted to learn it straight away.

2. You need to put a pole into the ground or you need to get one out of the ground?
> use a prusik or a klemheist.
Have a look at the pictures in the german wikipedia artikel about the prusik (in the section: "Heim und Garten"> "home and garden") for some nice examples. > http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prusikknoten
Put a prusik around the pole and you have a nice handle to use your body weight to drive the pole into the ground or pull it out. Put a lever into the handle for heavy duty, use the prusik principle for makeshift ladder rungs, climb up a rope or pole (for whatever reason, to have a look around perhaps?) using the prusik etc.
3. You need to tie something down on the rack of your bike? Try a gleipnir or constrictor
4. You need to use a rope to clime onto something? > make a makeshift rope ladder with butterfly loops or tie stopper knots (figure eight, double overhand knot etc.) into the rope for grip
5. you need a simple yet reliable way of attaching a fishing hook to a piece of string? > use the palomar loop
6. you have two ropes but they are both not long enough for the task at hand? > join them with a zeppelin bend
7. you constantly have to tie your shoes because the shoelaces are so slippery that they keep opening? > try the "Double Slip Knot" instead> http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/secureknot.htm
8. You have to hang a hammock? > try the Siberian Hitch etc.
9. you need a temporary or makeshift whipping, or you don't have a cable tie but need one ? > use a constrictor
10. you need a quick, secure fixed loop> use a bowline
...

I think that list might get longer then the list of knots that you may need.
A combination of both approaches might be what we need.

Find a good, alround basic set of knots that is secure and versatile. (such as the surrey six, but I would swap the sheet bend with the zeppelin bend for starters)
1. Teach every knot not just by itself but with at least one good example of when to use it.
2. Combine them in multiple ways to fulfill many a task so that YOU DON'T have to go through a long list of possible scenarios (and never quite covering them all). Rather teach this Lecter's handful of knots in such a way that the learner feels comfortable with using them in many different scenarios. That way, even if they do not always have the perfect knot for every scenario, they have at least a viable solution based on the basic set of knots they learned.
The surrey six is one example but chances are they come back for more once they found that the figure 8 e.g. is awkward as a bend or hitch and difficult to untie, that the constrictor can be a bitch to untie when used as a binder, that the figure 8 hitch is just not good enough for hanging a hammock,  that the sheet bend may come lose or is prone to slip in certain materials (well, they could fall back on the figure 8 bend, but that one is a jammer) etc.
But at least they used a secure and easy knot for the time being and that is what it is all about. If they come back for more, teach them better knots for the specific tasks they have or an upgraded basic set (advanced set) that includes e.g. the adjustable grip hitch, the gleipnir, the siberian or the buntline hitch, the prusik knot etc.



knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 02:54:30 AM »
...7. you constantly have to tie your shoes because the shoelaces are so slippery that they keep opening? > try the "Double Slip Knot" instead> http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/secureknot.htm...

Or tell them to tie a Reef instead of a Granny!

Wed

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2011, 10:34:52 AM »
Yesterday, I carried a 2l soda bottle by the collar, right under the screw cork. One of few viable ways to carry the bottle, as it is too wide to grip. A few years ago, that collar was rather big and made carrying easy. Now it don't take long to be painful in the fingers.

Now, there is a problem that could use the learning of a jug sling. Maybe barrel hitch.

I have learned that sling myself. Several times even. Of course I had no piece of string at hand yesterday...

Sweeney

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2011, 01:15:03 PM »
I thought knotters always had string in every pocket....or is that just me?

Barry

Wed

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2011, 01:30:26 PM »
I suppose I fail as a knotter. I have all my string at home. Oh well ... I haven't been at it for that many years yet. Still learning.

Hrungnir

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2011, 03:32:01 PM »
I learned the double dragon pretty fast. I don't find it hard to remember compared to a lot of other popular knots - like hitches for lengthwise pulls, adjustable loops and even the zeppelin loop.

Layhands guide for tying the knot is close to hopeless and I hope you aren't referring to that method.

Gotta link?
http://www.Layhands.com/Knots/Knots_SingleLoops.htm#DoubleDragon
Tying method 2. I haven't understood why I should learn method number 1.

On method number 2, he makes some weird trick with his fingers. What he really does is putting the working end on top of a bight.

Hrungnir

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2011, 04:07:24 PM »
Everybody worth their salt DOES need to know basic knots.  For those of you who learned knots as a child, perhaps you're not aware of why everybody needs to know basic knots.  

I knew a lot of knots already in primary school. Double figure eight, reef knot, sheet bend, clove hitch, sheepshank, timber hitch, turks head, double bowline and so on. The problem was that I didn't know when to use which knot. I didn't know the knots true weaknesses and strengths.

Some of the fault had my scout leader and awful Norwegian knotting literature. I was taught that a Clove Hitch was a good and secure hitch, which in fact could have destroyed the family cabin when my grandfather and I was chopping trees. Timber hitch was only for pulling timber out of the forest. I learned that Reef Knot was a knot for bending ropes, while Sheet Bend (Flag Hitch in my language) was for attaching a line to a flag only. I secured a load to a truck with a rethreaded figure-eight, which took me ages to untie. Non-knotters laughed at the scout leaders son, because he couldn't even close a cardboard box with a piece of string.

Based on this, it's not enough to know a bunch of knots if you can't use them. In some of my examples it was better to not know any knots at all, because the knots used were extremely dangerous for some of the tasks. You have to know the weaknesses, perhaps even more than the strengths.


In short I would like to see the "6 problems" rather than the "6 knots" - same thing actually but better marketing?
I do like the idea of the "6 problems idea". Transminators list was very interesting, especially how he uses hitches for lengthwise pulls :)

« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 04:22:19 PM by Hrungnir »

knot4u

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2011, 08:42:03 PM »
I knew a lot of knots already in primary school. Double figure eight, reef knot, sheet bend, clove hitch, sheepshank, timber hitch, turks head, double bowline and so on. The problem was that I didn't know when to use which knot. I didn't know the knots true weaknesses and strengths.

Some of the fault had my scout leader and awful Norwegian knotting literature. I was taught that a Clove Hitch was a good and secure hitch, which in fact could have destroyed the family cabin when my grandfather and I was chopping trees. Timber hitch was only for pulling timber out of the forest. I learned that Reef Knot was a knot for bending ropes, while Sheet Bend (Flag Hitch in my language) was for attaching a line to a flag only. I secured a load to a truck with a rethreaded figure-eight, which took me ages to untie. Non-knotters laughed at the scout leaders son, because he couldn't even close a cardboard box with a piece of string.

Based on this, it's not enough to know a bunch of knots if you can't use them. In some of my examples it was better to not know any knots at all, because the knots used were extremely dangerous for some of the tasks. You have to know the weaknesses, perhaps even more than the strengths.

Tying the wrong knots is a necessary part of learning knots!  Also, I bet your teachers were oversimplifying because they figured you wouldn't pay attention.  I oversimplify for my 11-year-old niece, but it's better than not teaching her at all.  I'm sure of that.

I don't mean to burst anybody's bubble here, but I think there's only way for a person to learn knots.  The student must learn it hands-on and physically apply the knots to applications that are present in the student's life.  Unless the students are going to get their hands dirty with THEIR OWN applications, it doesn't matter how good your information is; the students aren't going to digest the information and make it theirs.

You can't bootstrap your experience onto someone else.  Take for example the simple Half Hitch.  It may seem second nature to you now, but try to recall learning it for the first time.  If you are like me, you had to experiment on your own to get a feel for the proper place to use a Half Hitch (e.g., at the end of a Trucker Hitch).  For me, pics of a Half Hitch (like the pic below) had about zero meaning before I physically applied it to various applications.


« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 09:18:49 PM by knot4u »

Sweeney

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2011, 09:18:20 PM »

For me, pics of a Half Hitch had about zero meaning before I physically applied it to various applications.

I think this sums up exactly the problem of teaching knots for their own sake and out of any context. Books and videos serve to reinforce learning and act as a useful reminder of a knot (and some people are more at home with this method of learning than others) but the driving force to learn comes from need to apply rather than need to know (save for those dedicated knotters where knowledge of knots is an end in itself - probably a number of us on this forum).

Barry

Hrungnir

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2011, 09:50:14 PM »
Tying the wrong knots is a necessary part of learning knots!  Also, I bet your teachers were oversimplifying because they figured you wouldn't pay attention.  I oversimplify for my 11-year-old niece, but it's better than not teaching her at all.  I'm sure of that.
Man, killing me, my grandfather or crushing the entire family cottage isn't the way to learn knots. I could make a safer knot by doing hundreds of roundturns, half hitches and overhand knots. The rope was worth nothing compared to what the damage of a failing knot could cause.

The Reef Knot is marked as extremely dangerous as a bend in the Ashley Book of knots. He claims it has caused more deaths than all the knots combined. Then why would anyone teach me one bend only and pick the Reef Knot as the one? I do have the knotting literature still if you can read my language. I can even point you to websites in my language which claims the Reef Knot is an excellent bend for joining two ropes different in diameter.

I don't call this oversimplifying. I call this false doctrine and is extremely dangerous. I don't believe the teacher or author did this on purpose in the name of "oversimplifying", but because they didn't know any better. I totally agree that learning the overhand knot and half hitch are good for theory, but please don't present them as secure standalone knots.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 09:56:03 PM by Hrungnir »

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Learning/teaching a basic set of knots
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2011, 11:38:43 PM »
The Reef Knot is marked as extremely dangerous as a bend in the Ashley Book of knots.
He claims it has caused more deaths than all the knots combined.
Then why would anyone teach me one bend only and pick the Reef Knot as the one?
I do have the knotting literature still if you can read my language.
I can even point you to websites in my language [that] claim the
Reef Knot is an excellent bend for joining two ropes different in diameter.

I don't call this oversimplifying. I call this false doctrine and is extremely dangerous.

And I can add that there were some merchant marine knots-knowledge
tests that required the squaREef bend for joining ropes of equal
diameter --as an IGKTer reported (and reported that so using the
knot was hardly evident, but was the right answer for the test).

My suspicion is that Ashley greatly exaggerated the danger of
this knot, and others have parroted him.  Otherwise, please
show me the long (or even short!) list of tragedies rightly
attributable to a knot that has quite some history of teaching
(scouts, e.g.) !!  Where is all this bloodshed?

Meanwhile, I myself was quite surprised to find in some
commercial-fishing gear what I'll call reef bight-hitches"
--tying to an eye, i.e., with a reef's reeving vice sheet bend.
The tail was stoppered, but in the knots I found, this stopper
lay way distant from the knot : was it anticipating some bite
and fight of a strong fish, and made for built-in yield of some
slippage (I should think that the long-line it was attached to
would provide plenty of give)?  (Well, I didn't find the tied-on
line --oh, about 6mm to 9mm eye, kernmantle nylon to laid PP
-- to slip by my own force.  (Although it can, sometimes,
when set just so, and ... .)


There is much about knotting yet to be fathomed by us.

--dl*
====