General > Practical Knots

The Backhand Hitch Tested In A Real Application

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blgentry:
A couple of days ago, after the hurricane, we went to my dad's hunting property to clear some trees that had fallen across the road.  The last tree we worked on was very strange.  The tree was right beside the road and it had broken off about 10 feet from the ground and the broken part fell straight across the road, extending well into the brush beyond.  It was still joined at the break point 10 feet up and was almost touching the ground at the opposite edge of the road.

After getting the low part cut right at the far edge of the road, we decided to drag it from where it rested and hopefully break it loose from the break point 10 feet up the tree.

We had a boating rope that was at least 1" (diameter) of some kind of soft woven fiber.  Probably nylon or whatever synthetic is used in boating most often.  One end had a sewn loop that we hooked to the trailer hitch on the jeep.  The other bare end I tied to the tree about a foot from the end.

I used a normal backhand hitch and left just a little bit of the tag end past the tie point.  Maybe 3 inches?

I had no idea how heavy this tree was.  Probably 1200 pounds or so.  I also didn't realize that the just sawn end was stuck in the dirt a bit.

Dad hit the gas on the jeep and the rope pulled VERY taught.  I watched the backhand hitch quickly expand out at least 6 or 8 inches and then the turns pulled back somewhat tightly with the tag end slipping back near the turns.  I was sure it was going to pull loose and require me to tie it better the second time.  But to my amazement, it tightened up just fine and the rope remained guitar string tight as the jeep's back wheels spun in the dirt.

We repositioned the jeep for a better angle.  Then, using a very high tech boot, and an even more high tech hammer, we dug some of the dirt away from the sawn end of the tree. 

After hooking the rope around the trailer hitch again, the jeep pulled the rope tight.  This time the tree moved.  It came free quickly, aligned itself with the Jeep's axis of travel, and then ripped loose from the still standing main body of the tree.  Dad drug it another 100 feet trying to position the tree at the edge of the road, so other trucks could get by it.

I wondered how hard it was going to be to untie the hitch.  After all, we probably just tested the break strength of this rope.  At one point I thought it was going to snap, but luckily it held.  So I went to untie it and found the last turn pretty tight.  But just a bit of wiggling for about 10 seconds and it was free.  The second turn easily came out as well and I had the rope totally loose.

Dad asked me to try to move the tree further to the side of the road, but it was WAY too heavy, especially in the dirt.  I couldn't even get it to start to roll using my legs and feet.  He, or someone else, will probably move it with a big lever or something at some point.

I am quite impressed with the backhand hitch.  I use it for nearly all of my hitching tasks.  This is the first time I've done any real load on one and I am pleased.

Brian.

JohnC:
Good story. I'll have to look that hitch up - I'm not familiar with it.

blgentry:
Here's a pretty decent video on the backhand hitch:

https://youtu.be/IQDEns_AiP0?si=cn9NUTDzPbShI_TO

He finishes the knot with a "clove hitch" (what he says), which I think is odd.  I finish it like this person does:

https://youtu.be/M4ktpEtz_5c?si=7yXeECA_20kLY8Nc&t=295

I'm not sure if there's much of a difference other than visual.  While I really like knots, I don't claim very much expertise.

Brian.

Kost_Greg:

--- Quote from: blgentry on September 07, 2023, 02:49:24 PM ---Here's a pretty decent video on the backhand hitch:

https://youtu.be/IQDEns_AiP0?si=cn9NUTDzPbShI_TO

He finishes the knot with a "clove hitch" (what he says), which I think is odd.  I finish it like this person does:

https://youtu.be/M4ktpEtz_5c?si=7yXeECA_20kLY8Nc&t=295

I'm not sure if there's much of a difference other than visual.  While I really like knots, I don't claim very much expertise.

Brian.

--- End quote ---

I think that in both cases (TX Tool Crib, knotting knots), the exact same knot (clove hitch=two half hitches) is used at the second stage as the munter hitch finishing knot.

You might also want to stabilise the munter hitch with some other finishing knot of your own choice, such as a girth hitch, or a barrel knot, or even a constrictor, all tied on/around the standing part of the rope.

As a matter of fact, we call it " the clove hitch", when it is tied around an object(spar, pole), but if it is formed around the SP, then the term "buntline" emerges.

Therefore, one might claim that the backhand hitch is a combo of a genuine munter hitch with a noose- hitch like the buntline.

certainlysyrup:

--- Quote from: Kost_Greg on September 08, 2023, 12:09:46 AM ---As a matter of fact, we call it " the clove hitch", when it is tied around an object(spar, pole), but if it is formed around the SP, then the term "buntline" emerges.
Therefore, one might claim that the backhand hitch is a combo of a genuine munter hitch with a noose- hitch like the buntline.

--- End quote ---

This is precisely how I felt tying it. I think I really like this little knot, and might have to stop using a slipped buntline for just about every hitch I tie, since it does bind up unpleasantly under heavy loads occasionally. For security, I think I'd tie the second hitch toward the loop (rather than away), unless there's a compelling reason not to do that. I'll have to go out front and drag a tree around the yard with the Jeep to test it.

Picture of it tied very loosely:

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