Knots are not something I used to think about very much, but Little Boots has been asking questions about them recently. These queries made me realise that I don’t know very many. In fact I know four, although I could be a bit shifty and double that as most knots seem to have two names at least.

They are:

1 – the Grinner, or Uni Knot. This is good for tying fishing hooks to line. It’s a compression knot that tightens up on itself and is very strong as long as you don’t cut the tail too short.

2 – the Palomar knot – another strong knot used for tying bigger hooks to line.

3 – the Half-blood knot another fishing knot, but one with a tendency to fail losing the hook and leaving a small corkscrew shaped twist on the end on the line. This can be solved by locking it off by looping the tail back through one or other of the loops – I don‘t know which, but frankly why bother – just use a Uni knot instead.

4 – and this one isn’t even a proper knot it’s a trick for tying plants to stakes – particularly with bamboo stakes which are often too smooth to afford proper purchase. It’s very simple just wrap the string 3 times around the stick ensuring that it overlaps itself and then lock in place with a double overhand knot – or a granny knot as it’s better known. It’ll never move. You will also be unable to untie it.

So I’ve started to try and learn a few knots. Whether, or how long, I’ll remember them remains to be seen. Of course I will pass this knowledge on to LB, one of whose aims is to get a Cub Scout badge, though whether there is (or ever has been) such an award for tying knots, I don’t actually know.

This then is the first new knot I’ve learned. It’s quite easy to tie and is called either the Scaffold Knot or the Gallows Scaffold Knot, though the latter name seems to be used also for a number of other knots.

scaffold knot

As you might guess it’s a slip knot that tightens very well, but is actually not too difficult to loosen provided there is no pressure on it, or it hasn’t been pulled too hard.

Well at least for a human that is. You see this particular knot can be tied with one less turn, whereupon it is called the Strangle knot, the Strangle-snare, or the Poachers knot, all of which tells you that it is a good knot to use to create a snare.