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  • Knotmaster Program

    Does anybody know hwere I can find information on the Knotmaster Program?

  • #2
    This troop website has some docs about it. Not sure how official that is, but it might help you get started. d=133


    • #3
      Gutterbird, what are you looking for? I have over time seen half a dozen or more "knotmaster" programs at troops around the country. Each is quite unique. If you can be more specific, I may be able to point you in the direction you desire.

      I like knots, rope, splices and such, and it is sort of a hobby of mine; though I am consider myself an avid knotter, I am no expert. Most of the knotmaster programs I have seen at different troops, for one reason or another, I consider missing the mark, in the troop and patrol setting. Many of these methods have a tiered "rank" structure similar to the colored belt system in martial arts; often these are presented as rope lengths which are braided and worn on the belt. Each colored rope is awarded upon demonstrating competence at a predetermined list of knots for that level. What I really don't like is that these are typically adult run programs, and in some cases, adults can demand a demonstration from the scout at any time and take away already presented ropes if the scout no longer can tie the knots correctly.

      After careful consideration, we decided not to promote a knotmaster system in our troop. Instead, we have a more simple competition, the "Scout knotting challenge," which is a variation of the internationally recognized "six knot challenge." This includes the square knot, sheet bend, two half hitches, taut-line hitch, bowline and clove hitch. We have a tying rack, and any patrol who wants to challenge for the best time is welcome to do so most any time; we also allow individuals to challenge for a record time, and these are posted on a designated board for all to see. More than anything, this has become a simple, fun way for scouts to show off and be recognized for their skills. So far, this has worked out well for us. This time last year, even our Life scouts were fair (at best) at knotting. In November, they took 2nd at the council encampment in the knot tying event. They were very proud (as was I) of their accomplishement.

      My attitude about knots revolves around a solid understanding of their their practical applications, and knots are taught and identified by type and how they are used. Knot types are: stopper knots, binding knots, loop knots, bends, hitches, shortenings, and splices. Knot use can sometimes be an issue of safety (especially while on boats or while climbing), and in those and similar situations, adults do check behind scouts. Otherwise we trust them to know the correct knots.

      I have created a knot book for our troop which contains an introduction to knot tying and a page by page list of knots (by type), including whippings, lashings and splices. It has about 70 or so different knots, and as an example, in it are 11 different variations of a bowline. I have found references to more than 126 knots called in one form or another a "bowline," so my collection is more of a sample of different applications. There is no expectation that scouts know all these knots, but it does provide a reference rescource when needed. Several scouts have gone through the book and tried to tie may of these knots on their own.

      I hope that helps. Again, let me know what you are looking for, and I will try to help you find it.


      • #4
        We have a program similar to Buffalo Skipper's.

        Tie the 6 required knots in 2 minutes and you are a "knot head" and get a turk's head knot to wear as a slide.

        Tie all 6 blindfolded in under 2 minutes and you get into the "knot-a-hall-of-fame" (say it fast) aka "Da Hall".

        The troop record for doing all 6 knots blindfolded is 59.65 seconds.

        We also do "tournaments" on campouts set up like the NCAA tournament with brackets, seedings, etc. The guys really get into that.


        • #5
          An alternative would be for the PLC to create a series of Patrol-based competitions. Knots would be a good area to start with, as ideally every Scout should know the basics. Patrols could challenge each other regularly to get top honors.

          That would move away from an individual system, under which you usually have one or two superb tiers who enjoy showing off, a large group of fair-to-middling knotters and a handful of Scouts who hate ropework. Patrol honors would motivate the group to work together to build up everyone's skills.


          • #6
            After many months of research and combing the internet, our troop has created it's own program which fits into rank advancement and merit badges. It's call the Mother of all Knot Master Program: 10 levels, 60+ knots, promotes advancement and encourage scout-to-scout teaching via the E.D.G.E. method.