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dedkad

What's all this obsession over knots?

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Used a timber hitch last year' date=' interestingly for its designed purpose. We needed to move some logs for a lean-to we were fixing and the timber hitch was the perfect choice to tie on to the human mule powered line. I have never used the sheepshank. Even its designed purpose is "dumb" IMO.[/quote']

 

Sheepshank isn't one of the 6 scout knots. The sheet bend is, and it's great for joining two lines of different thicknesses (or the same thickness for that matter).

Real scouters don't just obsess over rank-required knots! In fact I keep having to reteach myself that Turks head.

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On the subject of knots, which one do you prefer when tying a hammock to a tree?
Depends on the tree and how much rope, I guess.

 

I don't do camping hammocks, but for my afternoon nap (crew advisors own the siesta so we can rule the night) I usually use two half hitches or a clove hitch. What I like about the clove hitch is that it's reasonably easy to work tighter or looser without loosing its grip on the tree.

 

A timber hitch might work if you are between large trees and your hammock has some weight to it.

 

I'll let the guys who use web belts comment on their preference for anchor knots.

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On the subject of knots, which one do you prefer when tying a hammock to a tree?
As a formerly trained Emergency Rescue Technician, the major knot used to secure anything was the double half-hitch. If your life is dependent on a knot on your carabiner, it had better be a double half-hitch. If that isn't secure enough for you, do it twice. For a non-sliding loop, we did not use the traditional bowline, but used the figure-8 loop instead. A double figure-8 loop with a half-hitch could secure an unconscious patient on a rescue line. For securing objects/people, these were the only knots we used.

 

For a hammock the name of the game is to allow for adjustments but no slippage. I would start out with a wide strap around the tree to minimize any damage to the tree, the strap having a ring on it. The rope tied double half-hitch to the ring of the hammock. Then thread through the ring on the tree strap twice, then back to the loop on the hammock and finally anchored to the ground with a stake and taunt-line hitch. All the pressure weight of the

hammock is absorbed in the ring at the tree and "block and tackle" restring through the hammock ring, finally with very little pressure by the time it gets to the stake in the ground. The taunt-line is to make final adjustments. I suppose one could use the base of the tree instead of the stake, but that single rope could rub damage to the tree at the base.

 

Just my suggestion.

 

Stosh

Stosh

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On the subject of knots, which one do you prefer when tying a hammock to a tree?
None. I use straps and carabiners. Ropes aren't recommended. Now, I do use a slipped half hitch when attaching the straps to the double ring buckle.

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Used a timber hitch last year' date=' interestingly for its designed purpose. We needed to move some logs for a lean-to we were fixing and the timber hitch was the perfect choice to tie on to the human mule powered line. I have never used the sheepshank. Even its designed purpose is "dumb" IMO.[/quote']

 

Sheepshank isn't one of the 6 scout knots. The sheet bend is, and it's great for joining two lines of different thicknesses (or the same thickness for that matter).

Wow, I treat the sheet bend as a required knot. I now know it is not. It's still a useful knot, and is one of the knots I use.

 

My oldest son's favorite knot is the monkey fist. It seems I'm always having to take it out of the end of a rope.

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On the subject of knots, which one do you prefer when tying a hammock to a tree?
For Hammock, I use web runners and carabiners. To adjust tighter I'll make extra loops around the biners. For longer spans, I can add loops of rope.

 

The key for hanging a hammock is to be able to UNTIE your ropes after hanging your weight on the knots all night.

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My dad was a Master Chief Boatswains Mate in the Coast Guard. If you don't know what that is, the Boatswains Mate is the guy that among other things, handles the ropes, chains, etc..... lashes stuff down to the deck, handles the boats, etc....

He knows all the knots, but in practice always uses a half hitch for almost everything. He used to show me the bowline in a few different variations, and a couple others, but when it came to actually tying off anything, it was a half hitch or multiple half hitches, or one of the variation of that theme.....

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On the subject of knots, which one do you prefer when tying a hammock to a tree?
JoeBob, that's exactly why I was asking! I've been using two half hitches, but I have the hardest time getting them untied when done. I was wondering if clove hitch works for hammocks because it seems like an easy knot to untie. I'm just not sure how secure it would be as far as not slipping down the tree when I get in the hammock.

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On the subject of knots, which one do you prefer when tying a hammock to a tree?
Dedkad,

 

Go to http://www.hammockforums.net You can get answers to any question about hammocking there, and it's a pretty friendly forum. I just hope you're using straps rather than ropes. Straps are recommended as the most tree-friendly way to tie the hammock between two trees.

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On the subject of knots, which one do you prefer when tying a hammock to a tree?
Clove hitch will work. And, I think is easier on the tree. Thicker rope is better than thin (1/4" or less will likely dig into the bark), web rope (that has a tendency to flatten when under tension) is better, and straps are best. The standing end should come from the side (or even back) of the trunk to the hammock.

 

Problem: double the trunk diameter, and you need 6.3 times the rope for a clove hitch. You'll only need 3.14 times the rope for two half hitches.

 

Try placing a dowel or sliding a ring in the bend in your two half hitches (i.e. on the standing line between one half hitch and the next). It should make it easier to untie without sacrificing the strength of the knot.

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Used a timber hitch last year' date=' interestingly for its designed purpose. We needed to move some logs for a lean-to we were fixing and the timber hitch was the perfect choice to tie on to the human mule powered line. I have never used the sheepshank. Even its designed purpose is "dumb" IMO.[/quote']

 

Sheepshank isn't one of the 6 scout knots. The sheet bend is, and it's great for joining two lines of different thicknesses (or the same thickness for that matter).

More often than not (no pun intended) I use a double sheetbend for the extra holding power.

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I'll argue the other side just because I like to argue...:).

 

While I agree knots are an important skill and have some long tradition in scouts, they are a bit of an anachronism. We don't teach kids today how to type on typewriters because they'll never use one. Kids don't use the card catalog in the library because there's a computer. Kids don't carry quarters in the pockets anymore because they have a cell phone for emergency calls. Kids are starting to leave text books behind in favor of e-books. Kids don't care about map and compass because they have GPS and phones. Kids don't retain knots because there are bungy cords and Velcro and webbing with friction buckles and/or come-alongs to take the place of rope for many tasks. Kids just don't see the value in knots. And they won't until the cute girl needs to move and they can tie-down something in the back of their pick-up.

 

Some of the knots the scouts teach, like the bowline, seem to be falling out of favor. We're sponsored by a fire department which teaches their members to use a figure 8 w/follow-through or a figure 8 on a byte to put a loop in the end of a rope. That's also the knot the scouts learn at the local climbing gym to put the belay rope on their harness. The logic offered by the FD is the figure 8 is easier to tie correctly, creates less load-bearing reduction on the line when tied, and is easier to untie (I do question the last point). When one of the "big" knots is questioned by other professionals as less than appropriate, it puts a huge dent in the rest of the knots program.

 

Finally, I'd argue that some folks do get obsessed with the means (knots) over the ends (character). Ultimately, we can plot character and competence on a two-dimensional chart to measure any scout. Sure, we'd like for all the scouts to be in the upper-right (high-competence/high-character) quadrant. However, I think we can be equally successful when scouts end up in the low-competence/high-character quadrant simply because the character part is the ultimate goal here. I'd certainly take a scout in either high-character quadrant over a low-character/high-competence scout any day. Even the Army is questioning where they are on the character vs. competence grid (http://www.stripes.com/news/army/chandler-emphasizes-character-commitment-in-talks-with-troops-1.242931)

 

Now, queue the responses about how I'm a wood badge loving management type. I can take it. :).

 

"use a figure 8 w/follow-through or a figure 8 on a byte"

 

Yah, hmmm.... I reckon yeh can only use a figure 8 on a byte if the lad is doin' Computers MB and Climbing MB at da same time. :)

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On the subject of knots, which one do you prefer when tying a hammock to a tree?
I use a lashing and two half hitches but have the hardest time doing them late on a Friday night in the dark. I rarely have an issue getting them undone.

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We just got some new patrol gear for our Troop. One of the items in each patrol box is now a dining fly. The first thing the SM did was cut off the "friction" ties on the guy-lines to the fly tarp... "It'll force the lads to use the taught-line hitch for its intended purpose". We are toying with the idea of ripping through one of the eyelets on each tarp as well to force the use of the sheet bend, but can't quite bring ourselves to break brand new gear.

 

I don't think knots are the end-all be-all of scouting, but kind of like first aid, if you don't use it you tend to loose it.... so look for ways to MAKE the boys use their knots in everyday camping situations. Also, if your tying a taught-line hitch in the basement of a church for a requirement, versus doing it to keep a trap up over your head to protect you from rain / heat.... I bet you pay attention and remember it better if / when your comfort demends upon it.

 

Lastly, I consider the truckers hitch to be one of the most important / useful if not the most useful knot you can know. Its certainly more important that the sheep-shank. Every time I'm behind a truckload of crap on a CA freeway on my motorcycle, I say a little prayer that the person that tied the load was a scout worth his salt. (I try to get out from behind the truck as fast as possible, as I assume most DIY movers were not scouts / scouters) :)

 

Dean

 

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