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I have a large, cubic object and I wish to tie a rope around it so that the rope is very snug and tight around said object. In a picture, my question is as follows:

Problem description

Moreover, the path of the rope should exactly be as shown; it cannot go a number of times around the box, or do anything fancy: the whole magic should be in the knot. A square knot is hard to tighten around the object, and one always obtains a sloppy fit. What kind of knot can I use?

  • Can you come out and say what you are actually trying to do? It would help to think more creatively of a valid answer instead of guessing... – AnoE Apr 26 '16 at 12:49
  • Sure! My box is hollow, and I want to tie extra horizontal ropes between the two vertical ones. I wish to hang things on the horizontal ropes (think, hanging clothes for instance). For no good reason, I wish to do that using rope rather than some solid material. Hence I need the rope to be tightly tied around the box, so that the two vertical ropes wouldn't go too much on the inside part of the box. – Michaël Apr 26 '16 at 15:20
  • @Michaël if you box is just a hollow frame there are tons of better options? If it is a hollow frame are the cross bars/edges round (e.g., made of pipe) or square (e.g., made of wood 2x4s)? – StrongBad Apr 26 '16 at 17:35
  • @StrongBad: Thanks for your interest! I believe the suggested hitch below is what I'll go for. The design is rather hard to describe, so here is a picture: michael.cadilhac.name/private/moebel.jpg . I need to tie the hanging vertical ropes below the construction. The back and forth horizontal ropes are adjusted to receive swing-top bottles. Cheers! – Michaël Apr 26 '16 at 22:18
  • @StrongBad: The final project looks like this michael.cadilhac.name/private/schrank.jpg . I'm satisfied with its looks, but it's probably a one-time thing; I'll look into better solutions next time. – Michaël May 9 '16 at 11:18
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I would go with either a barrel hitch or a barrel sling depending on the exact purpose.

With the added constraint that the rope can only go around the object once the the "magic" needs to be in the knot/hitch, I think a trucker's hitch is probably best (but not very good). It will let you get a tight fit. The holding power will depend on the stiffness and material of the box. I would expect the trucker hitch to fail.

  • Thanks for your input! I believe there's been some kind of misunderstanding; would you please have a look at my edit? Sorry for the bad practice... – Michaël Apr 25 '16 at 22:14
  • @Michaël no problem. The question is clearer now. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, I wouldn't do it with a single loop. – StrongBad Apr 25 '16 at 22:31
  • Just to be sure, you are suggesting to tie a loop on one end of the rope, and use a trucker's hitch on the other end, going through the created loop. Correct? Thanks! – Michaël Apr 27 '16 at 15:29
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EDIT: With your edits to the question it would appear this won't work for you.

I would use a constrictor knot. If you work the knot such that the contact point where the line cross is on one of the corners of the object, you can get it very tight indeed. Tied properly, a constrictor knot can be very-very difficult to untie, and may need to be cut off instead.

But this still might.

If you need to have the whole line back in one piece, you may be better off with something along the lines of a trucker's hitch. I use a variant of this nearly every time I tie something down in the bed of my truck. It only takes moments to put together and seconds to take apart. Judicious placement of the loop can get you the maximum amount of pull to tighten the knot around your object. Basically, you want the loop the furthest away from you that it can be while still being reachable with the end of the line. This way you get the longest pull (and most tension).

  • How would the constrictor know work? Would you wrap the whole box in the knot? – StrongBad Apr 25 '16 at 22:25
  • Yes, but it fails the requirement (added later by the OP) of only a single line around the box, a constrictor requires two passes around. I think a trucker's hitch properly applied would work, assuming it's not going to be used for lifting (in which case I'd go an entirely different direction). – delliottg Apr 25 '16 at 22:26
  • When you tie something down to the bed of your truck with a truckers hitch, you have the friction between the bed and the object and the knot is used to increase the friction. In this case, there is no bed o the truck. – StrongBad Apr 25 '16 at 22:27
  • That's why I said "judicious placement", I believe it could be made to work, and the OP hasn't stated what the purpose is, other than "tight around the large, cubic box". I'd want very supple line with some stretch in it, like a climbing rope, or horse rope. If the box has some weight to it, so much the better, but I agree friction (or lack thereof) might be a problem. – delliottg Apr 25 '16 at 22:32
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After tightening secure the left free side of the rope.

Here's a YouTube video example.

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    Looks great! What is it? Would you point to a step by step presentation? – Michaël Sep 7 '16 at 15:38
  • I made a correction to the image. I suppose all is clear now. No need for step by step. – tromic Sep 19 '16 at 17:14
  • Thanks for the video @tromic; great addition. Fascinating know too! – Michaël Jan 6 '18 at 12:26
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I would use a Packers knot, also known under several other names.

This is a Thump knot or Figure of Eight knot tied around the standing end, tighten the standing end and tie it in a half hitch around the end sticking out of the Thump knot. (I learned it with and extra thump knot in the end of the string so the half hitch has less tendency to slip off.)

In thin stuff this is a knife knot, but in proper rope or good quality string, you can make a slipped Thump or Figure of Eight and undo that when you want to undo the knot.

schematic pic of how to tie the knot
Picture from the Wikipedia page, public domain, full disclosure here.

And the Thump knot based instructions (from our home supplier, Grog's animated knots.)

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