1

Is there a knot that can be used to encircle a 'fixed' ring or rail from the middle of a line without having access to the end of the rope or to the object that is encircled? For example, if I wanted to encircle the top bar of the railing depicted below, and I don't have access to the ends of the rope, what knot could I use?

enter image description here

Note that this is different from applications where one can easily go over the work, such as with a rail where one end is free, a carabiner, or a fish hook. In these cases, the bowline on a bight, among others, is easily used.

12
  • 1
    a Prusik should work, if I understand your question?
    – njzk2
    Jun 7 at 20:54
  • 1
    Do you have the end(s) of the loop? Or just the two strands of rope mid loop to work with?
    – noah
    Jun 7 at 21:46
  • Just the middle of the rope, no end is available.
    – Todd D
    Jun 7 at 21:55
  • 1
    @njzk2 I can see how a prusik or Kleimheist might work, but I am interested in the scenario where the ends are fixed to some other object. For a prusik or Kleimheist, I'd have a rope of some limited length tied into a loop, correct?
    – Todd D
    Jun 7 at 21:58
  • 1
    If you want to tension another line that is already fixed, consider using a separate short length to attach it to the rail. Jun 8 at 11:21

4 Answers 4

6

Yes - if you can take a bight (i.e. you have enough slack), you have essentially what amounts to an end of the rope, just treat the two strands as if they were the single one of the rope. It does make it more fiddly to work with, but if you twist the strands around each-other, it can make it easier.

You can then use this to tie any knot that doesn't require you to have access to both ends. A figure-8 or similar should be fine to tie in this situation.

Here's a very crude diagram of what I mean, you can see the doubled rope passing over the bar, then the loose/working end being looped around the standing end:

bight

7
  • 2
    Given enough slack, you should be able to to make a figure 8 with a follow-through. Though it’ll end up being 4 parallel lines and a bit unwieldy, but seems doable. I’ll see if I can follow up later with a photo & answer Jun 8 at 0:34
  • 1
    @fyrepenguin yes, slack is the key here. It's certainly unwieldy with a rope, but relatively thin cords, like those usually used on tarp (as in OP's comment on the question) shouldn't be too difficult to manage.
    – bob1
    Jun 8 at 0:37
  • 1
    @ToddD no it isn't a girth hitch. Imagine that both strands of the rope are treated as if it were one rope, with the loop end of the bight being the working end. You don't need to slip this over anything to get it to work.
    – bob1
    Jun 8 at 2:18
  • 1
    @ToddD I've re-drawn it to illustrate better what I mean - rope ends to infinity, assume bar extends to infinity too.
    – bob1
    Jun 8 at 2:24
  • 2
    I was thinking tie a clove hitch like this, with a bight.
    – Darren
    Jun 8 at 14:06
6

As in @bob1's answer, if you have only a bight of rope to work with, you can tie any loop or hitch you want around the ring, rail, or tarp-grommet.

For tying the middles of lines to tarp grommets, I use a toggle:

Pencil as a toggle for attaching a bight to a grommet

You can equalize it by pulling the toggle away from the grommet, adjusting the sides and relaxing back to the toggle.

You can secure it by using a larger toggle, or by tossing a half-hitch or two around the toggle.

You can make it adjustable to take up lots of slack by passing the bight up through the tarp, around the toggle, back down through the tarp, and then cleating the excess around the toggle.

For attaching a bight to a rail with minimum slack, a toggle can help:

Pencil used as toggle attaching bight of rope to rail

If you don't have adequate slack, you need to attach a line to the rope. Maybe a Rolling Hitch or a Prusik would serve.

4

A tricorn on a bight is also a solution:

enter image description here

6
  • I think you need to break this down into components/steps to aid our understanding...
    – Martin F
    Jun 21 at 17:30
  • I added the sequence of steps.
    – Todd D
    Jun 21 at 21:57
  • Thanks for adding the explanation. It took me quite a while to see how to convert from overhand to false figure 8. I see little on the web about "tricorn knot", does it have other names? It does seem very weak unless (as you say) dressed properly.
    – Martin F
    Jun 22 at 22:36
  • Tricorn loop is another name for this.
    – Todd D
    Jun 23 at 3:30
  • Also see: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo_bowline
    – Todd D
    Jun 23 at 4:29
2

Another option would be (as mentioned in a comment on bob1’s answer) a figure 8 with a follow-through, but you’d simply double it.

This is overkill for some applications, but may be useful for others.

Figure 8 knot on a bight wrapped around a rail and then followed through to secure it

I’ve certainly used more rope than necessary (and it’s not the best-dressed knot I’ve made), but it’s a decent proof-of-concept.

1
  • I think you need to break this down into components/steps to aid our understanding...
    – Martin F
    Jun 21 at 18:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.