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640px-A-finished-sheep-shank.jpeg

Were you down at the archery range when your scoutmaster showed you how to tie a this handy knot? Wikihow shows you the moves.

The sheepshank is a useful knot for two purposes. It can be used to temporarily shorten a rope or it could be used to allow a rope with a damaged or frayed part to be still used (the damaged part would be in the center, where there is no tension). One of the properties of this knot is that it can get easily undone without tension, so to keep it in place, tension needs to be applied on both sides of the knot.

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John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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Comments

  1. Peter says:

    Just make sure you remember how to tie this knot if you are a scoutmaster caught in a war game.

    Adding an additional set of half hitches on the bights will make the knot a bit more stable.

  2. Ben says:

    In my opinion the sheepshank should neither be taught nor used. When exactly do you need to temporarily shorten a rope? Just use what you need and leave a coil of unused rope at one end. If your rope is damaged and you absolutely have to use it you can tie a butterfly knot with the damaged section as the loop. Or you can cut out the damaged section and tie a double fisherman’s knot to re-attach the two ends.

    Remember, any knot in a rope reduces the resistance and load capacity of the rope by at least 50%.

    ben

  3. wirelessmonk says:

    I don’t usually consider myself the “Oh my, someone on the internet is wrong!” kind of guy, but…

    That’s actually a trumpet knot. On a sheepshank, the outer loops are 180 degrees opposite of each other. Small difference, but they are actually two different knots.

    And what Ben posted is absolutely correct. Not only are they unsafe knots (at least with non-natural fiber ropes), they’re pretty much useless. In my 20+ years of knowing how to tie these two knots, I have never once needed to use them. I mean, how often do you need to shorten a length of rope from the middle….