The bowline forms a loop that does not slip or jam.

Note: the bowline can shake loose if not under load. Tie off the end to either the loop or standing end with a strangle knot (double-overhand knot) to prevent this. A strangle knot is like a figure eight that wraps around the other line (or a post), with the working end red through the double loops of the figure eight. (Two strangle knots is also how to tie a double fisherman's bend.)

Square/Reef Knot

A square knot secures a line around an object. It's sometimes used to join two lines together, but is not reliable or recommended for that purpose; use a sheet bend instead.

"Right over left, left over right."

Sheet Bend

A sheet bend joins two lines together. It works even if the two lines differ in thickness (though the thicker rope must be used as the simple bite).

Tie the sheet bend with both working ends coming off the same side of the bend, as shown.

Round Turn and Two Half Hitches

Secure a line around a post or through a ring. A good mooring knot.

Pass the tail around the post two or more times, then add two or more than two half-hitches. Always ties the half-hitches in the same direction.

Clove Hitch

A clove hitch secures a line to a post. It unties easily, but with some types of line, the clove hitch may slip.

Pass the working end around the pole starting from the right, with the working end coming around, emerging below the standing end. Wrap the working end around again in the same direction, this time crossing over the standing end to be above the first loop. As the working end comes around, tuck it under itself (and over the standing end).

A clove hitch can also be formed in the middle of a rope, if the end of the post is exposed. Make two loops in the line, and slip them over the post. Be sure the ends are in the middle, emerging in opposite directions:


A figure-eight knot stops lines from running out of retaining devices.

It's also easy to unite two lines of roughly similar thickness with a figure-eight bend. Tie a loose figure-eight knot on the end of one line. Thread the second line backwards parallel to the first line. The two should not criss-cross each other.

The figure-eight loop is easy to tie. Make a loop and tie the loop into a figure-eight knot. The figure-eight loop is secure, but will jam severely.

Taut-Line Hitch

The taut-line hitch is an adjustable loop knot used to secure a line under tension to a post. It has several variations; this variation is called the tent-line hitch.

Taut-line hitches may not hold securely with particularly stiff or slick line, so additional initial wraps and finishing half-hitches may be necessary.


A category of knot uniting two lines.
A semi-circle of rope where the rope does not cross itself.
A category of knot that binds/restricts an object with multiple winds.
A category of knot forms the intersection of two loaded lines that meet at right angles.
A category of knot that ties to a post, cable, ring, etc.
Knots that "jam" are difficult to untie.
Loop (Knot)
A category of knots that create a closed loop in a line.
Overhand Loop
A loop passing over the standing end.
When load creates tension that pulls rope back through the knot toward the load.
Underhand Loop
A loop passing under the standing end.

Most of the images on this page come from WikiPedia.

Addendum: Cable Lacing

Wikipedia: Cable lacing is a method for tying wiring harnesses and cable looms, traditionally used in telecommunication, naval, and aerospace applications. This old cable management technique, taught to generations of linemen, is still used in some modern applications since it does not create obstructions along the length of the cable, avoiding the handling problems of cables groomed by plastic or velcro cable ties. Cable lacing uses a thin cord, traditionally made of waxed linen, to bind together a group of cables using a series of running lockstitches. Flat lacing tapes made of modern materials such as nylon, polyester, Teflon, fiberglass, and Nomex are also available with a variety of coatings to improve knot holding.

NASA has an internal standards document (NASA-STD 8739.4) that describes how they do cable lacing. One of NASA's most used ties is a clove hitch topped by a square knot.