Eye splices are great. They are strong,
secure, versatile and they look good. UNFORTUNATELY, depending
on the rope you are using and your skill and interest in marlinspike
work, they are at least "fussy" and sometime outright
impossible to make. This means that when most of us need a loop
at the end of a line, we fall back on the bowline (or even the
overhand slip knot...). The bowline is a good and useful knot,
but (like most knots) it cuts the rope's strength in half and
doesn't look like much.
There is another knot, though, that is stronger (about 90% of
rope strength) and more secure than an eye splice and is easy
if not exactly fast to tie. It looks good or at least distinctive
and is extremely versatile. It does have a couple of drawbacks,
though: it eats up a LOT of rope (on the order of 120 diameters;
that's 30 inches tied in 1/4 inch line) and it has something of
a public relations problem, which is why I tend to think of it
as Odin's Knot.
You see, Odin is the king of the gods in the Norse pantheon
and one of his many titles is, "Lord of the Gallows".
The knot I am inclined to name after him is better known as the
Among other more normal uses of this knot, such as serving as
a hitch at the ends of a traveller, or a mainsheet or an anchor
rode (note the double turn around the shackle, which effectively
triples the strength of the hitch). This knot can also be pressed
into service as a heaving knot, as a fender or even as a very
strong and shock absorbing bend.
||Anchor Chainand Rode
When I tie this knot, I like to put an extra half hitch in the
first of the frapping turns, which tends to stabilize the knot
a bit (or so it seems to me). I also tie a figure eight in the
bitter end of the line once the knot has been worked and then
work the slack back out to the standing part of the rope. This
makes for a knot that will survive an enormous amount of thrashing
with no chance of coming undone.
For use as a heaving knot (courtesy of Hervey Garrett Smith),
the rope should be passed through the main loop before the frapping
turns are begun in order to eliminate the possibility of the main
loop pulling through the body of the knot. The main loop is then
tightened around this blocking turn, resulting in a very functional
heaving knot (though I am still partial to the monkey fist).
I leave the construction of Odin's Bend to the knot obsessed.
While the resulting knot is certainly strong and has a great deal
of shock absorbing ability, it takes a lot of time to tie and
eats up an enormous amount of rope. It is really more of a stunt.
It does have the advantage of being utterly secure when bending
rope of very different sizes.
Finally, with stunts in mind, If you do not add any extra half
hitches to this knot, pulling the main loop back through the knot
causes it to collapse completely, which implies that it can be
tied "in the bight", without access to either end. This
is, in fact, possible. I have done it, though I can't think of
a single practical application for being able to do so.
More Articles about Knots