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by Warren Messer - Seattle, Washington - USA

This variation of the Death Grip Hitch (aka DGH) came about from an email sent via Chuck at Duckworks, for a request from a Boy Scout Leader in New Jersey a year or so ago.  He had seen my video of tying the DGH on YouTube, and had been teaching it to other leaders, and to their troops at various scouting camps and meetings.  He told me they had been using the scouting taut-line hitch for tents, tarps, and other scout uses, but that it tended to slip over time.  He was impressed with the holding power of the DGH, and wondered if that knot could be made into something like the taut-line hitch.  Hummmm?  I emailed him back that I thought I had made such a beast once when I was developing the DGH, but I wasn't sure if I had or knot.  Age has a way of making things seem like they are possible, but I told him I would see if it was possible that tying the loop could be done.

I believe it was a couple days later on a Sunday morning while I was finishing my second cup of coffee, that I picked up some line sitting on the next chair and tried to see if the DGH could be made into a loop.  It took a few attempts to think through how the knot would work, when the light bulb went on, and the loop appeared in my hands.  After a minute to look at how it was tied, I undid it and repeated that last attempt.  I was able to repeat the process without having to think about it, and started playing with the new Loop to see if it was as resistant to slipping as the normal DGH was.

I put the loop through my length of broom handle and stood on it.  Pulling on the working end with just my hands couldn't budge the knot.  I then got my hammer out of the “junk drawer” and wrapped the working end around the handle and pulled harder on the knot.  It did not budge.  I have a YouTube video showing how I can hang and bounce on the Loop with my weight using some 1/4” cord, and it doesn't slip. 

I still don't know what maximum weight the knot for the Loop or the DGH itself will ultimately take, but it's going to be pretty high when I find a way to get it checked out.  I have a request into the Cordage Institute (rope manufacture trade association) to see if their lab can check it out for me.  They told me they would look into it, but I haven't heard back.  I any of you know anyone in the rope business that could help me on this, there's a free set of plans in it for you (first one to contact Chuck with the winning lead).

So lets get into how to make the Death Grip Loop.  It doesn't mater if you are left or right handed, it ties the same way.  Give yourself a good length of rope for the knot part the first time you do it; three feet if using 1/2” line.  Make the loop in the line on either your left or right, and make three or four coils over the standing (?) part of the line like a normal DGH.

On the next coil, the working part goes around the “short side” of the loop and the standing part too.  It then comes up between the two parts, over the top of the last coil, and down between them like in the DGH; which is the real secret to the hitcch.

It then starts the normal DGH reverse coiling back to the starting point.  The working end goes under the “first coil” you started with.  To make a clean finish of the tail end , go around the working part two more times.

Then the line goes under these last two coils, and the “first coil” you made.  The tension on the first coil will choke off the tail, and make a clean and secure finish to the knot.  If you are using big or stiff line, you will probably have to “twist the looseness” out of all the coils in the knot.  There you have it.  I added a photo of the “reverse side”, so you can see what it looks like on the other side of the completed knot.  Now see if you can get it to slip.

One thing nice about the Death Grip Loop, is that once the tension is off, you can make the loop bigger or smaller, and once the tension is back on, it will not move.  If you've had the loop under “a lot” of tension, you may need to put a marlin spike or fid under the part of the loop that crosses over the coils.  Once you do this the knot can be moved or removed.

Thanks again for reading my stories, and in the next photo story, I will show you how to make the DGH into the Death Grip Belt Hitch, where the knot is “inline/parallel” with the single line used to tie it.  I had been calling it the Barrel Hitch, but Belt seems a better match.  The Belt/Barrel Hitch (with small line) can be used at intervals to hold sections of a mast together while the epoxy cures, or for other uses where you need to use a line to act as a belt to hold stuff together.

Warren Messer
Red Barn Boats
Stitch and Glue and Stylish Too

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