A tenacious slip knot, the clove hitch is used to attach a line to a round pile.
When tied around a wooden pile, it won’t slip even if the pile is tapered. It’s also easy to tie and untie under a strain.
However, if the load moves back and forth, the knot will rotate, allowing the working part to pull out and the bitter end to be drawn in, untying the knot. You can prevent this by adding two half hitches with the bitter end around the working part.
Practice tying this knot around a vertical cylinder. Start with a bitter end long enough to wrap around the post twice with 2 feet of line left over for the half hitches. Wrap the bitter end around the post. When you come back to the working part, pass under it and immediately cross over the wrap you just made so the second wrap is on top of the first.
Make the second wrap in the same direction as the first. When you come to the crossing, pass the bitter end under and pull tight.
On the back side of the knot, the two wraps should be parallel and tight. On the front side, the crossing should go from the bottom turn across both the bitter end and the working part to the top turn.
Next make a round turn with two half hitches with the remaining bitter end.
First pass the bitter end over and around the working part and back up and around the working part and between the bitter end and the clove hitch. Draw it tight. The bitter end should now be trapped between itself and the clove hitch. This is the first half hitch.
For the second half hitch, pass the bitter end over and around the working part in the same direction. When you come to the crossing, pass the bitter end under it and pull it tight. This is the second half hitch.
Continue building your marlinespike skills by taking the Knots, Bends and Hitches seminar. Find a seminar near you or purchase the USPS guide Knots, Bends and Hitches for Mariners. Call 888-367-8777 ext. 0 for more information.
Original materials used with thanks to Irene Rodriguez and John Bennett