Knots to Know: Clove hitch
A tenacious slipknot, the clove hitch can be used to temporarily hang a fender from a rail, attach a line to a piling or secure a spring line. When tied around a wooden pile, it won’t slip even if the pile is tapered.
While excellent for temporary attachments, the clove hitch may slip if not pulled continuously. To use it for an extended period, secure the bitter end with two half hitches.
It’s easy to undo a clove hitch to move on from a temporary stay.
Tie a clove hitch
- Start with a bitter end long enough to wrap around the post twice (with enough line left over for two half hitches, if necessary). Wrap the bitter end around the post. When you come back to the working part, pass under it. 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.
With the remaining bitter end, you can make a round turn with two half hitches to make the knot more secure.
- 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.
- 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.
When you see an X in the knot with the line coming straight out at both ends, you’ve done it right.
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