Overhand | Double Overhand


This simple knot has many uses:

  • Finishing the end of a rope so it does not fray.
  • Temporarily marking the bight of your rope before you put it down.  (See below)
  • As a component of a harness to hold two ropes together in one place before they are separated in another.  (See below and the Hishi Karada tutorial)
  • As a stop knot to keep a rope from slipping through the end of a pulley.

Because of its tendency to bind when put under tension and therefore be difficult to untie, it is typically only used in areas where it is intended to be permanent or in situations where it will not be subjected to a great deal of tension.

Warning: This knot should never be used in situations where it might be holding the weight of a human (such as if you are doing a suspension).  An overhand reduces the amount of tension a rope can withstand (its strength) by 50%.

Core Overhand Knot Basics - Pictures


1. Take the end of a rope


2. Form a loop and tuck the end through the loop as shown


3. Tighten. Done.


4. For the Double Overhand, take the end of a rope, form a loop and run the end through that loop twice as shown


5. When tightening this one, guide the outer parts of the loops down over the center as it tightens


6. Thus


7. When it is tightened, you get this, which is one of the easiest and fastest rope ending techniques out there…

…but it does end your rope with a bump, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences.


8. You can also form an overhand on a bight


9. Just loop the bight…


10. …and tuck it through the new loop


11. Thus

…no particular mystery here 🙂

Practical method for tying when rigging, using two hands - Pictures & Text


1. When used in bondage, it is often helpful to make overhand knots in a consistent manner so that you get consistent look. For example, you may wish to put a series of overhand knots down the front of your partner as part of several different types of harnesses

I feel compelled to point out here that one general rule for beginners is “do not put rope around the neck” which I have done here. That rule is the simple version for beginners. The *real* rules are “don’t put collapsing knots around the neck” and “don’t put pressure across the front of the neck”. In practice, a rope leash like this is not a particularly unusual thing, as it does not violate either of those two rules.


2. Place the fingers of your left hand behind the rope at the point where you want the overhand knot to be


3. With your other hand, bring the tail up behind your two fingers…


4. …And then to the front, crossing over the standing line


5. Spread the two fingers of your left hand just a little bit to allow your right forefinger through that loop to hook the tail


6. Use that finger to draw the tail through the loop


7. Like this


8. Pull the tail all the way through


9. Using your left fingers as a stopping point to position the knot as it is being tightened, pull the tail with your right hand to tighten.


10. Done. Let’s do it again using exactly the same technique so you can see how doing it consistently leads to nice symmetry


11. …


12. …


13. …


14. …


15. …


16. …


17. There you are, two knots created the same way, lying the same way, nicely evenly spaced

Practical method for tying when rigging, using one hand - Pictures & Text


1. There are times when you need to tie an overhand knot with a single hand. I am going to use my left hand to hold this a rope under a little bit of tension so it’s easier to see what I am doing, but it is not necessary


2. Using your dominant hand, run two fingers behind the tail


3. Twists those fingers around that tail as shown…


4. All the way around…


5. …until they are in a position where they can grab the tail


6. Grab the tail


7. And pull it through the loop


8. Tighten.

If you’re doing this with one hand, it’s a little difficult to get that knot positioned at a precise point, but with practice you can get a relatively close to your intended location


9. Done

Using the Overhand Knot to mark your bight - Text

An overhand knot can be very helpful to temporarily mark your bight!

Sometimes it is necessary to put down a rope in the middle of rigging and you don’t want to lose your bight.  For example, when you are untying, you pull off one rope and immediately move on to the next rope.  You don’t take the time to neatly coil your rope right then, you keep untying.  And then move on to after care.  You or your partner come back later to coil your ropes.

Using the Overhand Knot to mark your bight - Pictures

Protect Bight (1)

1. Place the fingers of your non-dominant hand behind the rope a short distance from your bight

Protect Bight (2)

2. With your other hand, bring the tail up behind your two fingers and back to the front, crossing over the standing line

Protect Bight (3)

3. Spread the two fingers inside the loop just a little bit to allow your other forefinger through that loop to hook the tail

Protect Bight (4)

4. Use that finger to draw a small bit of the tail through the loop

When needed again…

Protect Bight (5)

5. Tighten

Protect Bight (6)

6. This can now be set aside or dropped until needed

Protect Bight - Use (1)

1. Pick up the rope by the bight

Protect Bight - Use (2)

2. Grab the tail with your other hand

Protect Bight - Use (3)

3. Pull firmly

Protect Bight - Use (4)

4. The knot will come undone

Protect Bight - Use (5)

5. You are ready to go!

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1 Comment

  1. I love these pictures so much, so visual, thank you.

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