Crash Restraint Blog Archives (2010-2016)

A Column Tie for Beginners


This is a column tie specifically designed to be easy to learn for people brand new to rope. It is an adaptation of a tie I learned from Nell, who learned it from Max, who developed it based on earlier work with yet murkier origins. As far as we can agree, the most historically accurate and descriptive name for this would be the Double-Modified Fishermen's Bend.

Thanks to Nell and Max for help producing the video, as well as introducing me to the original concept, although I hasten to add that what I present here is not Max's canonical version of the tie, and any pitfalls should be solely attributed to my own tinkering with it.

It's also worth noting that none of the three of us use this in our daily tying -- various more advanced column ties are quicker with sufficient practice -- but this is a good place to start if you're just looking for something easy to tie someone to the bed with.

You might notice that in the single-column video I do four wraps, and in the...

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New Video Tutorials


RiggerJay had me record some video tutorials of my new column ties for Boston Rope Group last week:

My original pictorial explanation of the Somerville Bowline is here.

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Larks-head Based Double Column


This is the double column version of the lark's head based single column. It starts the same way:

At this point, instead of hitching off the cuff, wrap all the way around the back of the cuff, going between the columns:

Adjusting the tension on this cinching wrap is what determines the overall snugness of the cuff:

At this point, there are several ways to finish it off. One is to split the lines around the front of the cuff and tie a square knot; that doesn't require much space between the columns, but had the disadvantage of only pulling on the back of the cuff, which can make it feel like it's tightening under tension. An alternate approach is to now hitch off the front of the cuff, similar to the single-column version, by first passing through the starting doubled-rope bight:

Then forming your hitch about the opposite half of the front of the cuff:

This will pull on the front and back of the cuff evenly, which is generally more comfortable. You'll notice,...

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The Somerville Bowline


The Somerville Bowline is not, technically, a bowline. Rather, it is actually based on ABOK 1445, sometimes later called the Myrtle Hitch. However, I call the cuff the Somerville Bowline, because its intent is to combine the speed of the Portuguese Bowline with the compactness of the French Bowline -- and it was invented in Somerville.

[Update: for videos of this tie, see here]

As a Single Column

Start as for most cuffs that use the bight as the working end, by taking a few wraps:

You'll notice I have a magic rope here that changes colors at the end. This is just to make it clearer what's going on -- don't freak out! You'll only be using one rope in reality.

OK, next, take the working (bight) end and wrap it 360 degrees around the standing (long) line, going in the natural/easiest direction (it has to be this particular direction! which just happens to be the most natural one, if you ask me):

Now, pull on the working end while leaving the standing line slack, to...

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