Ashley's bend

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Ashley's Bend
Ashley's Bend knot.svg
NamesAshley's Bend, Ashley bend
Category Bend
Origin The Ashley Book of Knots
Related Alpine butterfly bend, Hunter's bend, Zeppelin bend, Butterfly loop, Trident loop
Releasing Jamming possible
Typical usetemporary joining of similar-sized cords & ropes
ABoK #1452

Ashley's bend is a knot used to securely join the ends of two ropes together. It is similar to several related bend knots which consist of two interlocking overhand knots, and in particular the alpine butterfly bend. These related bends differ by the way the two constituent overhand knots are interlocked.



The name "Ashley's bend" is now associated with the knot described in entry #1452 of The Ashley Book of Knots . Clifford Ashley developed this bend and believed it to be original, along with several similar ones. Rather than giving it a name he simply noted the date when he first tied it: "(2/3/34.)". [1] Cyrus L. Day, a contemporary of Ashley's, called the knot by the name "Ashley's Bend" in his 1947 book The Art of Knotting & Splicing just a few years after the publication of Ashley's book. [2] [3] Later authors have continued to use this name. [4] [5]


In the 1930s, Ashley performed security tests on a number of bends for the Collins and Aikman company. [6] The manufacturer wanted a bend that would not slip when tied in mohair, a stiff slippery material. The jerk testing Ashley performed placed his bend, #1452, equal to the barrel knot in exhibiting no slippage at all. All other bends he tested slipped to some extent, and most failed completely in less than 100 loading cycles. [7]

Jamming behavior

Most references fail to distinguish the distinct ways in which the two ends of the knot can be dressed. As the two working ends emerge from the knot, they make a sort of vortex that twists the tails in one direction; the tails can be oriented such that they are twisted ever tighter together, or put on the other side of each other in which case the setting of the knot can lead to a jamming state.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Ashley, Clifford W. (1944). The Ashley Book of Knots. New York: Doubleday. p. 264. 1452. (2/3/34.) Another original bend that is as easily untied as #1451. It appears to be strong, secure and compact...
  2. Day, Cyrus Lawrence (1947), The Art of Knotting and Splicing (1st ed.), New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., pp. 64–65
  3. The name "Ashley's Bend" is only used in the index (p. 223) of the first edition (1947) of The Art of Knotting and Splicing, not the main discussion of the knot on page 64. By the second edition (1955) the name also appears in the main text.
  4. Pawson, Des (2002). Pocket Guide to Knots & Splices. Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books. pp. 124–125.
  5. Perry, Gordon (2006). Knots. Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books. p. 78.
  6. Ashley, pp. 16–17
  7. Ashley, p. 273

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend fastens two ends of a rope to each another; a loop knot is any knot creating a loop, and splice denotes any multi-strand knot, including bends and loops. A knot may also refer, in the strictest sense, to a stopper or knob at the end of a rope to keep that end from slipping through a grommet or eye. Knots have excited interest since ancient times for their practical uses, as well as their topological intricacy, studied in the area of mathematics known as knot theory.

Overhand knot

The overhand knot, also known as a a knot and half knot, is one of the most fundamental knots, and it forms the basis of many others, including the simple noose, overhand loop, angler's loop, reef knot, fisherman's knot, and water knot. The overhand knot is a stopper, especially when used alone, and hence it is very secure, to the point of jamming badly. It should be used if the knot is intended to be permanent. It is often used to prevent the end of a rope from unraveling. An overhand knot becomes a trefoil knot, a true knot in the mathematical sense, by joining the ends.

Butterfly loop Knot used to form a fixed loop in the middle of a rope

The butterfly loop, also known as lineman's loop, butterfly knot, alpine butterfly knot and lineman's rider, is a knot used to form a fixed loop in the middle of a rope. Tied in the bight, it can be made in a rope without access to either of the ends; this is a distinct advantage when working with long climbing ropes. The butterfly loop is an excellent mid-line rigging knot; it handles multi-directional loading well and has a symmetrical shape that makes it easy to inspect. In a climbing context it is also useful for traverse lines, some anchors, shortening rope slings, and for isolating damaged sections of rope.

Constrictor knot

The constrictor knot is one of the most effective binding knots. Simple and secure, it is a harsh knot that can be difficult or impossible to untie once tightened. It is made similarly to a clove hitch but with one end passed under the other, forming an overhand knot under a riding turn. The double constrictor knot is an even more robust variation that features two riding turns.


A shank is a type of knot that is used to shorten a rope or take up slack, such as the sheepshank. The sheepshank knot is not stable. It will fall apart under too much load or too little load.

Truckers hitch

The trucker's hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers. This general arrangement, using loops and turns in the rope itself to form a crude block and tackle, has long been used to tension lines and is known by multiple names. Knot author Geoffrey Budworth claims the knot can be traced back to the days when carters and hawkers used horse-drawn conveyances to move their wares from place to place.

Figure-eight knot Type of stopper knot used in sailing and climbing

The figure-eight knot or figure-of-eight knot is a type of stopper knot. It is very important in both sailing and rock climbing as a method of stopping ropes from running out of retaining devices. Like the overhand knot, which will jam under strain, often requiring the rope to be cut, the figure-of-eight will also jam, but is usually more easily undone than the overhand knot.

The figure-eight or figure-of-eight knot is also called the Flemish knot. The name figure-of-eight knot appears in Lever's Sheet Anchor; or, a Key to Rigging. The word "of" is nowadays usually omitted. The knot is the sailor's common single-strand stopper knot and is tied in the ends of tackle falls and running rigging, unless the latter is fitted with monkey's tails. It is used about ship wherever a temporary stopper knot is required. The figure-eight is much easier to untie than the overhand, it does not have the same tendency to jam and so injure the fiber, and is larger, stronger, and equally secure.

Zeppelin bend

A Zeppelin bend is an end-to-end joining knot formed by two symmetrically interlinked overhand knots. It is stable, secure, and highly resistant to jamming. It is also resistant to the effects of slack shaking and cyclic loading.

Grief knot

A grief knot is a knot which combines the features of a granny knot and a thief knot, producing a result which is not generally useful for working purposes. The word grief does not carry its usual meaning but is a portmanteau of granny and thief.

Overhand knot with draw-loop

A slipped half hitch is a knot in which the weight of the load the rope carries depresses the loop sufficiently to keep it in place until the load item is placed in its location. When no longer required the free end may be pulled and draw the loop through and so release the load.

Hunters bend

Hunter's bend is a knot used to join two lines. It consists of interlocking overhand knots, and can jam under moderate strain. It is topologically similar to the Zeppelin bend.

Carrick bend

The Carrick bend, also known as the Sailor's breastplate, is a knot used for joining two lines. It is particularly appropriate for very heavy rope or cable that is too large and stiff to be easily formed into other common bends. It will not jam even after carrying a significant load or being soaked with water.

Sheet bend

The sheet bend is a bend. It is practical for joining lines of different diameter or rigidity.

Munter hitch Adjustable knot used control friction in a belay system

The Munter hitch, also known as the Italian hitch or the Crossing Hitch, is a simple adjustable knot, commonly used by climbers, cavers, and rescuers to control friction in a life-lining or belay system. To climbers, this knot is also known as HMS, the abbreviation for the German term Halbmastwurfsicherung, meaning half clove hitch belay. This technique can be used with a special "pear-shaped" HMS locking carabiner, or any locking carabiner wide enough to take two turns of the rope. The Munter hitch is named after Werner Munter, a Swiss mountain guide who popularised its use in mountaineering.

Surgeons knot

The surgeon's knot is a surgical knot and is a simple modification to the reef knot. It adds an extra twist when tying the first throw, forming a double overhand knot. The additional turn provides more friction and can reduce loosening while the second half of the knot is tied. This knot is commonly used by surgeons in situations where it is important to maintain tension on a suture, giving it its name.

Offset overhand bend

The offset overhand bend is a knot used to join two ropes together. The offset overhand bend is formed by holding two rope ends next to each other and tying an overhand knot in them as if they were a single line. Due to its common use in several fields, this bend has become known by many names, such as thumb knot, openhand knot, one-sided overhand knot or flat overhand bend (FOB), though the terms "one-sided" and "flat" are considered incorrect.

Two half-hitches

Two half-hitches is a type of knot, specifically a binding knot or hitch knot. One variety consists of an overhand knot tied around a post, followed by a half-hitch. This knot is less often referred to as a clove hitch over itself, double half-hitch, or full-hitch.

Two half hitches is the commonest of all hitches for mooring in particular and also for general utility. Steel gives the name in 1794. The difference between two half hitches and the clove hitch is that the former, after a single turn around a spar, is made fast around its own standing part, while the latter is tied directly around the spar.

Reef knot Type of knot

The reef knot, or square knot, is an ancient and simple binding knot used to secure a rope or line around an object. It is sometimes also referred to as a Hercules knot. The knot is formed by tying a left-handed overhand knot and then a right-handed overhand knot, or vice versa. A common mnemonic for this procedure is "right over left; left over right", which is often appended with the rhyming suffix "... makes a knot both tidy and tight". Two consecutive overhands of the same handedness will make a granny knot. The working ends of the reef knot must emerge both at the top or both at the bottom, otherwise a thief knot results.

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