North Woods Field Guides PO Box 107  Wevertown

Square Knot

  • Also known as the joining knot it is an excellent general purpose knot for tying two pieces of string or twine together, the square knot is possibly the most commonly used knot for the job, and is easy to learn. However, it cannot be overly stressed that the Square knot is not a long term or secure knot, and it should only be used to finish parcels or bindings. In other cases, use a more secure method of tying two ropes together, such as a Sheet Bend, a Double Sheet bend, or a Water Knot.
  • The square knot can easily change into a slipping Lark's Head and it should never be used where life or limb are at risk.
  • Holding one end of each rope in each hand, pass the left rope over the right, and tuck under. Then pass the same rope, now in the right hand, over the left rope, and tuck under.
  • A common mnemonic for tying this knot is "Right over Left and Left over Right"
  • The square knot can easily be undone by gripping one loose end, and pulling it back over the knot, in the opposite direction, thus straightening the rope which is pulled. The other rope forms a Lark's Head knot, and slips off the tugged rope.
  • The knot gets its name from its use on sailing ships, when the sails were "squared" - rolled up and tied to the cross spar with a square knot. To release the sail, the sailors would climb the rigging, and work their way along the cross spar, pulling the top end of the square knot down. They only had to use one hand, holding on with the other. The weight of the sail would cause the square knot to slip, and the sail would be released.


Animated Knots - Copyright 2008 -

North Woods Field Guides PO Box 107  Wevertown

North Woods Field Guides
PO Box 107  Wevertown, NY 12886
Phone:  518-744-6011  Email:

© Copyright J. Greco / North Woods Guides Inc.  All rights reserved.