Backwards Knots

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Backwards Knots

Postby brrrdog » May 7, 2012 9:53 am

Are there any knots that you have to worry about tying "backwards"? I'm trying to convert some knots into muscle memory for an upcoming mountaineering trip (yes I could ask this on a climbers forumn but I get better technical answers here :))and I've noticed that the knot might be backwards depending on whether I'm tying into it or using it for rigging. For example, if I make the same hand movements, the running end of a munter ends up being on the backside of the biner instead of the front. Could I still tie a mule the same way or should I reverse it (over the front first instead of behind the back)? I've not ran into anything that seems to function differently (with the exception perhaps of slightly reduced friction if I rappelled with "backwards" munter), but I was wondering if there are knots I DO need to think about this.
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby Chads93GT » May 7, 2012 10:30 am

the only knots I use rigging in caves are figure 8's, double figure 8's. bowlines, double bowlines, butterfly knots, inline figure 8's and I have never tied them backwards.

A munter hitch is just that, a hitch. Just rig the hitch right, right? Afterall, if and when I ever get ready to rap on a munter, I make sure I tied it how I use it. It takes 2 seconds to rig that hitch, and an extra two seconds to do it again if you do it backwards. It sort of makes sense that you would do it right, rather than saying, oh hell ill try it backwards, I sure hope I dont screw up and eat the ground. This would eliminate having to figure out if a mule would work the same while on the fly, no?

Anyway, hope this helps.
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby Anonymous_Coward » May 7, 2012 10:53 am

All of those knots backwards are the same as those knots forward. The only difference I can see is that a backwards munter has the brake line on the gate side instead of the spine side of the carabiner. Chad, how would you even know if you tied a figure eight or a butterfly "backwards?"
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby Chads93GT » May 7, 2012 10:59 am

No idea, thats my point, lol
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby brrrdog » May 7, 2012 11:18 am

A munter might not have been a good example since i've seen it referenced in text both ways and I'm fairly confident it doesn't matter in this case. But it does show what I'm trying to say by "backwards" which I now realize is orientation from the aspect of the user:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munter_hitch
(note running end under the biner)

http://www.chockstone.org/TechTips/MunterHitch.htm
(note running end over the biner)

Another example, as Anonymous_Coward pointed out and the second image shows, is the tail rubbing over the gate. Here of course there is an obvious reason why this might be a bad idea. For another, take the bowline - On Rope says make sure the tail of the rope is on the inside of the loop and not the outside. I don't remember the reason for this but it has always stuck in my head as "wrong". I'm just wondering if there any less obvious reasons for different knots and hitches.
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby gdstorrick » May 7, 2012 5:01 pm

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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby NZcaver » May 7, 2012 6:09 pm

Apparently for the knot purest, there is a "right" and "wrong" way to tie the figure 8 bight depending on which side the standing part of the rope exits the knot. :yikes:

Exhibit A - a 6 year old post from our old friend rescueman.

Of course the difference is so slight that if it did matter, you'll want to switch to a stronger rope (reference Storrick, et al). :big grin:
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby brrrdog » May 8, 2012 11:10 am

Thank you NZ for the link. That's exactly the type of discussion I was looking for - I suppose if there were other knots I had to worry about it would have come up in that discussion :).
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby Billy » May 8, 2012 10:03 pm

If you have a copy of Setnicka's Wilderness Search and Rescue book, I know he goes into the "proper" figure eight, bowline and such. I'm away from home right now and don't have it in front of me, otherwise I'd post the pertinent information. The book may be out of print by now I imagine.
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby Bob Thrun » May 10, 2012 9:04 pm

gdstorrick wrote:Tail outside is weaker. So what. If it matters, your rope is too weak to begin with. You would back the tail up anyhow - assuming you even use bowlines any more - and that also changes the story <grin>.

The tests I have seen show the two are about the same strength. The tail outside is more likely to get snagged and loosen the knot.

There is a discussion of the "Sideways Bowline" on this forum that involves the wrong way to tie what looks like a bowline,

There is a right way and a wrong way to tie the knot called the retraced overhand bend, ring bend, or water knot in rope. I am posting pictures of the right way, the wrong way, and the top and botom views of how the wrong way can distort. This knot is commonly used for webbing, for which there is only one way of tying. It is called the tape knot with webbing.
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby knudeNoggin » May 12, 2012 8:03 pm

All of those knots backwards are the same as those knots forward.

Whoa, bowlines are in that list, and they aren't ... .

[re bowline] Tail outside is weaker. So what. If it matters, your rope is too weak to begin with. You would back the tail up anyhow - assuming you even use bowlines any more - and that also changes the story <grin>.

As Bob noted, those doing tests usually report that there's no difference.
I.p., the once-hosted-@NSS-now-missing Dave Richards report made
the note that the so-called "Dutch"/"cowboy" bowline was tested and
found to be the same strength (but he didn't include this in the
data tables --though DID include "re-threaded" & "on a bight" Fig.8s,
as does CMC's Rope Rescue Manual!?).
The tail outside is more likely to get snagged and loosen the knot.

Frankly, one can dress the bowline to put the tail in various places
vis-a-vis the plane containing the eyelegs; the draw of the mainline
will move the tail, typically, like one crossing one's legs after sitting
--one can anticipate this in dressing ... . The tail-on-outside knot
resists ring-loading; the common bowline does not. But as Gary
notes, there should be further securing to either of these knots
in kernmantle-rope applications.

Apparently for the knot purest, there is a "right" and "wrong" way to tie the figure 8 bight depending on which side the standing part of the rope exits the knot. Exhibit A - a 6 year old post from our old friend rescueman.

And to different "knot purests" (knot knowledge garners no praise :down: ),
different rights/wrongs : noted was OnRope1.com's Bruce Smith's apparent
denial of Dave Merchant's assertion of how to tie the Fig.8 (a rumored 10%pt.s
strength difference and easier untying), which differs from what Rescueman
Riversong was trying to point out --which might be more a matter of loading,
though Fig.8 dressing is much varied. Now, were Richards & CMC testing two
different Fig.8 versions vs. different ways of tying, we might have some data
to fit into the assertions. (Bruce needs to look more carefully.)
But to knots recognition, I'll borrow my old lamet:
I'm rather dismayed that the clear image of the red Fig.8 loopknot has taken now
several responses to figure out that it is "right", in THIS forum--this knot that
is soooo easy to check!


There is a discussion of the "Sideways Bowline" on this forum that involves the wrong way to tie what looks like a bowline,

... or, rather, the right way to tie that but the wrong way to tie the bowline!
There are many variations, and I'm having some experimentation
now with TheraBand PT tubing, which is a novel material for me
(doing some PT).

There is a right way and a wrong way to tie the knot called the retraced overhand bend, ring bend, or water knot in rope. I am posting pictures of the right way, the wrong way, and the top and botom views of how the wrong way can distort.

I'm reminded of Heinz Prohaska's article about the supposed vulnerability
of the water-knot-in-tape being snagged & untied (supposedly verified
by testing done by Pitt Schumann?) and (y)our reaction that such knots
once set/weighted sometimes required tools for loosening; I have
similar thoughts about this knot in rope --at least that this supposed
vulnerability to deformation is more theoretical than experienced!?
This knot is commonly used for webbing, for which there is only one way of tying.

Actually, no, there is a way to make it symmetric in tape (too),
which I think you know of. After Tom Moyer reported on the
cyclical slippage seen in some tape (not in new 1" tubular nylon!),
where the slippage came only in the tail lying exterior, I found a way
to have both tails lie interior (w/o Prohaska's awkward twist);
this makes for a slightly more elongated, less chubby knot.

And so on & on & on ... !

*kN*
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby gdstorrick » May 13, 2012 7:41 am

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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby knudeNoggin » May 13, 2012 10:59 am

gdstorrick wrote:
knudeNoggin wrote:..., those doing tests usually report ...

Some old literature reports a difference, ...

And one of the volunteer officials at a recent tree-climbing competition
insisted that there was a "30%" (!!) difference --which is huge, even if
taken literally and not as is usually the case of **%-points**. And he'd
apparently been at some point a worker at Wall Ropes?

But it should concern people that, at least, such contradictory
test results are asserted --both in their inconsistency, and often
in their complete non-comment on the others. It's a matter of
scientific method, rigor, insight, ... education!?

For the purposes of practical application, yes, knot strength
isn't so important. (Although beware knotting the fancy new
high-strength/low-stretch stuff!)

Personally, I have never seen a knot strength test report that had statistically significant numbers and adequate hypothesis testing to support the claims. Most "tests" seem to just break a few knots (very few) and then report the raw data without any proper analysis.

Bingo! --nor do they clearly show the knot (the geometric structure)
that goes to the machine, as though the knot name says it all.
Which leaves little for the knot theorists/speculators to work
with on trying to understand what's going on.

Then people argue about what it means :argue:.

Or, in contrast, they take it for gospel, hook-line-&-sinker, withOUT
arguing/thinking about it. --people who you might think would
be, from training & vocation, prone to skepticism and demand
for facts.

A couple of sources have remarked that, re the Fig.8 eye knot
(and might as well include the end-2-end knot), because there
are the two parallel ends, either of which might be taken for
the loaded mainline, there's a "50%" chance of "getting it right"
--uttered by those believing in a right/wrong situation. But
this mistakes a logical division with a frequency distribution:
were those testing both "in the bight" & "re-threaded" Fig.8
eye knots to have based this puzzling distinction on some
empircal sampling that gave a statistical bias of tying methods
to different knot forms (to just which end was loaded, if the
forms are identical, even), then one could see a purpose for
such testing distinction; but absent that, it's baffling, IMO.


In some free testing offered to me (=> 5 specimens ; I put like
eyeknots on both ends, for 5 diff. knots; .:. results in 1 broken,
1 survivor knots), of 8mm 12-strand urethane-coated HMPE,
I marked some points w/colored threads, in hopes of gaining
some insight as to where the rupture occurs, and how much
compression or slippage occurred (esp. w/HMPE). That's the
sort of care I hope to see more of. (Photos before/after, too.)
(strongest : 42% ; weakest 33% ; testers state a mere overhand
knot in the rope is 31% --so much for knotting this!)

And so on,

*kN*
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Re: Backwards Knots

Postby knudeNoggin » May 17, 2012 9:55 am

Billy wrote:If you have a copy of Setnicka's Wilderness Search and Rescue book, ...

And if not, Amazon Marketplace can get you one --darn fast,
too (via an unoverloaded USPS!) !! (5/12->16th !)

I know he goes into the "proper" figure eight, bowline and such. ...
I'm away from home right now and don't have it in front of me, otherwise I'd post the pertinent information.

Thanks for the recommendation. (The Marketplace is a wonderful thing.)
He echoes information from who-knows-where (except that it
has a familiar ring to it) --that the Fig.8 knot should be tied this
way (which is hardly well illustrated), which is "as high as 8 to 10%
[stronger] for kernmantle ropes." Hmmmm, sounds familiar. (ca. 1980)
I know of another like assertion, but it occurs to me that I might've
presumed that that one (Ontario Rock Climbing Assoc. manual) to be
a first source --and that Rob Chisnall had done such testing (he at least
knows how to clearly show differently oriented knots!)--; perhaps
it was only good illustration made upon dubious other reference?!
.:. Insofar as one can determine a definite form for Setnicka,
it is the opposite end loaded to ORCA's. (!)

Of those two bowline forms (tail inside/outside), Setnicka asserts
that the tail-outside version is incorrect, "reducing its strength by
about half." ( --HALF!!!) (If your rope WAS strong enuff, now you
need TWO such ropes! :roll: )

And he does mention "Goldline" --yea!

Btw, the right-side component of the Grapevine/Dbl.Fish bend
shown in Fig.11.15 is wrong : the dotted completion-path
line w/arrow needs to go up over it's own main line and
then out through its coils; as it stands, one gets a mere
(undouble) overhand component here, for a 1-&-a-half
fisherman's knot. --close!


*kN*
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