The following text is by Adolph E. Peschke as presented in the 1998 printing of the 1993 edition of the Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet: “When you have to tie the ends of two large ropes (1/2”-diameter or larger) together, there is no better knot to use than the carrick bend. While many other knots reduce the strength of the rope considerably, a carrick bend reduces its strength only slightly. You’ll find that once a carrick bend is put under a big strain, it’s not all that hard to untie. The knot will tighten under the strain of the ropes, but won’t slip and works well with wet or slippery ropes.
The carrick bend looks very symmetrical when it’s first tied and is still loose, like two interlocking loops . But, as soon as it’s pulled tight, it looks quite different and is often hard to identify.
- To tie large diameter (1/2-inch diameter or larger) ropes together, especially if there will be heavy strain on the rope.
- To tie two ropes of any size together when the rope is wet or slippery and when you need a knot that will untie easily.
To tie a true carrick bend, where the ends of the rope emerge diagonally from opposite sides, start by making an underhand loop at the end of one rope (red and white rope) and bring the end of the other rope (blue and white rope) under the loop as in the left photo. Then, weave the end of the other rope (blue and white rope) over and under at every crossing, as in the middle and right photos.
The carrick bend’s main function is to join the ends of large diameter lines that are stiff and not at all easy to form into other common bends. In these instances, the knot can be left in its elongated form and the ends are seized to their standing part. This way, after maximum strain is applied, the carrick bend can be easily untied.