Tag Archives: how to tie a clove hitch

Pioneering Program Curriculum II: Half Hitches and Round Lashing

This is the second post in a series that will eventually comprise an activity-based, unit pioneering program curriculum. 

SUPPORTING VIDEOS: How to Tie and Apply Half Hitches and the Clove Hitch / How to Tie a Round Lashing

Two Half Hitches Over the Top of a Pole Forming a Clove Hitch
Two Half Hitches Over the Top of a Pole Forming a Clove Hitch

II. In Pioneering, half hitches are everywhere! Two of them next to each other is a clove hitch, and that’s something we use time and time again. As John Thurman declares, “If only we can get Scouts to learn that if you make one half hitch and another half hitch and bring them together they make a clove hitch, what a lot of time the Movement would save in the amount of fiddling and fumbling that goes on when a clove hitch is the order of the day.”

OBJECTIVES

  • Scouts will demonstrate they can tie half hitches around a horizontal pole, proceeding from both the right and the left.
  • Scouts will demonstrate they can tie a round lashing by starting and ending the lashing with two half hitches.
  • Scouts will lash together two staves to make a longer pole by using two properly positioned round lashings.
Horizontal Hitching Post Lashed Between Two 6' Uprights
Horizontal Hitching Post Lashed Between Two 6′ Uprights

MATERIALS

  • Suspended horizontal hitching post or similar setup, to accommodate the entire class
  • Two or more 5-foot Scout Staves for every Scout (the more the better)
  • Four 6 to 10-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes for every Scout (the more the better)
  • 6-foot  x 1-1/2-inch diameter spar set up as a crossbar with a 6-foot length of 1/2-inch nylon or polyester cord, attached in the middle, to serve as a large visual aid

PROCEDURE A

  1. Starting at the center of the 6-foot spar, the instructor slowly ties a half hitch for all to see, proceeding from the left and initially carrying the running end over the top of the spar.
  2. The half hitch is untied and slowly tied again for all to see. This is repeated as necessary while, in like manner,  the class ties their own half hitch around the horizontal hitching post.
  3. When each Scout can tie the half hitch, the instructor slowly demonstrates the tying of two half hitches in succession. (No mention needs to be made that this is a clove hitch.)
  4. When all Scouts can accomplish this, three and four half hitches are tied in succession. Scouts give it a go.
  5. Starting again at the center, steps 1-4 are repeated on the other side, this time proceeding from the right and initially carrying the running end over the top of the spar.
Tying a simple half hitch around a horizontal pole, proceeding from the left and moving to the right: When proceeding from the left, the running end can be carried over the top of the spar, brought down behind the standing part, and then simply carried over the standing part. Dress the half hitch by pulling the standing part to the left and the running end to the right. For a second half hitch, simply repeat the process. Two Half Hitches (Clove Hitch) Three Half Hitches Four Half Hitches.
Click on the Images for LARGER Views!
Click on Image for LARGE
Click on Image for LARGER Views!
Two Round Lashings Joining Together Two Scout Staves
Two Round Lashings Joining Together Two Scout Staves

PROCEDURE B

  1. Using two Scout Staves and a lashing rope, the instructor demonstrates how, by holding in one hand the two staves and the long end of the rope as the standing part, he can tie two half hitches around both staves working with the running end. This forms a clove hitch which will start off the round lashing. It will be easy to see that since the long end of the rope will be used for the wrappings, to start the lashing, the half hitches will be applied moving towards the nearest end of one of the staves.
  2. Scouts apply the technique, tying the clove hitch around two staves in the manner shown.
  3. The instructor demonstrates wrapping the longer end tightly and neatly around both staves, leaving enough rope to finish the lashing with two half hitches.
  4. Scouts practice lashing two staves together with two round lashings. The space where the two poles are joined, gets two tight round lashings—one on either side of the overlap and right near the ends of each pole. (See photo to the left.)
  5. Scouts combine into one group and, using all the materials on hand, join all the staves tightly together into one very long pole, with round lashings.

INTERPATROL ACTIVITY: Catch the Snapper

PIONEERING CURRICULUM: MAIN PAGE

The Misunderstood Clove Hitch

VIEW VIDEO: How to Tie and Apply the Clove Hitch and Half Hitches

Ah, the clove hitch. It’s a simple way to attach a rope to a pole, it’s side-to-side adjustable and is frequently used to start and finish a variety of lashings. Some folks don’t like it because in various applications, it’s not the most secure or reliable choice. But, in those instances, there are numerous alternatives. See the following photos—all close clove hitch relatives.

Clove Hitch / Rolling Hitch / Constrictor / Spar Hitch
Clove Hitch / Rolling Hitch / Constrictor / Spar Hitch

The clove hitch is one of the most-frequently-used knots Scouts learn, so common, yet it can also be very elusive, especially when it comes to completing certain lashings. In the knot-tying universe, the clove hitch is a whole lot more prevalent than most of us realize, and it can be tied in a variety of ways and from a variety of different perspectives.

Of course they're all clove hitches!
Of course they’re all Clove Hitches!

Two Half Hitches. Here’s what John Thurman says in Pioneering Projects: “The first and everlasting thing to remember about the clove hitch is that it is composed of two half hitches. What a very obvious thing to say, but there is hardly one Scout in a hundred who learns what it means. If only we can get Scouts to learn that if you make one half hitch and another half hitch and bring them together they make a clove hitch, what a lot of time the Movement would save in the amount of fiddling and fumbling that goes on when a clove hitch is the order of the day. We would be able to start in the sure knowledge that we can make clove hitches and pass quickly on to better and brighter things.”

Starting from the right and proceeding the the left. / Starting from the left and proceeding to the right.
Starting from the right and proceeding the the left. / Starting from the left and proceeding to the right.

Before addressing the various ways to approach tying a clove hitch, did you ever wonder why the basic knot, two half hitches is called “Two Half Hitches?” (The name “Double Half Hitch” has also been used.) What’s a half hitch anyway? Well, now we know it’s half a clove hitch, (the line wraps around the object and then passes under itself) but how many of us have realized that in actuality,  two half hitches is a clove hitch tied around the rope’s standing part? That’s what it is! On a side note, the very useful taut-line hitch is nothing but a clove hitch started off with a roundturn (called a rolling hitch), which is also tied around the rope’s standing part. As mentioned above, the clove hitch is whole lot more prevalent than most of us realize, and indeed it can be tied in a variety of ways. Here we go:

A Hitching Post with a Series of Half Hitches
A Hitching Post with a Series of Half Hitches
Hitching Race during the Troop Meeting Gathering Period
Hitching Race during a Troop Meeting’s Gathering Period

Open-End Clove Hitch (Clove Hitch on a Bight). Back in the 60s at Camp Wauwepex, a Scout camp on Long Island, one of the attractions in the Scoutcraft area was a vertical pole about 4 feet tall with a rope attached near the bottom. This was a “Hitching Post.” It was put up so Scouts could see how many Half Hitches they could throw over the top of the pole as quickly as possible. Watching fellow Scouts who had mastered the simple technique provided enough motivation to learn how to do it too, and it was easy to get quite good at it. As we were throwing hitches over the pole with greater and greater alacrity, we weren’t aware that every two of these hitches was a clove hitch. Nor would we have cared. It was just fun to see how fast we could get. VIEW VIDEO: Hitching Race

When preceding from the left, all that needs to be done is:

  1. Form a right underhand loop and place it over the pole.
  2. Form another right underhand loop and place it over the pole (on top of the pervious one).
  3. Voila! Clove hitch!

When preceding from the right, instead of right underhand loops, form left underhand loops.

In no position to tie anything but an
In no position to tie anything but an “Open-Ended Clove Hitch!”

Without being informed, one can just look at two of these half hitches and see they look exactly like a clove hitch. Of course, that’s because these two half hitches are a clove hitch. Throwing two half hitches over the open end of a vertical pole is the hands down, quickest way of tying a clove hitch. After you’ve done it for awhile, it takes about a second. A common way to refer to this “Clove Hitch on a Bight” is to call it an “Open-Ended Clove Hitch.” It’s exactly what the doctor ordered when you need to tie a clove hitch over the end of a spar. It’s also the only way to tie a clove hitch in the middle of a long line, like when securing a hand rope on the top of an A-frame during the construction of a Double A-frame Monkey Bridge (unless you want to pull foot after foot of rope through the hitches because you’re using an alternate method, or… you just don’t know any better).

Open-Ended Clove Hitch
Open-End Clove Hitch

It’s really surprising how many folks, old and young, aren’t familiar with this simple method of tying a clove hitch. Here’s an amusing illustration: A young Scout was competing at a camporee for the best time in completing a Rope-Toss-Log-Lift Challenge. After throwing the rope over the crossbar and tying the end to a log with a timber hitch, the third step is to secure the other end of the rope to a stake in the ground with a clove hitch. Ah! An open ended pole! So, this young Scout completes the first two steps, runs over to the stake and, bam! He ties an Open-Ended Clove Hitch over that stake in nothing flat. The jaw of the Scouter conducting the event drops down. With mouth open and a look of bewilderment on his face, he leans down, scratches his head, and examines the knot. Yes, to his surprise, indeed it’s a clove hitch! This skinny, young Scout did something the adult had never seen before, and the old guy was astonished!

Finishing a Lashing with Two Half Hitches. 

Finishing a Diagonal Lashing with Two Half Hitches forming the Clove Hitch
Finishing a Diagonal Lashing with Two Half Hitches forming the Clove Hitch

Here’s the story:  When you learn how to do this, number one, it’s faster. Number two, it’s also easier to securely finish off the frapping turns, because it’s a cinch to snug both half hitches in close and pull them real tight, which is definitely something you want to do.

1/2 HITCH + 1/2 HITCH = CLOVE HITCH  —> WATCH AND SEE!