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Thread: Any way to untie this knot?!

  1. #1
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    Any way to untie this knot?!

    Last week I bought a 100' length of 3/4" nylon rope at a garage sale. It is a bit worn and I have absolutely no use for it, but figured that if I ever needed one it would be a lot more than $8. But after I got it home I found it had a big very tight knot; as shown in the photos.
    rope2.jpgrope1.jpg
    It was even worse; the big loop went through the little loop, but I got that out. I thought it would all fall apart then, but it turned out to be the easy part.

    Any clever methods for untying a knot like this?

  2. #2
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    Use a pair of Channelock pliers in the middle of the crossing loop in the second picture, pulling it down, and away from the two loops. Try not to tear the fibers, but some will probably suffer. Work it a little at the time, until you can get a wee bit of slack in the surrounding part.

  3. #3
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    A knife? :-)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    Last week I bought a 100' length of 3/4" nylon rope at a garage sale. It is a bit worn and I have absolutely no use for it, but figured that if I ever needed one it would be a lot more than $8. But after I got it home I found it had a big very tight knot; as shown in the photos.
    rope2.jpgrope1.jpg
    It was even worse; the big loop went through the little loop, but I got that out. I thought it would all fall apart then, but it turned out to be the easy part.

    Any clever methods for untying a knot like this?
    Every man needs a rope. Is this some kind of metaphysical question?

  5. #5
    A marlinspike or fid (really any smooth tapered shaft, like even a scratch awl) will help you work/lever the knot open. I would probably start with the top turn in the first picture, trying to work that upward over the left loop (for starters).

  6. #6

    Got a sword?

    Sorry Wade. I know that doesnt help. I must be reading too much wikipedia lately - it was the first thought I had when I read your title. GORDIAN KNOT
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 11-19-2019 at 7:40 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Thorpe Allen View Post
    A marlinspike or fid (really any smooth tapered shaft, like even a scratch awl) will help you work/lever the knot open. I would probably start with the top turn in the first picture, trying to work that upward over the left loop (for starters).
    This works for sailors.....
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  8. #8
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    I don't know if this will help but my experience with nylon sheets (lines, ropes) on sailboats is that they get stiff and dirty from the salt water. When reaching port if they are washed using clothes softener instead of laundry detergent it not only cleans them but also makes them soft and silky to the hand. I'm thinking that it might make your knot easier to untie plus it would clean your new line. Using a spike would be less damaging than channel locks so I would try that first. If you decide to try washing, then braid the line and tie the two ends together before washing in a clothes washer or you will end up with a tangled mess. It is then easy to untie the ends and pull the braid out of the line.

  9. #9
    Bob's suggestion of fabric softener is good one. If you don't want to wash the whole coil of rope in your washing machine, you could manually wash just the knot section in a bucket of warm water with some fabric softener added...

  10. #10
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    Washing it would have been a great idea if I had read those replies first.

    Before posting, I got the first part undone with thin screwdrivers. The rest was much too tight to get anything in. I got it moving with locking pliers. Then I was able to use a hammer to keep it moving. The pliers did a fair amount of damage, but at least it is undone.

  11. #11
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    Too late, but I was going to mention a hammer. Old water skiers trick to undo a knot in the ski line is to beat it with the handle with the knot on top of the ski pylon to loosen it up.
    NOW you tell me...

  12. #12
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    I have untangled such as that with needle nose pliers. The marlin spike should work as well. Vise grips might loosen the knot.

  13. #13
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    Landlubber term for Marlin spike..........Phillips screwdriver.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  14. #14
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    A good knot is one that can be untied easily, even after being under a load. At a Fox Hunt, when a horse has pulled back against the lead tied to a trailer, I'm always the one that gets the call to save the lead. It involves pliers usually, and some fraying usually results. If it had been tied with a real knot, it wouldn't have been so hard to untie, and the rope would have had a much better chance of not suffering damage from a pair of pliers.

    I was once handed a line to a hot air ballon, that was giving demo rides, up and down, and told to go tie it off. After the event was over, the balloon owners were both over, squatting down, looking at the knot. It was a Bowline knot. One said to the other that they thought they would have to cut the rope. I bent down, and showed them how a push with a thumb, in the middle of the surrounding loop, freed the tension, and allowed it to be easily untied. For several minutes, I stood there, with a small crowd, showing how to tie, and untie, a Bowline knot, just like a young group of Boy Scouts.

    I was at the Annapolis Boat Show one year, and Cruising World magazine had a guy at a table, with some lines. If you could tie a Bowline knot in less than 10 seconds, you got a free year's subsription to the magazine. He used a stop watch. I tied 3 in the ten seconds (he only had three lines out), but thanked him for the offer. I told him I wasn't a cruiser, but a racer.

    For years, I've tried to tell the Boy Scouts that one of the required knots should be an Alpine Butterfly. It's an easy to tie, and easy to untie knot that you can use to get multiple purchase on a line/rope with, but so far, most of the leaders I talk to have a hard enough time with the Tenderfoot knots.

  15. #15
    Hey, if you can't tie a proper knot, tie a lot!

    (racer, and cruiser too, here)

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