Ropes and Knot Tying 47
Finish the knot by tying off to the loop. Hold the
doubled-back line with two fingers where it is kinked
through the bowline loop. The friction of the two lines
and the pressure from just your two fingers should be
plenty to keep the line from slipping. If you try to hold
it with more than that, your hand will be in the way of
tying the rest of the knot. Double over a small portion
of the tail and wrap it through just as you would if tying
a bow. It will take some practice to get this to work
without losing tension on the line. That is the part that
most people struggle with, but after a few practice
attempts you should get the hang of it.
Untie the knot by pulling on the tail. The doubled-
over section will pull through just as it does when
untying a bow knot. On the other hand, if you pull the
doubled-over tail all the way through when you tie the
knot, you wont be able to get it to come loose so easily.
To tie the one-line trucker’s hitch, fasten the line
at one end with a suitable knot and then tie a slip knot
in the middle of the line an easy distance away from the
second tie-off point. The slip knot should be tied so that
the loop size is dependent on the tail rather than the
standing part. If you do this backward, the loop will
shrink to nothing when tension is applied, and it will
be obvious that something is wrong. The line should be
able to pass easily around the second tie-off point
without jamming, or the one-line method wont work.
To finish the knot, pass the line around the second
tie-off point and run it back through the loop, making
it fast in the same manner as used in method one.
It is possible to make the first small loop by dou-
bling over the line and making a half hitch rather than
using a slip knot, but it is very hard to remove this
alternative knot later on down the road. If your plan is
to keep the line in place permanently, you might prefer
half-hitch loop to a slip-knot one.
Using the trucker’s hitch to tension the line pro-
vides a two-to-one mechanical advantage and will allow
you to pull the line really tight. That is, for every pound
of force on the tail, the standing part will be 2 pounds
tighter. But it also doubles the load on the line and
increases the possibility that it will break.
ROPE COILING AND STORAGE
Coiling a rope for storage can be more complex than
amateurs would think. It is fairly easy to roll a rope up
into some sort of clump, but not so easy to play it back
out in a straight line without a lot of tangles. One thing
for sure, you will never see a professional stagehand wind
a rope up around her elbow, because that means she has
no control over how twisted it becomes. This is espe-
cially problematic when using a twisted rope like hemp.
Here is the issue: when a rope is coiled into a circle,
it must spin one time for each turn in the coil. If you
wind the rope around your elbow, you wont be able to
put the proper twist into it, and the rope will come out
with some of the loops making a figure-eight shape,
while others are a circle. The figure-eight shape comes

Get Illustrated Theatre Production Guide, 2nd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.