Who here likes knots? Who doesn’t like knots? When I was first starting out as a stagehand apprentice, I was told there were three knots I should memorize: the square knot, bowline, and clove hitch. These, I was taught, made up the bulk of all knots needed in theatre. Any other specialty knots came into play when you were doing specialty jobs. This has held fairly true throughout my career; other than the odd decorative knot or particular rigging challenge, I can usually solve my knotty problem with one of these three knots.
To that end, here are diagrams of thirty-six common knots, bends, and splices I pulled from an old book. These aren’t decorative or pretty knots; these are heavy-duty working-class knots, including the three I mentioned above. There is, of course, the larger question of what circumstances each of these knots should be used in; perhaps I will address that in a later post. Until then, why knot just enjoy the pictures?