The Double Sheet Bend, like the Sheet Bend is used to fasten a small line to a larger one. A more secure knot, the Double Sheet Bend may be employed when a sheet bend may not have enough friction to hold well.
The Double Sheet Bend provides an extra level of security as compared to the Sheet Bend (which is also known as the Becket Bend, the Swab Hitch, or the Weaver’s Knot) when joining two pieces of rope. It’s no harder to create—it only requires adding one more turn to the wrapping of a Sheet Bend—and it provides a more reliable knot, and one better suited when the two ropes are of markedly different thickness or stiffness.
When attaching cords made of synthetic fibers, a Double Sheet Bend is also preferable. It’s not a failsafe configuration (especially with synthetic cordage), but one that’s very easy to learn and practical in many applications—and which can be made more secure with some locking or stop knots.
How to Tie the Double Sheet Bend
Although you can deploy the Double Sheet Bend to secure together two ropes of the same size, it’s most commonly used when one is significantly thicker than the other.
Step 1: Form a bight—a turnback at the end of the rope in which the running end (aka the working end) points toward the standing end—in the thicker rope.
Step 2: Draw the running end of the thinner rope through the bight of the thicker one.
Step 3: Make a turn around the bight with the thinner rope’s running end.
Step 4: Pull the tail of the thinner rope up behind itself to form a wrap through the bight.
Step 5: Make another turn around the bight.
Step 6: Tuck the running end of the thinner rope under itself.
Step 7: Tighten the bend by pulling both ends of the thinner rope while holding the thicker rope.
The Finished Bend
Tips on Tying the Knot
- As with a single Sheet Bend, you’ll generally achieve a more secure hold if the tails of both ropes are on the same side of the knot (an arrangement known as “direct tails”).
- Make sure you give yourself enough slack to form the extra turn required by a Double Sheet Bend. Leaving a goodly length of tail in both the bight rope and the turning rope is a good idea for a greater nip to the knot as well as all-around easier adjusting and untying.
- Take care to clean up or “dress” the wraparounds and final tuck of your Double Sheet Bend before tightening for the snuggest hold.
Variations on Tying the Knot
A less-common way of tying a Double Sheet Bend is to wrap the running end of the thinner/turning rope twice around the tail of the bight before making the turn around the standing end of the bight rope and tucking under the thinner rope’s tail to tighten.
There are also various ways of beefing up the security of a Double Sheet Bend by tying off locking knots, such as a grapevine knot. Robert G. Birch also presents a scheme for a stronger, more secure version of a double sheet bend that involves tucking the tails of both ropes—what he calls the Double, Double-bight-tucked (or DDBT for short) Sheet Bend.
Advantages of This Knot
As we’ve already alluded to, the Double Sheet Bend provides a more secure union between two ropes than the Sheet Bend itself—both being preferable to the Square (or Reef) Knot that people often fall back on to tie together different lines.
You should especially favor the Double Sheet Bend over the single-wrap version when you have ropes of significantly different thickness, when one rope is notably stiffer than the other, or when you’re dealing with wet cordage. It’s also the better choice for ropes made of synthetic fiber. The extra turns of the Double Sheet Bend make it less prone to jamming when subjected to a heavy load.
Like the Sheet Bend, it’s quick and easy to tie and untie, which makes it among the most useful go-to knots you can know. Besides joining the ends of two ropes, both the single and double sheet bends are good ways to affix a rope to the corner of a sheet, the collar of a cloth bag, and other fabric items.
Disadvantages of the Knot
While more secure than the single sheet bend, the Double Sheet Bend isn’t necessarily a stronger knot, and it can still slip—particularly when you’re using synthetic-fiber ropes, Double Sheet Bends in which may come apart before breaking strain’s achieved. The knot is less likely to slip when the tension on the bend is a continuous one, and more likely to do so on an unloaded rope.
Those limitations make the Double Sheet Bend (and sheet bends in general) poorly suited as genuine lifelines.
Uses for the Double Sheet Bend
Given the ease and security with which you can use it to join one rope to another (or a rope to a piece of fabric), the practical applications for the Double Sheet Bend are just about limitless.
By allowing you to fashion a longer piece of line out of two shorter ones, a Double Sheet Bend comes in real handy for any number of survival purposes: rigging up guy lines, creating a makeshift utility belt, repairing thread or fishing line, even preparing a sling to secure an injured limb.
A Double Sheet Bend could be used to lengthen or repair fishing line. It and the single sheet bend are also classic knots for constructing fishing nets.
From securing or hanging meat to hauling gear, Double Sheet Bends may well come in handy in a pinch on a hunting trip.
It goes without saying the Double Sheet Bend has plenty of utility for general-purpose camping, too. String up a clothesline, hang a bear bag, support a tarp shelter, carry a bundle of firewood—you get the picture!
To Tie a Double Sheet Bend:
|Pass the end of one rope #1 around the bight of rope #2.|
|Wrap rope #1 completely around the bight.|
|Direct rope #1 under its own standing part and through the front end of the bight.|
|Repeat step #2.|
|Repeat step #3.|
|Pull both ends of rope #1 together until the knot tightens.|