David M. Delaney, May 2010
The Butterfly Bend does not appear
in The Ashley Book of
Knots (ABOK). It is derived from the Butterfly Loop,
which appears in ABOK #1053 as the Lineman's Loop, but without
appropriate appreciation. The Butterfly Loop is sometimes called
the Alpine Butterfly Loop, perhaps because it is now widely used in
climbing and rescue, where it is used to make a loop for clipping in to
the middle of a rope. The
"Alpine" seems superfluous, since there is no other common "butterfly"
knot, and since Wright Magowan, who seem to be the first to have
recommended it as a middle-loop for climbers in 1928, renamed it
from "lineman's rider" to "butterfly" without the "Alpine". Both
the Butterfly Loop and the Butterfly Bend
are excellent knots. From article 78 of C.L. Day's The Art of Knotting and Splicing
Burger (1914-1915) who first published
this excellent knot writes as follows: "Linemen and especially
telephone men often use a knot which they term the lineman's
rider. It is absolutely secure and will hold from any point from
which it may be drawn." Drew (1931) likens it to the
that"it will not jam." It is often used, he says, "when a crew of men
are to pull on a rope and it is convenient for each man to have a loop
rather than pull on the straight rope." Wright and Magowan (1928) call
it the butterfly noose and
recommend it as a middle loop for mountain climbers, a purpose to which
it is perfectly adapted.
The Butterfly Bend compares well in every respect with the
the Zeppelin bend
it is essentially jam proof..
testing several bends
. Method 1
and method 3 below have the advantage of producing either the
bend or the Butterfly loop in the middle of a rope, depending on
whether you're working with the ends of
two ropes or a section of the bight of one rope. Method 4
the best way of making the bend for those who tie it regulary.
For many people, the Butterfly Bend would be suitable
as the only high performance bend they need to learn.
Before using this or any bend for climbing or rescue, check it out with
experts in those fields, which I am not.
This method is particularly easy to remember because
it is essentially identical to the most popular and elegant way of
tying the Butterfly loop.
little harder to remember than method 1, it's easier to tie in a broad
range of circumstances, including in smaller stuff and when you don't
have much slack.
Whether you start with right over left or left over right,
form the first loop with the end that lies under the other by it
bending back in the direction it came from and down over the other.
Method 3 -- Identical to
another way of making the Butterfly Loop
This method is essentially the same as shown at http://notableknotindex.webs.com/butterflyanim.gif.
made identical to that method by first making an overhand knot
near the end of the cords to by joined to make them into a single cord.
This additional overhand knot simplifies making the bend. It can be
removed after making the Butterfly, or left in place as a safety as
long as the bend is in use.
Method 4 -- The best for frequent
This may be the best way to make the Butterfly Bend for those who
choose to make it their main heavy duty bend and who use it regularly.
It does not exploit prior knowledge of the common ways of making the
Butterfly Loop on the bight, so imposes a greater load on the
memory. With practice, it is faster and requires less fiddling
than the above methods. It has the advantage of being
essentially identical to the best way of making a Butterfly end loop
through a mounted ring. See the Butterfly
Keeping the overhand knot formed by the orange rope very distinctly on
top of the grey overhand knot, binding as little of the structure of
the grey overhand knot as possible, as shown in photos three, four, and
five, helps greatly in allowing the Butterfly Bend to be more
self-dressing in the process between photos five and six, requiring
only to pull the two standing parts apart after photo five. This
precaution is important with stiff rope, and, while less
important with flexible rope, it always simplifies the process of
getting to photo six.
[Day 1947] Day, Cyrus Lawrence, The
Knotting and Splicing
, third edition, Adlard Coles
Limited, London, 1947.
Knots home Home