The bag knot

(sack knot, miller's knot):

David M. Delaney
July 16, 2008

ABOK-1244-reversed.gifThe ends of a sack are often inaccessible when we want to tie it closed. The top may be inaccessible because the bag is too full, requiring a tight grip to keep it closed throughout the tying process, and leaving free only a small floppy remnant of the bag opening that is difficult to work with.  The bag may be heavy or large, denying access to its bottom end.  In the full range of tying conditions it is inconvenient to pre-form the knot before putting it on the neck of the bag, or to cast loops or hitchs over either end of the bag during the tying process. I prefer a single sack-tying procedure that is convenient for all common circumstances. The knot shown to the left and in the photographs below meets that requirement extremely well.

When tied around sacking material, the knot pictured here binds almost as well as the constrictor knot and is easy to tie and remember.  It is shown in the Ashley Book of Knots (ABOK) as number 1244.  ABOK 1244 is pictured in ABOK as the mirror image of the knot shown here.  Ashley calles this knot "the bag knot". The way shown here to tie the knot is easier for right-handed people than as shown in ABOK, at least when tying it as a sack-closing knot. (This and other knots in ABOK lead me to suspect that Ashley was left-handed.)

I tried all of the binding knots in ABOK that seemed suitable as sack-closers. This one seems to present the best combination of ease of tying and security. Although secure enough for almost all sack-closing applications,  it is is slightly less secure than the constrictor knot.

The bag knot is also an excellent hitch, shown in ABOK as a hitch with number 1674.  This knot closely related to the picket-line hitch, ABOK 1676, and its mirror image, the ground-line hitch, ABOK 1680.

The photographs below shows a procedure by which a right handed person could tie the bag knot.  The procedure is suitable for fast blind tying. The photographs are taken from the perspective of a person closing a sack while bending over it.  The top of the sack comes out of the bottom of the left hand.  The weight of the sack keeps the neck of the sack taut for easy tying.

The one and only tuck in the procedure pictured below -- the last operation before tightening -- may be made as a loop for easy untying, as shown in the photographs and in the drawing.

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