Monkey's FistThe origin of the Monkey's Fist knot is as a heaving line knot used on ships of sail of yesteryear. However, the knot is now more popular as a decorative knot and can be found in sizes small to large: from key chains to door stopper weights. The size of the knot is dependent on the thickness of the rope in which it is tied and the number of turns made.
Often a spherical object such as a golf ball, marble, or tennis ball is used in the center of the knot to help attain a more perfect round shape and give the knot weight when used for decoration (not for throwing - it is already more than heavy enough with the coiled rope for throwing purposes). Alternately, a stopper knot tie at the end of the working end and tucked inside the knot prior to tightening works well. Both ends of the rope can be tucked inside the knot upon completion or they can both be left long and tied together. This knot may take several attempts through trial and error to get a nice perfectly round and tight fitting knot!
1. Take your rope and with the long working end make three wraps around the fingers of your hand.
2. While holding the first set of turns in place, make three more turns passing outside the middle of the first three turns. Finish this step by passing the working end around one side of the first set of turns. This sets up the working end for the next step which passes the end through the inside of the previous wraps.
3. Now make three turns around the set of wraps made in the previous step, passing through the inside of the knot. Double check that you have made the same number of turns for each step.
4. Finishing the knot: At this point a round object can be inserted in the center of the wraps or the standing end of the rope can be tucked inside either with or without a stopper knot at the end as well. Working slowly (and patiently) begin tightening by working on each wrap, starting near the buried stopper knot and finishing with the other end of the rope. Do not pull too hard on the first few wraps. You will need to work your way through the knot more than once. The use of a small screwdriver or awl can help on the last tightening session through the knot.
See animated Monkey's Fist below.
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Disclaimer: Any activity involving rope can be dangerous and may even be life threatening! Knot illustrations contained in this web site are not intended for rock climbing instruction. Many knots are not suitable for the risks involved in climbing. Seek professional instruction. Many of these knots have histories of use tracing back hundreds of years. However, many critical factors in their use today cannot be controlled, including: the appropriateness of knots used in particular applications, the age, size, and condition of ropes (knots weaken the rated breaking strength of rope anywhere from 50% to as much as 80%, even more in the case of old and worn rope); and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this material.