How to Tie a Hanging Noose

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A hangman's knot is used by anglers to attach free-swinging lures to fishing line.
A hangman's knot is used by anglers to attach free-swinging lures to fishing line. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Tying a hangman's knot or noose is a simple procedure that takes only minutes. Although this specialized knot carries negative associations with executions, it has many alternative applications. Boaters use this noose-type knot on bow lines to tie off boats to cleats on docks or to loop over pilings. This knot is also popular with anglers for attaching lures to fishing lines. For practice, the rope is laid on a flat surface. Once you've perfected the knot-tying technique, you can tie the noose while holding the rope vertically.

Lay the rope out straight on a flat surface, running away from you. The knot is tied so the loop is on the lower end of the rope, closest to you.

Bend the lower (tag) end of the rope into the shape of a sideways S. The long end will extend above the S-shape and the tag end should extend about 2 feet below the S-shape. Push the folds of rope together on the sides. This will from two loops, one at the top of the S-shape and one at the bottom.

Grasp the tag end of the rope 6 or 8 inches above the bottom of the lower loop. Bend the rope 90 degrees so it crosses the folds of rope. Wrap the tag end tightly around the folds 5 or 6 times, working from the bottom up. Keep wrapping until the tag end is only about 2 inches from the top of the upper loop.

Thread the tag end through the upper loop and hold it in place. Pull the lower loop to tighten the knot. At this point, the lower loop may be lengthened or shortened by pulling the loop or long end of the rope, respectively.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have a lot of experience with nooses, practice by tying a few easier knots first, such as a simple noose or strangle-snare.
  • The scaffold knot or gallows knot is a multi-fold, overhand alternative to the hangman's noose that can also be used to tie fishing line to angling rods.
  • Appropriate rope thickness for mooring a boat will range anywhere from 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch depending on the size of the boat.
  • Never play "hangman" with one of these nooses. They can actually kill.

References

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