Essential Knots for Filmmaking: Sheepshank
- June 22, 2016
- Shane Hurlbut, ASC
The sheepshank knot is commonly used to secure loads to trucks or trailers. It’s also used by sailors and is one of my favorite knots because it’s a knot that you can easily tie, and it is so powerful. The sheepshank knot is a trucker’s hitch on steroids. You use the mechanics of the rope to actually become a pulley and give you more torque to tie off stuff, kind of like a ratchet strap.
When making this knot, you’re going to want to set yourself up for success. You do that by holding the rope with your two hands, like below.
Next, you’re going to pull the rope in as below to create a tail.
With the tail, cross over the other piece of rope. Then loop the tail up into the hole.
Do that twice, so your sheepshank knot looks like this:
Now you can pull here to increase tension on your rope.
To lock the rope in, make a half hitch for safety. To do that, cross the rope over and pull it up through the hole.
For extra safety, make a double half hitch in the rope.
Once you’ve made your double half hitch, you have your completed sheepshank knot.
Taking the Rope Apart:
To take the sheepshank rope apart, pull the rope loose where indicated in the image below.
Then pull the rope so that the loop comes undone.
Repeat the same last two steps for the other knot on the rope to completely take apart the sheepshank knot.