How to Tie a Sheepshank

One Methods:Alternate Method

The sheepshank is a useful knot for two purposes. It can be used to temporarily shorten a rope or it could be used to allow a rope with a damaged or frayed part to be still used (the damaged part would be in the center, where there is no tension). One of the properties of this knot is that it can get easily undone without tension, so to keep it in place, tension needs to be applied on both sides of the knot.


  1. Image titled Tie a Sheepshank Step 1
    Make an 'S' shape. Get the rope to form 2 bights, in the shape of an 'S.' The middle part will be the section with no tension. The curves are called bights.
  2. Image titled Tie a Sheepshank Step 2
    Form loops at the ends. .
  3. Image titled Tie a Sheepshank Step 3
    Insert the two bights into the two loops and pull the free ends tight to secure the knot.

Alternate Method

  1. Image titled Tie a Sheepshank Step 4
    Make 3 loops as illustrated. The center loop will form the central part of the knot while the loops on the sides will be half hitches to support the sheep shank. Pull the central loop through the side loops as illustrated.
  2. Image titled Tie a Sheepshank Step 5
    That's it, you have got yourself a sheepshank. Note that this method is better to tie it 'in the field' or when you need it done quickly. However it's better to use the first method if you specifically want a certain stretch of rope to bypass a load.


  • This knot is best used with a coarse rope, not a slippery synthetic rope. With the latter, it may fail even with tension.
  • The sheepshank will become loose when not under strain. An additional hitch may be added to prevent the sheep shank for becoming loose when not under strain.
  • This knot is often used for securing loads to trucks or trailers, and in sailing applications.
  • Another rope can be passed through the loops at each end of the finished knot, if desired.


  • Do not use this knot for rope that will support life critical situations.

Things You'll Need

  • A rope

Sources and Citations

  • [1] - Original source, shared with permission

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