What's this knot?

I have to agree with Lynn, that is clearly not a sheepshank. A sheepshank is used to shorten a single rope, not connect two ropes. To make sheepshank you make one large loop in the middle of the rope and two smaller loops on either side of the big loop. Then you elongate the big loop, slide the two smaller loops over the elongated ends and tighten the small loops.

Looks like a fisherman’s Knot. It is a pain to untie and we don’t usually use it.
It is a form of the sheet bend. I would only use it on very light lines or fishing line.

On good rope use a more standard sheet bend or a pair of bowlines.

Hence, a gag in “Jaws” that a lot of people miss. Robert Shaw, contemptous of the idea of having Richard Dreyfuss along, throws Dreyfuss a rope and says “Here, tie me a sheepshank.”. Dreyfuss, bitching about being “tested on basic seamanship”. complies and throws Shaw back the rope, saying “You didn’t say how long you wanted it.”. Dreyfuss has tied a sheepshank with about an inch of rope between the two ends of the knot, producing a singularly useless example.

I’ve never heard it called that (nor, apparently, had Ashley). And it bears little resemblance to the true sheet bend (which, interestingly, has the same geometry as a bowline).

In case anyone’s not sure yet, the Boy Scout Handbook (which I consider the ultimate reference on such matters) also lists that knot as a Fisherman’s Knot. In my tenth edition copy, it’s on page 148.

I only made Life, but I’m good at soaking up books.

Tangentially, about that scene in Jaws (which I’ll now have to watch), a sheepshank will generally only hold under tension. Throw a rope back and forth, it’s apt to fall apart.

Okay, pardon the exclamation but what the hell are you talking about?

The bowline has two ends, the sheet bend has four. Care to step back and come up with a remotely sensible definition of geometry?

He’s right, from my perspective, though “geometry” may not be the correct term to use, depending on your definition as it applies to knots. I know what he’s getting at. If you don’t look at the number of ends hanging out, or the number of ropes involved, the knots look the same. Both involve a rope end laced in a U-shape through a loop in the other rope. The loop can either be on the end of a separate rope, or in the middle of the original rope.

I’m not up on my knot theory, but I believe that in more formal terms we are saying that the two results are equivalent links (formal knots are deformations of closed curves in 3-space. links are intertwined knots.)

To put it even more simply, if you tie a bowline and then cut the loop, you’ll have two ropes tied together with a sheet bend.

Well put.

A different way to say it: A close-up photo of a bowline and a sheet bend can look the same.

The best you can say is that if you connect two of the free ends you turn one into the other topologically. There’s a vast difference between the topology and the geometry of a knot or link.

Sorry about my imprecise terminology. But it may be worth noting that a couple of posters knew just what I meant.

That doesn’t mean it’s not still wrong. What’s that slogan at the top of the page again?

Perhaps, in the spirit of effectively fighting ignorance, instead of reacting in horror, you could acknowledge that imprecision occasionally creeps in, and (dare I even suggest tactfully) suggest better terminology. IOW, I suspect you knew what my comment about similar geometry meant, even though you found it less than precise.

A good answer to this question is supplied by dictionary.com as definition #2 for geometry: “Configuration, arrangement.”

On a geometric note, an overhand knot in a ribbon is the easiest way to make a perfect pentagon. I doubt that Euclid would approve, but it works.